Jen joined IWES in July 2018. A native Texan, she moved to New Orleans in 2009 having completed her Bachelor of Science at Santa Clara University in Biomedical Sciences, committing focus to International Wellness and Community Action. Following a year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in support of people living with HIV/AIDS, she enrolled with Tulane School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine. Jen earned her Masters Summa Cum Laude as well as the Elizabeth A. Bennett Award for Excellence in Maternal and Child Health in 2012. Upon completion of her schooling, she remained at Tulane a Field Research Analyst with a federally-funded randomized control trial designed to evaluate the efficacy of an Internet-based pregnancy prevention intervention. Prior to joining IWES, Jen worked as a full time public health practitioner with ReNEW Accelerated High School, applying a holistic lens to student wellness through direct instruction, targeted case management, and full student population interventions. Her professional interests include reproductive and sexual health justice, supporting adolescent development-especially of critical consciousness, and pursuing equity across education, health, and wellness spaces. Her personal passions include dance, exploring culture and cuisine, and being a dog mom.
Fay Love joined IWES in August 2017 as the Administrative Manager. Faye studied Business Administration at Southern University at New Orleans and has over 25 years of experience in the field of Human Resources and Administration. Prior to coming to IWES, she worked in the legal field and is looking forward to working in the non-profit sector. Fay is a native New Orleanian and is excited about joining and working with the IWES team.
Ryann joined IWES in the spring of 2019 as a BY-LA Program Coordinator. Reproductive health and justice have shaped the foundations of Ryann’s professional journey and deep interest in community-centered work. An Alaskan at heart, Ryann relocated to Washington State where she completed a BA in Health and Human Rights and a minor in Spanish. During her undergraduate, Ryann received an Adventure Learning Grant and spent an academic year working with local organizations in India and Thailand whose work focused on addressing HIV/AIDs, human trafficking, and gender inequities through culturally responsive approaches. Her experience abroad, along with additional research and field work reinforced Ryann’s passion for public health, equity, and desire to work with young people. In 2017, she completed her MPH from the University of Washington’s Community Oriented Public Health Practice Program with a thesis focused on innovative approaches to sexual health education for adolescents. Ryann’s love of adventure, people, food and creativity are some of the many reasons that prompted her move to New Orleans and keep her exploring the vibrant city. Prior to joining the IWES team, Ryann worked as an Adolescent Health Coordinator with the Bureau of Family Health to support and evaluate School-Based Health Centers across Louisiana while prioritizing youth centered care. She is thrilled to continue working with adolescents and believes in the power of trauma-informed, comprehensive education as a tool to foster self-efficacy and overall wellness.
Affectionately known as ‘Momma Nikki,’ Nikkisha Napoleon is a 2008 graduate of Southern University at New Orleans. Under the tutelage of extraordinary professors she had the opportunity to earn a dual Bachelor of Science in English and History, and worked on extensive campaigns Post- Hurricane Katrina in the education and political arena. As an educator and sexual health advocate, she works tirelessly fighting for education equity, social justice, and healthy sexual in New Orleans. In 2016, she launched a campaign for young girls entitled ‘The Sacredness of Safe Intimacy,’ primarily to empower, encourage, and educate young women to affirm the beauty of their existence. Since 2016, the campaign has grown into a workshop emphasizing the spiritual and physical connection of sex, teenage pregnancy, and sex trafficking, and providing Black mothers with the tools to assist their daughters in creating healthy sexual health decisions. For the past fifteen years, Nikkisha has dedicated her time as an HIV Testing and Linkage to Care Coordinator to ending the epidemic on HIV, and unapologetically focusing on Black women and Women of Color. As a former educator, she volunteers her service to high school juniors and seniors, assisting them with scholarship and college applications. Additionally, as a poet and spoken word artist, she has served as a panelist/presenter on numerous education, health, and women's conferences, addressing HIV testing, prevention, and stigma in the African American community.
Kala joined IWES in 2018 as a Research Coordinator and is a recent graduate of Tulane University with an MPH in International Health and Development and a certificate in Disaster Studies. She obtained her Bachelor’s of Science from Dillard University in Community Health. Prior to her educational pursuit, Kala worked as patient administrator/medical evacuation coordinator in South Korea and Afghanistan while in the Army. As a student she centered her focus on health education and working with at risk youth both domestically and internationally. She has worked in rural areas of Peru, Kenya, and South Korea counseling and testing for Malaria and HIV, conducting outreach, teaching community-based health and wellness programs, and relief efforts. As a river parish native who has lived by the mustard seed faith concept, Kala has dedicated herself to working with underserved populations both domestically and internationally. She is dedicated to impacting her local community through community-health based work that involves sexual health, disaster preparedness, health education, and positive youth development.
