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New Leaders Council

2014 Fellows

Ethan Ashley, Director of Community Outreach, Black Alliance for Educational Options

Ethan Ashley Ethan Ashley was born and raised in Compton, California. At the age of 16, he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School, a law magnet high school in Los Angeles, California and continued his education at Howard University in Washington, DC, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Juris Doctorate by the age of 22. During his studies at Howard and after the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Ethan dedicated over a week’s worth of service each year since 2006 to the city of New Orleans. To continue his efforts of rebuilding New Orleans, Ethan, immediately after graduation, moved to New Orleans to work as a first-year staff attorney and project director at the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, where he was tasked with running their project to end juvenile life sentences in the state of Louisiana. In this position, Ethan worked in a legal, organizational, and policy-based capacity.

Ethan’s passion to change the infamous school-to-prison-pipeline is what motivated his career change into the field of education. Ethan is now the New Orleans Director of Community Outreach for the Black Alliance for Educational Options. With regard to service, Ethan is a current board member of Youth Run NOLA, a local non-profit organization focused on empowering underserved youth through running. Ethan also directs a voluntary literacy program at the Youth Study Center in New Orleans. He is a proud member and mentor for the Son of a Saint, a non-profit focused on enhancing the lives of fatherless young males. In addition, Ethan is a member of Vintage Church in New Orleans and is a strong advocate for youth justice, civil rights, and servant leadership.

Ebony Baylor, Outreach Director, Louisiana Demoractic Party

Ebony Baylor Ebony M. Baylor is a native of Shreveport, Louisiana where she was introduced to politics at a very young age. Her passion for politics has led her in many different aspects in the political arena where she has worked in the areas of legislature and grassroots organizing for democratic candidates and issues.

In 2008, Ebony graduated from Southern University A&M College where she received her BachelorÍs of Art in Political Science. In 2013, she received her MasterÍs of Public Administration with a Non-Profit Management Concentration from Southern, as well. Her research project was Reproductive Rights in United States: A Public Policy Perspective where she discussed how political ideology affects funding for reproductive services in the United States.

While in college, she worked as committee clerk for Louisiana House of RepresentativesÍ Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs Committee from 2005 to 2007. Since graduating, she has worked as an organizer for the following campaigns: Louisiana Victory 2008, Change That Works, Friends of Blanche Lincoln Campaign, and Arkansas Victory 2010.

Ebony currently serves has the Outreach Director for Louisiana Democratic Party. She created the Hope2Vote initiative, the voter education program used by Louisiana Democratic Party. The initiative works with the faith community to address the issue of voter apathy. Her belief is that in order to bring change, citizens must actively engage in the political process that affects their lives daily.

April Brumfield, Deputy Louisiana Director and Staff Attorney, One Voice

April BrumfieldApril Brumfield is the Deputy Louisiana Director and Staff Attorney at One Voice. Prior to coming to One Voice, April was the Director of Development at the Southern University Law Center where she managed all fundraising campaigns, including annual giving and corporate and foundation relations, and cultivated local and national resources to create a more diverse donor base for the institution.

April was also a program officer at the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, where she co-managed a $13 million grant-making program. Additionally, she served as a liaison between nonprofits and community philanthropists and provided fund management services to the foundation’s donors. In 2003, April was selected as a Hull Leadership Fellow, a program of the Southeastern Council of Foundations that recognizes the future leaders of philanthropy. She was also a member of Leadership Greater Baton Rouge Class of 2006.

In addition to her work at One Voice, April practices family and succession law and is a member of the Baton Rouge Bar Association and the Louisiana State Bar Association, and the American Bar Association. April received a bachelorÍs degree in Mass Communications from Southern University and A&M College and a juris doctorate from the Southern University Law Center.

Jessica Carter

Jessica	CarterJessica L. Carter is a second year law student at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. She is a native of Philadelphia, Mississippi and a 2005 graduate of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science in Columbus, Mississippi. Jessica traveled to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York to pursue higher education and a childhood dream to attend an Ivy League university.

Jessica is a 2007 YP4 alum and a 2008 Front Line Leaders Academy alum, both programs under the People for the American Way Foundaiton. Since graduating from Cornell, Jessica has worked as a union organizer with AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees) in New Mexico, Kentucky, and Ohio. She has also worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center in New Orleans, LA and Jackson, MS as an Outreach Paralegal monitoring juvenile detention facilities in MS, as well as due process and access to education in LA and MS. During the spring 2014 semester Jessica will be an intern at the Louisiana Supreme Court for Chief Justice Bernette Johnson, and during the summer 2014 Jessica will travel to Washington D.C. where she will be a legal intern at the Advancement Project.

