Passion, tenacity, love.
The Eight Million Stories Team
Co-Founder and Executive Director
A native New Yorker, Marvin Pierre began developing 8 Million Stories during his year as a TNTP Bridge Fellow. Before that, he served as the Assistant Principal at KIPP Polaris Academy for Boys in Houston, Texas. Prior to joining KIPP Polaris, he served as the Dean of Students at Excellence Boys Charter School in Brooklyn, NY. He was an Assistant Dean of Students at Summit Academy Charter School, and has also served as Director of Student Life at Achievement First Endeavor Middle School (Brooklyn, NY). Marvin also worked in the Investment Banking (Municipal Finance Group) at Goldman, Sachs & Co. Marvin holds a bachelor's in Economics from Trinity College (Hartford, CT) and a Masters in Education Administration and Supervision from the University of Houston. He is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and desires to pursue opportunities in community development and co-found a K-8 school for young boys of color in Houston, TX.
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Skyra Thomas is the Director of Operations and Support Services at 8 Million Stories. Her work at 8 Million Stories is focused on planning, coordinating, and supervising the day-to-day operations of the program. In her role, Skyra ensures that the program runs efficiently and is student centered, while driving the mission and vision of 8 Million Stories. Streamlining systems, improving processes, and analyzing the effectiveness of the program are the highlights of her work, but nothing compares to fostering strong and lasting relationships with the students.
Prior to 8 Million Stories, Skyra was the Dean of School Programming at Brownsville Ascend Middle School, where she led student social-emotional learning, college readiness, and developed the school’s first National Junior Honor Society chapter. Skyra earned a Bachelor of Social Work from Oakwood University (Huntsville, AL) and a Master of Social Work with a certificate in nonprofit management from Boston University.
Leadership Board of Directors
Dr. Toby Hamilton – Chairman
Toby R. Hamilton M.D. is a board-certified emergency physician, native West Texan, and Executive Director and founder of the non-profit Healthcare Innovators Professional Society in the Texas Medical Center. He is an experienced investor, executive, and consultant for early stage companies as well as larger private sector firms. He has a range of experience including years of work as a practicing physician, several private equity deals, and multiple successful JV relationships with some of the biggest healthcare systems across the U.S. including Baylor Scott & White, Tenet, Dignity, Memorial Hermann, Integris, The Hospitals of Providence, and Ascension to name a few. As a member of several charitable boards, he is known for his innovative thinking and commitment to working-class causes. Toby has donated millions of dollars of support for educational enrichment, healthcare, and advancement of lower-income communities.
Mr. Todd Coutie
Todd Coutee is currently the Chief Operating Officer at Luby’s, Inc. He has more than 30 years of hospitality and restaurant operations experience. He has led multiple teams at the Company as a SVP of Operations at Culinary Contract Services, Luby's Cafeteria and Fuddruckers since rejoining Luby's in 2006 as an Area Leader for the cafeteria segment. Previously he spent ten years in the hospitality and restaurant industry in various operational leadership positions, including as the Executive Director of Operations for Aramark's Educational Food Service Division. He began his career with Luby's Cafeteria in 1989 as an assistant manager and then spent ten years in leadership roles in operations and training.
Mr. Champ Warren
Champ Warren is a Managing Director, Private Wealth Advisor and senior partner of Smith Warren & Associates. Champ has twenty-nine years of experience, twenty-five with Merrill Lynch, focusing on wealth management, corporate finance and succession planning. He has been recognized by The Financial Times, Forbes and Barron’s as one of America’s top wealth management advisors. In 2017 he was recognized for his community service by the Chairman of Bank of America as a Global Diversity and Inclusion Award winner, one of the banks highest honors. Prior to joining the Private Bank, he co-managed the firm’s Business Finance Group in Houston. Prior to joining Merrill Lynch, Champ worked as a banker in the Middle Market Lending Group of First City Bank (now JP Morgan Chase). He graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Finance. Champ is married and has two sons.
Mr. Mushahid (Mush) Khan
Mush is the CEO of APS Plastics. He understands that our customers need a supplier that is reliable, trustworthy, produces quality parts, proactively communicates, and sincerely cares for them. He enjoys helping the team grow and improve so that APS can help its customers do their jobs well. His positive attitude, strategic outlook, energy, and genuine care for engaging his team are motivating – empowering people to be their very best. Leading this passionate APS family has taught Mush to ask good questions, be curious, and assume there is always a way to solve a problem. Mush is a seasoned business strategist focused on helping companies accelerate growth and improve performance through strategic planning, financial analysis, process improvement, staff training and development, innovation, and the implementation of technology.
Mr. Warren Broadnex
Warren Broadnax is a serial entrepreneur passionate about creating opportunity. He served four years in the U.S. Navy as a Sonar Technician, and later served as a firefighter when he returned stateside. During that time, he became a successful entrepreneur with his business She’s Happy Hair (six thriving stores throughout the U.S.), Happy Me Tee LLC (HMT), and GGB Trucking LLC. He works with multiple nonprofit organizations to motivate inner-city youth to become responsible young people by providing the highest quality of mentoring, education, and social services to youth and their families.
Mr. Jeff McKay
Jeff’s work experience includes corporate identity development, print collateral design, packaging design, advertising design, and interactive multimedia interface design. His work has received national and international recognition and has appeared in competitions sponsored by Communication Arts Magazine, Print Magazine, Studio Magazine, Graphis, the Houston Advertising Federation, and the Art Directors Club competitions in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and Dallas.
Ms. Vanessa Ramirez
Vanessa Ramirez serves as the Chief Operating Officer for SER-Jobs for Progress, where she supports the development, implementation, and delivery of program goals to fulfill the mission of SER, and the objectives of each of SER’s adult and youth programs. Prior to this role, she wore many hats within KIPP Houston Public School’s KIPP Through College department, most recently serving as the Interim Director of the Houston Scholar Program. In this role, she provided an extra layer of support to highly motivated students from KIPP and YES schools from 8th grade through 12th grade to help them make the transition through high school and college. She is also the Founder of Eight Million Stories, Inc., a nonprofit organization committed to providing communities of disconnected youth with an effective alternative to incarceration. In this role, she works with system-involved youth to identify their academic and socio-emotional needs and develop them into self-sustaining members of society who will transform our world.
Larry is a Strategic Business Leader, who has pioneered integrated talent management approaches within organizations. Has consistently achieved the highest levels of internal service delivery and successfully shaped high performing cultures at both Fortune 500 and rapid growth organizations. Brings servant leadership approach and the business acumen to lead various operational and administrative functions. Develops executable strategies to attract and retain high-potential-talent and drives a performance focus that motivates individuals and teams to achieve success.