Crystal graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Sam Houston State University and in 2015 with a Master of Business Administration from Texas Southern University. 

During her college career, she worked as a financial planner, financial analyst, and loan officer. After college, she mostly worked her career as a senior accountant, however, she has relocated multiple times within the gulf coast region to work at a few different fabrication and petrochemical plants as a cost analyst. 

In her free time, she enjoys traveling, working out, doing outdoor activities with her daughter Chandler and spending time with her family.

Maria Del Pilar Montes is a native Houstonian. She joins Harris County as the first Director for the Office of Boards and Commissions. She served as Director of Boards and Commissions for the City of Houston from July 2018 to September 2021. Under her tenure, she worked closely with Mayor Turner and  Council Member Abbie Kamin to create the Women’s Commission. Montes was part of the historical appointment of Cheryl Creuzot, the first African American woman to the Port of Houston Authority board. Montes also hosted the first public event for boards and commissions, with over 200  Houstonians in attendance.  

Montes is a KIPP alumna who graduated from Hollins University with a Bachelor of Arts in  Communication Studies and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston Downtown. Montes received the Rising Star Award from the Houston League of Women Voters in 2014  and is a current member of the American Leadership Forum, Class LIII. Montes serves on the board of the Houston Northeast CDC, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, and is a member of LULAC District 8 as well as Eastex-Jensen Super Neighborhood #46.  

In her free time, Montes likes to: ride her bicycle, go on hikes, spend time with her dog Destiny, and play with nephews Roggier, Rylee, and Esteban.  

Candauce is originally from Los Angeles, California where she worked as an accounting and payroll specialist for Chief Auto Parts (now Auto Zone) and The Los Angeles Urban League. Upon relocating to Houston, Texas 24 years ago, she became employed as payroll and general ledger specialist for Gulf Coast Community Services. She also worked as an Accountant for both BTI America & ADAC Healthcare. 

In 2003, she became the proud owner of ABC Professional Tax & Financial Services, L.L.C. ABC Professional Tax is a tax preparation and bookkeeping firm, where she performs tax preparation at local, state, and federal levels, while also providing assistance to small businesses including initiation, payroll, and financial reports. 

Candauce is a mother of two beautiful girls and in her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, movies, and serving in any capacity.

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Houston Northeast CDC

MEET THE BOARD

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Crystal Smith

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Maria Montes

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Candauce Neal