Speaker Bios

Lisa Perez Jackson (E '83)

Opening Keynote Address

Vice President, Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives, Apple

Lisa Jackson is Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, reporting to CEO Tim Cook.

Lisa oversees Apple’s efforts to minimize its impact on the environment by addressing climate change through renewable energy and energy efficiency, using greener materials, and inventing new ways to conserve precious resources. She is also responsible for Apple’s education policy programs such as ConnectED, its product accessibility work, and its worldwide government affairs function.

From 2009 to 2013, Lisa served as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Appointed by President Barack Obama, she focused on reducing greenhouse gases, protecting air and water quality, preventing exposure to toxic contamination, and expanding outreach to communities on environmental issues. She has also served as Chief of Staff to New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine and as Commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection.

Lisa holds a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University and a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Tulane University. She serves on the boards of Princeton, Tulane, and the Clinton Foundation.

Tenaya Wallace (NC '96)

Closing Keynote Address

Purveyor of Purposeful Work, Tenaya Speaks

Tenaya Wallace is an inspiring keynote speaker and award-winning communications strategist helping humanity harness the power of purposeful work. After 15 years of designing effective communication campaigns for causes ranging from the environment to organ donation, Tenaya moved into the forprofit space and found employees disengaged from their work. She began researching employee engagement and found a direct correlation between engagement, productivity, profit…and purpose.

Purpose Matters combines an inspiring keynote with an interactive team building exercise for a unique workshop experience. Participants emerge with a clear sense of personal purpose, a deeper connection to the mission of the organization and specific actions to further their investment in purpose.

Tenaya holds a Bachelors of Arts from Tulane University in New Orleans and a Masters of Public Policy from the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA. Tenaya is a native Angeleno and lives in Silver Lake with her husband and two children, who attend the same elementary school she did.

Sherry M. Leventhal (L '77)

Welcome and Keynote Speaker Introduction

Vice Chair, Board of Tulane

For the past five years, Sherry Leventhal has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Neighborhood House Charter School, a K-8 charter school which primarily serves underprivileged children from Boston’s inner city. During her tenure as chair, the school doubled the size of its student body and constructed a new school building to house 400 students.

Mrs. Leventhal also serves on the Board of Trustees of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and chairs its Regulatory Compliance Committee. She is a member of the Board of Visitors of the Boston University School of Medicine and the Dean’s Advisory Board of Tulane Law School. Mrs. Leventhal was a founding director of Discovering Justice: The James D. St. Clair Court Education Project, an organization that brings middle school students to the federal courthouse in Boston to learn about the American legal system.

Mrs. Leventhal is a native of New Orleans and until she relocated to Boston in 1997, was a partner at the New Orleans law firm of Lemle & Kelleher LLP, specializing in real estate, banking and commercial transactions. While living in New Orleans, she served as a trustee of Metairie Park Country Day School and as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Children’s Bureau of New Orleans.

Mrs. Leventhal graduated with highest honors from Northwestern University in 1974 and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She received her J. D. from Tulane University Law School in 1977. As a law student, she served on the Board of Editors of the Tulane Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif.

Michael A. Fitts

Welcome and Keynote Speaker Introduction

President, Tulane University

Michael Fitts is the 15th president of Tulane University. He arrived at Tulane in July 2014, bringing with him a strong emphasis on heightening cross-disciplinary education and research. President Fitts believes students and higher education institutions can set themselves apart in a fast-changing world and ever-shifting economy through the combining of different fields and skills. In his first year at Tulane, he launched task forces to lead the university in deepening its unique strengths for interdisciplinary collaboration. He sees powerful advantages in the university’s manageable size, its wide selection of professional schools, the unified undergraduate college and multiple cross-disciplinary projects already in place. He aims to create the most engaged undergraduate experience in the country through this rethinking of academic options, residential living, extracurricular activities and more. In graduate education and research, he will foster intellectual cross-pollination that can produce solutions to some of the world’s most fundamental problems.

