Our board is comprised of business leaders in the New Orleans region.
They bring a wealth of professional experience and knowledge to our board.
Perry Sholes is President of Progressive HR Strategies, Inc. Perry is a certified talent optimization consultant and business executive who successfully creates economic value through Human Resources leadership. He helped drive profitability at complex global organizations, which include private equity portfolio companies, large public companies, and private-owned businesses.
Perry developed his Human Resources skills in the consumer products (CPG) industry at Nabisco Foods Company, Inc. and Kraft Foods, Inc. He was responsible for various corporate functions in both domestic and Latin America. During his time in CPG, he recruited MBA talent at some of the country’s best schools and led internship summer programs for domestic and international students for several corporate functions. He also represented both companies at National Black MBA initiatives.
Rachel Massey serves as the Director of Alumni Engagement and University Events at the University of New Orleans. Rachel’s areas of responsibility include the planning, programming, and management of the University’s major special events, including fundraising galas, dignitary and head-of-state visits, board meetings, and symposia. Rachel also leads the University’s alumni engagement team and serves as the Executive Director of the UNO Alumni Association Board of Directors. Prior to joining the University, Rachel served as Director of Programs for Leadership Florida.
She has extensive experience as a hospitality industry executive with many years of experience in the Chicago and Las Vegas area markets. Rachel holds degrees from the University of Florida and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, as well as a certificate in Not for Profit Leadership from Florida State University. She currently serves on the board of directors of NORLI, the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute, as a graduate of the class of 2019. Rachel lives in Faubourg St. John with her husband and eight-year-old son and is an avid reader, music lover, cook, and yogi.
Kelder is a communications manager for New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice. She is also the owner and general manager for Whiskey & Sticks, a bar and lounge. Kelder Summers Jones is highly skilled in Public Relations, Communications, and Marketing with an emphasis in broadcast media. Also skilled in complex/segmented sales best practices, event creation, planning and management, community outreach, and organizational strategic planning.
Expert-level knowledge of New Orleans' media, business, political and non-profit communities. Summers-Jones also possesses the ability to identify, develop and cultivate relationships, package and promote organizational offerings, implement programs, manage budgets, accurately forecast and report financials, and interact effectively at the board level. She meets deadlines, motivates team members, and provides exemplary internal and external customer service.
With 27 years of restaurant experience and knowledge of executive leadership inside and out, Bill DiPaola is a thought-leader among restaurant and franchise executives. Bill is the current Chief Operating Officer for Franchising of Ballard Brands, LLC, a company of more than 200 units, both nationally and internationally. Among the many brands that Ballard represents is PJ’s Coffee which just opened its 150th location and the restaurant group of Iron Chef Jose Garces. He formerly led the charge as president and COO of Dat Dog Enterprises, overseeing the corporate office, as well as franchise and corporate operations. Under his leadership, Dat Dog was voted #1 Hot Dog Restaurant by USA Today and has been featured on the Travel Channel’s “Hot Dog Paradise” and Food Network’s “Ginormous Foods.” The restaurant group had also been written up in the Wall Street Journal and named “Top 40 Brands Under 40 Units” in 2018 by QSR Magazine. Bill also has been Chief Development Officer for Rotolo’s Craft & Crust; a 35-Unit chain of Fast Casual Pizza Gastropubs throughout the gulf south, spanning from Texas to Florida and all points between.
Bill is a published author and industry thought-leader who has been featured in Franchising World, Franchise Times and Fast Casual Magazine, including their “2017 State of the Industry” report. Bill currently sits on the membership committee for International Franchise Association, is a member of the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Restaurant Association as well as the Louisiana Restaurant Association/Educational Foundation, Industry Representative of the National Restaurant Association and is featured in “Franchise Management for Dummies” by Michael Seid and Joyce Mazero. He has been interviewed for many worldwide publications, including Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine and The Huffington Post.
