Barbara Harris Curtis – Founder and President
Barbara Harris Curtis is passionately committed to equipping and empowering people to experience victory in every area of their lives. This commitment and the belief that we are “blessed to be a blessing” are the impetus behind her mission to serve. Her diverse gifts and roles include minister, motivational speaker, life coach, entrepreneur, and author. She is a sought after speaker for women’s groups, corporate and non-profit organizations, television and radio talk shows, and general audiences throughout the country. In addition to speaking and writing, Barbara’s vast professional and ministry experience includes over 25 years in leadership development, team building, and public relations. She currently serves in full-time ministry at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. Her passion is to see people reach their full potential and live out God’s perfect will and plan for their lives.
Myrtle Taylor Williams – Vice President
Myrtle Taylor Williams serves as Vice President and Chairperson of the Program Committee for RARE Pearls. In her role as Program Committee Chairperson, she leads a dedicated team of volunteers in the planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of programs for RARE Pearls including curriculum development for the Empowerment Sessions. With a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia and a master’s degree in maternal and child health nursing from Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts, Myrtle feels working with teen girls to help them reach their full potential is a natural fit. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and also serves as a court appointed special advocate (CASA) volunteer who advocates for abused and neglected children in Fort Bend County, Texas. Myrtle is a retired healthcare executive with over forty years in the healthcare field.
Dianne Ross – Treasurer
Dianne Ross is a woman of compassion who has a desire and willingness to help others. She has witnessed how people’s lives can be positively changed simply by caring individuals sharing their time, talents, and resources. Professionally, Dianne has worked over twenty years in private and public sectors of the accounting and finance fields. As a long-term, Licensed Real Estate Agent, Dianne brings her passion for helping others realize their dreams into all aspects of her life. She recently served as Manager of a community based non-profit organization. Through RARE Pearls, she desires to contribute to the mentoring and training of young women who are well prepared for the challenges ahead, enthused about the possibilities, and dedicated to “paying it forward”. When Dianne is not working with RARE Pearls, you can find her volunteering at her church or one or more of her favorite community service organizations.
Angela Jones is a woman for whom the care and positive growth of children has been a priority and source of fulfilment. Whether the charge has been to participate or lead in youth-based activities at her church, supporting middle school girls through mentoring programs established by her sorority, or leading or supporting the safe care of pediatric patients as a nurse for over 30 years , her commitment to improving the life experiences of children is solid. With RARE Pearls, she serves as a member of the Program Committee and provides leadership for the Communications Committee. Angela has a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Arkansas and a masters in nursing from Louisiana State University. She is passionate about helping under-served young women to realize their gifts, their value, and their achievable paths to a bright future.
Janelle M. Jones
Janelle Jones serves as the Chair of Governance for RARE Pearls, Inc. Her non-profit experience also includes serving on the Board of Directors for the Texas Society of CPAs and the Houston Society of CPAs. Through these organizations, she speaks to high school and college students about accounting and law in an effort to inspire them to explore these career fields. Janelle graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a degree in Accounting, The George Washington University with a Master of Taxation, and Howard University School of Law. She currently works in the Corporate Tax Department of a fortune 200 company in the oilfield services sector in Houston, where she resides with her husband and two children.
Monika Harris is dedicated to helping young women reach their full potential. She is committed to the belief that we can be excellent in all areas of our lives, and has had a number of non-profit and board experiences. Monika currently attends Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. Professionally, Monika is the General Manager for Finance major projects at Houston ISD. Before serving our nation’s seventh largest school district, she practiced corporate law advising publicly and privately held businesses. She also spent over five years as a business management and information technology consultant, advising Fortune 500 clients in the energy and telecommunications sectors. Monika earned a BS in chemical engineering from Prairie View A&M University, a Master of Engineering in manufacturing from the University of Michigan and a JD from the University of Wisconsin.
Rachel Mercer-Smith serves as the Program Committee Chair of Rare Pearls, Inc, leading the development, implementation, and evaluation of the organization’s mentoring program, and is committed to the program’s Pearls. She is passionate about supporting the development of young women and believes all young women desire opportunities to thrive. Rachel began her career as a high school teacher and Teach for America Corps Member in New Mexico. Her commitment to public service was further developed as a legislative staffer in New Mexico. Rachel is presently a Project Director and Broad Resident in the Houston Independent School District. She holds a B.A. in political science and psychology from Rice University, a master’s in public administration from the University of New Mexico, and is currently working toward a master’s in educational leadership from the Broad Center for Urban Education.