Previously, President Fitts served 14 years as dean of the Law School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was recognized for greatly boosting that school’s offerings in interdisciplinary education. He also presided over a quadrupling of Penn Law’s endowment, a more than 40 percent increase in the size of the Law School faculty and a doubling of all forms of student financial aid.

Tania Tetlow (NC '92)

Gender Issues in the Workplace

Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff,
Tulane University, Fayard Professor of Law

Tania Tetlow is the Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff of Tulane University. She works as a close strategic advisor to the President, oversees Government and Community Relations, Board Relations and serves as Corporate Secretary of the University.

Tetlow is also the Felder- Fayard Professor of Law. Her scholarship focused on issues of race and gender and her teaching was honored with the University Graduate Teaching Award. For ten years, she directed the Law School’s Domestic Violence Clinic and became a leader in transforming the local criminal justice response to sexual assault.

A native of New Orleans, Tetlow has a Bachelors of Arts degree from Newcomb College, was named one of 80 Truman Fellows in the U.S. and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. She clerked for Fifth Circuit Judge James Dennis and was a commercial litigator at Phelps Dunbar. She then served as a federal prosecutor focused on violent crime and major narcotics cases. After Katrina, she served as Chair of the Public Library board and raised millions to rebuild flooded branches. 

Felicia Kleinpeter (NC '87)

Moderator, Herstories of Resilience

Co-founder, Imagine Recovery New Orleans

Felicia Kleinpeter is the Co-founder and CEO of Imagine Recovery. She is a proud New Orleans resident, graduate of Tulane University and a Tulane freshman parent. She is on the Parents Council and National Campaign Council Boards at Tulane. In addition, she works closely with and supports the Tulane University School of Social Work.

Felicia has been active in the mental health/substance-use field for the last seven plus years, spending a great deal of her time working with families and individuals looking for help. She is passionate about creating solutions that give people hope. Felicia has formed and continues to build relationships with top local and national mental health professionals and treatment centers who have the same ethics and commitment to help others. As a woman in long-term recovery, her personal and professional life are all about connection, collaboration, healing, and living a big, authentic, fun-filled, purposeful sober life.

Felicia is a dedicated community member that has devoted her time and love supporting various organizations in Louisiana and around the country: Bridge House/Grace House in New Orleans, O’Brien House in Baton Rouge, ARHE (Association of Recovery in Higher Education) and TPAS (Treatment Professionals in Alumni Services) nationally, and has organized fundraising events to help LSU create a Collegiate Recovery Community.

Kali Jones (L '96, PHTM '96)

Panelist, Herstories of Resilience

Foreign Service Officer, United States Department of State

Kali Jones joined the Foreign Service of the U. S. Department of State in September 2002. She is an economic-track officer who has served in Ho Chi Minh City, Port-au-Prince, and Brasilia. In Washington, Kali worked on the staff of Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and John Kerry, and was the Chief of Staff to the Counselor of the Department. She is currently Tulane University’s Diplomat in Residence. Kali will complete this assignment in May to become the Deputy Chief of Mission to our Embassy in Botswana.

Before joining the Department, Kali was the associate director for programs of the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center as well as a lecturer of constitutional law in the political science department at Howard University. Her first experience living abroad was as a Peace Corps volunteer in Madagascar, where she established a health program through local community organizations.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Howard University and is a proud alum of both Tulane’s Law School and the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Dr. Mary Lupo (NC '76, M '80, R '84)

