Rania Mankarious, Chief Executive Officer
CEO of Crime Stoppers of Houston
Rania Mankarious made Houston her home by rolling up her sleeves and getting her hands dirty. Citing a personal mission to serve families and engage the public to better society, Mankarious made the extraordinary move of taking an internship at Crime Stoppers of Houston in 2006 – even though she was an attorney with a master’s degree. Mankarious knew she had to be a part of Crime Stoppers, an organization unlike any other. Over the years, she worked vigorously and by 2008 became the organization’s Director of Marketing. By March 2013, she was chosen to lead the organization as Executive Director and by 2018 – after a long list of many accomplishments, she was named the organization’s first CEO.
Through her years at the helm and working side-by-side her incredible team, Mankarious’ legacy has been well established. Described by some as “Crime Stoppers on steroids”, her footprint elevated the organization to new heights. She’s created the first ever Crime Stoppers Safe School Institute – a full suite, direct service program that became the hub of all things school safety related. The program was so successful, it got the attention of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who asked Mankarious’ team to train all Crime Stoppers across the State of Texas on school safety. In the fall 2019, she launched Crime Stoppers’ first webinar series with local, statewide, and national experts. Other firsts for Mankarious include launching Parents Against Crime, the critically important Fallen Hero Program, the Victim Services and Advocacy Program and expanding the Safe Community Program.
Mankarious has beat many odds but is most proud to have built the first-ever Crime Stoppers headquarters in the world. “The Dave Ward Building, Crime Stoppers of Houston” now sits in the heart of midtown Houston. The nearly 30,000 square foot facility officially opened January 2017 as the first public safety, crime prevention facility of its kind – bringing together civilians and law enforcement as well as students and community members from all over Houston, the State of Texas, and the country.
Despite the odds, Mankarious and her team raised the funds to get the building completed. Quite remarkably, between 2013 and 2020, Mankarious and her team have raised nearly $21 million for public safety related work in Harris County and within Texas. Through it all, Mankarious always weaved the organization’s brand and its work into the fabric of the community and created a trusted and true hub for community members, media, law enforcement, school administrators, mental health providers, community partners and more.
Always working, Mankarious has written over 160 articles in her weekly column “Sunday Mornings with Rania” for The Buzz Magazines. Often acknowledged for being amongst the “top read” columns for the online magazine yearly, Mankarious’ features safety tips along with her personal perspective on current news topics. In addition to researching and writing, she’s also argued for school safety in front of the Texas House and Senate and changed laws in the State of Texas pertaining to camp safety. Creative in her pursuit to keep conversations going, Mankarious and her team also created The Balanced Voice Podcast which has featured a number of local and nationally recognized guests including Greg Kelley, Shepard Smith, Matthew McConaughey, Dave Ward, Dominique Sachse and so many others. Noticed nationally for her contributions, Mankarious is an Expert for the SocialMama App, a guest writer for The Bark Blog, a national adviser for Safe and Sound Schools and has been seen and heard on local and national radio and television, including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and across so many other platforms as a legal, family, crime, mental health, and parenting expert.
The Boston native now Houston resident, Mankarious received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, Theology and Pre-Medicine from Boston College, a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Gordon Conwell and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence completed at the University of Houston Law Center.
In 2020, Mankarious was named CW39’s Finalist for their Remarkable Women search in honor of Women’s History Month. In 2019, she was recognized as a Visionary Leader in the fight against human trafficking. In 2017, the U.S. flag was flown over the U.S. Capitol in recognition of her work; Mankarious was named among the city’s Most Stylish People by the Houston Chronicle and named Houston Business Journal’s Outstanding Nonprofit Business Leader and a Houston Hero by the International Chamber of Houston. That same year, “The Crime Stoppers Dave Ward building” was a finalist for the Houston Business Journal’s Landmark Award. In 2016, Mankarious was among the Top 30 Most Influential Women of Houston and Houston Moms’ Blog “Houston Mom of the Year”; she was an honoree for Houston Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business; and named a 2016 Houston Hero by the Houston Chronicle. Mankarious received the Prime Living Reader’s Choice Award for Best Dressed Texan and in 2015, was a Lights Camera Action’s Mother’s Day Honoree. In 2013, she was named one of Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women.
The ambitious wife and mother of three has lifted a Houston institution to new heights and maintains that her love for this community, her family and all families is what continually keeps her going.