Lisa Richardson rejoined the IWES staff in July 2013. Prior to this, she served as the National Director of Southern Access Project for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a consultant, program director, and evaluator for a variety of organizations including Emory University, the Carter Presidential Center, and the New Orleans-based education program, Students at the Center. Lisa was a Visiting Professor at Florida State University in the Urban and Regional Planning department, and an Assistant Professor at California State University Northridge in the Urban Studies and Pan-African Studies Departments. She received her Ph.D. in 2002 at the University of New Orleans as a Board of Regents Fellow, and her Master of Science in 1996 from Georgia State University. Her interests include community development, analyzing social determinants of health, sexual health education and advocacy (particularly for women of color and youth), and participatory action research. After leaving New Orleans for academia, Lisa returned to her adopted home in 2005 to serve as the Interim Executive Director of IWES in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Rheneisha M. Robertson, MPH | Chief Programs Officer
Rheneisha Robertson joined IWES in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina and became the Executive Director of the organization in 2007. Prior to this, she served as Director of Care Services for a local HIV/ AIDS serving non-profit organization, providing oversight of HIV/AIDS primary medical care and case management services, and as lead counselor with the Teen Parent Services program, an Illinois Department of Health program to assist teen parents through the provision of social services and support. Rheneisha has prior experience with IWES, serving as a Program Coordinator of adolescent health programs from 2000-2002. She received a Master of Public Health in Health Education/ Communication and Maternal Child Health from the Tulane University School of Public Health (2001) and her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Xavier University of Louisiana (1999). Rheneisha returned to New Orleans post-Katrina with a commitment to engage in community-centered and driven recovery efforts that reflect and address issues impacting women and youth, particularly among women and youth of color and disenfranchised communities. She is a proud native of New Orleans, wife, and mother of two.
Gabriella Roude | Senior Research & Evaluation Associate
Gabriella joined IWES in February 2015 as an Administrative Assistant. Gabby’s academic training is in Social Anthropology, in which she completed a B.A. with a minor in Global Studies from Florida Gulf Coast University. Gabby has extensive international experience, volunteering in Haiti with the Rotary Club of the Upper Keys, COHEF (Children of Haiti Enhancement Foundation) and Zanmi Beni. In addition, throughout her undergraduate career Gabby participated in short semester programs to Brazil, Guatemala and the Galapagos, all experiences where she conducted community level social research, which has assuredly heightened her interests in non-profit work. Prior to moving to New Orleans, Gabby completed a postgraduate diploma in Social Science Methodology at Stellenbosch University as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar to Stellenbosch, South Africa. While abroad and with hopes to apply the methods she was learning at university, Gabby interned at a local nonprofit, Women on Farms Project, where she helped collect personal narratives on the topic of household food security as experienced in the farming communities. Her professional values are collaboration, the importance of a holistic approach and ultimately, utilizing data to improve the lives of individuals in the application of social research. Her passions are: anthropology of development, the relationship between NGOs and the State, program evaluation and research methodology.
Bridgette joined the IWES team in May of 2019 as the Communications Coordinator. She has a passion for applying a trauma-informed lens to communications, community engagement, and development. Since her early years she has been a staunch and fierce feminist, writer, and mediator. She is a graduate of Alfred University with her Bachelors in English Literature and minors in Gender and Women’s Studies and History, and in her university days was president of Students Advocating Gender Equality (SAGE) and a recipient of the Abigail Allen Award, given to an outstanding senior who has worked to progress gender equality. Previously, she was the Community Engagement Coordinator for Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative, an affordable housing and community development non-profit in the Central City neighborhood, and, for the last three years, has been a freelance communications and marketing consultant for nonprofits, startups, and NGOs. Alongside her professional work, she has a plethora of volunteer work with Operation Restoration, CASA, and StartingBloc, as a Fellow and regional leader. When she isn’t wearing her Communication Coordinator hat, you can find her meditating with a cat in her lap, implementing design-thinking into her work at the Blue House Civic Studio, tackling her Goodreads reading challenge, and finding ways to blend tech with social impact.
