Board of Directors

About Us

Texas Gulf Coast Figure Skating Club (TGCFSC), a 501(c) corporation, is headquartered at Sugar Land Ice & Sports Center in Sugar Land, Texas (suburb of Houston). The club’s mission is to encourage the instruction, practice, and advancement of its members in all types of figure skating; to cultivate camaraderie among all ice skaters; to educate and inform all persons, particularly the youth of the Texas Gulf Coast area, regarding figure skating in all its forms, with emphasis on its pleasures, healthful aspects, and value as an activity which contributes to developing fitness and character in youth; to promote the standards of proficiency in skating of the United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA); to participate and assist in the sponsorship of amateur competitions, exhibitions, and shows, and to assist and support club members in training for, traveling to, and participation in USFSA Regional, Sectional, and National Championships and other competitions sanctioned in accordance with USFSA rules.

PositionCurrent OfficerEmail
VP MembershipMichelle
Assistant Membership ChairShima Taba
VP TestingJanelle
Junior BoardMandy Benavides
SafeSport CommpliancePatrick
Club Ice ChairLauri
Coaches RepKitty Carruthers
Social Media
Fundraising ChairDani Herrera
Social Chair/Club IceLaurie Verhalen
USFS LiaisonJudi Owens
Competition ChairDavid Rogers
Skater Development Shima Taba
Dad’s Club PresidentTodd Heallen

Texas Gulf Coast Figure Skating Club

Board of Directors Positions and Volunteers/Nominees



President:  Kelly Otero

My name is Kelly Otero.  I have two daughters, both of whom skate and compete.  Lexi is 14 years old and competes at the Novice level.  Anna is 12 years old and competes at the Pre-Juvenile level.  They both began skating at age 4 at Sugar Land Ice and Sports.  We joined TGCFSC in 2012 and I joined the board in 2014 as the club ice chair.  This is my second year in the role of President.   My background is in Early Childhood Education.  I taught for many years in the school system in Atlanta and then taught preschool here in Sugar Land at St Laurence Catholic Church.  I am an active volunteer at my daughters’ schools, St Agnes Academy & Logos Prep.  I am also a board member and direct the Skate Therapy Program at SLIce.   I am currently employed as one of the managers at Sugar Land Ice.  My husband and I were both born in Chicago and both grew up in Atlanta, GA.  We were transferred to Houston 13 years ago and have resided in Sugar Land ever since. 

Vice President Testing:  Janelle Heallen

A skating parent for 4 years, I have volunteered as cheer team mom, booster club board member, elementary school class mom, and a girl scout troop leader.            Professionally, I have worked as a Land Analyst in Oil & Gas and as a Sr.      Executive Assistant for large institutions. My TGCFSC volunteer roles include:           competitions, test sessions, exhibitions, recruitment, photographer, bulletin           board, Club Ice, website and social media posts. From facilitating test session to           announcing skaters at exhibitions, name the role and I’ve probably done it!                   SLICE volunteer roles include: ice monitor, LTS check-in, Nutcracker (backstage            lead, room mom and concessions).

Why I volunteer:   I volunteer for any organization or activity my daughter is a      member of. I wish for the club to be successful for her benefit and for others.  The       only way to ensure this happens is to volunteer and HELP with any and     everything.

Vice President Membership: Michelle Virata

My name is Michelle Virata.  I joined the board in 2013.  My daughter is Jordan and she currently skates at the Senior level.  We have been members since 2011.  I manage hotels for a living and currently work as the head of membership for Texas Gulf Coast.

Assistant Membership Chair:  Shima Taba

            (Bio to follow)

Secretary:  Lisa Helwig

Hi!  My name is Lisa Helwig and I am the mother of two amazing kiddos!  Elliana has been skating for a little less than 2 years now and has already moved up within the ranks quickly. My son is in junior high and loves basketball.  My family and I moved here to Texas from Chicago last year and found an awesome home with Sugar Land Ice thus far!  Back in Chicago, I ran restaurants for over 10 years and moving down here I have been able to follow my passion and have my own health and wellness company and I am a yoga instructor:  not only at the ice rink but around the surrounding cities.  My passion is helping others achieve their goals and I look forward to getting to know everyone even more. I am taking the position of hospitality and will be working on providing food for test sessions and competitions.

Treasurer:  Melissa Poteet

I’m Melissa Poteet, mom to Hanna, age 8, who has been a TGCSC member for 2 years. I’m an Oncology Account Manager that loves to volunteer for my daughter’s school/extracurricular activities and have served as a school board member, PTO treasurer as well as co- chaired major fundraising events. When not at the rink, I enjoy watching my Shaun play softball, reading, traveling and wine/game nights with friends. 


Club Ice/Social Events Chair:  Lauri Verhalen

My name is Lauri Verhalen and I have one 9 year old daughter, Emma.  She has been skating for about a year and a half.  I work for a technology company managing their online websites for their public sector presence.  My husband, Michael, and I both grew up in Dallas.  I am so excited to be part of TGCFSC this upcoming year.

