2022 Community Collaborative Cohort
The Community Collaborative's 2022 Cohort is composed of highly motivated Louisiana residents with a passion for creating change in their communities. Each member has been trained to assess community needs, identify solutions, and utilize resources to address local challenges.
Training sessions were led by the Reilly Center's 2022 Public Policy Fellow, Dr. Katie Knobloch. At the end of the trainings, cohort members submitted grant applications aimed at implementing public projects in Louisiana. Four participants were selected to receive $5,000 to implement their projects. For more information about the grantees, click here2022 Cohort Grantees.
Edy Addison is the Senior Director of Community Impact at Capital Area United Way. Edy is a former special educator with over 12 years of experience. Edy holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Special Education from University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Science Degree in Family and Child Studies/Nonprofit Management from Texas State University. At CAUW, Edy oversees grantmaking for the organization including programmatic, projects, disaster, and short-term assistance. She also sits on various community Boards including East Baton Rouge Parish Early Childhood Community Network Governing Board, West Baton Rouge Ready Start Advisory Council Member, First United Methodist Church’s Missions and Outreach Council, Mayor Broome’s Behavioral Health Task Force, and Early Childhood Care and Education Advisory Council.
My name is Xiomara Alvarez. I work with Familias Unidas en Acción (FUA) as a health promoter. FUA is a nonprofit organization based in community work and three principles which are solidarity, resilience and transformation.
Tatyana D. Briley is a full time student and branding strategist for three businesses in the New Orleans area aiding and establishing virtual brand identity. She has studied Mandarin and is fluent in French. In the future, she will continue her cultural studies while also utilizing her training to pursue a bachelor’s in International Business. She enjoys cooking for her family and playing in the field with her dogs Louis & Millie.
Bea Gyimah is the daughter of Dr. Joseph Gyimah and the late Missionary Lydia Gyimah. She earned her bachelor's degree from LSU and her master's degree from Texas A&M. Currently, she is pursuing her doctorate at ULL. In 2016, Ms. Gyimah founded the America, My Oyster Association which is a 501 c (3) organization that seeks to preserve the diverse histories, recognize the various struggles, and celebrate the victories of all individuals residing in America. Also, AMOA encourages students to reach their academic goals to the fullest and to embrace their education as the ticket to the American Dream!
Dawn Hebert is President of the East New Orleans Neighborhood Advisory Commission and has been a dedicated advocate for her community for over 14 years. She is very active, continually working with community members in sharing information and addressing their concerns. Other involvements include working with organizations to improve not only her community, but the residents of the City of New Orleans. She is also a member of Keep New Orleans Beautiful, Energy for New Orleans, Commissioner with the Lakefront Management Authority, Lake Willow Neighborhood Association and a Community Member with the Deep South Environmental Center for Environmental Justice. She is a graduate of Xavier University and retired from the United States Postal Service.
Joyce D. James is the President and Founder of The Middleburg Institute, an organization focused on equity, equality, economic empowerment and entrepreneurial innovations. Joyce is a grassroots community organizer who advocates for changes to public policies that are barriers to building economic and financial security in low income communities in Louisiana. Her focus is giving access to the entrepreneurial ecosystem for aspiring women and small business owners. As a social justice volunteer, she believes “FINANCIALLY EMPOWERED PEOPLE MAKE LOUISIANA A BETTER STATE". Joyce holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from Southern University, a Certificate of Completion in "Creating Collaborative Solutions: Innovations in Governance" from Harvard's Kennedy School, and a Certificate of Completion in Results Based Facilitation.
Aaron Jordan retired from McDermott Inc. after 30+ years. He moved up through the ranks from computer programmer to IT Area Manager. He traveled to various countries in Asia and the Middle East to install IT accounting systems. Currently, he and his wife are co-owners of Universal Printing LLC located in New Orleans East. He is also the co-owner of Main Street Studio LLC, which is a real estate investment company consisting of multiple units. Aaron has started a non-profit called the Greater New Orleans East Business Alliance. Aaron has a Computer Science degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge. He is also a licensed real estate agent.
For Alexander, bridging the divide between the business world and community work is second nature. With over 13 years' experience developing multi-year business plans for multiple high-profile organizations, Alexander has made forward-looking decisions that drive sustainable and scalable business and community growth. A Lafayette-native, Alexander holds multiple roles throughout Louisiana; Administrative Pastor at Destiny of Faith Church, Planner at Lafayette Consolidated Government, Consultant at Ally Advisors, Advisory Council at Early Childhood Community Network, and Incoming Chairman at Leadership Institute of Acadiana. Alexander received his Ministry Certificate from Ever Increasing Word Training Center, Associate in Business Administration from Northwestern State University, and Bachelor of Science in Urban Studies & Planning from University of New Orleans.
