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Honorary Co-Chairs


Alexander Byrd

Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Rice University


Byrd provides high-level strategic leadership for diversity initiatives and coordinates offices across the campus to help create one point of responsibility for all programs and efforts around diversity. 


Byrd also is an associate professor of history. His area of expertise is Afro America, especially black life in the Atlantic world and the Jim Crow South. His study of free and forced transatlantic black migration in the period of the American Revolution is entitled Captives & Voyagers. The work follows the two largest streams of free and forced transoceanic black migration across the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world: enslaved black migration to Jamaica and free black migration to Sierra Leone. The book is propelled by the premise that it is possible to gain new purchase on the history of eighteenth-century transatlantic migration by examining free and forced migration together, and by paying careful attention to the social consequences of the actual processes of emigration. Captives and Voyagers was awarded the 2009 Wesley-Logan Prize in African diaspora history (jointly sponsored by the American Historical Association and the Association for the Study of African American Life & History).


Professor Byrd has held fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council, the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. He is a member of the American Historical Association, and a life member of the Southern Historical Association. From 2016 through 2019 Byrd served on the council of the Omohundro Institute.

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Marco Martinez

Chair Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council

CenterPoint Energy


Marco is the Director of Vendor Risk Management at CenterPoint Energy. He is responsible for the programs aimed at managing vendor risk via risk assessments and risk mitigations. Prior to this, he served as the Director of Internal Audit leading the Internal Audit function at CenterPoint Energy. In this role, he was responsible for the plan and execution of CenterPoint’s internal audits working closely with Senior Leadership and the Board of Directors.


He is the chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council at CenterPoint Energy with the mission of delivering electricity and natural gas to millions of customers across our communities in a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment where we respect, understand, and appreciate each other, those we serve and the people around us.


Marco is passionate about helping the Houston Community with focus on underrepresented groups. He is on the board of the Tejano Center for Community Concerns with a mission to develop education, social, health, and community institutions that empower families to transform their lives. As well as serving on the Finance and Audit Committee of Allies for Hope, formerly Aids Foundation Houston, with the mission of ending the HIV epidemic in the Houston area. Additionally, he serves on the Audit Committee of the Greater Houston Community Foundation.

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