GHBA Bids Farewell to Two Directors Headed for Retirement

Aimee Bertrand Professional Women in Building, Remodelers, Sales & Marketing

Melvina Audain has been our rockstar director of special events for GHBA. She also keeps our GHBA team members thinking about ways to invent creative experiences for our members. We will miss Mel’s passion for serving our members and her joyful spirit. I asked Mel to share some thoughts about her time with GHBA, upon the occasion of her retirement.

Aimee Bertrand (AB): How did you end up working for GHBA?
Mel Audain (MA): A friend of mine was involved in a women’s group with former CEO, Toy Wood and Toy shared the job description for director of special events with the group. My friend forwarded it to me, and I applied and voila…the rest is legendary!!!

AB: How have things (or has your position) changed since you started?
MA: We have added a few new events to the SMC and NCBDD, and the attendance and treasure to the GHBA has increased substantially. With a lot of hard work by the membership team and volunteers, membership has also increased.


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AB: What has been your favorite project or assignment at GHBA?
MA: My favorite project/event is the annual Houston’s Best PRISM Awards. Lots of moving parts to a giant puzzle all moved with care, integrity, and passion by an amazing team of volunteers.

AB: What will you miss about working at GHBA?
MA: I will miss my colleagues and members most of all. I’ll miss the events that the other directors and their teams put so much hard work and effort into like the fishing tournament, BBQ & fajita cookoffs, as well as the golf tournaments, Adopt-a-Family Project, and the Product Expo.

AB: Do you have any favorite stories about your time at GHBA that you would like to share?
MA: One of my favorite stories is the tremendous welcome I received when I started working at the GHBA. The first member to give me the royal treatment was Tony Boilek, then with Sherwin Williams Paint Company, I will always remember how he made me feel.

AB: Have you encountered any difficult situations/decisions during your time at GHBA? If so, tell us about that.
MA: When I first started, I confused two companies that had the same wording in their company name by giving credit to the wrong company. A quick reprint of the pages to the publication was in order and a huge fall on my sword apology in person was made. I was assured by the owner I was more concerned about it than he was.

AB: What do you plan on doing in retirement?
MA: Travel, travel, and more travel. I will also devote more time to my non-profit organization, Caribbean Cultural Coalition which helps children, single mothers, and the elderly in my beautiful Caribbean home of St. Kitts-Nevis.

AB: Do you have any parting thoughts?
MA: I would like to wish all of our members well in the coming years…may your businesses continue to thrive and to the staff at the GHBA and HomeAid Houston, I will miss you all.

The GHBA thanks Mel for her extensive contributions to serving members and her colleagues at TEAM GHBA.


Donna Buenik has served in several roles with the Greater Houston Builders Association. As director of builder programs, she has shepherded council charitable activities, programming and leadership. Most recently, she has been the driving force behind member support for the new, wildly successful Professional Women in Building Council. Our GHBA staff will miss Donna’s energy, get-it-done spirit, and detail-oriented approach to working with staff members and association members!

Aimee Bertrand (AB): How did you end up working for GHBA?
Donna Buenik (DB): Peggy Means (GHBA’s director of education) and I both had daughters involved in competitive cheerleading, so we traveled together often. She mentioned how much she loved her job at the GHBA, and I asked her to let me know if there were ever any openings. That next Monday the office manager quit, so I started out as a temp in that position. Toy Wood, then CEO, would ask me to put my name on signs, signatures, etc. But I wasn’t quite ready to make it permanent, until she cornered me, and I finally said, “why not?” That was 16 years 11 months and 2 weeks ago.

AB: How have things (or has your position) changed since you started?
DB: My position has grown and changed over the years, and I’ve had the privilege of working with so many different groups of association members. I started as office manager, then government affairs coordinator. Later we layered on the Volume Builders Committee, then Custom Builders Council. Four years ago, I adopted the Remodelers Council, and this year Professional Women in Building was added to my portfolio.

AB: What has been your favorite project or assignment at GHBA?
DB: If you had asked me this two years ago, I would have said establishing the Green Built Gulf Coast program and website. But today, PWB by far, hands down! The passion, excitement, and knowledge these women have to share is amazing and inspiring!

AB: What will you miss about working at GHBA?
DB: The members! They have become family. They bring the heat for sure.

AB: Do you have any favorite stories about your time at GHBA that you would like to share?
DB: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

AB: Have you encountered any difficult situations/decisions during your time at GHBA? If so, tell us about that.
DB: My hardest decision was to retire, but as I get older, I want to spend more time with my family and doing things for them.

AB: What do you plan on doing in retirement?
DB: Family, pickleball, travel, golf, repeat!

AB: Do you have any parting thoughts?
DB: Being a part of this association has opened up so many relationships. The people are amazing and the opportunity to serve them was a life-changing experience that I will always cherish.

The GHBA thanks Donna for building a strong foundation of builder support. We wish you many years of fun on the pickleball court and with your family!