LCA Houston’s Top Ten People of the Year 2016
2016 will be one for the record books! With so much turmoil and change across the nation and the world, it’s comforting to know that our hometown is still a shining example of continued growth and prosperity. Houston has always bucked the trend and this past year was no different.
Real estate is booming with high rises popping up everywhere in the Galleria, Midtown, and Montrose areas. New luxury properties include The River Oaks, the Belfiore in Uptown, the Wilshire at River Oaks District, and the Sophie at Bayou Bend. Despite a collapse in oil prices, it hasn’t slowed down the frenzied pace of building.
Fashion has a thriving new home in the exclusive River Oaks District shopping area with major high end anchors like Akris, Roberto Cavalli, Dior, and Hermes to name a few. Even the Galleria itself underwent major renovations with the introduction of Saks in its new home and several new fashionable stores opening in its former spot.
As we wind down the year, lavish parties are all the rage from exclusive events at major fashion retailers (including LCA’s own at Roberto Cavalli, Bvlgari and Akris), to private events across the city. This maybe a year to remember for some, and for others to forget, but either way Houston does it with style and as we wrap it up, here is LCA Houston’s Top Ten People of the Year 2016!
Tammy and Wayne Nguyen: Wayne an entrepreneur, a restaurateur and a chef. He has a portfolio of businesses including real estate, retail and restaurants. His newly opened Maba, his first Pan-Asian diner in Midtown, right before Christmas this year certainly calls for a man of many talents and style.
Tammy is the force behind her husband. A power couple who work together for professional heights and philanthropic endeavors. Tammy is the founder of Know Autism that she diligently serves with her motherly love and social concern to help families and children with autism.
Logan Lester: Miss Houston 2016, a graduate from Texas A&M University business and communications major who has her eyes set on a career in real estate. Lester has kept her promise and used her title as Miss Houston to be an ambassador for the community and made appearances and extended generous support to many charities.
Eric Turner: Leading an active lifestyle, fitness has always played a huge part for international model Eric Turner, Founder of Oryx. After modeling for many prominent underwear brands Turner started his own brand Oryx, named after a beautiful and dignified antelope species he encountered in South Africa.
Irma Brindis: LCA Houston International Mothers Day Soiree 2016 Honoree, is a philanthropist and a real estate developer and publisher of Iris fashion magazine. She is very active on the charity circuit, and attends and hosts fundraising events for a wide range of non-profits, with a particular focus on Latino causes. She has chaired the St. Jude Latin Gala, Un Brindis por St. Jude, for the past six years, raising over $300,000 annually. She is also friend and muse of Greek jewelry designer Konstantino, and was honored with a limited edition collection in her name.
Chris Pinkalla: Tall handsome Chris, popularly known as Jerri Moore’s son, is a shinning bright star. From our very own Sugar Land, Texas, Chris played the lead role in Land of Leopold, an indie film with Drake Shannon, produced by Jerri Moore and directed by Akis Konstantakopoulos. Chris has already moved on to working with Tom Ford, don’t be surprised if you see the talented Pinkalla on the Oscar red carpet.
Dr. Monira Kundi: she is a woman of substance dedicated to many woman based charities. Dr. Kundi is a busy colorectal general surgeon in a private practice in Houston, Texas.
Monira grew up in the metropolitan city of Karachi, Pakistan and currently serves as the Chair of International Medical Graduates Council at the Texas Medical Association, a delegate of the Harris County Medical Society. She continues to serve on many councils and committees at the TMA and HCMS.
Ralph B. Burch: The Deputy General Counsel, International E&P and Corporate Security, ConocoPhillips made headlines in September of 2016 when he chaired the opening night Symphony Gala with the presence of the living legend Sir Ben Kingsley.
Since he joined the Symphony Board in 2011, he has been part of a group of business and community leaders that has provided the resources and oversight that has allowed the organization’s budget to grow from $26 million to $34 million.
Asha Dhume: continues to rock Houston’s Indo American Charity scene. With high Indian values and culture Asha is spotted supporting many of her fellow Indian American friends.
She wholeheartedly supports her friends and the community and she is currently Vice President Pratham Houston, a non profit organization that works for literacy for children in India.
An ardent Bollywood fan, Mrs. Dhume has not only attended many Bollywood shows but recently brought Indian fashion designer icon Manish Malhotra for the Pratham 2016 Gala.
Donatella Benckenstein: another much deserved 2016 International Mothers Day Honoree, Donatella grew up with an affinity for India and many other countries.
Born in the Netherlands to diplomats she moved to Houston with her husband Fred, and quickly became involved with volunteer organizations including the Houston Grand Opera, Asia Society Texas, Texas French Alliance for the Arts, Huffington Center on Aging, and the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation.
Kilian Hennessy: an heir to the 250 year old Hennessy legacy, Kilian carries on the family tradition of artistic expression through the senses. Kilian Hennessy himself was the award presenter for the LCA Houston International Mothers Day Soiree 2016 at Saks Fifth Avenue Galleria.
Kilian studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, and before graduating wrote a thesis paper on the semantics of odors. Today Kilian has his own line of exotic and evocative fragrances, based on a mix of biochemistry and romanticism.