Alumna Genora K. Boykins ’85 took the helm as chair of the South Texas College of Law Houston board of directors at the Dec. 8 board meeting, becoming the first woman and first African American to win election to this key leadership position at Houston’s oldest law school.
“I am excited to take on the leadership role as chair of the STCL Houston board as we continue to excel in providing an exceptional legal education to our diverse student body,” Boykins said. “I look forwarding to working with the board, Dean Michael Barry, faculty, staff, alumni and students as we provide an innovative and transformative legal education. South Texas produces an inclusive community of future lawyers and leaders that values, celebrates and supports the diversity of our global community.”
At the board meeting, J. Ken Johnson ’86, board chair from 2014-2021, passed the mace to Boykins in a traditional signaling of the transfer of leadership.
“We have been truly blessed by Ken’s wise leadership for the past seven years, and we are delighted to have another esteemed South Texas graduate become chair of our collaborative, exceptional board,” said Michael F. Barry, president and dean of the law school. “Genora is a true trailblazer and an inspiration for South Texas’ diverse and forward-thinking community, and I look forward to working closely with her as we near our centennial in 2023.”
Boykins served as regional assistant general counsel of NRG Energy, Inc. and Reliant Energy for 31 years. In 2018, Boykins retired from a full-time position with NRG, but she continues in a part-time role supporting Reliant Energy’s community relations and sponsorship marketing team.
She is committed to diversity, which is an important component of STCL Houston’s mission. During her career at Reliant Energy and its predecessor companies, she served on the Reliant Energy Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) Advisory Council and the Diversity Council, and worked to ensure continuous improvement in the areas of contracting opportunities for MWBEs, and in the hiring, advancement, and retention of a diverse workforce.
A member of the Texas Bar Association and the Houston Bar Association, Boykins has devoted her time and talents to Texas Bar Association activities, with a specific emphasis on opportunities for minorities and improving diversity within the bar. She previously served as co-chair of the Texas Minority Counsel Program.
“The STCL Houston board was blessed by strong, capable leadership before my tenure, and I know Genora will continue that legacy of outstanding leadership,” said Johnson, immediate past chair of the STCL Houston board of directors, and Of Counsel at Martin | Walton LLP.
Boykins helped found the faith-based Pyramid Community Development Corporation and has served as president and board chair since its inception in 1992. She is a board member of the Downtown Management District, a community board member of the board of trustees of the Women’s Hospital of Texas, an advisory board member of Dress for Success Houston, and the 2005 recipient of the “Women on the Move” award from the Texas Executive Women organization. From 2004 to 2012, Boykins also was a board member of the Houston Area Urban League, where she served as vice chair. From 2009 to 2016, Boykins was on the board of the Houston Area Women’s Center, serving on the executive committee and vice chair of the nominating committee.
In 2010, Boykins and her business partner Sharon Owens launched La Maison in Midtown, an upscale bed-and-breakfast offering travelers a unique “escape in the city.” The B&B was hailed by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of “11 amazing black-owned hotels around the world.”
A native of Prairie View, Texas, and a magna cum laude graduate of Spelman College with a bachelor’s degree in English, Boykins earned a J.D. from STCL Houston in 1985.
Boykins and her husband, Dwight — a former member of the Houston City Council, District D — are active in the city’s political and social communities and donate their time and resources to their shared passion: helping others reach their full potential in life.