Fundraising Chair:  Dani Herrera

Hi!   I am Danielle (Dani) Herrera.  I have two daughters, Isa(14) and Francesca (12).  Isa started skating when she was 9 and is competing at the pre-preliminary level.  She volunteers with Skate Therapy and started assistant coaching Learn to Skate last year as well.  She has been a member of TGCFSC for three years.  We have lived in Sienna Plantation since 2005 and I have lived in Missouri City since 1991.  I am a graduate of Dulles High School.  (Go Vikes!)  My professional background is varied, but I have most recently been the operations manager for an auto repair facility, where I managed all of the accounting, payroll, human resources and marketing.  The shop was extremely busy, with nearly $2 million in annual sales.  I have also directed a swim school and gymnastics center, been an event planner, and recruited students for my alma mater.  As a volunteer, I served as PTO presiden t (2 years), PTO treasurer (2 years), solicited corporate and family sponsorships for the annual carnival, chaired the middle school directory, and currently am the publicity co-chair for the Baines Middle School PTO.  I have also coordinated VBS at my church (3 years) and am currently coordinating confirmation for the high school students of my parish.  I am excited to get involved with the club!

Social Media/Website:  Emily Rausa

I started skating lessons at Sugar Land Ice in 2003 at the age of 19 when I was looking for a new hobby to pursue. Skating has become my greatest joy and source of pride in my life. I first joined TGCFSC in 2005 when I started my USFS tests and have been a member ever since. I’ve also enjoyed supporting the club in the role as a coach and introducing skaters to the testing and competing world of the sport. I’m excited to help with the club’s social media presence

Hospitality:  Asela Guillen

            My name is Ásela Guillén, I am 44 years old and I am from Spain.

I moved to the US with my husband and my 2 kids 2 years ago and We joined the club as soon as we got here in February 2019.

I have a 12 year old daughter, she has been skating since she was five.

I am a Spanish teacher in FortBend Isd and I am very happy to be part of the club.

Competition Chair and Co-Vice President Testing: David Rogers

My name is David Rogers and I have been a board member with TGCFSC since 2010 as Club Ice Chair and became the Test Chair in 2012.  I have a daughter who is a sophmore at Purdue University (Sarah) that recreationally skates and a high school senior at Strake Jesuit son (Jonathan) that competitively skates and is a Nationally Ranked competitive Ice Dancer.  My family has been volunteering in the skating community since our children started skating in 2005 as we have volunteered for the skating rink, the skate club as well as Skate Therapy.   I graduated from University of Houston with a bachelors degree in MIS and have lived in the Houston area since 1989.

Safe Sport Representative:  Patrick Otero

My name is Pat Otero and I am the Safe Sport Compliance Chair for TGCFSC.  I was born in Chicago and lived in Atlanta for much of my life as well.  My wife and I transferred here to Houston thirteen years ago for my job.  I am currently the CFO for Loomis Armored in Houston, an armored car company.  My past role as the lead of Human Resources for the extremely large company makes me a good fit for handling any SafeSport issues that may arise within our club.  I have two daughters who skate for our club.  Anna is 12 years old and skates and is a competitive gymnast as well.  Lexi is 14 years old and skates at the novice level.  My wife, Kelly, is the president for the club.  We have been members since 2011.  I graduated in accounting from the University of Georgia and am an avid bulldog fan!

Coach’s Liaison:  Kitty Carruthers Conrad

My name is Kitty.  I have coached at Sugar Land Ice and Sports Center for the past twenty plus years.  I have helped build this rink into a highly successful place for countless skaters.  I have coached both National and International Medalists.  I am a four time US National Champion.  I skated to 5th place in the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid.  I am a 1982 World Medalist and in the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo I won a Silver Medal in pairs with my brother, Peter Carruthers.  I am a member of the US Figure Skating Hall of Fame.  I have been a member of Texas Gulf Coast Figure Skating Club as a parent of a skater and a coach.  I serve as the liaison between the club and the rest of the coaches.

Sanction’s Representative:  Jennifer Simon

I have been a member of Texas Gulf Coast Figure Skating Club since I started skating.  I started skating as an adult.  Throughout my time with TGCFSC I have served on the board in many roles – secretary, Board Member, and many rles with our competitions.  I started trial judging early in my skating and have judging appointments in Singles, Pairs, Synchronized Skating, Theater on Ice and Showcase as well as Technical Panel ppointments as a Coontroller (singles) and Data/Video (singles/pairs/dance).  I currently serve on the following US Figure Skating committees – Judges and Sanctions & Eligibility.  I currently serve the club as the Sanction’s Representative and assist with competitions and events.

Member At Large / USFS Liaison:  Judi Owens

(bio to follow)

Junior Board:  Mandy Benavides

(Bio to Follow)

Dad’s Club President:  Todd Heallen

A skating parent for 4 years, I have helped the TGCFSC Booster Club, Nutcracker on Ice,

skate test sessions (assembly, tear down and announcing) and competitions (many roles), in addition to Girl Scout volunteering. During the day, I am a scientist who has worked on research projects ranging from cancer to heart disease. My volunteer intentions are pretty straightforward-I like to go where I’m needed, contribute and be a part of something. The Dad’s Club motto “To provide support to our TGCFSC skaters and their moms” bears this sentiment. We get together every once and a while for drinks and talk about behind-the-scenes club activities. I have really enjoyed working with all of the dads and other TGCFSC volunteers and am looking forward to what’s in store moving forward. E-mail me at if you are a skate dad and would like to get involved!