Meet Our Panelists

As part of the Whole Child Whole Community Conference luncheon, San Antonio Leaders will share how their respective work impacts our community's efforts to create connection, healing, and belonging.

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Dr. Alan Meca, Assistant Professor at UTSA

Alan Meca is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology in the University of Texas at San Antonio. He received his Ph.D. in Developmental Science from Florida International University in 2014 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Miami. Broadly, his expertise is in identity development, acculturation, and positive youth development. Although his research has focused broadly on identity development, most of his work has been on cultural identity development and acculturation among ethnic/racial minoritized youth, particularly among Hispanic/Latinx populations.

Towards this end, his research agenda has focused on identity development their effects on mental health, health risk behaviors, and educational achievement. In pursuit of this research agenda, which has strayed away from the pervasive deficit perspective that is often utilized when youth, and marginalized youth in particular, Dr. Meca has published over 70 peer-reviewed manuscripts focused on personal, ethnic/racial, and national identity as key developmental and cultural assets to be leveraged for promoting positive development. Currently, his research agenda is focused on refining measures of cultural identity, understanding the processes that govern how ethnic/racial minority navigate their cultural environment (e.g., code-switching, cultural frame switching), and identifying ways we can support youth throughout the transition to adulthood.

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Marisa B. Pérez-Díaz, District 3 State Board of Education Member

Marisa B. Pérez-Díaz, the District 3 State Board of Education member, was elected to the Board of Education in November 2012 and took office on Jan. 1, 2013. She is the youngest Latina, nationally, to have ever been elected to serve on a State Board of Education and is now serving her third term on the board having been re-elected in 2014 and 2018. Perez-Diaz served on the Committee on Instruction from January 2013 to December 2016; served as the vice chair of the Committee on School Initiatives from January 2017 to December 2020; and now serves on the Committee of the Permanent School Fund. During her time on the Board, Pérez-Díaz has been instrumental in the redevelopment of high school graduation requirements, the update and approval of the Long-Range Plan for Texas Public Education and the rebranding of the Permanent School Fund. Additionally, she has been a leading voice in the fight to approve and implement Mexican American Studies and African American Studies courses for high school credit in Texas.

Pérez-Díaz holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, with a minor in psychology, from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master's degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from UTSA and is a former Graduate Fellow with several published works. Pérez-Díaz’s passion for child advocacy and public service manifested itself during her tenure with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. She spent the last decade as a district-level administrator in several Texas school districts before joining the Firstmark Credit Union team as the Executive Director for the Firstmark Foundation. Pérez-Díaz serves on several non-profit boards and is an active member of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. Pérez-Díaz is married to Rafael Diaz, Jr. They are the proud parents of three children, Catalina Yaretzi (6), Rafael (5), and Santiago Jadiel (1)

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Michael Lawson, Senior Manager of Boeing Global Engagement

Michael Lawson is Senior Manager of Boeing Global Engagement (BGE), managing Boeing’s corporate giving and charitable donation programs for Texas and Louisiana. He also supports employee giving and non-profit engagement at the Boeing Global Services Headquarters located in Plano, TX.

Lawson has been with The Boeing Company since 2004. Prior to joining BGE, Michael held the title of Senior Manager of Contracts for Government Satellite Systems located in El Segundo, CA. He also held numerous roles in other areas of the business including Commericial Satellites, New Technology, and People Development. While in CA, Michael served on the board of Boeing’s Employee Community Fund of Southern California, an employee-owned and managed fund benefitting local non-profits.

Lawson serves on numerous community organizations and boards. He is the Vice Chairman of the Plano Chamber of Commerce. He also serves on the Legacy Transportation Management Board. Lawson holds a bachelors degree in Finance and Economics from California Polytechnic State University. When he’s not fulfilling his duties for the Boeing Company, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Meghan, daughter, Penny, and son Benjamin.

Moderator- Jacob Cavazos, Senior Vice President and Community Reinvestment Manager at Broadway Bank

Jacob is the Senior Vice President and Community Reinvestment Manager at Broadway Bank.  Jacob works with executive leadership to provide oversight and direction on community needs in San Antonio, Austin, and the Hill Country.  Jacob manages bank efforts supporting affordable housing, economic development, education, and manages corporate philanthropic giving.  Prior to joining Broadway Bank, he spent 13 years at Frost Bank, with the last 10 years as Vice President and Community Development Officer managing community reinvestment efforts in San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley.   Additionally, he spent a year as Vice President of Frost Marketing, managing state-wide marketing programs and efforts in underserved market segments. 

Jacob holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio (’06), and is a graduate of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Alexander Briseño Leadership Development Program.  Jacob currently serves on the board of directors for Communities In Schools of San Antonio (CISSA), the UTSA Alumni Association, and the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.  He also serves on the executive committee for Communittees In Schools of San Antonio, as board secretary, as well as the CISSA external relations committee.  Additionally, he serves on the advisory board for the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County Emerging Leaders Council (ELC), and is the vice chair of the United Way ELC professional development committee.  Jacob also serves on the executive committee and scholarship committee for the UTSA Alumni Association, and produces and guest hosts the official podcast of UTSA, the Birds Up Podcast.  He currently serves on Broadway Bank’s Donations Committee, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and chairs the Community Reinvestment Act Committee.

Jacob married his wife, Megan, in 2010 and they are the proud parents of 2 wonderful children, Tinsley and Liam.    He also serves as a music minister at Alamo City Church in San Antonio, TX.


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