Board of Directors

President, Bob Fleming

Bob served as a member of the Compassionate Houston working group for strategic planning, during 2014-2015.  Bob has served in the nonprofit world in Houston for many years, formerly as Vice-President of the YMCA of Greater Houston and Vice-President for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston.  He holds an M.A. in social work, counseling and psychology and teaches in the Social Work Department at University of Houston.

Founder, Rev. Betty C. Adam

Inspired by Karen’s Armstrong’s Charter for Compassion, Betty, a native Houstonian, initiated in 2010 the vision that became Compassionate Houston.   Betty received a M.A. and PhD in philosophy from Rice University, was lecturer-in-residence at the Church of St. John the Divine, chaplain at MD Anderson Cancer hospital, and taught as adjunct assistant professor at the University of St. Thomas’ Center for Thomistic Studies. Following her ordination as Episcopal priest in 1992, she served as Canon Pastor and Canon Theologian at downtown Houston’s Christ Church Cathedral.  In 2014 she was certified as a teacher of Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) in Stanford University’s CCARE program and serves on the faculty for Houston’s Movement for Compassion.

Vice-President of Outreach, Pamela Lewis

Pam joined the Board in November 2015. She is also on the Board of Insight Meditation Houston(IMH), which she joined in January 2012. The Insight or Mindfulness practice of meditation inspired her to seek out and complete the first Cultivating Compassion Training class offered by CH in Fall 2014. She has since contributed her efforts to the Compassion Week and 9-11 Remembrance projects in 2015. Pam has a Ph.D. from the U.T. School of Public Health and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She worked many years as a rehabilitation consultant.

Vice-President of Programming, Stuart Nelson

Stuart served as a member of the Compassionate working group for strategic planning during 2014-2015.  Stuart serves as Vice-President of the Institute for Spirituality and Health in the Texas Medical Center, where he manages a team that organizes educational programs for healthcare professionals and the general public, engages in research on selected topics and in direct service geared toward fostering the spiritual life of our community.  Stuart holds an M.A. in religious studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Treasurer, Ted Isensee

Ted Isensee is a co-founder of the Isensee Foundation for Safe Police Response (  The foundation is a non-profit organization with a mission to improve responses by police to mental health crises. It was created in 2013 after his oldest son, Sean D. Isensee, lost his life in such a crises. The foundation works to increase awareness of the need to prevent such crises, and if they occur, to handle them as safely as possible for all concerned.  In his work career, Ted is a CPA specializing in cost savings consulting for businesses and other organizations.

Secretary, Rebecca Lancaster

Rebecca has served Compassionate Houston for the past three years, particularly through her coordination of two mental health forums held at Christ Church Cathedral during 2013- 2014.  Rebecca is a clinical psychologist, licensed in Indiana and Texas. She holds a PhD from Indiana University.  She currently works with residents in nursing facilities and with children, adolescents, and adults at her private practice, Clear Creek Psychology.  She also services on the faculty of Houston’s Movement for Compassion.


Board Members:


Alejandro Chaoul

In 2001 Alejandro received his PhD in religious studies from Rice University, with an emphasis in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism.  He is now assistant professor at UT Medical School within the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics at UT Health, and an adjunct assistant professor at MD Anderson in the Integrative Medicine Program, which is part of the Department of General Oncology.  Alejandro teaches Tibetan Yoga and Meditation and his community is the Ligmancha Texas Institute for Meditative and Healing Arts. He serves on the faculty of Houston’s Movement for Compassion.

Ali Kemal Civelek

Ali is a Founding Partner of Compassionate Houston.   He is a native of Turkey and the Imam of the Turquoise Center in Houston.  In 2008, Ali served as the President of The Texas Turkish American Chamber of Commerce.  Ali participated as a speaker at our first educational event at the Rothko Chapel and again at our Compassion Retreat, 2011.  He has initiated various dinners and dialog events to bring awareness to the concept of compassion at the Turquoise Center; Ali is active in prison ministry and in teaching Sufism.

Bob Buthorn

Bob Buthorn has been a serial organizer/leader of emergent enterprises since founding Texas Telephone Company. He grew TTC exponentially as CEO and President, introduced the first American made digital telephone system to the Texas market and participated in the development of voice mail technology. He has led ventures to build low income senior citizen housing and housing for low income women with children. He was a Founding Partner of Compassionate Houston and has served on the CH strategic planning working group.


Lynn Loughney

Lynn joined Compassionate Houston in early 2016 to support the first Compassion Week luncheon and is Chair of the Development Committee. Eight years ago Lynn left her executive role with a publicly traded consulting firm to start her our consulting company. She provides organizational psychology, executive coaching and leadership development services for corporate clients. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology and counseling.

Aly Valiani

Aly joined Compassion Week planning committee in 2015 and was instrumental in execution of the first Compassion Week rally and luncheon, both very successful events.  In 2016 Aly was voted onto the board of Compassionate Houston and hopes to work with the group to promote Compassion throughout Houston. Ten years ago Aly left the corporate world to found New Horizons Hospitality and have since developed 4 hotel properties bringing the total portfolio to 7 properties under management. Aly has a Bachelors of Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin with degrees in Finance and Management.