Nathan Cataline, Senior Planner, GCR, Inc.

California-born and adopted New Orleanian, Nathan Cataline is an urban planner and community organizer dedicated to creating more equitable communities. Nathan currently works as a Senior Planner with GCR Inc. in New Orleans, Louisiana, but previously worked for nonprofit advocacy organizations in Louisiana and California. He received his BA in American Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz and his Master of Urban Planning from the University of Michigan.

Nathan is committed to housing issues and social justice work, and also serves as a member Executive Leadership Committee for, an organization that recruits and trains New Orleanians in case of a future city-wide evacuation. In his spare time, he follows city, state and neighborhood politics in California, Detroit and Louisiana, and avoids potholes on his bike around the City of New Orleans.

William Dabney , Academic Coach , Louisiana State University

William is a doctoral student at Louisiana State University studying social work. William has worked as a substance abuse counselor, a university advisor and instructor, and a legislative auditor. Currently, William researches school reform effects in Louisiana’s recovery school district. William hopes that his research will help LouisianaÕs education system and the children that it serves.

Brian Dollar, Attorney, The Dollar Law Firm

 	Brian	Dollar	Brian Dollar is an attorney at the Dollar Law Firm in Monroe, Louisiana, where his practice focuses on personal injury and commercial litigation matters. He is licensed in Louisiana and Texas.

After graduating from West Monroe High School, Brian attended Tulane University on a Navy ROTC scholarship where he majored in Economics and International Relations. Brian was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps after completing OfficersÍ Candidate School in Quantico Virginia in 2000. Subsequently, Brian served as a communications officer in various locations throughout the United States, as well as Iraq and Japan.

Upon completing active duty in 2006, Brian moved to Washington, D.C., where he continued his service in the Marine Corps Reserve and completed studies at Georgetown University, earning a Masters in Public Policy.

In 2008, Brian returned to New Orleans, Louisiana, to attend Tulane University Law School. While at Tulane, Brian worked at the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic. Upon graduation in 2011, Brian clerked for one year in the Western District of Louisiana.

Andrew Doss , Assistant District Attorney , Orleans Parish District Attorney

Born in New Orleans to a mother who taught elementary school teacher and a father who was an Episcopal Priest and attorney, Andrew grew up involved in issues of justice on both a concrete daily level and a systemic policy level. He was raised on each coast, moving to California and then New Jersey (where his father was elected Bishop). He attended Amherst College in Massachusetts before re-establishing his roots in New Orleans after graduation. He worked as a law clerk at the Murray Law Firm before helping organize the Paddle for the Presidency from the top of the Mississippi river in Minnesota to New Orleans to register youth vote, and then directed John KerryÕs presidential campaign in eight coastal parishes of Louisiana. On August 29, 2005, Andrew started his very first class at Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C. and thus became actively involved in Katrina issues at a national level. He helped to organize 3,000 law school volunteers with the Student Hurricane Network, designed the first Catastrophe Law curriculum modeled in law schools around the U.S., and served as the founding director of the national Law Students for Governmental Accountability, which lobbied over 200 congressional offices around the principles necessary to prevent another major flooding catastrophe in the U.S. Andrew subsequently earned a L.L.M. (international law degree) at the University of Leiden and the Grotius Centre in the Hague, Holland. He moved home in 2009 to begin his law career as an Assistant District Attorney in Jefferson Parish and, now, in Orleans Parish. Andrew is actively involved in the local theater and comedy scene as both a performer and writer. He is a founding member of an ecumenical Christian community, the Worship Society of St. Polycarp. Andrew can be seen at times throughout the year dancing in parades and sporting a relatively pathetic moustache as a 610 Stomper. He lives in the French Quarter with his sister.

Daniel Druilhet, Administrative Law Judge, Louisiana Workforce Commission

 	Daniel	Druilhet	“Daniel J. Druilhet, a native of Baldwin, Louisiana, is an Administrative Law Judge with the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Over the last several years, Daniel has worked to hone his skills in an effort to share ideas with others regarding methods that can be taken to effect progressive social change. He bases his life mission on the premise that we should always strive to serve others as it is the rent that we pay for living and the very purpose of life and not something that you do in your spare time.î

Daniel received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Bachelor of Arts in History from Louisiana State University & A&M College, and his Juris Doctor from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Currently, Daniel is currently pursuing an MBA in International Business and Finance at the Southern University & A&M College and an LLM in Taxation at the University of Alabama School of Law.

