We are pleased to welcome Karey Oddo, Dr. Charles Martinez, Walt Penn, Christie Bybee, and Esteban Armenta to Breakthrough’s Board of Trustees! These community members bring a wealth of knowledge to our organization.
Esteban is an accomplished professional and an alumnus of the Breakthrough program. He is currently a Project Designer at Dick Clark + Associates, a prominent architecture and interior design firm. He provides design services on a team that completes projects around Greater Austin, both residential and commercial. Esteban is a graduate of Texas A&M University where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Design and Architecture in August of 2019. He was active in multiple student organizations including the College of Architecture’s Office of Students Services, as a technician in the College’s Woodshop, the Corps of Cadets, and in the American Institute of Architecture Students. In service of the American Institute of Architecture Students, he was part of a five- person committee to help plan and execute the Annual Forum for the national chapter in 2017 and served in multiple leadership positions in the local chapter including Marketing Director in 2016. He also led the local chapter’s efforts to provide free architectural services to local residents to solve design and construction challenges for those with limited or constrained mobility.
Esteban’s experience with Breakthrough extends back to 2008 when he first joined the program as a middle- school student in Austin ISD. He has been an active participant throughout the program and is a loyal Austin High School graduate from the Class of 2014. Esteban’s parents, Rosario and Esteban, are also actively involved in the program, as are his younger siblings, Xitlali and Hector. Esteban also served as a Summer Teaching Fellow in the summer of 2016 while in college to give back to the organization and support younger students to follow in his footsteps as a first generation college student.
Christie Bybee is a community volunteer passionate about education and public schools. Christie started her career as a fundraiser, first at the University of Chicago and then at United Way of Central New Mexico. She then pivoted to being a parent full time to her two children when moving to Austin and dedicating her time to volunteering for schools and community organizations.
Her list of involvement is widespread and extensive. She served on the PTO of her children’s schools in Eanes ISD, on the District Leadership Team, as a board member on the Education Foundation, and in other district leadership roles. She also became directly involved in multiple nonprofit organizations including Mobile Loaves & Fishes, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church. In 2017, she was honored for her significant leadership and fundraising efforts with the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Austin Chapter.
In 2019, she quickly became an involved and enthusiastic supporter of Breakthrough. She agreed to serve as co- chair for the Breakthrough Challenge Campaign. In April, she and her husband Clint hosted the Campaign Reveal Party. Her passion, energy, and skill as a fundraiser for Breakthrough have been valued by her team of fellow volunteers and staff.
Karey and her husband Chris Oddo have been Breakthrough supporters since 2015. Karey served on the Champions committee that year, invited by event chair Laurel Simmons. Karey joined the Development Council in 2016 and has been a significant contributor to our fundraising efforts. She and her husband Chris chaired the 2018 Champions Celebration and did an excellent job engaging their network. Karey is a 6th generation Austinite from the Nalle family, an Austin family dating back to the mid 1800’s.
Karey spent years as a commercial litigator with both Clark, Thomas & Winters and with Winstead. Currently, she is general counsel for a real estate company that owns and manages commercial properties in Austin and San Antonio. Karey won the 2014 Preservation Austin Merit Award for Restoration of a National Landmark property in downtown Austin. Karey has volunteered for numerous local charities and has passionately served on the Board of Directors of several non-profits such as: Helping Hand Home, The Junior League of Austin, Women’s Symphony League, Elizabeth Ann Seton Board, Preservation Austin, Inherit Austin, and Pioneer Farms. She is a past Coats for Kids Chair, which provided over thirty thousand coats to needy Central-Texas children, and she is also a graduate of Leadership Austin. Karey is proud mom to two precious pre-teens and two dogs – a Labrador and a Puggle. In her free time, she loves to travel with her family, entertain friends, keep current with political news, and read a good mystery.
In 2005 Walt Penn established Wealth Advisory Services of Raymond James, along with his partner Jenny Miller. From 1995 until 2005, Walt founded and served as President and CEO of The Penn Investment Group, Inc., an independent broker/dealer and registered investment advisor specializing in wealth management and alternative investments in the private and public equity arena, including the biotech, real estate and financial services areas. From 1987 to 1995, he served as an investment advisor with Rauscher Pierce Refsnes, now RBC Wealth Management. Walt holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from the University of Texas at Austin
Walt Penn is a former Breakthrough Central Texas Trustee, serving from 2013-2018. He also chaired the 2016- 2018 Growth Campaign, successfully raising $2.3M for the organization. Undeterred, he spearheaded the next campaign, the current $10M Breakthrough Challenge. Walt is a fierce advocate for Breakthrough students and its mission in Central Texas.
He has a long history of involvement with many other local organizations, including The Paramount Theater board, PeopleFund advisory board, The Seton Fund board, The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce board, SafePlace Foundation board, Brackenridge Children’s Hospital council, Caritas of Austin advisory board and the Texas Capital Bank advisory board. In 2016, Walt was recognized as the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser of the year by the Associate of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Austin Chapter.
Dr. Charles Martinez
Dr. Charles R. Martinez, Jr. is the 12th dean of the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin. Martinez began his tenure as dean on January 1, 2019. Martinez’s scholarly work focuses on identifying factors that hinder or promote the success of children and families who are from vulnerable and underserved populations. He is particularly interested in how immigrant Latino families adjust to life in the U.S. and how to better harness culturally specific protective factors to ensure their success in navigating the many challenges associated with immigration. Martinez has led numerous national and international research projects designed to examine risk and protective factors involved in linking social and cultural factors to education and behavioral health disparities for Latino children and families, and to develop and test culturally specific interventions for at- risk families in the U.S. and in Latin America. Prior to joining Texas, Martinez was the Philip H. Knight Professor in the Department of Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership at the University of Oregon, where he also served as founding director of the Center for Equity Promotion. He is a nationally recognized scholar on organizational equity, cross-cultural research, and community engagement.
A first-generation college graduate, Martinez received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Pitzer College, and his master’s degree and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology. Martinez holds the Lee Hage Jamail Regents Chair in Education and the Sid W. Richardson Regents Chair. He is a professor in the Department of Educational Psychology.