Panelist, Herstories of Resilience

Owner and Dermatologist, Lupo Center Aesthetic & General Dermatology, LLC

Dr. Mary P. Lupo is a board certified dermatologist, clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University School of Medicine and an internationally recognized innovatorin non-surgical skin rejuvenation. In 1983, as chief resident of dermatology at Tulane Heath Science Center, she added cosmetic injectable therapy, sclerotherapy and chemical peels to the core curriculum of training for Tulane residents. For 30 years, she acted as director of this educational clinic. As a frequent member of advisory boards and as an investigator in FDA clinical trials, she has impacted the development and improvement of non-surgical treatments and skin care products. In 1984, Dr. Lupo opened the Lupo Center for Aesthetic and General Dermatology where she has pioneered the concept of combination therapies such as resurfacing, filler injections, skin care protocols and neuromodulation to help her patients achieve natural, meaningful improvement in their appearance. Dr. Lupo graduated summa cum laude in 1976 from Newcomb College, first in her graduating class. She attended Tulane University School of Medicine, completed her internship in internal medicine at Ochsner Foundation Hospital and dermatology residency at Tulane affiliated hospitals. She currently holds licensure in Louisiana and Colorado and has lifetime certification from the American Board of Dermatology. She is a fellow of the AAD and ASDS for which she served as member of the board of directors. She is past president of the Women’s Dermatological Society and past treasurer of the Louisiana Dermatological Society. She has been named top doctor by Castle Connelly for the past 7 years and a top dermatologist and top cosmetic doctor locally in New Orleans by Gambit Newspaper. Dr. Lupo is frequently quoted in publications such as InStyle, New Beauty and Allure. She has appeared on local TV stations as well as on E! Entertainment Network, The View and CNN as a go-to expert in dermatology and cosmetic procedures. She is the author of more than 60 medical publications and more than 250 peer presentations.

NancyKay Wessman (PHTM '89)

Panelist, Herstories of Resilience

Owner, WessComm, LLC

Veteran journalist and public health communications expert NancyKay Sullivan Wessman writes, edits, reads, and tells stories.

Wessman’s work of creative nonfiction reveals true accounts from first responders to the catastrophic hurricane that targeted Mississippi in 2005. Katrina, Mississippi: Voices From Ground Zero celebrates and commemorates their work toward rebuilding the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Her 2017 contribution to A Second Blooming: Becoming The Women We Are Meant To Be,an anthology, traces her personal transformation from career to wife to widow to author. While developing Katrina, Mississippi, in 2012, she published her first book as co-author with Dr. Gerald S. Berenson, internationally acclaimed cardiologist, research scientist, and founder of the Bogalusa Heart Study.

As a 1989 MPH graduate of Tulane, Wessman grew into a nationally known and respected public relations director. In her post with Mississippi State Department of Health, she helped create and lead organizations that attracted other public health communicators and enabled them to do their jobs better. She taught other public health workers how to think and speak strategically, especially via the mass media.

Wessman’s written everything from annual reports to websites, from newspaper articles to books. She values truth. She’s also a public relations consultant and speaker.
Sometimes she cooks, gardens, and entertains.

Collin Ferguson (B '04)

Moderator, Becoming the Boss: Entrepreneurs Share Their Stories

Co-founder and CEO, Where Y’Art/whereyart.net

Collin’s love affair with New Orleans began at Tulane University, where she was torn between studying art and business. Her eventual decision to attend Tulane’s A. B. Freeman School of Business prepared her for the world of marketing without ever eclipsing her love of art.

Time abroad spent as a teacher in Thailand and volunteering in Latin America exposed Collin to administrative practices administrative practices in diverse, international environments. The act of travel also reconnected her with her old passion for art. In 2011, after over six years overseas, she settled back in New Orleans and founded Birds of a Feather NOLA, which focuses on feather hair pieces and headdresses, encaustic painting, and photography. Within a year of launching Birds of a Feather, she had become a self-sustaining artist, and within two years, she could barely keep up with orders. During this time, she witnessed firsthand the difficulties of arts promotion and marketing among local colleagues, and at the same time was approached by Catherine Todd regarding Where Y’Art. A business was born.

Jayda Batchelder (PHTM '09)

Panelist, Becoming the Boss: Entrepreneurs Share Their Stories

Founding Executive Director, Education Opens Doors, Inc.

Jayda Batchelder serves as the Founding Executive Director of Education Opens Doors, a Texas-based nonprofit organization whose vision is to ensure students will pursue their limitless potential, ultimately eliminating educational inequity. As Executive Director, Jayda leads strategic planning, program development, and fundraising efforts. To date, EOD has earned over 3 million dollars in philanthropic and earned income while empowering nearly 33,000 students since the organization’s founding in 2012.