In the past, Daniel has worked in small-scale political campaigns and is passionate about public policy as it relates to policing and prison reform. While in law school, he volunteered with the Innocence Project-New Orleans and performed legal public interest work on behalf of indigent clients that were wrongfully convicted of crimes they didnÍt commit. In the future, he seeks to utilize the skills and the knowledge that he has obtained to begin a non-profit organization focused on providing low-cost business, legal and tax counsel to small startups and businesses.

In addition to his interest in policy, politics, and the law, Daniel maintains an abiding faith and is family-oriented. He describes his guiding principle as one that is encompassed within the oft-repeated notion that to whom much is given, much is required.

Royce Duplessis, Associate Attorney, Dentons

Royce Duplessis “Royce is currently an associate attorney with Dentons law firm, practicing in the areas of federal, state, and local energy regulation. Prior to joining Dentons, Royce worked in private practice and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Thomas J. Motley of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He has held legal internships at the US Environmental Protection Agency, the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Royce also served as chief of staff to former New Orleans City Councilmember, and as a communications specialist at Entergy Corporation.

While in law school, Royce received the Olender FoundationÍs Earl H. Davis Scholarship in recognition of leadership and public service, as well as CALI Awards for the highest grades in Administrative Law, Constitutional Law II, American Election Law, Legal Methods/Civil Rights.

In addition, Royce currently serves as a commissioner with the New Orleans City Planning Commission; President for the A.P. Tureaud, Sr. Legacy Committee; Treasurer for the Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Legal Society, Inc.; board member for Business Resource Capital Specialty BIDCO, Inc. In March of 2012, Royce was elected to serve as a member of the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee (OPDEC). Royce also successfully completed the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education & Leadership Institute’s 2013 Political Training Boot Camp.

One of Royce’s passions is youth development and mentoring. As such, he currently serves as a mentor with the Silverback Society, as well the L.I.F.E. Mentoring program with Dr. Calvin Mackie, PhD. Royce was born and raised in New Orleans. He received his bachelor of arts in Mass Communications and Business from Xavier University of Louisiana. He received his law degree from Howard University School of Law. He is member of the Louisiana bar.

Jonah Evans , Facilitator & Consultant , Self-Employed

Jonah Evans is a facilitator and consultant specializing in organizational change management, and civic engagement. He has worked with 17 of the Fortune 100 companies and facilitated projects for a number of government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Jonah is a recent graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School where he earned a masters degree in public policy and received the Ash Center Fellowship for Democratic Governance and Innovation. Jonah fell in love with the City of New Orleans while working the Gulf as a project manager and housing policy writer for the NAACP National Headquarters. He later served as the director of district strategy for Teach For America, as a field organizer for the Obama Campaign, and worked on healthcare issues as a community organizer in New Orleans. He is hopelessly addicted to Saints football, Red Sox baseball, and Parkway poboys.

David Gray, Policy Analyst / SFAI Fellow, Louisiana Budget Project

David Anthony Gray is a native of New Orleans, LA. He currently works as a research analyst for the Louisiana Budget Project. In this capacity, David coordinates a statewide asset building and anti-predatory lending coalition; publishes major research reports on LouisianaÍs economy and tax structure; and works directly with lawmakers to craft fiscal policies that are in the best interest of the stateÍs workers and families. David also co-facilitates social entrepreneurship retreats on behalf of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation. These weekend retreats introduce participants to basic principles and best practices of community service and social entrepreneurship; afford opportunities for participants to interact with leading social entrepreneurs; and explore ways to successfully address todayÍs most challenging social problems. David also led a group of Sullivan Foundation students to Costa Rica, where they helped four Costa Rican businesses develop social business plans and track their community impact.

Prior to working with LBP and the Sullivan Foundation, David served as the Graduate Minority Students Project coordinator at the University of California, Berkeley; a policy analyst for the Office of the City Council in Richmond, CA; and the outreach manger for the Downtown Berkeley Association. David received a full-tuition scholarship from the New Orleans MayorÍs Office to attend Tulane University, where he graduated in 2010 Phi Beta Kappa and Tulane 34 with BachelorÍs degrees in social policy and sociology. David also earned his Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley after receiving the Goldman Fellowship, a merit-based award that is presented to the top applicant of each class. He is also a StartingBloc Social Innovation Fellow, a member of the East Baton Rouge Parish Food Policy Access Commission, and a member of the 100 Black Men of Greater Baton Rouge.

