2018 IGNITE Trailblazer Award Recipients

It is our pleasure to announce the 2018 IGNITE Trailblazer Award Recipients that will be honored on Saturday, February 17th, at the 6th Annual Texas Young Women’s Political Leadership Conference.

These honorees were selected for their commitment and contributions to supporting young women’s political leadership ambitions.

Award Recipients

nicole-collier.jpgRepresentative Nicole Collier, Texas House of Representatives, District 95

Follow Representative Collier on Twitter @nicolecollier95

Nicole Collier is a respected attorney, small business owner, grandmother and mother of three who has spent her life working to obtain the American Dream. Nicole was raised in a family with vision and a dedication to service. Her grandfather, Walter B. Johnson, Sr., a World War II veterans, started his career as a hostler for a local railroad company, and later went on to work for the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing as a janitor. After years of hard work and determination, Walter rose to become one of the first African-American plate printers at the Bureau, landing him on the front cover of Jet Magazine. 

Nicole’s father, Rolland Johnson, Sr., started working at the Bureau following a tour in the U.S. Navy. While attending Howard University in Washington, D. C., Rolland worked nights as an apprentice plate printer, and eventually retired lead foreman. Both Rolland and his father Walter were proud members of the plate printer’s union. Meanwhile, Nicole’s mother, Shirley Johnson, dedicated her life to serving children in many youth ministries and caring not only for her children and grandchildren but for many local neighborhood children. 

Nicole herself was born with the same vision and determination as her predecessors. As a single mother before finishing high school, both her faith and her family bolstered her to continue her education all the way through law school graduation. Nicole graduated from the University of Houston and married her soulmate Gary “Big C” Collier shortly thereafter. Gary and Nicole established their home in Fort Worth, Texas, and for the last sixteen years, Nicole has been a tireless legal advocate for individuals and families in the Texas court systems and has now taken her passion to the state capitol.

Nicole is the first African-American woman to represent House District 95 in Tarrant County. 
In the 84th Texas Legislature, Representative Collier served as Vice-Chair of the General Investigating and Ethics Committee and was a member of the Select Committee of Federal Environmental Regulation, Public Health, Business and Industry Committees. The Representative will be working on legislation this session to eliminate credit checks on certain employment applications, limit the collection of so-called “zombie debt”, expand paid sick leave, and ensure our children have clean drinking water at school.


Jennifer Staubach Gates, Dallas City Councilmember, District 13

Jennifer Staubach Gates is currently serving her third term as Dallas City Councilmember representing District 13. Councilmember Gates was elected to her first term as City Council Member in 2013, and reelected for a second term in 2015 and for a third term in 2017.

In her role as Councilmember, Jennifer serves as the Chair of the Government Performance and Financial Management Committee and sits on the Public Safety as well as the Arts and Culture and Libraries. She is also the Co-Chair of the Visit Dallas Board of Directors. 

Jennifer also serves as the chair for the Domestic Violence Taskforce, and holds regular meetings that help to bridge communication between the Dallas Police Department, the District Attorney’s office, judges, and community partners. This collaboration aims to strengthen the forces that are fighting to end domestic violence in Dallas. 

A lifelong Dallasite, Jennifer attended Ursuline Academy, then went on to get her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio, and she is still licensed as a Registered Nurse.

Jennifer has been married to John Gates for more than 30 years. Their youngest daughter, Jordan, graduated with her Master Degree in social work from New York University in 2016, and their older daughter, Jessica, and her husband, Will, live in District 13. The Gates family attends St. Rita Catholic Church in District 13, where Jennifer also serves as a Eucharistic Minister. In her spare time Jennifer enjoys running, reading and traveling, and spending time with her grandsons Gambill and Gates. 


Chris E. Wallace, President of the Texas Association of Business

Chris E. Wallace, IOM, CCE is President of the Texas Association of Business, the chamber of commerce of Texas. In this role, he oversees TAB’s operations including membership, marketing, strategy, administration as well as board and chamber relations. Prior to joining the TAB team, Wallace was the President/CEO of the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber, the third largest chamber in North Texas and the first national Five-Star Accredited Chamber in Texas. He also managed the Irving Economic Development Partnership. Wallace serves as a Trustee of the Institute for Organization Management as well as a Regent of Northeast Institute at Villanova University. He is among only 535 executives in the nation who have earned their CCE (Certified Chamber Executive) designation. Wallace is a past chairman of the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives Association and also serves on the national board of the Business & Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC). 

During his leadership at the Irving-Las Colinas Chamber, Irving was successful in attracting corporations such as Envoy, Celanese, CHRISTUS, Neovia (Caterpillar) Logistics Services, Blackberry, Fluor, TXU Energy, Consolidated Electrical Distributors and Health Management Systems to establish their headquarters in Irving. Wallace’s leadership led to the development of an international trade center in partnership with the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, which is instrumental in promoting Irving as an international community that is home to more than 9,000 businesses, including the global headquarters of six Fortune 500 companies and the presence of 48 others.

Wallace is a 1992 graduate of Texas Tech University and serves as a member of the Texas Tech Chancellor's Council as well as the Professional Advisory Board of the College of Media and Communication where he was named an Outstanding Alumnus in 2008.

He was a finalist for a 2010 White House Fellowship.

Specialties: Wallace has experience in economic development marketing, strategic planning, and public relations including management in both the public and private sectors. He has played an active role in several local, regional and state political campaigns. Wallace is a strong advocate of civic engagement through his involvement with numerous social service, arts and municipal-related boards/commissions.


Judge Tina Yoo Clinton, Presiding Judge of Criminal Court 8, Dallas

Judge Tina Yoo Clinton is the presiding Judge of Criminal Court 8, elected in November 2010. She is a former Municipal Judge in  Hutchins, from 2007 to 2010. She is a former Criminal Defense Attorney from  2006- to 2010. Former Associate Municipal Judge, City of Dallas, 2006-2007. Former Attorney Advisor for Small Business Administration, 2006. Former Prosecutor, Dallas County D.A.’s Office, 1995-2006. Law Degree from SMU School of Law, 1995.