Nichole Christoph, Deputy Director
Citing a passion for helping other and a dedication to serving the community, Nichole proudly joined the Crime Stoppers of Houston Executive Staff. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends in her spare time.
Cabell Wood, Senior Director of Development and Programming
Cabell Wood joined Crime Stoppers of Houston in September 2012 as Director of Development and is now the organization’s Senior Director of Development and Programming. She oversees major gifts, annual special events, corporate and foundation relations and annual giving programs. Cabell has eight years of experience in fundraising, development and special events for local non-profit organizations. Before coming to Crime Stoppers, she was Manager of Corporate Relations and Special Events for Sheltering Arms Senior Services, a division of Neighborhood Centers Inc. Cabell brings with her an expertise in fundraising and development and looks forward to furthering the mission to solve and prevent crime in the greater Houston area. A native Houstonian, Cabell graduated from The Kinkaid School prior to entering Vanderbilt University, where she graduated cum laude in 2005.
Mimi Zarenchansky, Strategic Operations Director
As of March 2013, Mimi Zarenchansky has been working with the great team at Crime Stoppers and learning so much about the nonprofit world. After graduating from Stephens College with a B.S. in Communications: Emphasis in Media Production, Mimi worked in the cable television industry for 2 years. She was able to produce her own cable real estate show while also working in the billing and traffic side of the advertising department of the cable company. She was then given the opportunity to learn the international import/export business from her father. Upon moving back to Texas, Mimi spent 10.5 years learning and living the import/export business and representing companies such as Maytag, Bissell, Dirt Devil, and more to the country of Argentina. They were then afforded the opportunity to represent a sugar substitute to the United States from Argentina and enjoyed that journey for many years. After that Mimi was ready for a new start and began working at Limb Design as their Traffic and Production Manager/ Director of Operations and was fortunate to have the opportunity to learn so much about the graphic design industry from the three principals over a 5.5 year period.
Stuart Hudson, Bookkeeper
In addition to Crime Stoppers, Stuart provides bookkeeping services to the I Am Waters Foundation, Yale Club of Houston, Health Outreach to the Middle East, Worldwide Institute of Medical Education, and the Arabic Church of Houston. She has also held numerous volunteer leadership positions such as Secretary of the Board of Bellaire Christian Academy, Treasurer of the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, President of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Charitable Foundation, Treasurer of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Alumnae Association and founding board member of Veritas Christian Academy.
Stuart holds a BS degree from Louisiana State University and is a certified Quick Books user with over 20 years of experience in bookkeeping for non-profit organizations as well as small businesses.
Paige Hollek, Special Events Director / Development Manager
Paige Hollek joined Crime Stoppers of Houston in September 2016 and is our Special Events Director and Development Manager. Paige oversees the Safe School and Safe Community programs to ensure execution and growth, communicating with both programs to plan and seek out advancement. Her role also includes gathering and hosting the programs statistics and final reports. Paige is also responsible for planning and overseeing our program and fundraising events. She manages the logistics and preparation of all events.
Prior to Crime Stoppers, Paige had several years of experience in non-profit coordinating and intern experience with the media. She graduated with a BS in Communications and Journalism from Texas A&M University.
Andy Kahan, Director of Victim Services and Advocacy
Prior to Crime Stoppers, Andy served as the Victim Advocate for the Mayor’s Office and Houston Police Department for 26 years before retiring and joining Crime-Stoppers of Houston to resume his career as a Victim Advocate. Andy Kahan received his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice in 1983 from the University of Houston. He worked as both a Parole and Probation Officer before becoming the first victim advocate in the country to work in a Mayor’s Office. His responsibilities included working with local crime victim’s rights organizations to facilitate the pooling of resources and the exchange of information, accompanying and representing victims before the Parole Board, putting crime victims in touch with local crime victims support and advocacy groups, and court accompaniment.
Sydney Zuiker, Safe Community Program Manager
Sydney Zuiker joined Crime Stoppers of Houston in February 2018 as Community Education Specialist. She is now the organization’s Manager of the Safe Community Program. Sydney uses prevention and awareness programs to educate students ages kindergarten through high school, school administration staff, and community members throughout the Greater Houston Area. Originally from Austin, Sydney graduated from Hyde Park Baptist High School before attending The University of Texas at Austin where she earned a Bachelor of Social Work. She served on staff with Young Life during her college years, and was an AmeriCorps Education Award recipient. Before moving to Houston and joining Crime Stoppers, Sydney worked as the assistant to the Executive Director of the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. Sydney grew up with a passion for people that developed through her summers spent volunteering in Uganda over the past decade. She hopes to use her past experiences, as well as the resources Crime Stoppers provides to educate students on how they can stay safe, and thrive in Houston.
