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DSS Selects New Leadership Advisory Board Members

Board to advise on policy, programs, innovative solutions to streamline business practices

As part of the agency’s efforts to develop innovative solutions to improve social service delivery in Louisiana, Department of Children & Family Services (DSS) Secretary Kristy Nichols today announced the members of the agency’s new Leadership Forum Advisory Board, which will advise DSS on policy, programs and efficient business practices and leadership development.

“As members of the Leadership Forum Advisory Board, we have brought together members who share in our agency’s vision of safe, thriving and self-sufficient children, families and individuals in our state,” Nichols said.  “We are excited to work with the Advisory Board.  These members are recognized leaders in their field and are dedicated to service and fostering innovation in social services through improving business processes, efficiencies, interventions and improved service delivery, client outcomes and systems level integration.”

The DSS Leadership Forum Advisory Board is comprised of the following community-based, non-governmental, government and industry representatives:
  • Renea Austin-Duffin, Vice President of Cancer Programs, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, Baton Rouge
  • Judy Bell, President/CEO, The Wellspring Alliance for Families, Monroe
  • Kellie Chavez-Greene, Vice President of Programs, Louisiana Association of Non-profit Organizations, Mandeville
  • Judge Lilynn Cutrer, Family Court Judge, Lake Charles
  • Errol Domingue, Pastor, New Pilgrim Baptist Church,  Baton Rouge
  • Lynda Gavioli, Executive Director, Children’s Coalition for Northeast LA, Monroe
  • Simone Hennessee, Executive Director, Providence House, Shreveport
  • Keith Liederman, Executive Director, Kingsley House, New Orleans
  • Tamar McFarland , STAND, New Orleans
  • Pam Monroe, Professor, LSU School of Social Work, Baton Rouge
  • Sue Steib, Senior Director of Strategic Consulting, Casey Family Programs, Jackson
  • Brenda Valteau, Key Family Contact, DHH/Office of Mental Health Youth Enhanced Services, New Orleans
  • Jasmine Wade, President, Young Adult Program, Baton Rouge
  • Carmen Weisner, Executive Director, National Association of Social Workers - Louisiana Chapter, Baton Rouge
  • Rick Wheat, Director of Information Services, Louisiana United Methodist Children’s Home, Ruston
  • Isaac White, Workforce Investment Board, Monroe
  • Renita Williams Thomas, State Project Director, Early Childhood Support Services, Zachary
  • John Wyble, Executive Director, Louisiana Court Appointed Special Advocates, Baton Rouge
The primary responsibilities of the board include advising DSS on policy and program issues on a regular basis and will provide input on innovative solutions to help streamline DSS services and increase the efficiency of business practices.

The board also will be responsible for confirming 15 individuals selected as program fellows for the Innovation in Louisiana Government (IGL) Fellowship. Board members will provide guidance to the fellowship class as they work to develop effective solutions to social service delivery that may be implemented, assessed and replicated.

In addition, members will hold a twice-yearly Leadership and Innovation Conference. The first conference will serve as the IGL Fellowship orientation and opening summit for the first class of fellows, and the second conference will include graduation activities and the presentation of the final fellowship projects.

The advisory board will be invited to participate along with other social service stakeholders in monthly Web casts, which will provide networking opportunities and updates on new and ongoing DSS programs. As part of these meetings, DSS will arrange for nationally recognized guest speakers to give lectures and facilitate discussions about issues that are important to the social service delivery system in Louisiana.

DSS opened nominations for the Leadership Forum Advisory Board in July. Applicants were asked to submit a résumé or curriculum vitae of the nominee along with a letter of intent describing the nominee’s motivations and qualifications to serve on the board.

For more information about the Leadership Forum Advisory Board, the IGL Fellowship, and other DSS leadership and innovation initiatives, visit
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