People to Watch 2022: The Movers and Shakers in Frisco's Community TodayJun 01, 2022 ● By Allie Spletter
Frisco is comprised of doers – individuals and innovators who selflessly give their time, talents, skils, education and expertise to assist residents and others as the city continues marching into its dynamic future. Frisco STYLE is pleased to recognize the extraordinary efforts of several people whose unwavering dedication to the community exemplifies the tremendous spirit that makes Frisco a special place to call home.
Sadaf Haq is founder of Be In Health Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at providing health equity to those in need of healthcare whether it be physical, dental, vision or mental health as well as medications. She has actively served in our community since moving to Frisco in 2015.
Haq and her husband, Dr. Adeel Haq, founded a medical practice in Frisco where they are raising three daughters. Sadaf Haq feels strongly that individuals are not in control of the cards they are dealt in their lives. “If we happen to be able and fortunate enough to help others, it is our responsibility as humans to do so,” she says. “Six years ago, when I started serving on the Social Services and Housing board for the city, I realized the needs that exist in our city. The needs have only increased. Many are accounted for, but I saw a gap when it comes to health equity and access to basic health needs.”
Haq credits her Muslim faith for helping her become the person she is today, and says that Islam taught her to be kind, charitable and responsible for others who are in need. “I’ve carried that with me my whole life thus far. I’ve focused my actions and my career around doing just that. I’d like to do my part in leaving the world somewhat better than when I found it.” She has big roles in numerous volunteer events throughout the year that bring her great pride. One of those is Frisco’s Day of Service. “We gather different nonprofits in the city and honor them by collecting donations for them. … This year, we were able to gather by hosting a breakfast for Frisco residents with speakers who honored the legacy of service by Martin Luther King Jr. It was a beautiful and uplifting morning that truly united our community through words and actions.”
Currently serving her second term as chair of the City of Frisco’s Social Services and Housing Board, Haq is a graduate of Leadership Frisco Class XXII. She also sits on the Leadership Frisco Advisory Council, was appointed by Mayor Jeff Cheney to the city's first Inclusion Committee, is a member of Frisco Women’s League, and serves on the Frisco Education Foundation Advisory Board. “I take my positions very seriously and regard every word written and spoken and every action taken to be impactful in the lives these decisions will be affecting,” she says. “I have three daughters and know that my actions will impact their future and the future of our city. I am hopeful that my nonprofit will be successful in delivering its mission in providing accessible healthcare to those in need.”
Frisco is known for its innovative, forward-thinking, proud citizens – many of whom directly contribute to the preservation and advancement of our city’s culture, ambiance and character. Nack Development President and Chief Executive Officer Donny Churchman is at the forefront of one of Frisco’s biggest renaissance projects. He is a driving force behind the revitalization of the Rail District, which offers a mix of restaurants, retail, entertainment and residential options including the Nack Theater, the Patios at the Rail, the Ford Building, and the forthcoming Tower at the Rail, the Ritchey Gin and The Terrace.
“Our community deserves a downtown we all can be proud of and that is representative of our great city,” Churchman says. “I’ll continue to work toward creating a vibrant, welcoming downtown for our residents, for my kids and their kids and so on.”
He hails from a succession of family members who also served their communities in various forms of civic work. “My grandpa was a planning commissioner in Pasadena, California. My grandmother served as mayor of Pasadena. … My mom was an economic developer for two different counties. … I grew up watching them dedicate their work to the communities they lived in. I see myself doing the same here in Frisco by pouring my time, money and efforts into Frisco’s downtown.”
Churchman takes pride in not only in making our community an amazing place to eat, shop and live, but also in serving others. “I’m most proud of the volunteer coaching I did for youth competitive baseball for seven years and helping those boys become young men and hopefully future contributors to their communities.” Meanwhile, he says, “From a business perspective, receiving the award from the Texas Downtown Association for (being the) Biggest Economic Game Changer in the state of Texas for our Patios project was a fantastic recognition of our work.”