Jayda was inspired to create Education Opens Doors while teaching in a high needs middle school in Dallas. As an award-winning science teacher, Jayda realized that despite her students’ academic success, their lack of college knowledge was still a barrier. Thus the Roadmap to Success student manual was created. This manual is the cornerstone of the Roadmap to Success Program, a high-impact, train the trainer resource currently used by 55 different partner organizations across Texas and New Orleans.

Jayda is recognized as a thought leader for her work in the college access sphere. She was honored to be a Marshall Memorial Fellow through the German Marshall Fund. In 2016, Jayda was selected as a Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation Entrepreneur and in 2015 Jayda was named a “40 Under 40” honoree by the Dallas Business Journal. She graduated from Tulane University in 2009, receiving her bachelor’s degree in Public Health and Psychology. Jayda remains an avid New Orleans Saints fan.

Haley Burns (LA '15)

Panelist, Becoming the Boss: Entrepreneurs Share Their Stories

Founder and Executive Director, Fund 17

Haley Burns has pursued her passion for urban development, community research, and human-centered design throughout her education and career, building on her entrepreneurial nature. After a fellowship with Lend for America in 2012, Haley founded Fund 17 to empower underserved micro-entrepreneurs in New Orleans. Her experience is also international, having worked for an impact investing conference in Singapore and for Saha Global to start a clean water business in Northern Ghana. As the Executive Director of Fund 17, Haley has built an inclusive community for entrepreneurs, creating impact through key core values such as financial empowerment, personal goal-setting and relationship-building. In 2016, she became the Louisiana Small Business Advisor for Kiva, an international microfinance organization. With this title, Haley brought expertise to the state in leveraging Kiva’s crowdsourced financing platform for 0% interest micro-loans. In addition to leading Fund 17, Haley serves on the Board of Directors for Broad Community Connections and volunteers with the New Orleans Horror Film Fest. She loves traveling, sewing and attempting to play bass. Haley has a B.A. from Tulane University in History and International Development with a minor in Urban Studies.

Joyce Delery (NC '84)

Panelist, Becoming the Boss: Entrepreneurs Share Their Stories

Realtor, Engel & Völkers, New Orleans

In February of 2011, Joyce Delery along with her sister Anne Comarda opened the doors of Delery Comarda Realtors. After spending almost 15 years working as a team, they made the leap from a large brokerage to lead and manage a company they were able to design and build from the ground up. It was their personality and their core values that drove their firm to grow from 4 realtors as of February 2011 to over 60 as of February 2017.

In May, 2016, Joyce and her sister, Anne Delery Comarda, along with their business partner, Marty Brantley, joined together to bring Engel & Völkers to the New Orleans market. Since its beginning in 1977 as a specialty boutique providing exclusive, high end real estate services in Hamburg, Germany, Engel & Völkers has become one of the world’s leading companies specializing in the sale and lease of premium residential and commercial property, yachts and private aviation. Engel & Völkers currently operates a global network of over 8,000 real estate advisors in more than 700 brokerages spanning 36 countries across five continents, offering both private and institutional clients a professionally tailored range of luxury services.

As the Sponsoring Broker of the company, Joyce brings a background of Sales and Marketing from a tourism perspective to her work. As Director of Sales and Marketing for Brennan’s Restaurant she traveled the world with the Chefs spreading the word about New Orleans cuisine. Joyce was also very active in the Royal Street Guild serving as president. Joyce’s next career move was to New Orleans Steamboat where she worked as Director of Tour and Travel. She was lured away from there to head the Sales and Marketing departmentfor River Barge Excursion Lines. She worked there from the inception through the first river excursions. Selling the city she loves has always come naturally to Joyce. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, with their own homes destroyed, Anne and Joyce worked tirelessly with other realtors and neighborhood groups to help their friends and neighbors figure out what to do when faced with an unprecedented reality. They were founding members of LARU, Lake Area Realtors United a group of Realtors from the Lakefront area of New Orleans who got together and helped each other get information to homeowners and buyers to bring the City back. The group continues to meet monthly and their efforts can be seen in the rejuvenated spaces and faces of the area. Instilled with the belief that there is always something more to do to make a difference. She has been an active volunteer for neighborhood groups, charities, social committees and local schools.

