meet the

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is the governing body of HILSC that includes representatives from our community of service providers, advocacy organizations, educators, and community leaders that support immigrants in the greater Houston region.

Monica M. Alzate, Ph.D, LCSW

Executive Director

Zenobia Lai

Anne Chandler

Patrick Moreno-Covington

Attorney

Katherine McIlroy Shoebotham

Angela Stephens

Monica M. Alzate, Ph.D, LCSW

Dr. Alzate is an experienced and Board-certified clinical social worker with a 30+-year career in social work and medical academia, mental health, and social services. She is currently an Assistant Professor with the Baylor College of Medicine Department of Family and Community Medicine where she focuses on grant writing and implementation, trainings, and provision of mental health services to adults of diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds and nationalities. She is an EMDR and MBSR1 trained therapist and has utilized her Spanish bilingual skills to extend mental health services to the Latino immigrant community. Dr. Alzate’s therapy practice includes a range of disorders and conditions, such as anxiety, depression, adjustment, and eating disorders, as well as intimate partner violence, childhood and other types of trauma. In her community service, she has been involved with Physicians for Human Rights through Baylor College of Medicine’s Asylum Clinic where she has provided forensic psychological evaluations for Latin American women survivors of intimate partner and gang violence. She also volunteers for a local non-profit promoting healthy lifestyles and food security among residents of food dessert areas. She won Baylor College of Medicine’s 2023 “Women of Excellence Award” that celebrates individuals who exemplify Baylor values and demonstrate exceptional dedication to issues that affect women at Baylor College of Medicine, or in the larger community. Dr. Alzate has extensive research experience, serving as co-investigator in numerous research projects funded by the Substance abuse and Mental health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She has published mainly on health disparities in the areas of adolescent pregnancy and reproductive health, as well as on child welfare. Prior to joining Baylor College of Medicine, she was a tenured Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Oklahoma where she was principal investigator of a study on adolescent pregnancy among Hispanics in Oklahoma City. Likewise, she served as co-chair of the university’s Center for Social Justice, was on the Board of the Oklahoma Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and chaired the chapter’s Women’s Issues Committee for several years. Dr. Alzate is a native of Colombia and has lived in the US for almost 3 decades, including the last 7 years in Houston, TX where she enjoys the international food scene. She is a yoga and meditation practitioner, animal and nature lover, and a health and social justice advocate.

 1EMDR = Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. MBSR = Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.

Executive Director

Zenobia Lai

As the Executive Director of HILSC, Zenobia leads the strategic vision of the Collaborative through facilitating meaningful collaboration among members, amplifying funding available to member organizations and leading grant-making processes, implementing creative solutions to issues affecting Houston’s immigration legal services providers, and building strategic partnerships.

Zenobia is a seasoned civil legal services lawyer who has worked with low-income immigrant communities throughout the country. She has centered her career on making legal services available to those who lack financial resources, political power, English proficiency, or knowledge of the American legal system. Zenobia helped coin the term “community lawyering,” leveraging resources from private law firms and other professionals to help low-income communities make systemic changes. She is both a practitioner and an educator, helping design training curricula, train trainers, conduct numerous lawyering skill trainings to the legal services community, as well as preparing aspiring law students and human services professionals for career growth. Prior to her legal career, Zenobia was a broadcast journalist in Hong Kong. She also helped run a Cantonese cable television show for more than two decades in Malden, Massachusetts.

Education:
Juris Doctor, University of Minnesota Law School; Bachelor of Science, Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Anne Chandler

Attorney Anne Chandler is the founding Executive Director of Texas Immigration Law Council whose mission is to provide legal resources and develop policy solutions to protect the rights of immigrants and refugees in Texas. Prior to founding the statewide advocacy center, Attorney Chandler served as Executive Director of Houston Volunteer Lawyers and was the founding Executive Director of the Houston office of Tahirih Justice Center. As the Executive Director of Tahirih, Attorney Chandler specialized in helping women and girls who survive gender-based violence secure immigration protection. She was instrumental in growing the organization to a staff of 26 where they worked with 900 volunteer attorneys to represent 3,000 immigrant women and children seeking justice and immigration protection. Attorney Chandler was also the Director of the Immigration Legal Services Department of YMCA International where she led the legal team, leveraged pro bono resources to provide legal representation to immigrants on myriad immigration issues.

Attorney Chandler is both a practitioner and teacher. She taught asylum and immigration law at the University of Houston Law Center and directed the Immigration Clinic. She also served as adjunct professor teaching human trafficking law and policy as well as family-based immigration at University of Houston Law Center and Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Attorney Chandler is a prolific trainer and speaker on various immigration issues, such as the abhorrent family separation fiasco that left hundreds of children permanently orphaned.

Attorney Chandler is among the founders of Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative and served on the Executive Committee for six years, including a year as the Chair of the committee. She fully understands and supports HILSC’s mission and looks forward to being a thought partner and collaborates to create innovative change at the regional, state, and federal level as well as bringing critical financial resources to sustain immigration services and advocacy in the region.

Patrick Moreno-Covington

“Goal-oriented professional, well-versed in transforming complex processes into useful roadmaps. Brings a deep understanding of community development and grantee management. Known as a strategic systems thinker and relationship builder.”

