Conference Keynote Speakers

Thursday's Keynote Speaker (Nov. 2)

LaTonya Summers

"We got Next Now: Counselors who Learn, Lead, Liberate"

Dr. LaTonya Summers is an award-winning assistant professor of clinical mental health counseling at Jacksonville University. There, she brings twenty-eight years of clinical mental health and addictions counseling experience, and conducts research on multicultural issues in counseling and supervision. She is the author of a textbook Multicultural Counseling: Responding with Cultural Humility, Empathy, and Advocacy, and a memoir Black Again: Losing & Reclaiming My Racial Identity. Summers founded the Black Mental Health Symposium, publishes Black Mental Health Today Magazine, and has given a TEDx Talk.  

In her keynote address, Dr. LaTonya Summers uses nearly thirty years of professional counseling experience to inform the audience that we counselors don't have next, we got now. Counselors will be inspired to use what they learn at the TCA conference to lead, and liberate others through their leadership. 

Friday's Keynote Speakers (Nov. 3)

Fire Side Chat speakers

Alvia Baldwin

Dr. Alvia Baldwin is the Director of Guidance and Counseling for Alief ISD, one of the most diverse and highly acclaimed districts in the state. She is a Nationally Certified Counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor who has served in education and counseling for over two decades. Dr. Baldwin is also a Certified School Counselor and a Board Approved LPC Supervisor. Dr Baldwin has supported mental health in many arenas including public schools, faith-based communities, private practice, and post –secondary institutions. Dr. Baldwin has a heart for all people and a sincere devotion to help others grow through experience and education always through the lens of empathy and equity. Dr. Baldwin has been married to her wonderful husband for over 20 years and they enjoy their three amazing children, three awesome grandchildren, and two energetic pups, Faith and Frosty!

Alba Serrano

Alba Serrano, a Licensed Professional Counselor – Associate, is the Director of Counseling and Wellness at The Parris Foundation, a non-profit organization that serves to provide advocacy to disenfranchised communities through mental health services, educational resources, and community outreach. Alba is passionate about continuing to break the stigma in mental health by increasing awareness. She uses her bilingual skills to work with Spanish-speaking communities. During her free time, she loves to volunteer at the Houston Humane Society. 

Bernadette Smith

Dr. Bernadette Smith, LPC-S, is a mental health professional with a career spanning over a decade. As the owner and lead therapist of Aspen Counseling and Wellness, her and her team support the mental health needs of Texans by supporting individuals, couples, and families in their journey towards holistic well-being.

A proud Houstonian, Dr. Smith holds a Doctorate of Education in Counselor Education and a Master of Education in Counseling from Texas Southern University. Additionally, her Bachelor's degree in English Linguistics from the University of Houston bolsters her rich academic background. 

Beyond her private practice, Dr. Smith's has served as an instructor at various institutions within the counselor education domain. Additionally, she served as the Director of the University Counseling Center at Texas Southern University, where she streamlined operations, collaborated with departments for student well-being, and championed innovative service delivery methods. Furthermore, in her leadership capacities with the Texas Counseling Association, Dr. Smith has been instrumental in bolstering its mission, aiding fellow counselors, and enriching the communities they serve.

With an unwavering commitment to mental health and well-being, Dr. Smith embodies the spirit of what it means to be licensed professional counselor. 

Wayne Young

As the Chief Executive Officer of one of the largest behavioral health organizations in the nation, Wayne Young is passionate about the planning and delivery of large-scale behavioral health and intellectual and developmental disabilities services to a population who rely upon safety net systems of care. Wayne previously served as the chair of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Behavioral Health Advisory Council and was recently appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas to the Texas Judicial Commission on Mental Health.  Wayne was honored to have received the Charley H. Shannon Advocate for Justice Award from NAMI Texas in 2019 as well as to have been named to Modern Healthcare’s list of Top 25 Innovators in 2019 and again in 2021.  In 2023, Wayne was recognized as one of Houston’s Most Admired CEO’s. While honored by individual recognitions, Wayne is most proud to have been a part of The Harris Center as it received the Excellence Award for Innovation from the National Council on Behavioral Health and was named as a Best Place to Work by The Houston Business Journal who also honored them with a Diversity in Business Award in 2023.