Jenna Fondren, Safe School Institute Manager
Jenna Fondren joined Crime Stoppers of Houston in June 2017 as Community Education Specialist and is now the Institute’s Manager. She oversees the Safe School Institute’s day to day operations, ensuring that students, parents, and school staff receive the most current and impactful crime prevention presentations and safety tips. In these presentations Jenna and the Safe School Team emphasize personal safety, anti-victimization, and how to safely and anonymously report crime and potential dangers on school campuses and in the community.
A native Houstonian, Jenna graduated from The Kinkaid School before attending The University of Texas at Austin where she earned a BS in Sociology and minored in Business Administration. She served on the executive committee of her sorority including position of President her senior year. Jenna also headed a council of students called The Darrell K. Royal Research Fund Legacy Council, whose goal was to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s Disease. She hopes to utilize the tools Crime Stoppers provides to reach and educate as many kids as possible.
Kaitlynn Frey, Education Specialist
Kaitlynn Frey joined Crime Stoppers of Houston in October of 2019 an Education Specialist. Kaitlynn uses prevention and awareness programs to educate students ages kindergarten through high school, school administration staff, and community members throughout the Greater Houston Area. Originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana, the military life moved her all over before she settled down in Louisiana where she would graduate high school, leaving as a Corvias Scholarship recipient and later, college. She graduated from University of Louisiana Monroe where she received a BS in Elementary Education and a MS in Forensic Psychology. She served on SEE AmeriCorps and Carmel Hill Foundation where these non-profit organizations focus on synergy, children and education. Before moving to Houston and joining Crime Stoppers, Kaitlynn was an elementary school teacher for Lufkin ISD and Houston ISD. She hopes to use her past experiences, as well as the resources Crime Stoppers provides to educate students on how they can stay safe, and thrive in Houston.
Nayeli Moyeda, Education Specialist
Nayeli Moyeda joined Crime Stoppers of Houston in March of 2020 as an Education Specialist. Nayeli uses prevention and awareness programs to educate students ages kindergarten through high school, school administration staff, and community members throughout the Greater Houston Area.
She was born in Mexico and raised in Houston, TX where she graduated from the Chinquapin Preparatory School, a first generation student, before attending the University of Houston-Downtown where she obtained her MS in Criminal Justice and BS in Sociology. She is a member of Kappa Delta Chi Sorority, Inc as well as Alpha Phi Sigma, The Criminal Justice Honor Society.
Tania Cruz, Marketing and Communications Director
Tania Cruz joined Crime Stoppers of Houston in April 2015. As Marketing and Communications Director, she brings over 15 years of non-profit development, community relations and marketing experience. She is responsible for managing, developing and growing all aspects of marketing and communications that directly impact the Crime Stoppers’ mission, outreach and fundraising efforts.
Before joining Crime Stoppers, Tania was PR and Events Manager for Susan G. Komen Houston. She attended the University of Houston where she earned a BS in Health Education and Sociology Minor. In her spare time, she loves attending her son’s baseball and soccer games, volunteering at charity events, hosting family gatherings and tailgating at football games with family, friends, and colleagues.
Elizabeth McChesney, Marketing Coordinator
Elizabeth McChesney joined Crime Stoppers of Houston in March of 2020 as Marketing Coordinator. She supports and enhances our current marketing efforts through strategy, photography and social media management. Additionally, see oversees the distribution of marketing materials to our statewide counterparts.
A native Houstonian, Elizabeth graduated from St. Agnes Academy before attending the University of Texas at Austin where she studied Studio Art and Art Education. While at university, she served as a Young Life leader in Northwest Austin where she dedicated her time to mentoring teenage girls. Elizabeth interned at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin for two years under the Community and Family Programs Director. While at the Blanton, she realized her passion for advancing community engagement through education and art appreciation. After graduation, she joined Thompson + Hanson in Houston where she had the opportunity to refine her skills in marketing, event planning and operations.
Elizabeth hopes that her passion for art and design will advance Crime Stopper’s efforts to educate, inform and engage our community.