Perry Sholes, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Perry Sholes, President of Progressive HR Strategies, Inc., is a certified talent optimization consultant and business executive who successfully creates economic value through Human Resources leadership. He helped drive profitability as a corporate leader both domestically and internationally at industry-leading consumer products companies, including Nabisco and Kraft Foods, where he recruited MBA talent from some of the country’s best schools and led internship summer programs for several corporate functions. He also represented both companies at National Black MBA initiatives.
Perry has a legacy track record of transforming HR departments, improving processes, and creating a service-oriented culture in many areas, including talent acquisition, training design and facilitation, leadership development, talent management, employee engagement, diversity and inclusion, and more.
Perry received an executive MBA from the University of South Florida and a B.S. in Marketing from Tampa College. He is a certified HR professional (SPHR and SCP), Myers-Briggs and DISC Practitioner, and Certified Talent Optimization Consultant. He has held board positions across multiple associations, including the New Orleans Regional Black Chamber, and is active as a business coach for the Urban League of Louisiana Scale Up! Program and Women's Business Resource Center. Perry is a 2019 graduate of NORLI and Urban League's ULead Program.
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.
Secretary & Governance
Kelder Summers Jones 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 is highly skilled in Public Relations, Communications, and Marketing with an emphasis in broadcast media; she is also skilled in complex/segmented sales best practices, event creation, planning and management, community outreach, and organizational strategic planning.
Kelder brings expert-level knowledge of New Orleans's media, business, political, and non-profit communities and possesses the abilities 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.
William "Bill" DiPaola
With 27 years of restaurant and executive leadership experience, 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. Bill previously served as President and COO of award-winning Dat Dog Enterprises and Chief Development Officer for Rotolo’s Craft & Crust, a 35-unit fast casual chain throughout the Gulf South.
Bill is a published author and industry thought-leader who has been featured in and interviewed for multiple publications, including Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Huffington Post. Bill sits on multiple industry boards of directors and is a recipient of the “New and Notable” 2017 award in Biz New Orleans Magazine and "People to Watch" 2017 in New Orleans Magazine. Bill has also been on the forefront of change and political action in the restaurant and franchising industries, including meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Congressional Black Caucus to put forth initiatives to create opportunities for minority business owners in franchising.
Kendall T. Crawford is Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Student Affairs for St. Augustine High School, where he previously served as both a teacher and Associate Athletic Director. Kendall graduated from Dillard University in 2017 with a degree in Mass Communication, with a focus in public relations.
Kendall believes that all children deserve an equal opportunity to succeed in life and that education is the key that unlocks the door to that 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.
Inspired by his NFL career and his experience as an owner, partner, investor, and advisor to dozens of companies, Marques Colston 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. He is a licensed financial advisor and has launched Venture Investing and Entrepreneurship for Professional Athletes, an executive education program at Columbia Business School for current and former professional athletes. Marques is also an adjunct professor at the University of New Orleans, a Super Bowl champion, and an inductee in the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame and the Sports Halls of Fame in Pennsylvania and Louisiana.
Juaquana Lewis, Ed.D., is the Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction for InspireNOLA Charter Schools. She holds an Ed.D in educational leadership from Northcentral University; a Master of Arts in educational administration from the University of New Orleans; a Master of Arts in teaching, urban education from Southern University at New Orleans; and a Bachelor of Science in newspaper journalism from Florida A&M University.
Tyler Litt is the Senior Director of Equity and Community Investments at New Schools for Baton Rouge, where she manages due diligence of assets to ensure organizational processes are executed equitably.
Strategic Initiatives Chair
Dr. Arlanda Williams is Vice Chancellor and Executive at Delgado Community College, and she brings to CILI a demonstrated history of working in higher education, strong business development experience, and skills as a government liaison, writer, and fundraiser. Arlanda received an Executive Masters of 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 and Universities Advisory Council, was Councilwoman for Terrebonne Parish, and has served on national committees under the Obama Administration.
Kwame Salter is an experienced HR Executive with skills in career development, coaching, and entrepreneurship. Throughout his illustrious career, Kwame has worked for Kraft Foods and Concordia University, Chicago, and he is the author of Striving While Black: A Playbook For The Seriously Ambitious. Kwame holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and Policy Studies from University of Wisconsin-Madison.