Ken Sheirr joins Family Houston as new leader

We are pleased to announce that our board of directors has selected Ken Sheirr as the new Chief Executive Officer and President of Family Houston. Ken brings 25 years of for-profit experience from the world of professional sports, including serving as Chief Marketing Officer of the Rockets for 15 years of his 20-year tenure with the team.  For Sheirr, this marks a return to social services, the field where his career started and which permeates his background. 

Sheirr succeeds Interim CEO and President, Deborah Grabein, who served on our board  before resigning her post last spring in order to take on the CEO role temporarily. The board conducted a formal search for a longtime Houstonian with a passion for serving the community and expertise in building partnerships, elevating a brand, working effectively with the business community, and rallying the city around a common cause.

“We are confident that Ken will lead Family Houston with a strong vision that connects broadly across our community,” said Houston Family Board Chair Sergio Leal. “We recognize that thousands of Houstonians are counting on us, and we are excited by what is possible with Ken’s strategic thinking, marketing acumen, and talent for consensus-building.”

“Family Houston has been serving our community for over a century, offering social and financial literacy services for those who need support, especially with today’s collective challenges,” commented Sheirr.  “I couldn’t be more excited and honored to lead this organization, which has stood by Houston’s side for five generations.”

As the Rockets’ CMO for 15 years, Sheirr oversaw all areas of the team’s brand, philanthropy, customer experience, digital, retail, and event operations, and led all revenue-driving marketing efforts.  He was also instrumental in the opening of Toyota Center, strategic planning for inaugural sponsorship deals and overseeing third-party facility operations.  He created the Rockets Give Back community relations initiative, designed to serve Houston’s underserved youth, military and first responders, and provide disaster relief, while simultaneously creating a focused philanthropic identity for the team, comprehensive corporate partnerships, and opportunities for staff involvement and leadership. He was considered a thought leader across the NBA and established best practices across the industry.  

Since wrapping up his work with the Rockets, Sheirr has consulted for small businesses on operations and marketing strategies, as well as taught graduate and undergraduate classes in sports management at Sam Houston State University.

Previously, Sheirr served on the Ronald McDonald House board and chaired the marketing committee.  A current Anti-Defamation League board member, he chaired the education committee for five years and sits on the Strategic Development committee.

A Cornell University graduate and Staten Island native, Sheirr’s commitment to societal good was nurtured by several family members who worked in nonprofits, as well as by his parents (a veterinarian and a music teacher).  Growing up, he played instruments and sports, and his first job after college was in fundraising.  Sheirr and his wife Gretchen have 16-year-old twins.

We welcome Ken to the Family Houston team!