About Leaders on the Rise

Leaders on the Rise is an initiative sponsored by the Harris County GOP to bring like-minded young professionals between the ages of 25 – 45 together for networking, socializing, and learning more about the Republican party and what we stand for. We want to provide a space for the next generation of leaders who care about the future of our county and country to get to know each other and learn more about the biggest issues facing us today. 

We host monthly events that will alternate between breakfasts and happy hours for networking and learning. We will also host a quarterly speaker series with conservative leaders from around the nation and state. Look below to see our upcoming events and how to attend! Become a founding member and attend all events for free, or pay on an event-by-event basis for those that require tickets. 

Become A Founding Member

The perks that come with becoming a Leaders on the Rise Founding Member are extensive! 

  • Attend all monthly events for free for one year from the start of your membership.
  • Gain access to members-only receptions and exclusive events.
  • Have priority seating at all Leaders on the Rise events.
  • Have the opportunity to register for events before they are released to the public.
  • Be included in the Leaders on the Rise members-only LinkedIn group and receive members-only monthly newsletters.
  • Have your name on all promotional materials for Leaders on the Rise, including the webpage.

WATCH: Leaders on the Rise Kickoff featuring
U.S. Congressman Wesley Hunt

Upcoming Events

Not a member or want to see if Leaders on the Rise is for you before committing to a membership? No problem! Our events are welcome to all young professionals, and you can purchase an individual ticket to any of our events without being a member. But we’re positive, after one event, you’ll be sold! 

Networking Happy Hour With Local Republican-Elected Representatives

Join Leaders on the Rise to grab a drink and network with young professionals as well as local Republican-elected representatives! 

Date: Thursday, October 19, 2023

Time: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Location: Preslee’s — 1430 W 19th St, Houston, TX 77008

Leaders on the Rise Leadership

Buckley Morlot


Buckley Morlot has spent her career in policy and development and has a passion for keeping Texas Texan. She joined the Texas Public Policy Foundation in March 2020, where she works as a development officer based in Houston.

Prior to joining TPPF, Buckley was Executive Vice President of California Policy Center. She started her career in the Bush White House, serving under President George W. Bush as an Associate Director of Presidential Personnel.

After the White House, she joined the Development Team at Smile Train, an international charity based in New York City. At Smile Train, Buckley was responsible for their major gifts program and corporate partnerships. While there, she traveled to Kenya and India to visit partner hospitals.
When the 2012 Presidential race began to ramp up, she knew she couldn’t sit on the sidelines. Her initial love of politics drew her back in, and she began consulting on campaigns throughout New York State until she and her husband moved to California in 2014.

Buckley is a 5th generation Texan. Though it took her 15 years of living all over the country (and South Africa and Australia), she is very happy to be raising her family in the great state of Texas.

Buckley is the President of Magic Circle Republican Women’s Club, one of the oldest and largest clubs in Texas. She is a board member at the Children’s Assessment Center of Harris County. She recently won two 40 under 40 awards, one from Maverick PAC and one from the Texas Federation of Republican Woman.

Buckley and her husband teach Sunday school to two and three-year-olds at St. Luke’s Methodist Church. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Charles Blain


Charles is the President of Urban Reform, a nonprofit focusing on researching and promoting free market policies to foster upward mobility for those in major metro areas.

Charles has been published in the Wall Street Journal, City Journal, Forbes, The Houston Chronicle, and The Hill. He regularly appears on Fox News and CNN and is a Fox 26 Houston (KRIV) political and policy commentator.

A New Jersey native, Charles currently lives in Houston and was named as a Houston Business Journal 40 under 40 honoree. He serves on the Board of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program; Good Policy Society; and Entre Capital, a commercial, second-chance lender for businesses started by ex-offenders.

Charles is currently serving a 4-year term as an appointee to the Texas Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

ryan mcconnico


Ryan is an accomplished business executive facilitating international trade at one of the most trusted certification companies in the world. He is an Executive Board Member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Houston, a Founding Member of Leaders on the Rise, a Life Member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and the 2022 Republican candidate for Texas House District 134.

He is a husband, father, servant leader, and proud Houstonian passionate about positively influencing young people, developing high-performing teams, and delivering meaningful results.

Ryan believes in defending the objective truth, free speech, privacy, excellence in education, and Texas sovereignty. His top priorities are ensuring the next generation of Texans have safe communities, economic opportunities, and best-in-class education programs.

Ryan holds an MBA from The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business, and previously graduated from Sam Houston State University with a BBA in Economics & International Business.

christopher Halbohn


Chris Halbohn attended Tulane University for both his undergraduate and law school studies. He currently practices law with the Dhillon Law Group, the firm started by Republican legal giant Harmeet Dhillon, where he focuses on commercial and employment litigation, civil liberties issues, and election law matters.

When he’s not practicing law, he serves as President of Log Cabin Republicans Houston and on the young professional’s board for KIPP Texas public charter schools.

He is also a Republican precinct chair and is active within the Houston Young Republicans.

As a break from all things political, he spends time doing anything outdoors with his dog, Belle.

Rafael Struve


Rafael is a native Houstonian, having received his bachelor’s degree in international relations, affairs, and political science from the University of St. Thomas and then a master’s degree from Rice University in international and global studies. 

Rafael has extensive political experience. He was the Communications Director for the Houston Young Republicans and now serves in the same capacity for the Texas Young Republicans. 

He was a Grassroots Field Associate for Americans for Prosperity and is now a Regional Field Director for Texas Latino Conservatives. 

He has worked for Servitrans, Inc. for seven years as a business development officer. 

matthew wiltshire


Matt is a veteran campaign operative with extensive experience running dozens of races across Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. A Texan by choice, Matt moved to Texas in 2011 and has made Houston his home, from where he manages and advises campaigns of all sizes.

He has been a leader in youth conservative organizations since 2005. Most notably, he was the President of the College Republicans at the University of Houston, the President of the Houston Young Republicans, the National Committeeman for the Texas Young Republicans, and the Finance Director for the Young Republican National Federation.
Matt’s career includes time at the prestigious political consulting firms Blakemore and Associates and Majority Strategies. He currently serves as a media and grassroots advisor to Congressman Dan Crenshaw.

Founding Members