Although others have attempted to breathe life into Frisco’s downtown area, Churchman feels his determination in making the area a point of pride as well as an attraction is his greatest contribution to the city and its residents thus far. “Many have tried and given up before they even put a shovel in the ground,” he says. “I was and am committed to revitalizing the Rail District.”
Once a small, sleepy railroad town that few people had ever heard of, Frisco is now a full-blown tourist destination. Marla Roe, executive director of Visit Frisco, has long been part of the organization’s mission to bring awareness to the city’s status as a premier destination.
Roe began Visit Frisco more than 18 years ago. It serves as the official destination marketing organization for the City of Frisco. The organization has grown with Frisco over the years as its worked to promote the city as an ideal location for corporate meetings, sporting events, conventions and trade shows as well as leisure travel. This work has had a positive impact on the city’s economy.
A resident of Frisco since 2004, Roe says, “It’s so great to be able to live in the city that you love and get to market and sell it every day.” While there are many incredible things happening in Frisco, she attributes the pride and motivation she feels for her work to her team. “They work so hard each day to bring economic impact into Frisco that directly benefits the city, our residents and our tourism partners. Tourism is about storytelling and inspiring travel and getting to do that on a daily basis is incredible.”
Like Frisco, Roe has also grown and developed throughout the years. She credits her mentors as well as her father for helping her become the person she is today. “I have had the fortune of having some great mentors over the years, who inspired me to do my best every single day, and to look ahead at where I wanted to be and taking those steps with a team to get there,” she says. “My father was a great role model for me – his integrity and passion to serve and his dedication to our family.”
Roe says her proudest accomplishments and roles involve her service through Visit Frisco. In 2009, the Frisco Convention & Visitors Bureau earned accreditation from the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program, which demonstrates compliance with more than 100 performance standards. Meanwhile, she earned her Certified Destination Management Executive accreditation in 2015 and also holds Institute for Organization Management accreditation through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Her greatest contribution to Frisco and its residents, she says, has been helping the city become a significant tourism destination. “Frisco being known beyond the region has helped the city financially and has helped our residents have lower taxes through the revenue that it generates. Our residents love Frisco, and it shows by how welcoming they are to our visitors.”
As Frisco has rapidly grown and developed, so have so many of the companies and corporations that are headquartered here. Barbara Fasola, chief executive officer of Careington International Corporation, has had a front-row seat as both the city and the company have grown and developed.
Fasola began her career at Careington International Corporation in 1988 as a sales representative and worked her way up the ranks to become CEO in January 2000. She currently serves in that capacity for Careington and its affiliate companies. She became a Frisco resident in 2001 when Careington moved its corporate headquarters from Dallas to Frisco (it was one of the first corporations to break ground here). “I’ve always believed that Frisco is a community that fosters business, innovation, inclusion and diversity, which has helped make it possible for us to not only expand our business model, but also attract and retain staff,” she says. "Careington started with only 40 employees and today we have nearly 500 employees.”
Finding daily motivation in those with whom she works, Fasola says she continually seeks to further both Careington’s mission as well as her own. “What motivates me each day are the people I get to work with, including Careington’s employees, our network of providers and the clients we serve,” she says. “My personal mission is to address the gaps and deficiencies in health and wellness benefits in America and adjust the company accordingly so that we can provide innovative products and services for companies and individuals who need our solutions.”
Outside of her corporate role, Fasola is most proud of the nonprofit organization she founded called Families of World War II Veterans, which helps preserve the legacies of those who served in the war while providing scholarships for deserving students. “We want to help students … throughout their college career. My goal was to find a way to teach future generations about the important lessons of the war while raising funds for college scholarships.” The organization awards scholarships to deserving students in Frisco and across the nation annually.
Additionally, Fasola was recently selected to be a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Collin County Capital Campaign Cabinet. She is also a supporter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and has served on the Board of the Frisco Economic Development Corporation since 2015 on the Government Relations Committee for the City of Frisco.
Allie Spletter is a freelance writer who can be found roaming the aisles of Target, getting lost in a good book, or watching Hamilton … again.