Meet Our Houston Game Changers Keynote and Women In STEM Honorees


The Houston Game Changers Annual Luncheon is a special celebration honoring women who have made a significant impact locally or nationally utilizing their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. All proceeds will benefit Girlstart.

Girlstart’s Houston Game Changers Luncheon raises vital funds to support Girlstart’s year-round programs in Houston, including free after school and summer camp programs, now reaching more than 500 girls at 20 high-need Houston schools.


Lesa Roe, former Deputy Administrator for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), took office as University North Texas Chancellor in October, 2017. She is the chief executive officer of the UNT System and is responsible for all aspects of the System’s operations, including general oversight of 10,000+ employees and the three UNTS campuses – UNT in Denton, UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth and UNT Dallas – as well as the UNT System administration. Chancellor Roe is the first woman to lead the UNT System.

As CEO of the UNT System, Chancellor Roe is committed to fostering the continuous enhancement of academic programming by UNTS universities in service to the DFW Region and the State of Texas. She has identified strategic growth, research, inclusiveness, and efficiency as priorities in her first year.

Prior to her arrival in North Texas, Chancellor Roe spent 30 years with NASA and her leadership led to numerous breakthrough science, space, and aeronautics innovations and missions advancing our nation’s leadership and international knowledge of aeronautics and space. Responsible for leading Curiosity’s mission to Mars and the creation of the International Space Station, Chancellor Roe led strategy, execution, and operations nationally across all NASA field centers for a $19.6 billion annual federal agency with $31 billion in assets. She was responsible for general oversight of 17,000 NASA employee and 10 field centers, while also directing program and project teams on product/mission delivery, acquisition strategy, partnership and international strategy and risk management.

Chancellor Roe holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida and a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Central Florida.  She has served on numerous boards and advisory councils including: the Virginia Governor’s Aerospace Advisory Council, American Astronautical Society, Virginia FIRST Robotics, and the Virginia Research and Technology Advisory Commission.

Her many honors include: 2017 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics AIAA Fellow, the 2015 Senior Executive Service Presidential Distinguished Rank Award and the 2006 Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award; NASA Exceptional Service Medal; University of Florida’s Distinguished Career Achievement and Outstanding Leadership in Engineering Awards; the 2010 Women in Aerospace Leadership Award; the 2010 YWCA Women of Distinction in Science and Technology; and the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 2012 Bridge Builder Award. Chancellor Roe and her husband, Ralph, NASA’s chief engineer, have two sons and a daughter.



Barbara Burger, President, Chevron Technology Ventures

Barbara Burger, Ph.D., joined Chevron in 1987 and is currently the president of Chevron Technology Ventures, an organization that champions innovation and the integration of emerging technologies into Chevron.

Barbara holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Rochester, a doctoral degree in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology and an academic honor MBA in finance from the University of California, Berkeley.

She joined the University of Rochester Board of Trustees in 2015 and is a member of the university’s River Campus Libraries National Council and the George Eastman Circle, the university’s leadership annual giving society. In 2012, she established the Barbara J. Burger Endowed Scholarship in the Sciences to support students pursuing degrees in biology, chemistry, earth and environmental sciences, or physics.

Among her many civic and industry affiliations, Barbara serves as an executive director for the Houston Technology Center and is a governing board director, member of the Executive Committee and chair of the Finance Committee of the Houston Symphony Society. She is also a member of the external advisory council for National Renewable Energy Laboratory, on the governing board for the MIT Energy Initiative and is a member of MIT’s Visiting Committee.

Eileen Collins, Former Astronaut and Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel

Eileen M. Collins is a former astronaut and a retired U.S. Air Force colonel. She retired from the Air Force in Jan 2005 and from NASA in May 2006 after a 28-year distinguished career.  A former military instructor and test pilot, Collins was the first woman pilot and first woman commander of a space shuttle.

After graduation from Elmira Free Academy in 1974, she attended Corning Community College, earning an associate degree in mathematics/science in 1976.  She then received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from Syracuse University in 1978, where she was an Air Force ROTC Distinguished Graduate.  She has earned a master of science degree in operations research from Stanford University in 1986, and a master of arts degree in space systems management from Webster University in 1989.

Collins graduated in 1979 from Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, where she was a T-38 instructor pilot until 1982. From 1983 to 1985, she was a C-141 aircraft commander and instructor pilot at Travis Air Force Base, California, and spent the following year as a student with the Air Force Institute of Technology. From 1986 to 1989, Collins was assigned to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, where she was an assistant professor in mathematics and a T-41 instructor pilot.

Collins graduated from the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, in 1990.  She was selected by NASA and became an astronaut in July 1991.  After tours at Kennedy Space Center (shuttle launch and landing) and Johnson Space Center (shuttle engineer and capsule communicator), she flew the space shuttle as pilot in 1995 aboard Discovery.  This mission was the first space shuttle to rendezvous with the Russian Space Station MIR.  She was also the pilot for Atlantis in 1997, where her crew docked with MIR.  Collins became the first woman commander of a U.S. spacecraft with shuttle mission Columbia in 1999, the deployment of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. Her final space flight was as commander of Discovery in 2005, the “Return to Flight Mission” after the tragic loss of Columbia. She has logged more than 6,751 hours in 30 different types of aircraft and more than 872 hours in space as a veteran of four space flights.

