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Board of Directors

Board Chair

Melissa Schutz Lilly, JD,  is a Financial Advisor for Heller & Stieffel Wealth Management Group of UBS Financial Services, Inc. Prior to her role with UBS she was the Senior Vice President and Senior Wealth Advisor for IBERIA Wealth Advisors and OMNIBANK. As a senior wealth advisor, she advised clients on estate, gift, and retirement planning. Her role with IWA was client-centric and its goals were relationship-building and maintenance through a comprehensive approach to financial planning. As a trust officer with OMNIABANK, Melissa oversaw the day to day operations of a $500,000,000 trust department centered on fiduciary, custodial and retirement services. Prior to joining OMNI, Melissa practiced estate planning law in California with a major regional law firm. Her main focus has been on estate planning and trust administration. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of California, Davis School of Law. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Colorado, Boulder where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. Melissa is a member of the California State Bar and the Estate Planning Council of New Orleans. She is the current board chair of Community Works, an avid runner and the mother of one.

Vice Board Chair

Sarah Hargrove Howard is the Acquisitions Director for the Conservation Fund’s Central Gulf Coast office, where she executes real estate acquisition projects that protect land and water with high conservation value across the gulf. In addition to her efforts to protect the Gulf’s environmental health, Sarah is dedicated to connecting our city’s Youth with quality education, culture and arts services. She is an active volunteer with the Junior League of New Orleans, Big Class, the Louisiana Landmarks Society, and the Friends of the Cabildo. Sarah received her Masters of Science in Sustainable Real Estate Development from Tulane University in 2013. She holds a Bachelors degree in Mass Communications from Texas Tech University. In her time outside the office, Sarah enjoys kayak fishing, college football, cooking and floral design.


Emma Herr is a Development Officer with Tulane University. Born and raised in New York City, she came to New Orleans to attend Tulane and worked previously as the Director of Development for the hurricane preparedness non-profit, Evacuteer. As a volunteer with Community Works and Young Audiences over the past several years, she has seen the impact arts education has made on the youth of New Orleans and is so excited to be involved as a board member with Community Works.


Kesha Bullard Lewis has been a part of the Community Works team since 2010. She began as a Teaching Artist, then moved to the other side, as parent, enrolling several of her “sons” from a local boys home, and now, as a member of the board. Outside of Community Works, most of her time is spent alongside her husband, focusing on “Character Building” and “Life Skill Training” as youth ministers in the community and around the world. She has also been given the privilege of being a working actor and writer, who dedicates every morsel of her gifts to telling the stories that make others better.

Mish Warrier, MBA, has a breadth of experience working in various financial, operational, strategic planning, and advisory roles with organizations in differing industries. In his time spent working in private equity, he aided in venture investing activities and was responsible for evaluating business plans, gathering competitive intelligence, and performing financial analyses to determine companies’ growth potential. Prior to working in the field of finance, Mr. Warrier worked in various business roles within the National Football League, for both the New Orleans Saints and the NFL League Office. Mr. Warrier graduated from the Tulane University – A.B. Freeman School of Business receiving a MBA with concentrations in Finance and Strategy with a supporting concentration in International Business. He received his B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin where he majored in Economics, Philosophy, and Psychology. In addition, he has attended graduate programs and completed coursework in legal and business studies at Loyola University New Orleans Law School and Stanford Graduate School of Business. Mr. Warrier believes that the enriched learning programs provided by Community Works play a vital role in motivating children to enjoy learning, both in the classroom and beyond their traditional schooling.

Jordan Frankel is orginially from Oregon. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, and his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law. After practicing law in Chicago for a few years, Jordan moved to New Orleans with the hope of finding a more meaningful career path and even spent some time as an instructor for Community Works. Jordan eventually went back to school and obtained his Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. Jordan currently works with injured and disabled individuals in litigation to help identify future medical treatment plans and assist in returning to the workforce.

Brandon Speed manages the Project Controls team that is responsible for the methods and tools used in project data gathering, data tracking, management and analytical processes used to predict, understand and constructively influence the time and cost outcomes of SWBNO Capital projects or programs; through the communication of information in formats that assist effective management and decision making.

He is a certified Project Manager (PMP) and Construction Manager (CCM) with over 16 years of experience in the construction industry, including project management, construction management, and field inspection. He possesses a strong background in the areas of Civil, Commercial and Residential construction projects. This experience has provided him familiarity with the processes and procedures of FEMA, GOHSEP, and other public entities.

Past Board Chair

Albert Vallotton is co-founder and president of Ardent Services, an industrial electrical contractor serving the process automation needs of oil & gas, petrochemical, refining, pharmaceutical and food processing companies nationwide.  Ardent employs over 1,000 skilled craft personnel.  Mr. Vallotton has extensive strategic planning, senior management, operational leadership and safety training experience.  His service to the community includes teaching coursework in Economics, Personal Finance an Ethics as a high school classroom volunteer for Junior Achievement.  He graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering from Louisiana State University, and during the ensuing twenty-five years has lived and worked in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Corpus Christi, Houston and New Orleans.  He currently resides in Metairie, Louisiana with his wife and three children.  Mr. Vallotton brings critical enterprise development, financial analysis and performance measurement capabilities to our board and organization.