Ravis K. Martinez
Ravis K. Martinez is a proud Lafayette native who wears many hats to service his community. Ravis sits on a host of local boards and currently works as Executive Vice President & Chief Strategist for Pride Opportunity Developers (The POD Group), which is focused on bringing investments, jobs, and opportunities to North Lafayette, Louisiana. He joined POD after a strong career as an entrepreneur and strategy expert with experience in operations management, real estate, non-profit, campaign management, strategy and consulting. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree from Southern University in Public Policy. Ravis is a US Marine, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Leadership Louisiana alumnus, and GirlDad to three beautiful daughters.
Revathi Menon is a graduating senior at Louisiana State University pursuing a degree in International Studies with minors in Spanish and Philosophy. As a student government senator, she wrote legislation to fund ten free dispensers to distribute menstrual products to women on campus. She was recently awarded the Ogden Leaders Award to fund her “Highlighting Literacy” program, where students work on reading activities with underserved elementary students. Revathi was awarded the LSU Women's Center Esprit de Femme Student Leadership Award, which honors individuals making exceptional efforts to assuage the struggles of women in our community, state, and culture. She is looking forward to her gap year in Spain, teaching English, before attending law school.
Madison Poche is the Executive Director of the Highland Center, a community center in the heart of Shreveport's historic, diverse, and artistic Highland neighborhood. She received her undergraduate Business degree from Emory University and has a Masters in Nonprofit Administration from LSU-S. Madison has over 10 years of nonprofit management experience and is an active volunteer throughout the Shreveport community.
Rev. James R. Riley is the son of Rev. Dr. Vernita P. Riley and the late Rayfield Riley Jr. Born here in Baton Rouge, La., educated and graduated from Glen Oaks High School, he went on to serve our country as a United States Marine. Rev. Riley openly accepted his call to preach and was licensed in October 2009. Dr. Riley received his Masters of Divinity and his Doctor of Theology from Liberty University. Rev. Riley was humbled to be elected as the 7th Senior Pastor of the historic First Little Rock Missionary Baptist Church in South Baton Rouge on December 22, 2021. For 112 years, the church has stood as a beacon of hope for her community.
Cristiane Rosales Fajardo
Cristiane (Cristi) Rosales-Fajardo is a Black Latinx organizer and founder of El Pueblo NOLA, she responds to the needs of the Latinx community in New Orleans. For over a decade, she has served as the first point of contact for community members to help them navigate unfamiliar systems such as court, school, and medical. She helps resolve conflicts or crises like legal, familial, cultural, or economic circumstances. While also building community empowerment through raising awareness and mutual aid via local organizations, and developing several youth programs to address the most critical gaps. She currently serves on the board of Lift Louisiana, and is a member of the Journey for Justice.
Laci Sherman serves as the CEO of Elite Circle Solutions, a boutique management consulting firm, based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her career background entails professional project management with experience in large scale projects, process development, training development and facilitation. Laci is also a Co-Founder of Making Her Deposits, a professional network to support women in business through seminars, virtual workshops, and community engagement. As a minority woman business owner, Laci advocates to bridge the gap by empowering and educating professional business women on the rise. Laci, a Baton Rouge native, earned her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from Southeastern Louisiana University before earning her Masters of Healthcare Administration degree at the University of North Texas Health Science Center.
Tangee Wall has been a resident of New Orleans East for more than 35 years. She is a grassroots community leader, who has assisted, since Hurricane Katrina, in the continual recovery and revitalization of New Orleans East. She does so through civic engagement, empowerment, providing support to youth, adults, and seniors. Also through education, recreation, beautification, and community involvement programs. She served as a commissioner on the Hospital Service District Board for ten years, working to deliver quality healthcare by advocating for the New Orleans East Hospital LCMC Health. She currently serves as President of the Friends of Joe W. Brown Memorial Park, as well as the President of the NOLA East Economic Development Group “New Orleans East Matters.”
Tricia “Blyss” Wallace is an Entertainer from New Orleans, LA. She is very passionate about preserving the climate of New Orleans and bridging the gap between the elders and the youth of our community. This passion led her to get involved with the Lincoln Beach project in May of 2020. She co-founded and became President of the non-profit New Orleans for Lincoln Beach, to ensure the development of the beach benefits the community and remains open with public access. She started by co-organizing clean ups and creating the social media pages of New Orleans For Lincoln Beach. Ms. Wallace was appointed President of the Lincoln Beach Community Advisory Committee formed by Mayor Cantrelle in December of 2020.
I was raised in McKinney, Texas. At McKinney Boyd High School, I was in the student council as well as the National Honors Society. I helped plan all of our events, including prom and homecoming. As a member of the National Art Society, I was able to help paint and clean up the playgrounds and sidewalks of elementary schools in my area that lacked the resources to do so. Being from the Dallas area, I have witnessed the positives and negatives of Texas, so with a little TLC, we can help the Louisiana State University community feel heard and seen!