From revitalizing their neighborhood park to inspiring students to dream big, the 2022 Comcast Agents of Change truly make Greater Houston a better place to call home. We’re proud to announce the following five humanitarians as this year’s honorees – Lucy Bremond, Sidney Evans, Maria Hernandez, Rani Puranik and Craig Taylor.
Comcast Houston created the inaugural awards to honor community members who drive transformative change through volunteerism, mentorship, advocacy and civic engagement in either Digital Equity, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion or Environmental Sustainability.
“We are honored to celebrate the hard work and determination of these servant-leaders whose successful efforts will move us closer to an inclusive community and level the digital playing field for everyone,” Comcast Senior Regional Vice President Ralph Martinez said. “We are inspired by the accomplishments and passion of each of these honorees and are privileged to shine a light on all they do to make a difference to so many in our community.”
Meet Maria Hernandez
A Mexican immigrant and domestic violence survivor, Maria Hernandez has overcome adversities that have driven her to advocate for safe spaces in underserved communities.
“When I come to the community and I do things, I don’t think about getting nominated or getting an award, I’m just doing it because it fills up my heart that I want to do it,” Maria said.
Hernandez founded Madres del Parque (“Mothers of the Park”) to bring about true transformation and local environmental sustainability in the most densely populated and diverse area of Houston that notably lacks green space.
“We heard from some of the moms that they were scared to come to the Burnett Bayland Park,” she added.
Maria took it to the next level, advocating for years, involving elected officials and government agencies to take notice in the need for better, safer community parks. Because of her advocacy, Harris County Commissioners Court initiated a contract for a master plan design for Burnett Bayland Park, located in Southwest Houston’s Gulfton community.
“Realizing that I’m an Agent of Change, those are big words. But when I enter the park and see a mom playing with her child, feeling safe, feeling happy, that’s the most rewarding thing.”
Meet Lucy Bremond
Lucy Bremond grew up knowing the importance and responsibility of helping others in her community. She volunteers with several Houston area organizations — one of which is The Blue Triangle, a community organization whose mission is to provide a safe environment for children, youth, and adults to meet, learn and recreate.
“As a Texas historical landmark, The Blue Triangle paints a picture and tells a story about preservation,” Bremond said.
When the Blue Triangle building was damaged by Hurricane Harvey, Bremond was instrumental in making sure it was renovated and preserved for future generations.
“I’m hopeful that the next generation of leaders can come in and perpetuate what the Blue Triangle was founded for,” she added.
Meet Sidney Evans
Sidney Evans’ mantra is “do more for others than you do for yourself”. He’s known for his optimism, ability to forge strong partnerships, and roll up his sleeves to work side by side with his peers in addressing the most critical issues for youth in marginalized communities.
“My father always believed you should do more for others than you do for yourself. Make this a better place before you leave,” Evans said.
Drawing inspiration from his role model, his father, Evans has become an ally, an advocate and champion for diversity, equity and inclusion at work and in the community — most recently as an executive board member at the YMCA of Greater Houston.
“When the opportunity came to be a part of the YMCA and make it even better and more welcoming to kids like I was at one point, it was something I had to do,” he added. “Hopefully when I’m done with my YMCA involvement, it will be a better place and a better Houston community for all of us.”
Under his board leadership, the Y’s first computer lab was established and eventually became the foundation for its path in bridging the digital divide.
Meet Rani Puranik
Rani Puranik lives by the philosophy of ‘earn to return’. As an Indian immigrant, she had few resources and career opportunities when she came to Houston, yet she found hope and motivation by giving back to others in her community. Puranik earned her way to become the CEO of World Oilfield Machine and is now giving back to her community through The Energy Project – a global service leadership internship for students at the Energy Institute High School (EIHS) in Houston’s Third Ward.
“To be an agent of change, that’s actually very humbling,” Puranik said. “I’m just bridging what someone is today and what they can be tomorrow. And in the process if they change for the better and help other people change, well then, I’ll take it.”
The program focuses on inclusion in the energy field and allows students to problem-solve today’s local energy challenges through innovation.
Meet Craig Taylor
As a minority and veteran, Craig Taylor credits his success to having many mentors in his life who inspired him to build seven self-funded companies.
“I’m not here by doing things all on my own, lots of people have served as mentor to me,” Taylor said.
Taylor co-founded Atlas Scholars – a development program that mentors, motivates and exposes a diverse group of high school students to performance-based, professional environments in the energy and finance industries.
“Atlas Scholars was born out of the lack of experience that I had,” he added. “More than anything, what I try to impart into the scholars is that you do not have a ceiling.”
The program also provides internships, grants, scholarships and provides students with a lifelong network of mentors so they can go on to become leaders in their communities and careers.
“When you see how you have made a positive change in someone’s life, that’s what it’s all about,” Taylor said.
Each honoree received $5,000 from Comcast to donate to their non-profit of choice. Lucy Bremond selected The Blue Triangle. Sidney Evans selected the Texas State Aquarium. Maria Hernandez selected Madres Del Parque. Rani Puranik selected The Energy Project. Craig Taylor selected Atlas Scholars.