September Hargrove, Policy & Program Manager, City of New Orleans – Mayor’s Office of Economic Development

September	HargroveSeptember Hargrove serves as the Policy & Program Manager in the MayorÍs Office of Economic Development. She has extensive experience in public policy. She began her career in state government as a California Senate Fellow in the Office of State Senator Elaine K. Alquist. Following her fellowship, September received a gubernatorial appointment from Governor Schwarzenegger to serve as a legislative specialist to advocate for policies to promote self-sufficiency and economic equity for some of the stateÍs most vulnerable populations.

In the MayorÍs Office of Economic Development, September oversees policy and program development, including efforts focused on improving economic growth and inclusion. She has led initiatives such as establishing the CityÍs Small Business Assistance Fund, developing workforce policies to promote local hiring and contributing to the CityÍs Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative and ProsperityNOLA: A Plan to Drive Economic Growth for 2018.

In summer 2013, September was selected as a Legislative Fellow with the US State Department studying, in Haiti, economic development opportunities linked to port improvements.

September is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and is actively involved in community service. She is a Project Leader for the College Admissions Project of the Young Leadership Council and member of the NexGen Council for GNO, Inc. September is a member of the 2013-2014 class for the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute. She has previously been an executive board member for the Sacramento County ChildrenÍs Coalition and Self-Sufficiency Council Member for the United Way California Capitol Region.

September is a graduate of the Institute of Politics at Loyola University and alumni of From Harvard Square to the Oval Office program at Harvard University.

September is a native of Sacramento, California. She received her BA Degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a MasterÍs Degree in Public Policy and Urban Planning from Harvard UniversityÍs Kennedy School of Government.

Melanie Robinson, Chemical Engineer

 	Melanie	Robinson	“Melanie Harris Robinson, a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, is an engineer who is passionate about serving her community. She attended college at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At Carnegie Mellon, she earned her bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering with a business minor in Manufacturing Management, and was inducted into the Andrew Carnegie Society for her academic and extracurricular excellence. While at Carnegie Mellon, Melanie also developed her passion for serving the community. She volunteered as a tutor for elementary school students at Rodef Shalom Temple for two years. Then she served, for her remaining two years, as a science fair project mentor for Margaret Milliones Middle School students through a program sponsored by the chemistry department at Carnegie Mellon.

She received her MasterÍs degree from Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. During her time at LSU, she completed her masterÍs thesis on an environmental remediation project titled An In-Situ Capping Design for the Remediation of Petroleum Contaminated Sediments. After completing her education, she started a career working as a Process Engineer at Weyerhaeuser Pulp and Paper Mill. Later, she went on to work at Armstrong World Industries in their ceiling tile manufacturing plant. During this time she continued to volunteer and support the community through various organizations that she was a part of, such as Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

As an engineer, Melanie understood the challenge of a technologically advancing world and the importance of producing scientists and engineers to meet this challenge. It was her desire to combine her love for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and serving the community, which lead her to create the Forward Flow Foundation in 2009. The vision of this foundation was to ensure that all students have access to state of the art technology resources and equipment towards the study of STEM available in their schools. Since its inception, the foundation has provided workshops, made donations and partnered with various schools in the New Orleans area towards the purchase of technology equipment and advancement of STEM.

It is MelanieÍs desire to continue to serve the community through the Forward Flow Foundation, as a STEM advocate, and eventually in positions of political leadership in order to initiate innovative change within her community.

David Robinson-Morris, Graduate Assistant, Community University Partnership, Office of Equity, Diversity and Community Outreach, Louisiana State University

David W. Robinson-Morris is the graduate assistant for LSU Community University Partnership, Equity, Diversity & Community Outreach (EDCO).

Prior to pursing his graduate studies full-time, Robinson-Morris served as the director of development at Breakthrough New Orleans, an educational non-profit located at Isidore Newman School, which seeks to propel high achieving, under-resourced middle school students in Orleans Parish toward academic success. He was responsible for all aspects of the organizations fundraising. Previously, David served as director of development for the Capital One-New Beginnings Charter School Network, where he was responsible for creating the organizationÍs the fundraising systems, grant writing, and event planning.