Smydge Perry (L '02)

Moderator, Top Leaders Share Stories of Triumph

Founder and CEO, HABERDAShe

Smydge Perry is the founder and CEO of HABERDASHE, a fashion technology startup that creates customized garments using virtual fit technology for women who have problems buying clothes online. Smydge is a graduate of Tulane Law School with over 15 years of experience managing international development projects for CDC, USAID and the U.S. State Department.

A natural problem solver, Smydge helped bring peaceful democratic transitions to war-ravaged countries like Uganda, Nigeria and South Africa. Her company website can be viewed online at www.myhaberdashe.com.

Millie Bradley (NC '73, B '75)

Panelist, Top Leaders Share Stories of Triumph

General Auditor, Exxon Mobil Corporation (Retired); Board Member, United Way Foundation of Metropolitan Dallas

Millie Bradley is a native of New Orleans and graduated from Tulane University with an MBA in Finance and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics.

Ms. Bradley began employment with Exxon in 1975 as a systems project manager. In 1979, she moved to Houston to become Manager of Computer Applications for Exxon’s U. S. chemical company. Ms. Bradley progressed through several managerial positions within Exxon, including Systems Manager in Imperial Oil in Toronto, Canada, Financial Reporting Manager in Exxon Coal and Minerals Company, and Manager of Exxon Computing Services Company. In 1998, she became Assistant Controller of Exxon Corporation in Dallas, TX. After serving as Controller of ExxonMobil Chemical Company, she was named General Auditor of Exxon Corporation. Ms. Bradley retired from ExxonMobil in April 2009 after nearly 34 years of service.

She is the former Board Chair of the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas. She also serves on the Board of the United Way Foundation and is a member of United Way’s Women of Tocqueville in Dallas, Texas. She is also a member of Golden Seeds Investments and Texas Women Ventures, investment groups focused on women-led entrepreneurial pursuits. Ms. Bradley does speaking on ethics, leadership and work/life balance, and is a visiting executive with Deloitte University.

Ms. Bradley’s husband Allan is the former President of Questar Pipeline Company, based in Salt Lake City, Utah. They have two children, Allison and Jonathan. Allison and her husband James have blessed Allan and Millie with two grandchildren, Avery and Parker.

Lorna Donatone (B '80)

Panelist, Top Leaders Share Stories of Triumph

CEO Geographic Regions and Region Chair North America, Sodexo

Lorna Donatone is Sodexo’s CEO for Geographic Regions and Region Chair for North America. She is a member of the Sodexo Group Executive Committee and Chair of the North America Regional Leadership Committee. As CEO for Geographic Regions, Ms. Donatone is responsible for the coordination of businesses around the world. In North America, she leads Sodexo’s growth in the U.S. and Canada.

Before moving to her current role, Ms. Donatone was CEO for Schools worldwide, managing the K-12 business in 42 countries. Prior to that, she served as Chief Operating Officer and President of Sodexo’s U.S. Education market. She has held several other key leadership roles in the company, including President of School Services and President of Spirit Cruises. She began her career in public accounting with Deloitte & Touche and has worked in the airline, banking and high-tech industries.

She was elected as a member of the Board of Trustees for The Culinary Institute of America in 2008. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Jamba Juice, Inc. Ms. Donatone chairs the Texas Christian University Neeley School of Business International Board of Visitors and is a member of the Tulane University Business School Council. She previously served as a member of the Board of Directors for Entertainment Cruises.

She has a Bachelor of Science in Management from Tulane University and a Master of Business Administration from Texas Christian University.

Teri Marconi (NC '85)

Panelist, Top Leaders Share Stories of Triumph

Sector Vice President & General Manager Navigation & Maritime Systems Division, Electronic Systems Sector, Northrop Grumman Corporation (Retired)

As Vice President and General Manager, Navigation & Maritime Systems Division, Ms. Marconi was responsible for all N&MSD programs and division site operations.

