Born in Tehran, Iran, Kathy Banon moved to the United States with her sister in 1976 at the age of 17. After graduating from California State University, Northridge, she married and began working at a mechanical-engineering firm in Los Angeles. She later moved to Houston and joined an architecture firm. After nearly two decades working in engineering and architecture, she co-founded a firm of her own, K&M Design Group, in 2000. Despite racial and sexual discrimination, Ms. Banon has continued to thrive in her business, and is optimistic about the future of the Iranian American community in Houston.