Founder & CEO
Marqita is a native New Yorker who has an extensive background in entertainment, fashion, cosmetology, and the Performing Arts. She studied at the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. Now a transplant in Austin, Marqita has a passion and desire to impact culture through all forms of creative expression. Marqita is a singer/songwriter, actress, writer, and speaker.
She has a desire to see young girls and women of all ages become all they are created to be. GEMS United is the fulfillment of a vision placed in her heart that she hopes to see expanded locally and globally. Currently Marqita has a blog and is writing her first book, as well as speaking locally.
Contact Marqita at email@example.com
Community Outreach & Brand Ambassador
I believe we each have a story to tell about what it means to be human and that every story is as unique and impressive as the one that came before. At mid-life, my story is still developing and serving on the board of The GEMS United is proving to be a big chapter for me. A chapter comprised of genuine, real life characters of integrity, which all share a beautiful vision. Already in the first year of formation, we are having wonderful adventures together and I am so excited to see what we can achieve in the years to come.
In volunteering with The GEMS I am encouraged to share the wisdom and courage I’ve learned from people who consistently inspire me to speak my truth and bring everything that I am into everything that I do. I also strive to bring forth my life experience as an American woman, a daughter, wife and mother who’s spent 20 years working in arts and education and another 20 years in emerging software technology to help the GEMS achieve our mission.
Social Media Director & Recruitment
After joining the beauty industry in 2000, Brooke is more than a stylist; she is an artist. From a young age, Brooke has had flair for hair and has dedicated the past years to perfecting her craft. While working independently Brooke continued to invest in her education, training in well known programs such as Vidal Samson Academy, Great Lengths Hair extensions and Keratin Complex. Brooke has styles hair for Austin Fashion Week, Austin Monthly Magazine, Bliss Bridal Magazine, fashion shows and charity events and many weddings. Brooke lives to pass along the confidence she has in who she is to her clients by enhancing their look. Brooke enjoys using her styling expertise to help others, volunteering her time to complete makeovers for people in need at many local nonprofits.
Secretary & Treasurer
Drew loves producing entertainment and challenging himself in all creative aspects of the process, including – but not limited to – producing, directing, & cinematography. Graduating with a BFA from the UNC School of the Arts, Andrew studied both producing and cinematography under the mentor-ship of Thomas Ackerman, ASC (Jumanji, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy). Prior to Sparksight, he managed two production companies and self-produced a rock band with international distribution.
Showing no signs of slowing down, Andrew joined the Sparksight team in early 2011 where he leads the commercial side of the creative agency.
Celina has been enjoying living Deep in the heart of Texas since 2010. Born and raised in the border town of Laredo, TX, she was able to thrive through adversity and receive a scholarship to Brown University. Celina credits her involvement in a girls program through her challenging childhood in helping her realize her potential despite setbacks. She became one of the youngest volunteers in the program at age 14 and led a class of 20 3rd-5th graders for 4 years. Her passion was filled through continued involvement during her time at Brown with mentorship programs for at risk youth. When she returned to Texas, she was eager to continue volunteering with children and youth. Nothing has made as big of an impact in her life as being able to learn from the children she encounters. Celina strongly believes in the power of a listening ear and tender heart to be able to impact the development of girls specifically in today's society.
Being a GEM transcends my identity across all aspects of my identity as a legal assistant, as a mom to a 11 year old boy, as a wife, as an active citizen in my community and I am so happy to be plugged into and get to serve with a network that has such great vision to make sure every woman walks in the belief that they can be empowered and motivated and strong always.
Celina is a hobby geologist and when the weather is nice you can find her on a nature trail splashing in the water with her family or soaking up the sun at the baseball or track field.
Tiffany Gillis, MA
Social Media & Recruitment/Mental Health Advocacy
Tiffany is originally from Missouri City, Tx and moved to Austin four years ago to start her journey of graduate school. She recently completed her MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at South University in September 2016. Previously she interned at Phoenix House-Round Rock where she worked with youth and adult clients who battle with substance abuse and trauma; for which she helped clients discover healthy coping skills while on the recovery track to sobriety and healing. She is currently in the process of obtaining her LPC-I license, and recently joined the team of Austin State Hospital as part of the Geriatric and Client Advocacy team. The reason she is excited to be part of GEMS United is because there is such a need in the community to advocate for young girls to pursue their dreams, goals, aspirations, and to motivate them to know the beauty that is inside of them!