Most recently, Ms. Marconi held the position of Sector Vice President of Business Development with executive responsibility for the strategic planning and development of new business opportunities throughout the former Electronic Systems Sector. This included executive sponsorship and direction of the Sector’s strategic campaigns as well as Sector Priority Wins. Additionally, Ms. Marconi had responsibility for the Sector’s export policy actions, offset strategy and Capture Leadership Center.

Ms. Marconi has held a number of positions in Program Management, Subcontract Management, Marketing and Business Development for Northrop Grumman. Additionally, Ms. Marconi held the position of Vice President, Combat Avionics Systems, and had executive responsibility for all programs and activities within Combat Avionics Systems which included product development and production for tactical and fire control radars on F-22, F-35, B1-B, C-130J and other classified platforms, and the Distributed Aperture IR System (DAS) for the F-35.

Ms. Marconi received a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and has completed a variety of executive-level development programs. She is a member of the Board of Directors at both Tulane University and the Navy Submarine League.

Deidre Danahar (SW '93, PHTM '94)

Moderator, Adapting to Changes in Your Industry

Owner, InMotion Consulting and Coaching, LLC

Deirdre Danahar is the owner and principle of InMotion Consulting & Coaching. She is a trusted thinking partner for leaders in business, government, higher-education, and non-profit organizations. For 19 years, she’s delivered guidance, training, and coaching to her clients that is grounded in research and coupled candid observations about their performance, presence, relationships, and their organization. She has found the same skills help people making a career transition or who are stepping into a new leadership role. She draws on her expertise in leadership, human development, motivation, workplace culture, and group dynamics to tailor programs to clients’ needs.

Deirdre works with individuals and organizations across the United States and as far north as Ontario Canada. Her organizational clients include: AISTMPainCareTM, C Spire, Millsaps College EMBA program, Iowa Department of Public Health Partnerships for Success Project, Center for Mississippi Health Policy, Mississippi State Department of Health Office of Women’s Health, Mangia Bene Restaurant Group, Women’s Foundation of Mississippi, and, the Division of Information Systems at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Deirdre is accredited by the International Coach Federation and Institute for Social and Emotional Intelligence. She has a B.A. in psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, as well as, both a M.S.W. and M.P.H. from Tulane University. She was named one of Mississippi’s 50 Leading Business Women in 2012. She is a transplanted New Englander based in Jackson, MS. When not working you might find her covered in dirt from gardening, watching the Tour de France, or practicing her Argentine Tango skills.

Contact Deirdre at deirdre@inmotioncc.com, or 601-362-8288. Her website is: www.inmotioncc.com.

Sara Barnard (NC '91)

Panelist, Adapting to Changes in Your Industry

Vice President of Sales and Marketing, The Advocate

Sara Barnard is a dedicated professional with over 21 years of successful experience implementing strategic revenue-driven initiatives exceeding determined goals. She is knowledgeable in relationship management, prospect identification and customer acquisition, product and pricing strategy, organizational and staff development, new business development, event planning and implementation, and messaging/communications strategy. She has recruited, supervised and motivated both professional staff and volunteers to fulfill defined goals. Sara has served on and led volunteer boards affiliated with Newcomb College at Tulane University and the Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity. Her professional goal is to continue working with leaders committed to excellence in a collaborative atmosphere and to continue to learn and grow in all aspects of her professional and personal life.

Dean Suri Duitch, Ph.D.

Panelist, Adapting to Changes in Your Industry

Dean, Tulane School of Professional Advancement

Suri Duitch is dean of the Tulane University School of Professional Advancement. Duitch also holds the additional title of vice president for academic innovation, and has a leadership role in the development and deployment of new digital courseware and learning platforms for the university as a whole. Under her leadership, the school is taking a fresh look at how it (and Tulane University) can best meet the needs of working adults and employers in New Orleans, the Gulf Coast region, and beyond, through both classroom-based and online courses and degree programs.

