Christi Khalaf is ready to embark on a new career journey — becoming executive director of the Tyler-Business Education Council.
The council, formed last year, is under the umbrella of the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce and the Tyler Economic Development Council. She said it is made up of community, business and education leaders — chief executive officers of local business and the presidents of colleges here — a smattering of people from all over the business and education realm.
“The goal is to make Tyler a technology and business destination for companies and to educate our work force that is here in Tyler to better fulfill the jobs that we have available,” she said.
Mrs. Khalaf married Fred Khalaf, whom she met in graduate school. The couple started a family, so they decided to move back to Tyler. They bought R.L. Davis Fine Jewelry in 2007, owned and operated the business together and relocated it and changed its name to Cole & Co. in 2009. They sold the business in 2011 to pursue other interests, she said.
Mrs. Khalaf went to work for Brookshire Grocery Co. more than two years ago, handling the marketing for FRESH by Brookshire’s, while her husband went to work for Merrill Lynch. The couple has two daughters, Caroline, 7, and Catelin, 6.
Mrs. Khalaf is a member of the Junior League of Tyler and the Pi Beta Phi Alumni Association. She has served on committees for the Texas Rose Festival, Tyler Cattle’ Baron’s Gala and the Tyler Museum of Art’s Little Black Dress function. Her hobbies are cooking and eating, she said.
“Christi worked tirelessly to develop our initial marketing plans, coordinate events and develop community partnerships as we focused on opening FRESH by Brookshire’s,” Rick Rayford, president/CEO of Brookshire Grocery Co., said in a prepared statement. “As I currently serve as president of the Business-Education Council, I am excited to see her expand upon her role and know she will continue to develop relationships that will improve educational programs and grow business in Tyler.”
Mrs. Khalaf will work under the direction of Tom Mullins, president/CEO of the Tyler Chamber. She will be responsible for implementing the work program for the council, conducting the daily business and administration, facilitating committees and focus groups and growing the capacity of the council to affect its mission.
The mission of the council is to assist with the community’s move to an innovation, knowledge-based economy and to compete for national and global business investments.
“The council comes up with what they want to see happen in the community to further the mission,” Mrs. Khalaf said. “And then my job is to work with the appropriate parties to actually make that happen.”
The council will meet every other month to develop the initiatives she will be responsible for seeing through.
The Tyler Economic Development Council, the East Texas Workforce Commission and the city of Tyler are represented in the Business-Education Council, as well as the Tyler Independent School District, Tyler Junior College, UT Tyler, UT Ingenuity Center, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler and Texas College. Over time, other schools will be invited to become members.
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