The Federal Reserve Board of Governors has reappointed Thomas J. Falk as chair and Claudia Aguirre as deputy chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas board of directors for 2024.
Falk joined the Dallas Fed board in 2019 and served as chair in 2022 and 2023. He is retired chairman and CEO of Irving-based Kimberly-Clark Corp. He serves on the board of Lockheed Martin, the University of Wisconsin chancellor’s advisory board and as a national governor of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Last year, Falk and his wife Karen received the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ J. Erik Jonsson Award, the organization’s highest honor for volunteer service. Falk received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Wisconsin and an MS degree in management from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Aguirre joined the Dallas Fed board in 2019 and served as deputy chair in 2022 and 2023. She is president and CEO of Houston-based BakerRipley, a community development nonprofit organization with 50 locations across the Texas region. Aguirre served 30 years in the government, education and nonprofit sectors, directing large-scale, community-engagement initiatives. She is known for her expertise in child development, community engagement and immigration policy. She served under two Houston mayors and led the design and development of public charter schools, including one of the first alternative schools for at-risk students. Aguirre has been featured in articles published by the Center for American Progress, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Urban Institute and Houston Chronicle. She was named as one of the 2020 Most Admired CEOs by the Houston Business Journal. Aguirre serves on the boards of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and Greater Houston Partnership. She earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Houston and a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Edward’s University. Aguirre also holds an education administrator executive certification from Harvard University.
In addition, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors announced additional appointments and reappointments to the Dallas Fed board of directors and its branch boards. Each Federal Reserve Bank has a nine-member board of directors. Three members represent commercial banks, three represent the public and three are appointed by the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C. The branch boards consist of seven members—four appointed by the Dallas Fed and three appointed by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, D.C. All of the Dallas Fed board members and branch board members provide insight into the economy in support of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy function.
Gary Kelly, executive chairman of the board at Southwest Airlines Co., has been appointed to the Dallas Fed board and will serve the remaining portion of a three-year term ending December 31, 2024. Kelly joined Southwest Airlines in 1986 as controller, eventually progressing to president and CEO, and later executive chairman in 2022. He serves on the Lincoln National Corp. board, Southwestern Medical Foundation board of trustees and Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum board. He is past chairman of Airlines for America. In 2022, Kelly was appointed to the U.S. Department of Commerce advisory committee on supply chain competitiveness and is a current member of The Business Council. Kelly received the 2020 Philanthropic Leadership Award from the Ireland Funds and the 2017 Wings Club Distinguished Achievement Award. He is a 2017 Junior Achievement Dallas Business Hall of Fame laureate inductee and a 2016 inductee into the Texas Business Hall of Fame. In 2016, he received the Tony Jannus Award, which recognizes extraordinary accomplishments in the field of commercial aviation. Kelly was twice named D CEO magazine’s CEO of the Year and has been named one of the best CEOs in America by Institutional Investor magazine three times. In 2010, Kelly received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Texas–Austin and in 2013 was inducted into the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame. He received the 2013 McLane Leadership in Business Award from Texas A&M University. Kelly earned a BBA degree in accounting from the University of Texas–Austin. He is a former CPA.
Leila H. Melendez, CEO of Workforce Solutions Borderplex, has been appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ El Paso branch board of directors. She will serve a three-year term that started on January 1, 2024. Workforce Solutions Borderplex is a nonprofit organization that provides employment service assistance to job seekers and employers in West Texas. Melendez has served on the United Way of El Paso County board and University of Texas–El Paso College of Education advisory board. She also serves on the Firemen and Policemen’s Pension Fund board and executive forum. She is a member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council. Melendez has won numerous awards, including a 2023 Gold Nugget Award by the University of Texas–El Paso. She also was named as a breakthrough leader by the El Paso Chamber of Commerce and previously received the Star on the Mountain Award from former El Paso Mayor John Cook. Melendez earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Phoenix and an MBA degree from the University of Texas–El Paso.
Ruth J. Simmons, former president of Prairie View A&M University, has been reappointed to the Dallas Fed’s Houston branch board. She will serve a three-year term ending December 31, 2026. She joined the Houston branch board in 2020. Simmons currently is a distinguished presidential fellow at Rice University and advisor to Harvard University on relationships with historically black colleges and universities. In addition to her former role as president of Prairie View A&M University, she also served as president of Brown University and Smith College. In addition, Simmons served in various faculty and administrative roles at the University of Southern California, Princeton University and Spelman College. She is a member of numerous nonprofit organization boards, including the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture and The Holdsworth Center. Simmons is the recipient of many honors, including a Fulbright Fellowship to France, 2001 President’s Award from the United Negro College Fund, 2002 Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, 2004 Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal, Foreign Policy Association Medal, Ellis Island Medal of Honor and Centennial Medal from Harvard University. She is a fellow of the American Philosophical Society and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is also an honorary fellow at Cambridge University’s Selwyn College and a chevalier (knight) of the French Legion of Honor. Simmons has received more than 40 honorary degrees from universities around the world, including Oxford University, Ewha Women’s University in South Korea and The American College in Greece. She earned a BA degree in French from Dillard University and MA and Ph.D. degrees in romance languages and literature from Harvard University.
Veronica Muzquiz Edwards, CEO of San Antonio-based InGenesis Inc., has been reappointed to the Dallas Fed’s San Antonio branch board. She will serve a three-year term ending December 31, 2026. Edwards joined the San Antonio branch board in 2021. She served as chair in 2023. InGenesis Inc. is one of the nation’s largest comprehensive health and workforce solutions firms. Prior to founding InGenesis in 1998, Edwards was regional director of marketing for AT&T. She is president of the Healthcare Standards Institute and chairs the international standards organization/technical committee 304 for healthcare organization management and collaborates with national standards bodies on global initiatives. Since 2018, Fortune magazine has listed Edwards as one of the 50 Most Powerful Latinas in corporate America. She earned a BA degree in communications from Texas State University and was named a distinguished alumna. She earned MBA and DBA degrees from the University of the Incarnate Word, where she also was named a distinguished alumna.
Additional appointments and reappointments to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas board of directors and its branch boards were reported by Bankers Digest in November, including Pascal Desroches, Robert A. Hulsey, Brad Barron and Tyson Tuttle.