She joined Tulane from the City University of New York, the nation’s largest urban public university system, where she was an administrator from 2004 to 2016. At CUNY, she was University Dean for Continuing Education and Workforce Development, as well as the deputy to the senior university dean for academic affairs. Prior to joining CUNY, she held policy and program oversight positions in New York City government agencies, and worked with nonprofits and private foundations to conduct research in areas such as the arts and economic development, children’s health services and nonprofit advocacy.

Her passions in work relate to opening up higher education, and the life-transforming benefits of the knowledge, skills and credentials gained from college, to people who wouldn’t otherwise have that access. She is also deeply committed to helping adult students gain knowledge and skills to advance in their careers and to further develop as members of their families and communities.

Duitch holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Columbia College, Columbia University, an MSW in community organizing from Hunter College–CUNY, and a PhD in urban education from the CUNY Graduate Center. She lives in New Orleans with her husband, Neil Kleiman, a political scientist and urban policy expert on the faculty at the New York University – Wagner School of Public Service, and their two children.

Alyana Samai (PHTM '15)

Moderator, Failing Forward: Shifting the Mindset

Stroke Program Coordinator, West Jefferson Medical Center

Alyana Samai is the Stroke Program Coordinator at West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero, LA. Originally from Coral Springs, FL, she earned a Bachelor of Health Science with a concentration in Public Health and minor in English from the University of Florida in 2013. She earned a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from Tulane University in 2015. She has been active in the areas of public health and clinical stroke research and has published several original articles based on her research, which predominantly focused on hypercoagulability and stroke. Her experiences include managing the Tulane Stroke Research Program and working as a Public Health Epidemiology Specialist for the Louisiana Department of Health Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Program. Additionally, her volunteer experiences have ranged from leading the Cancer Team of the Adolescent Palliative Care program, Streetlight, to serving as the President of the University of Florida Preprofessional Service Organization.

Melissa Berry (NC '90)

Panelist, Failing Forward: Shifting the Mindset

Assistant Dean for Student & Career Services, University of Washington

Melissa Berry is the Assistant Dean for Student & Career Services. She returned to the University of Washington School of Law in fall 2016 in as the Director of Graduate Program and Alumni Coaching. Dean Berry previously served on the faculties at UW Law and Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law. Most recently, Dean Berry served as the Assistant Dean of Career Services at Chapman. Before moving into law school administration, Dean Berry was an Associate Professor and Director of the Environmental, Land Use and Real Estate Law Emphasis Program.

Dean Berry brings over ten years of experience in legal education and seven years of experience as an attorney and judicial clerk. Ms. Berry practiced law, primarily commercial litigation, on both coasts as an associate at Latham & Watkins in Washington, D.C. and at Perkins Coie LLP in Seattle. Selected as a Perkins Coie Community Service Fellow, she worked with TeamChild, a Seattle-based nonprofit civil legal services and advocacy organization serving at-risk youth. Following law school, Dean Berry was a law clerk to the Honorable David B. Sentelle, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and the Honorable Terence T. Evans, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

Dean Berry holds a J.D., cum laude, from Northwestern University School of Law, and a B.A., cum laude, in Political Science and Latin American Studies from Tulane University. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Washington State Bar Association.

Tara Lang

Panelist, Failing Forward: Shifting the Mindset

Success Coach, Tulane University

Tara serves as a Success Coach at Tulane University. She received a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education with an English as Second Language Certificate through the University of Central Florida. She taught English in Spain for two years through the North American Language and Culture Assistants in Spain Program. She spent her time working with English learners of all ages and levels in Villarrobledo and Madrid.

In 2012, she moved to New Orleans to be closer to her brothers, one a Tulanian, who convinced her New Orleans was the best place to live. For five years, Tara served as an educator in charter and private schools in New Orleans helping students find success with the English language by personalizing their learning experience.

Tara came to Tulane after working with a professional life coach to advance her leadership skills. It was through this experience that she recognized the immense impact of 1:1 coaching and wanted to share this experience with young adults in the community. This led Tara to join Tulane University’s Success Team to become a life coach.