Bill has been on the forefront of change and political action in the restaurant and franchising industries, representing the National Restaurant Association and International Franchise Association on behalf of the Save Small Business Coalition before the National Labor Relations Board on Capitol Hill. Bill has also met with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee as well as members of the Congressional Black Caucus to help put forth initiatives to create opportunities for minority business owners in franchising.
Bill is a recipient of the “New and Notable” 2017 award in Biz New Orleans Magazine, and "People to Watch" 2017 in the New Orleans Magazine.
Kendall T. Crawford, manager of strategic initiatives and student affairs for St. Augustine High School, will serve as development chair. Crawford graduated from Dillard University with a degree in mass communications. At St. Augustine, he has served as a teacher and Associate Athletic Director. He graduated from Dillard University in 2017 with a degree in Mass Communication (focus in public relations). Kendall currently serves as Manager of Strategic Initiatives & Student Affairs for St. Augustine High School.
He believes all children deserve an equal opportunity to succeed in life. Education is the key that unlocks the door to success. He is a member of the Sigma Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., National Association of Black Journalists, Public Relation Society of America, National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, and Urban League of New Orleans.
Marques Colston will serve as a board member. He founded Marques Colston Enterprises, a professional development services company that empowers organizations and growth-minded athletes, entrepreneurs, and executives to unlock professional creativity and possibility with strategies, tools, and resources inspired by Colston's NFL career and his experience as an owner, partner, investor, and advisor to dozens of companies. He is a licensed financial advisor and has launched Venture Investing and Entrepreneurship for Professional Athletes, an executive education program for current and former professional athletes at Columbia Business School. He is an adjunct professor at the University of New Orleans. Colston is a Super Bowl champion, an inductee in the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame and the Sports Hall of Fame in Pennsylvania and Louisiana.
Attorney at law. His experience includes work in the child support enforcement division of the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services and stints under Orleans Parish District Attorney Harry Connick Sr. and a private practice in criminal defense and civil law.
Juaquana Lewis, Ed.D., executive director of curriculum and instruction for InspireNOLA Charter Schools. She holds an Ed.D in educational leadership from Northcentral University, Master of Arts in educational administration from University of New Orleans, Master of Arts in teaching, urban education from Southern University at New Orleans, and Bachelor of Science in newspaper journalism from Florida A&M University.
Senior director of equity and community investments at New Schools for Baton Rouge. For the schools, Litt manages due diligence of assets to ensure organizational processes are executed equitably.
Candace Stanton, Career Advisor and First-Generation student Care Coach at Xavier University of Louisiana. Candace will serve as events chair. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in Counseling from Indiana Wesleyan University. She is currently a PhD candidate in Human Behavior. Her experience includes first generation students, student success counseling, teaching, recruitment, program development and implementation as well as career advising.
Arlanda Williams is Vice Chancellor and Executive at Delgado Community College. Experienced Vice Chancellor with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Skilled in Government Liaison, Writing, Nonprofit Organizations, Fundraising, and Community Development. Strong business development professional with an Executive Masters of Public Administration focused in Public Administration from Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College at Baton Rouge. She is also a member of the State of Louisiana Historically Black Colleges & Universities Advisory Council. Ms. Williams was Councilwoman for Terrebonne Parish Government and has served on National Committees under the Obama Administration.
In her role on the Board she will lead the Higher Education Advisory Council. This Council will be structured to ensure we have an active voice from the Colleges and Universities within our Board.
Experienced President with a demonstrated history of working in the human resources industry. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Career Development, Coaching, Business Coaching, and Entrepreneurship. Strong business development professional with a Masters Degree focused in Educational Administration and Policy Studies from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Throughout his illustrious career, Kwame worked for Kraft and at the Concordia University - Chicago. He is the author of "Striving While Black: A Playbook For The Seriously Ambitious", see the book image to the right. You can read Mr. Salter's blogs on his Linkedin page.