Robinson-Morris also served as associate director of alumni relations at Loyola University New Orleans for nearly four years, where he managed 25 alumni chapters across the country, nine local alumni committees, the Young Alumni Board, expanded the AssociationÍs use of web 2.0 technologies, and administered four scholarship programs.

Before returning to his alma mater, David served the citizens of New Orleans as senior publicist in the MayorÍs Office of Communications, where he served as the chief spokesperson for the Office of Planning and Development, which consisted of the Offices of Economic Development, Housing, Safety and Permits, Code Enforcement, Job 1, Film and Video, International Affairs, the Canal Street Redevelopment Corporation and a number of other boards and commissions. Additionally, Robinson-Morris served as the communications person for the Departments of Finance and Law, was responsible for the implementation of the public and media relations plans for the City of New Orleans Annual Budget, and acted as the communications liaison between the Administration and the New Orleans City Council chiefs of staff, and the Administration and the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA).

Robinson-Morris received his Bachelor of Arts in Communications – Public Relations in 2006 from Loyola University New Orleans. David obtained a Masters of Public Administration in 2011 from the University of New Orleans and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, Research, and Counseling with a concentration in higher education administration at Louisiana State University.

David is a member Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Kappa Psi, Son of a Saint Foundation Advisory Board, Annunciation Mission Board of Directors, and is a founding board member of Propeller (Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans). Additionally, David serves as a copy editor on the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Developments Editorial Board.

He is a native of Galveston, Texas.

Anne Springer, Marketing Director, Bridge House / Grace House

 	Anne	Springer	“Anne Springer is Marketing Director for Bridge House / Grace House, a substance abuse treatment non-profit. For three and a half years, Anne has worked to end the stigma around individuals with substance use disorders so that those suffering will have better access to treatment. She has led several fundraising initiatives for the organization including a capital campaign to begin a medical clinic for women that serves residents in treatment at Grace House.

Anne serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater New Orleans Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, which is a professional association aimed at advancing philanthropy through advocacy, research, education, and certification programs.

After doing a little tour of colleges (LSU, NorthEastern Illinois University- through the National Student Exchange Program), Anne returned to her hometown of New Orleans to earn a BachelorÍs Degree in Anthropology from UNO.

Anne hopes to use the skills learned from her NLC fellowship to continue advocating for individuals with substance use disorders.

Michael Walker , Leasing Consultant , Vintage Realty Company

Michael Walker grew up in Shreveport, before moving to Baton Rouge to attend Louisiana State University where he studied English, History, and Political Science. After graduating LSU, Michael attended Southern University Law Center and was a member of the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity and served as a student mediator.

During his time at Southern University Law Center, Michael served as an intern for both the Louisiana Democratic Party and the Obama for America campaign. Due to his hard work and dedication as an intern, Michael was promoted to Field Organizer with Obama for American and was tasked with organizing the student populations of LSU, Southern University, and Southeastern University. After the successful election of Barrack Obama as President, Michael continued to grow in his role with the Louisiana Democratic Party eventually serving as Executive Assistant to the Executive Director.

In 2010, after graduation law school, Michael took on the position of Regional Field Director with Organizing for America to organize volunteers throughout Louisiana in support of the President’s legislative agenda. During his time with OFA-Louisiana, Michael worked to helped pass significant financial reforms, the Affordable Care Act, and elect Cedric Richmond to the United States Congress during the 2010 midterm elections.

Through his work with OFA, Michael began working closely for Community Renewal International, a non-profit based in Shreveport that works to restore safe and caring communities through personal relationships. Michael served as Director of Social Media for Community Renewal from 2010 to 2012 and was responsible for developing and executing the social media strategy for 2011 and 2012, leading staff and volunteer workshops, and promoting fundraising events.

Michael is currently lives in Shreveport with his wife and two dogs where he works for Vintage Realty, as well as writing for SB Magazine and running his own social media consulting firm.

Olivia Watkins, Press Secretary, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals

Olivia Watkins is a writer and government communications professional in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She currently serves as the Press Secretary for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. Olivia has worked on numerous critical projects in the Louisiana, including as a communications director for 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill at the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities and for the ongoing Natural Resource Damage Assessment. She also worked on the Louisiana Seafood Safety Project and the proposed state tax reform package during the 2013 Louisiana Legislative Session.

Before joining state government, Olivia was an editor and staff writer for the Baton Rouge Business Report where she reported on economic issues, the financial industry, education and technology. A North Carolina-native, she moved to Louisiana more than 11 years ago to attend Tulane University. She currently serves as the Communications Chair for the Newcomb Alumnae Association Board of Directors and on the Tulane Associates Board, both at Tulane University.