Through the coaching process, Tara helps students set and achieve personal and academic goals. She believes students need to take small incremental steps to create massive change towards what they want for their life. Tara loves working with students to help them cultivate a mindset that empowers them to show up as their most authentic self and take action in their lives.

Shaina Spector (SE ’10)

Panelist, Failing Forward: Shifting the Mindset

Assistant Director and Senior Academic Advisor, Tulane University

Shaina Spector, MS, PLPC, NCC, is originally from Orlando, Florida. She has a B.S. in psychology from Tulane University and an M.S. in clinical mental health counseling from Loyola University New Orleans. She is currently an assistant director and academic advisor at Tulane University. She is also sees clients for mental health counseling in private practice. She enjoys empowering her students and clients as they encounter academic and career challenges, face life transitions, and work toward self-acceptance.

Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, Ph.D.

Moderator, Panel Discussion: Artistic Expressions of Resiliency

Director, Newcomb Art Museum

Mónica Ramírez-Montagut is the Director of Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University since August 2014. She received her B.A. in Architecture from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Architecture from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. She has served as Associate Director and Senior Curator for MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana and Senior Curator at the San Jose Museum of Art, both in San Jose/Silicon Valley, California; Curator at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut; and Assistant Curator of architecture and design at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, where she worked on groundbreaking exhibitions such as “Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want to Believe”, “Zaha Hadid”, and “Restoring a Masterpiece: Frank Lloyd Wright‘s Guggenheim Museum”. Some of her publications include KAWS (Rizzoli, 2010) and Erik Parker, Colorful Resistance (Rizzoli, 2012).

Jacqueline Bishop (G '82)

Panelist, Panel Discussion: Artistic Expressions of Resiliency

Visual Artist

Jacqueline Bishop is a New Orleans based Visual Artist who explores the long tradition of landscape painting and environmental issues through her paintings, installation and works on paper. She studied Art, Art History and Philosophy at the University of Kansas, received a BA from the University of New Orleans and MFA from Tulane University where she briefly taught art. For 8 years she taught Art and the Environment at Loyola University. Her work is included in the collections of the Detroit Institute of the Arts, the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, New Orleans Museum of Art and numerous others. She has exhibited or lectured in Europe, Southeast Asia, North and South America. She is a grant recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and Joan Mitchell Foundation. Ms. Bishop is represented by the Arthur Roger Gallery.

Francesca (Frahn) Koerner (NC '82)

Panelist, Panel Discussion: Artistic Expressions of Resiliency

Visual Artist

A native New Orleanian, Francesca “Frahn” Koerner received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Tulane University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of New Orleans: majoring in painting with a minor in photography. She has taught both at Tulane University and the University of New Orleans.

Koerner is primarily a painter but also uses photography, drawing, mixed media and the occasional installation or video in her work. Her multi layered paintings combine figures, geometry and patterns from nature along with formal issues of line, space, color, value and repetition. Pictorial space is often intended to fluctuate, eliciting a meditative and rhythmic response. The resulting spatial ambiguity is a personal metaphor for the spiritual and the material world co-existing. Ms. Koerner’s symbolic art is idea based, often motivated by loss and transformation along with the ensuing universal quest to find oneself, one’s inner wisdom or spirituality. She has recently begun a new Adult Survivor series which – as in other works of hers – employs the computer as a fundamental creative tool.

In 2016 Koerner’s paintings were chosen for a solo alumni spotlight show at the UNO St. Claude Gallery and her photographs were included in the group show “A Building With A View”: Experiments in Anarchitecture,” at the Contemporary Arts Center. Frahn Koerner Studios was chosen as one of the Satellite Projects for International Art Triennial Prospect.2 and again for Prospect.3+ New Orleans. A painting of hers was exhibited in the group show “Reparation” at the New Orleans Museum of Art for Prospect.3+. A photographic puzzle was chosen to be included in the University of New Orleans’ inaugural St. Claude Gallery show H x W x D – Thirty Years of MFA at UNO and is now in the permanent collection of the Historic New Orleans Collection. Koerner’s work is collected and shown in the USA and Europe. It can be seen online at www.frahnkoerner.com.