Speaker Joe Straus IIISpeaker Straus

Former Texas House Speaker Joe Straus has spent his career at the intersection of public policy, business, and politics. He served as speaker of the 150-member Texas House from 2009 to 2019, making him the longest-serving Republican speaker in state history, and earned wide acclaim for his thoughtful approach to the state’s challenges.

Under Straus's leadership, the Texas House focused on improving public schools and workforce readiness, funding the state’s water plan, directing billions of additional dollars to transportation improvements, increasing transparency in state spending and balancing the biennial Texas budget amid both prosperous and challenging economic conditions. Straus also prioritized mental health care and the protection of abused and neglected children. He consistently promoted pro-business policies and fought against discriminatory legislation that would have harmed the Texas economy and marginalized many citizens. The Dallas Morning News named him its 2017 Texan of the Year.

In June 2019, Straus launched the Texas Forever Forward political action committee to promote principled leadership and support candidates, emerging leaders, organizations and causes that focus on Texas’s future.

A national leader within the Republican Party, Straus is the past chair of the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, where he forged strong relationships with legislative leaders across the country. He continues to engage with the State Legislative Leaders Foundation, serves as a member of the Honorary Board of Directors at the SMU John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, and serves on the Texas Biomedical Research Institute Board of Trustees. He is also co-chairman of Early Matters San Antonio, an organization working to rally the local business and civic community around the importance of high-quality early childhood education for all children.

Straus is a principal with La Cima Partners, LLC, a strategic consulting business. He is also a partner in Bennett & Straus, LLC, a San Antonio-based insurance, investments and executive benefits firm. He is a fifth-generation Texan and a San Antonio native and a graduate of Vanderbilt University. He and his wife, Julie, live in San Antonio and have two adult daughters.


Daron K. Roberts

Former NFL Coach and Author

Daron K. Roberts is a former NFL coach and author of, “Call an Audible” (Greenleaf 2017). “Call an Audible” was named a #1 New Release and Best Seller by Amazon and Sports Illustrated selected the book as one of its “Best Sports Business Books of 2017.”

Currently, Roberts serves as founding director of the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation (CSLi) at the University of Texas. He created CSLi in the fall of 2014. The Center is the first university-based institute dedicated to developing leadership and character curricula for high school, collegiate and professional athletes. Through the Center, Roberts teaches a course – A Gameplan for Winning at Life– to incoming freshmen student-athletes. In January of 2018, the Center received the commitment and financial support of NBA All-Star, Kevin Durant.

Roberts holds a faculty appointment in the Liberal Arts Honors Program. He has received the Silver Spurs Centennial Teaching Award, Creative Engagement Award and was named a distinguished faculty member by the School of Undergraduate Studies in 2015. His research revolves around issues of rejection, failure management and leadership.

After graduating from Harvard Law School (2007), Roberts served coaching stints with the Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions, West Virginia Mountaineers and Cleveland Browns. He holds a B.A. in Plan II Honors and Government from the University of Texas (2001) and an M.P.P. from Harvard’s Kennedy School (2004).

In 2010, Daron launched a nonprofit football camp – 4th and 1, Inc. 4th and 1 provides free SAT prep, life skills development and football training to at-risk youth in Michigan, Texas and Florida. The camp has served nearly 500 student-athletes since 2010.

The Presidential Leadership Foundation – a joint venture between Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush – tabbed Roberts as a Presidential Leadership Scholar for 2015. He was one of 60 members in the inaugural class. Roberts has been featured in ESPN the Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek and Sports Illustrated. His articles have appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Fortune, Houston Chronicle, and Time.

Roberts is the host of an industry-leading podcast – A Tribe Called Yes(available on iTunes and Stitcher).