HISTORY OF ORGANIZATION
Solel International was co-founded in 2015 as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization by Danny
Asberry El, William Johnson El, Eva Elias, Orlando Redwood, Hortencia Smith and Abraham
Zorrilla in Houston, TX. Based on the Hebrew translation of Solel as ‘Trailblazers’, our
organization has done work throughout the world that continues to build bridges of arts and
culture programming. Initially created to simply produce Arts Festivals, the level of interest and
support from our patrons was so great that we added much more to what we offer our
communities after our first initial year.
Founder and President Danny Asberry El
Grew up in Houston as a Moorish-American with Egyptian and Natchitoches Native American parents and later traveled the world with the US
Navy. As a graduate of the Military's Defense Information School (DINFOS) and American
InterContinental University, he served seven years in the US Navy and received One Congressional
Awards for his service and two Congressional Awards for his artisic and musical performances. He received his BA in fine Arts and and an MBA.
A professional artist, community activist, and educator, he has experience on all sides of a project,
and has even performed for the Crown Prince His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad bin
Isa Al Khalifa.
Co-founder and Vice-President Orlando R. Redwood
A 10th Degree black belt in Shotokan Karate and has earned a Doctorate Diploma of Philosophy in Combat
Martial Arts and Sports Science Education. In addition, he serves as World Chairman of the World Jeet Kune Do Sports
Council, status honored in 2019. Also, he was a member of the Panamanian National team at the
Pan-American Games in Montreal, Canada in 1978. His organization “Redwood Shotokan
Karate Do” has been operating strongly for almost two decades.
They formed Solel International as a bridge between culture and the arts, to bring communities
together, to provide conversation and stimulation, and to highlight the many strengths that are
found and flourish in diversity.
The first event in 2016 was The Autocthonous Festival,
highlighting the Worlds’ First Peoples. This brought an international stage of talent and culture
to Houston from all over the world. Many undeserved communities saw themselves in these
performances and were able to access world culture in their own backyard, in person and not just
through a screen. The public had the opportunity to hear stories and cultural expressions that
made deep relationships possible with the performers. Local talent performed alongside
international artists to create an appreciation for both that forged bonds to last a lifetime.
This led to our organization’s mission of building platforms for communities to share their rich
and diverse talents with the rest of Houston. For the first several years, we concentrated strictly
on the promotion of the arts through festival platforms, featuring the work of many talented local
performers and showcasing their work. After Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2018, we had to
adapt and reinvent ourselves to best respond and react to the crisis. We expanded our
needs-based programming to focus on youth, community preservation, and showcasing both
local and international performing artists. After our initial success in Houston, we began
working internationally with communities where we had partnerships and relationships. This
included Brazil, Bahrain, and Ecuador where we planned and hosted festivals much like our first
event in Houston, A-Fest.
The variety and diversity we have provided since 2018 includes the following:
Arts Programming and Education:
○Cultural Showcases and Productions
○After School, Summer Courses and Field trips
○Education and Creative Arts Employment Programs
○Community Projects that involve art and the environment
○Artistic and Literal Historical Displays using technology, visual art, collaboration
○Civic Beautification and Project Consulting
○Arts and Community Consulting
○Money Management Consulting
Solel Organization boasts an impressive list of individuals on our Board who are accomplished,
diverse, and extremely passionate professionals. They add so much to our team.
Patrick Guillory III – Vice President of Education
International Business and International Relations graduate from the University of Denver. With
over a decade of experience in public speaking, leadership, media and Instructional Design, he
sets standards and expectations of clarity, practicality and sustainability and is specialized in
mindfulness and virtual education to help Solel International stay ahead of trend with learning
William Allen Johnson El - Executive Treasurer
Houston Native and Moorish-American helps Solel International maintain our ethical standards
with his company Fathers R Us. This relationship serves as a partnership with Solel Intentional
to ensure best practices with initial financial matters held in pipeline. Fathers R Us has been in
operation for over 6 years utilized and implementing various service with Solel, including
stewardship and community trust.
Natasha Ashford – Executive Secretary
A seasoned administrator with extensive experience with all administrative tasks. She graduated
from University of Phoenix with a bachelor’s in business administration, and also holds a
Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration with Distinction from Grantham University in
Kentucky. Natasha tailors her skills to meet the needs to various clients around the world and
Eva Elias – Executive Board Chair & Head of Recruiting
With 20 years of experience discovering value in people through the vehicle of financial
services, Eva is the Director Revalushion Management, a fashion and arts talent
management and acquisition company. She graduated from the University of Houston
Downtown with a Major in International Business with a specialized minor in Finance
Hortencia Smith – Officer of Governance
With a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Panama and an Associate Degree
in Computer Science from Houston Community College, Hortencia is a bilingual Panama native
with professional experience as a Systems Financial Analyst & Data Coordinator in the
Accounting Department at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, a small business owner operating
Ballet Folklorico Ritmos y Vibraciones de Panama, and with the Carribbean Chamber of Commerce, Houston Association of Panamanians, and the Houston Caribbean Festival.
Sandra Asberry - Registrar
Worked in construction and maintenance for the States of Texas for over 25 years inspecting
contracts and handling payments for Government contractors. She keeps our organization
compliant with all regulations and keeps us organized and focused.
Rich “Hotline” Shaw - International Relations Officer and Brand Ambassador
Talent scout and liaison to the Middle East quadrant, he is a versatile artist whose lyrics are
showcased in the Oscar Nominated film “Gunner Palace”. He served in the U.S military and
served in the Iraq War from 2003 until 2005 and his international reach helps us reach out
globally to provide our service to our EMEA markets.
Rhonda Skillern-Jones – Officer of Governance
With a passion for education and an understanding that all students deserve an equitable and
quality education in achieving their maximum potential, this Native Houstonian earned a
bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Clinical Sociology from
Texas Southern University. She has served on the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB)
Board of Directors representing HISD; Vice-Chair of the Steering Committee for the National
School Boards Association’s Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE); Chair of the Texas
Caucus of Black School Board Members; and National Black Caucus of School Boards. Her
memberships include The Links, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, Top Ladies of
Distinction, and the NAACP.
Her Highness Shaikha Abeer Al Khalifa – Brand Ambassador
An English Literature and history graduate, Her Highness Shaikha Abeer Al Khalifa is an
accomplished Eco-friendly artist who believes that art is in everything around us. She has
performed for Solel’s World Famous Moro Americana festival, and her fashion designs attracted
the attention of Getty Images, Houston, Press, Gulf Weekly. Even though she is Royalty she has
always been a special part in arts activism as a brand ambassador affording the underprivileged
artistic and education opportunities.
Michel Ferrer – Resident Artist
For over a decade he was the honorary apprentice alongside the famous Moises Guerra, a Master
artist specializing in hyper-realism. Born in Havana, Cuba, and an expert in Cuban culture,
Michel specializes in hyper-realism, murals, caricatures, and is multi-lingual.
Tiombe Stafford - Registrar and volunteer consultant
With over 25 years of experience in Cosmetology and a forthcoming autobiography about
overcoming adversity and the criminal justice system, she serves as a trusted member of our
team as registrar and volunteer consultant.
We are fortunate to have the assistance of a group of volunteers who assist with data base
management, creating frameworks for our platforms, web design, facilitation of events and
assistance with painting community inspired Mural art.