Catholics make short list for Austin Under 40 awards
By Michele Chan Santos
The “Austin Under 40 Awards” is an event honoring exemplary professionals in the Austin area in a variety of disciplines. It’s considered an honor to be a finalist, and even more to win a category. The awards are in their 18th year.
This year, the “Austin Under 40” finalists included two prominent young Catholics. Rudolph Metayer, special counsel for the Health and Human Services Commission, was a finalist in the government and public affairs category; and Ashley Alaniz-Moyer, executive director of the Hispanic Scholarship Consortium, was a finalist in the youth and education category.
Alison Tate, the diocesan director of Youth, Young Adults and Campus Ministry, has worked with both of these finalists and was thrilled to see them highlighted as young professionals making a difference in Austin.
“Austin Under 40 is a showcase of young professionals who are making a difference in Austin. It is considered an honor even to be nominated, so it is great to see Ashley and Rudy be recognized for their contributions to the community,” she said.
Rudy is the son of Haitian immigrants and the first generation in his family to graduate from college, as well as law school. He attended Catholic school and credits his parents, Hugues and Jeanine, with teaching him “responsibility to the community, working to make sure a place is better than when you came to it. It’s important to improve your life and the lives around you –– it’s a guiding principal for whatever I do.” He grew up a parishioner of St. John the Apostle Parish in North Richland Hills in the Diocese of Fort Worth. He earned his law degree at the University of Texas.
He is the immediate past president of the Austin Black Lawyers Association and was recently appointed to the Board of Directors of the State Bar of Texas. For many years, he has mentored young men and women, which has led him to help create a new community policing program to bridge the gap between law enforcement and these individuals.
Rudy, his wife Letisha, and daughters Celeste, Arielyn and Brooklyn, belong to St. Elizabeth Parish in Pflugerville, where he participates in the “That Man Is You” program. He was part of the diocesan Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) and found it “amazing and transformative.” His Catholic faith “is the center of what I do. You have a responsibility to keep this place for your grandchildren, for your neighbors, friends and community. It’s vital for those of us in the faith to help shape the world around us.”
As the executive director of the Hispanic Scholarship Consortium, it’s Ashley’s job to help guide Hispanic college students who are the first in their families to attend college. The program provides leadership, scholarship and mentorship to students. For Ashley, who earned her MBA from Concordia University Texas in Austin, it’s her father, Edward Alaniz, who was her role model while she was a student.
“My dad got his MBA when I was 6 years old,” she said. “At the time, my mom, Janie, was pregnant with my sister. He worked full-time, went to school full-time, and was able to do this with one kid and another on the way. When I had a low moment, I would think, I can do it because he did.”
Like Rudy, Ashley grew up in the Diocese of Fort Worth. Her family attended St. Michael Parish in Bedford, and later she celebrated her confirmation at Good Shepherd Parish in Colleyville. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University.
Before working for the consortium, Ashley was the director of institutional advancement at San Juan Diego Catholic High School in Austin. Her Catholic faith is “important to me professionally, in the work that I do,” she said. “I’m focused on demographics that are not as well served in education –– my first job focused on adult (non-traditional) students, at San Juan Diego we focused on low-income students, and now my focus is on Hispanic students. It’s about serving others.” She and her husband, Billy Moyer (co-founder of the SOS Leadership Institute) belong to St. Theresa Parish in Austin and also frequently attend Mass at St. Edward’s University.
Photos courtesy Rudy Metayer and Ashley Alaniz-Moyer.