September 30, 2023

National Diversity Council, Former US Attorney General Eric Holder to Honor HCC’s E. Ashley Smith and Y. Nicole Montgomery

HOUSTONThe National Diversity Council will host a Top 50 General Counsel dinner featuring former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for Legal Diversity Week. Houston Community College (HCC) General Counsel E. Ashley Smith and Deputy General Counsel Y. Nicole Montgomery were recognized in Houston at the Marriott Marquis.

E. Ashley Smith graduated from Lamar High School and the University of Texas at Austin Undergraduate and Law Schools. He has also received a Masters of Law from the University of Houston and Master of Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas.

Edgar Ashley Smith

In 1981, Smith began his 14-year political career when he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, where he chaired numerous committees on higher education, financial institutions, insurance budget & oversight, governmental organizations and science & technology.

Smith accepted the next challenge in 2014 returning to the education field to assist Dr. Cesar Maldonado, Chancellor of Houston Community College—where Smith works today as General Counsel.

“It is a privilege and honor to serve as General Counsel to Houston Community College” said Smith. “Our office serves in one of the most diverse cities in the United States, and this recognition is a tribute to the great work our college and community do together.”

Nicole Montgomery is the Deputy General Counsel with Houston Community College. Montgomery is the former General Counsel of YES Prep Public Schools, where she managed all legal aspects of the high performing open enrollment charter school district. Prior to joining the YES Prep team, Montgomery was Senior Counsel of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas (METRO).

“When I look over my career, I am incredibly grateful for the many people who opened doors that provided opportunities for me,” said Montgomery. “These individuals valued the out-of-the-box thinking, innovation, and creative problem solving that is a byproduct of diverse cultural perspectives and skill-sets. I’m excited to work for Houston Community College, which appreciates the importance of a diverse workforce and student population, while impacting local communities and Houston area businesses.”

Montgomery earned her law degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law on the campus of Texas Southern University, her Master in Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Business from Hendrix College, Arkansas.

The 2019 Top 50 General Counsel Award is based on the following criteria.

Must be a General Counsel, Chief Legal Officer, Vice President or Associate General Counsel
Demonstrates achievements across the full spectrum of in-house responsibility
Performs above and beyond the usual requirements of his or her professional capability
Shows commitment to diversity and community well-being
Displays high integrity and ethical behavior

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