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United Way of Metropolitan Dallas
& Dallas Citizen’s Council
Thursday, December 1
The Arts District Mansion

State Sen. Nathan Johnson

Elected with bipartisan support in 2018, Sen. Nathan Johnson represents almost 1 million Dallas County residents in the growing and rapidly diversifying Senate District 16. He is a leading voice in the Texas Senate in the areas of healthcare, the electrical grid, governmental transparency and criminal justice. Johnson’s elective background fits the complexity of our rapidly changing state.

Johnson holds degrees in physics from the University of Arizona and law from the University of Texas at Austin. He practices law in Dallas in the Trial Litigation and Dispute Resolution section of the law firm Holland & Knight. He has also composed music for the classical concert stage, as well as musical scores for the hit television series Dragon Ball Z.

Johnson and his wife, Anne, a Dallas appellate attorney, have three children in college and high school. As a husband and parent, Sen. Johnson is committed to cultivating a sustainable future for Texas, where ideas, talent and hard work foster economic growth and shared opportunity for generations to come.

State Rep. Matt Shaheen

State Rep. Matt Shaheen serves the citizens of District 66 in the Texas House of Representatives, representing Collin County. He currently sits on the Human Services and State Affairs House Committees, the Texas Commission on Virtual Education and the Joint Oversight Committee on Investment Information Technology Improvement and Modernization Projects. Previously, Shaheen served five years on the Collin County Commissioners Court representing the citizens of Precinct 1. As a commissioner, he represented Collin County on the Conference of Urban Counties Policy Committee, the Texas Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee and the North Texas Criminal Justice Committee.

Before entering politics, Shaheen was appointed by then Gov. Rick Perry to the State Board of Social Workers, where he chaired the board’s Professional Development Committee and served on the Ethics Committee. A technology executive with 30 years of experience, the representative specializes in corporate digital transformations. He and his wife, Robyn, have been married for 28 years, and they have three children together. They attend Prestonwood Baptist Church where Shaheen serves as a deacon and a greeter and has volunteered for years at the church’s crisis pregnancy center.

Shaheen is a native of Virginia, where he received his bachelor’s degree from Randolph-Macon College and won all-conference honors in football. He also holds a master’s degree from SMU.

State Rep. Carl Sherman, Sr.

Carl O. Sherman has been identified as a transformational leader in faith, government and business. A man of strong religious faith, Sherman serves as senior pastor in the Church of Christ. He was elected in November 2018 to serve as a member of the Texas House of Representatives. In the 87th Texas Legislature, Rep. Sherman requested and was once again appointed to serve on the House Committees for Appropriations and Corrections by Speaker Dade Phelan.

His work in the 86th session includes being appointed to serve on The Texas Commission on Judicial Selection (TCJS), which was created in 2019 by the 86th Texas Legislature to study and review the method by which statutory county court judges—including probate court judges, district judges and appellate justices and judges—are selected for office in Texas. Additionally, he was selected as a Texas Legislative Black Caucus (TLBC) Freshman of the Year. He proudly represents District 109 in Southern Dallas County, which includes the citizens of Cedar Hill, Dallas, DeSoto, Ferris, Glenn Heights, Grand Prairie, Hutchins, Lancaster, Ovilla, Seagoville and Wilmer.

Sherman has a long track record of advocating for his community, and his service in the House is an extension of that for District 109 and all Texans. His legislative priorities are in the areas of education, including higher education, economic development and helping families prosper. This also includes social justice reform, legislation benefitting senior citizens, as well as, advocating for quality of life for all Texans. Sherman is a trailblazer in both local politics and public administration. He was elected as the first African American mayor of DeSoto, Texas, in 2010 and was re-elected in 2013. Under his leadership, the city launched an aggressive focus on generating economic development centered on attracting quality jobs to DeSoto. Sherman’s smart growth philosophy included securing funds to ensure that access to quality, affordable housing and safe neighborhoods for every citizen remains at the forefront of economic development decisions. Under his watch, DeSoto became one of the first cities in Texas to provide body cameras for all police officers. The city experienced a 40% increase in sales tax revenue, and unemployment went from 9.7% to 5%. Sherman’s career experience also included serving as city manager in both the cities of Ferris and Hutchins, Texas.

Sherman’s dedication and commitment to public service reach beyond the citizens of the Best Southwest area and include the North Texas region. In 2016, he was appointed to the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) Board of Directors by the Dallas County Commissioners Court to develop and maintain high-quality roadways in North Texas. In addition, he has been an executive member of the Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition Board and the River of Trade Corridor Coalition.

A successful entrepreneur and businessman, Sherman previously served as chair and CEO of, an electronic payment processing company, and earned the AT&T Alex Award for a patent application. He strategically navigated the company onto Wall Street, where it traded on both the U.S. NASDAQ and the Frankfurt exchange in Europe. His studies of business management at Northwood University made a significant impact on his successful career. Sherman was recognized by the Dallas Urban League as one of the Most Promising Leaders of the 21st Century and was recognized by TLBC as an Outstanding Texan in 2017.

Sherman has served in the community as the first African American in many capacities, including as the president of the DeSoto Rotary Club, board chairman of the DeSoto Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the business and government affairs committee and board chairman of the Best Southwest Chamber of Commerce, which is comprised of the mayors for the four partner cities—Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville and Lancaster—and the associate cities of Balch Springs, Ferris, Glenn Heights, Hutchins, Midlothian, Ovilla, Red Oak and Wilmer.

Sherman lives in DeSoto, where he and his wife of more than 34 years, Michelle, raised their three sons and two daughters. His greatest joy comes from spending quality time with his family which also includes seven adorable grandchildren.

Sonal Shah


Sonal Shah is the interim executive vice president at United Way Worldwide, managing global operations, and is the incoming CEO of the Texas Tribune. She leads the U.S. and International Network teams to work with local United Ways to help deliver the greatest impact for UWW’s communities. She is also the incoming CEO at the Texas Tribune, starting in January.

Shah is a global leader on social impact and innovation. She has started and led social impact efforts in academia, government, and the private and philanthropy sectors for more than 25 years. Most recently she founded and led The Asian American Foundation, raising over $1 billion, the largest philanthropic effort serving the Asian American community. She started and led Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation for more than seven years, training students on social impact and leading research on different models of social innovation. In the Obama Administration, Ms. Shah served as deputy assistant to the president and director of the Office of Social Innovation at the White House, leading the efforts across government to introduce social innovation, including financial innovation, impact metrics and the role of technology. In the private sector, she led the Global Initiatives at Google and led Goldman Sachs’ environmental strategy.

Shah also has significant experience working internationally as an economist at the Department of Treasury, setting up the central bank in Bosnia, working for post-conflict reconstruction in Kosovo and implementing poverty reduction strategies in Africa. She also served as the chief of operations for the Center for Global Development.

Shah serves on the board of the UBS Optimus Foundation and Consumer Reports and serves as an adviser to Pinterest. She is a fellow at Georgetown University.