Iman Shervington, MFA | Director of Media and Communications
Iman joined IWES in 2008 as a Media Consultant, became a Program Coordinator in 2009, the Director of Media & Social Marketing in 2010 and is now the Director of Media & Communications. She received her BA from the University of Southern California in International Relations (2005) and her Masters of Fine Arts in Directing from Columbia University (2010) with a concentration in Directing and Screenwriting. Through IWES, Iman utilizes her script development, cinematography, directing, producing, and editing skills and has created over 50 short films and PSAs, a web-series, a feature-length documentary, two feature-length narrative films and an award-winning podcast. These films have been screened at numerous local, national and international film festivals, and she presents regularly at conferences to showcase her work. Iman was a Program Coordinator for IWES’ Media Advocates for Prevention (MAP) program and Social marketing Technology Outreach Program (STOP). In 2016, Iman was chosen as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leader in their inaugural cohort to promote a culture of health in her community. That year she also received the award for Changemaker in the New Orleans-based Millennial Awards and received executive training through Spitfire’s Executive Leadership Program. Through her training in social marketing, Iman led the development of two social marketing campaigns and most recently, a public will campaign to advocate for more Trauma Informed Care services for youth in New Orleans, In That Number. Iman has also been trained in multiple teen pregnancy prevention interventions and implemented EBIs such as Making Proud Choices with youth in local schools. In leading the Communications Team, Iman oversees IWES’ social media presence and all external organizational communications. Iman has further experience in graphic design, photography, curriculum development, focus group facilitation, positive youth development, participatory action research, and media literacy.
Meshawn Tarver (Siddiq) MPH, HBCE | Senior Program Manager for Maternal and Child Health
Meshawn Tarver (Siddiq), MPH, HBCE loves to converse and learn about all things maternal and child health which is why she graciously accepted the inaugural position with IWES as Senior Program Manager for Maternal and Child Health in 2019. As an Alabama born, New Orleans raised black girl she received her educational foundation from St. Mary’s Academy then earned her Bachelor’s in Chemistry with a minor in Biology from Xavier University of Louisiana. After completing her Master’s in Public Health coursework concentrating in Maternal and Child Health from George Washington University in D.C., she returned home to begin her public health career and life as a mother. With her new trials and triumphs in birthing and breastfeeding Meshawn began working on various levels of breastfeeding programming and later expanded to youth development, not for profit management and health care leadership. Meshawn is a mother of three girls and a bonus boy. She’s a doula, HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator, IBCLC in training and Student Captain for a Muslim Girls Training Class. She’s passionate about and dedicated to changing the landscape of the health of women and children in New Orleans through research, public awareness, provider engagement and training, community outreach and advocacy, systemic change and most importantly, personal growth and development.
Chenier received her Bachelor of Arts from Emory University. A native of New Orleans, she returned home after working in New York and Atlanta in Communications and Marketing disciplines. While in New York Chenier concentrated her efforts in the Social Media and Public Relations arenas working to develop strategy and launch social channels for clients across categories including personal care, health, travel, retail, consumer packaged goods and corporate. While in Atlanta she had the opportunity to work in Publishing and local Public Safety. Chenier is currently working with the IWES Communications Department to maintain the social media pages of IWES and its programs, helping to educate the community about the various programs and resources available. She is excited to be back home and to be working with the community.
To find out more about Chenier and their work at IWES, check out their Staff Spotlight, Pause Before You Post!.
Gabriella joined IWES in September 2018 as a BY-LA Program Coordinator. Gabriella moved to New Orleans in the summer of 2018 after falling in love with the city eight years prior. While her roots are in the near south side of Chicago, she is excited to teach sex education to youth. She received both her Bachelor’s degree in Gender and Women’s Studies in May 2016 and Masters in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago in May 2018. For the past three years, she has served as a medical advocate in the emergency room for survivors of sexual assault. Some of her most fulfilling work includes working as a bereavement counselor in hospice and working with survivors of human trafficking. Gabriella is a trained doula and her passion lies in advocating for pregnant people and their families.
As a native of Southern Louisiana, Morgan is happy to serve her community as Program Coordinator of Believe in Youth-Louisiana (BY-LA). She received a BS in Chemistry and a BA in Spanish from Xavier University of Louisiana. During her matriculation at Xavier, she discovered her passion for public health while doing a research intensive course in the Dominican Republic where she studied health and environmental and educational issues. Her interests only continued to grow after conducting research on HTLV-1, hematology and health perceptions of Peruvian women. Prior to committing to IWES, Morgan attended Meharry Medical College where she studied medicine which further enriched her knowledge in public health and the adversities that people of color face.
Tylar joined IWES in April 2019. She earned her BS in Health Education from Howard University in 2016 and her MPH in 2019 from Tulane University in Maternal and Child Health. Additionally, she is the 2019 recipient of the Elizabeth A. Bennett Award for Excellence in Maternal and Child Health. She is passionate about reproductive justice, birth justice, and health education. She was born and raised in Chicago, but New Orleans has her heart. She is excited to join the IWES team and get to work in her new community.