Collins currently serves on several boards and advisory panels, is a professional speaker and an aerospace consultant. She is married with two children.

Collins is also a member of the Air Force Association, Order of Daedalians, Women Military Aviators, Women in Aviation International, U.S. Space Foundation, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the Ninety-Nines.

Sue Payne, Retired, Exxon Mobil Corporation

Sue Payne retired from Exxon Mobil Corporation after a 37 year career in global oil and gas exploration, development and production. After starting her career as a geophysicist in Mobil’s technology center in Dallas Texas, she served in many diverse professional and management roles. As an executive, she held positions in Mobil’s headquarters in New York and Fairfax, followed by roles as South American Business Development Manager, as Vice President of US Exploration and Production, as Geoscience Manager for ExxonMobil Production, as US Exploration Manager, as Global Exploration Planning Manager and finally as Manager of Global Geoscience.

From 2011 to 2013, Sue was the Chief Operating Officer for the National Math and Science Initiative, a national non-profit focused on improving the math and science educational performance in US schools.

She is a 1975 graduate in Physics from Georgia Institute of Technology. She currently resides in Houston, Texas where she is active in many non-profit organizations, currently serving on the board of the United Way of Greater Houston, the board of the Houston Children’s Museum, the advisory board for the College of Science at Georgia Tech and the board of the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art.

Janine K. Iannarelli, founder and President of Par Avion Ltd.

Janine K. Iannarelli is the founder and president of Par Avion Ltd.   She has more than 30 years of business aviation experience representing numerous corporations and private individuals worldwide with the sale and purchase of business aircraft. Par Avion is an aircraft marketing firm that specializes in the exclusive representation and acquisition of aircraft with an emphasis on pre-owned business jets valued upwards of $65,000,000 (USD).

Ms. Iannarelli has extensive experience in cross-border transactions, with nearly 90 percent of Par Avion’s business concentrated in this area of specialization. The scope of her experience with aircraft sales transactions reaches well beyond the procurement process in that she has in-depth interactions with the OEMs, maintenance facilities and completion centers specific to these aircraft.  Ms. Iannarelli also works directly with designated representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration as well as with many other countries’ civil aviation authorities where she has placed or procured aircraft.

A 1983 graduate of Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, N.J., Ms. Iannarelli earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a specific concentration in marketing and a minor in psychology.  She pursued her studies of the French Language at L’ALLIANCE FRANCAISE de Houston.  She is a current member of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), Women in Aviation, International, and the American Marketing Association.   In February of 2016 Ms. Iannarelli was invited to serve on the EBAA Associate Member’s Sales and Acquisition committee providing expert input on international sales transactions and in March of 2017 was appointed its Chair..

In January 2016, Ms. Iannarelli was reappointed and named presiding officer by Governor Greg Abbott to the Texas Aerospace and Aviation Advisory Committee to which she was originally appointed by former Governor Rick Perry in October 2014. As one of 10 state-wide appointed committee members, she works to seek out and encourage business development specific to her area of expertise in the State along with the promotion of STEM education.  Awards and recognition include being named a Great Woman of Texas by the Fort Worth Business Press in 2011: named by the Texas Women’s Chamber of Commerce as one of the final four for the Texas Business Woman of the Year, April 2016 and again in July 2017; one of three inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame of New Jersey, September 2016; named among the “99” finalists for inclusion to the National Aviation Hall of Fame of Dayton, Ohio September 2016; honored by Texas Executive Women as a Woman on the Move November 2016; named by Enterprising Women Magazine as a 2017 Enterprising Women of the Year Champion and honored as one of the “Women Who Mean Business” by the Houston Business Journal, October 2017.

As a sought-after mentor and inspirational advisor, she often speaks before women’s and youth organizations about career development and life skill sets necessary to navigate the business world. Ms. Iannarelli routinely serves as a reliable source on business aviation for local, regional, national and international media on a variety of business aviation and small business topics and is one of NBAA’s “Available for Comment Today” go-to resources.  She is a regular panelist and presenter at industry events that focus on current valuations and trends in the new and preowned global marketplace for aircraft.

Ms. Iannarelli is a passionate supporter of the arts and charities that benefit children and animals. She commits both her personal time and resources to these endeavors. She is a past board member of Mercury, The Orchestra Redefined, and a sponsor of the Houston Police Department’s Mounted Patrol. For more than 25 years, she was a sponsor, board member, competitor and volunteer with The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show which benefits Texas Children’s Hospital and for which Ms. Iannarelli currently serves as an Ambassador.  She is a founding member of the Peace Parks Foundation headquartered in Stellenbosch, South Africa.  Additionally, Ms. Iannarelli is an avid cyclist and an accomplished equestrian who competed for over 30 years in the amateur divisions at hunter/jumper shows at the regional and national level in the United States.