Mr. Moreno-Covington is a native Houstonian whose family has deep roots in the social and political fabrics of the City of Houston. He is a Program Officer with the Rockwell Fund where he leads the development and restructuring of the Foundation’s Special Initiatives portfolio to focus on environmental justice, and manages the grants in the reproductive justice, maternal health, housing and education portfolio totaling over $2M. In his role in philanthropy, Mr. Moreno-Covington centers grant processes and administration on equity, paying particular attention to developing a neighborhood-focused and place-based funding strategy. He also utilizes his perch as a funder to connect with other funders to broaden strategies, amplify grantees and other organizations, and organize funder to invest in harm reduction, racial capitalism, and reproductive justice spaces. Prior to joining the Rockwell Fund, Mr. Moreno-Covington was a Program Analyst and Program Associate at the Houston Endowment where he led the creation of strategy development processes in Civic Engagement and Education, managed a trust-based philanthropy process that granted $19M to BIPOC-led grassroots organizations. At Houston Endowment, Mr. Moreno-Covington managed the development and funding of a $16 Million racial equity and justice fund for first-time BIPOC-led organizations, led the design of learning agenda across the Foundation’s two major giving areas in Education and Civic Engagement.

Mr. Moreno-Covington started his career with BakerRipley in 2011 serving as Special Assistant to the Vice President of Choices in Education and Special Projects Coordinator and Board Relations specialist where he coordinated the completion of a multi-million-dollar Head Start grant, led Board development and improvement efforts to coordinate the work of six committees and bi-monthly Board meetings. Mr. Moreno-Covington is a Steering Committee Member of Lideres Alumni Network of the Hispanics in Philanthropy, Treasurer of Jolt Action – a 501c4 organization, Steering Committee Member of CHIME, and volunteer as a Child Advocate at the Young Center.

As an Afro-Latino, Mr. Moreno-Covington is keen on embracing the Black and Mexican American cultures. Mr. Moreno-Covington holds a Master of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from New York University, and a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from Colorado College.

Attorney

Katherine McIlroy Shoebotham

Attorney Katheine McIlroy Shoebotham is a Senior Attorney at the St. Frances Cabrini Center for Immigrant Legal Assistance of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (Cabrini). She began her journey as an immigration lawyer ten years ago at the University of Houston Law Center. Unlike the law students at the Immigration Clinic, she already had more than two decades of litigation experience as an attorney in private practice when she interned at the Clinic to learn a new practice area. At the Clinic, she worked on several asylum cases for clients from Ghana, Nepal, Burkina Faso, Pakistan, Iraq, and Rwanda. In 2013, she joined Cabrini, first as a volunteer attorney and later became one of the initial staff members of its released unaccompanied children program. Attorney Shoebotham has provided legal representation for unaccompanied children seeking special immigrant juvenile status, asylum, and other immigration relief. She oversaw the legal program of one of eight unaccompanied children shelters assigned to Cabrini. As a Senior Attorney, Attorney Shoebotham helped launch the appeals unit where she expands the scope and depth of the immigration legal work at Cabrini by appealing erroneous agency decisions, winning precedent-setting AAO decisions, and sharpening lawyering skills of Cabrini staff. She also supervises the Social Services Coordinators who support the legal case of unaccompanied child clients with social service referrals in the Greater Houston community. Plus, in her current Cabrini role, she coordinates the legal staff onboarding and oversees substantive legal training for all unaccompanied children program staff.

Attorney Shoebotham raised four children in the Houston Independent School District (HISD) where she was actively involved in PTOs, served on various advisory boards of HISD, organized events to showcase the talents and accomplishments of students, promoted parental involvement, and fundraised to support and ensure quality education for all students at an inner-city Title One middle school. She has also been active in the civic life of her community, where she led a Girl Scout troop, and volunteered at her church, community service centers, and several civic organizations (including non-profit Board roles).

As a senior attorney at Cabrini, Attorney Shoebotham is very familiar with HILSC and believes in its mission. She will bring her experience serving in leadership roles in various nonprofit entities to shepherd the future of HILSC together with the staff. She is knowledgeable about the low-income immigrant community in Greater Houston and the challenges it faces, and she will bring her passion about advancing immigrant rights to support the future development of HILSC.

Angela Stephens

Angela Stephens is a Certified Public Accountant who has expertise in non-profit accounting. She is the Controller of Gulf Coast Community Services Association, the largest Texas-based community action agency created during the War on Poverty under President Lyndon Johnson. Prior to her current role, Ms. Stephens worked for Your Part-Time Controller where she served as outsourced Controller/CFO for multiple non-profits. She was assigned to HILSC in 2021 where she revamped the processing, recording, and reporting of financial transactions for HILSC and helped design the transition plan to prepare for HILSC’s independence from Greater Houston Community Foundation. She has deep knowledge and expertise in non-profit accounting as well as financial audit.

Ms. Stephens holds a Master of Science degree in Accounting with concentration in risk management from the University of Houston where she graduated summa cum laude with the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Care Administration and Planning and graduated summa cum laude from Tennessee State University – Nashville.

Ms. Stephens is a resident of Pearland where she lives with her husband and four children.

In her own words, Angela is:

Energetic and highly‐motivated Certified Public Accountant with expertise that includes understanding of internal controls and generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), advanced organizational and analytical skills, and deft strategic planning experience. Unrivaled work ethic, positive attitude and excellent verbal and written communication.

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