A big believer in the importance of holistic wellness, Olivia is also a yoga teacher and student, as well as a student of meditation.

Christopher Weatherly, Social Worker, MMO Behavioral Health Systems

Chris Weatherly is a community-focused Social Worker and Public Health professional. He currently works in an outpatient clinic offering therapeutic services to individuals affected by chronic mental illness, including individuals with Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar, and Major Depressive Disorder. He also has the pleasure of working i as a research assistant to Dr. Charles Figley, Professor and Director of the Tulane Traumatology Institute. Chris’ clinical experience includes facilitating group therapy sessions within in-patient psychiatric hospital settings and brief behavioral counseling for low-income families affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

Chris completed his Bachelors degree at Tulane University in 2005 and subsequently became actively involved in the service industry in New Orleans. After Hurricane Katrina and a month stint deployed as as an American Red Cross volunteer, Chris moved to Washington, DC where he held a variety of jobs, including a researcher for an NGO focusing on missile defense and space weapon programs, outreach coordinator for two PBS documentary series, client sales representative at a political ad agency, and restoring old books at a used book store. He moved to rural St. Bernard Parish in 2008 to live in and assist in managing the largest volunteer housing facility in the United States. There, he coordinated a community projects initiative that focused on securing volunteer opportunities for small organizations within the Parish. In 2009 Chris then moved to Anchorage, Alaska where he managed over 20 AmeriCorps VISTA members recruited from and located in rural Alaskan villages. He returned to New Orleans in 2010 to complete a joint-Masters program at the Tulane University school of Public Health and Social Work and proudly represented his class as the President of the Student Government Association for the Tulane University School of Social Work, class of 2011. Chris hopes to continue to work as an agent of change within the mental health community, one that is often over-looked, over-simplified, and consistently misunderstand.

Nia Weeks , Staff Attorney , Orleans Public Defenders Office

While attending Indiana State University and pursuing a Bachelors degree in Communications, Ms. Weeks participated in the McNair ScholarÕs program. As a McNair scholar, she developed a research project on the focused on gender and the media which she presented at several conferences throughout the country including Chicago, Rust College in Mississippi, and Indiana University. She was even invited to participate in an International Symposium in London, England. Personal academic achievement has always been paramount to Ms. Weeks however; she has maintained a lifelong passion for youth and education. During her last two years at Indiana State University, she 2 terms as an Americorps volunteer working with inner city youth preparing them for college, and supporting them as they matriculated through college life.

After obtaining a B.A., Ms. Weeks moved to Gainesville, Florida. Her passion for the betterment of her community led her to begin her post-undergraduate career working in the non-profit sector. As the Community Relations Director of a privatized foster care program, Ms. Weeks successfully maintained a program geared at bridging the gap between the agency and the community. During her tenure, she sat on many committees and boards including: United Way, One Church One Child, and CASA, Ms. Weeks even successfully brought YMCA programming to a rural community in Northern Florida. However, Ms. Weeks was not satisfied with the limitations that she felt in how she was able to support the people she came in contact with, so she made the decision to attend law school.

As a law student at Loyola University, Ms. Weeks worked vigorously to gain the knowledge and skills required to represent her clients successfully, and have been recognized by not only by the Loyola community, but the national legal community as well. She was a member of the Family Law Clinic; Fall 2010, was a 1stPlace winner of 2009 Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition; a semi-finalist in 2010 ABA National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition receiving a Perfect Score, she was the 2010 Recipient of the Blue Williams Outstanding Advocate Award. Since graduating from law school,
Ms. Weeks has coached trial team and her most recent achievement was coaching the 2012 Regional and National Championship Trial Team winning 10 trial in a row. Loyola University recognized her by presenting her with the2012 Dean Louis Westerfield Award.

Her work in the legal community includes internships with the Public Defender’s office, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, and the Housing Authority of New Orleans. Although Ms. Weeks has enjoyed a successful career in the public sector, she has enjoyed success in the private sector as well, serving a legal counsel for entertainment projects throughout New Orleans. She was able to translate her unique skill set into 2 successful years as an legal assistant to the Corporate Legal Counsel for Essence Music Festival.

When not maneuvering a growing dynamic legal career, Ms. Weeks is a proud mother of four; Taylor Weeks 13, Jordan Weeks 12, Peyton Weeks 7, and Cameron Weeks 4.

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