Judges

We are thrilled to welcome the 2022 Aspen Challenge: New Orleans Judges. Click on their photos to learn more about them.

Donnell Bailey

Chief of Staff, Brothers Empowered to Teach

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Lowrey Crews

Founder, The 18th Ward Sports Club

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Dr. Trivia Frazier

CEO, Obatala Sciences

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Patrick Hill

Senior Account Executive, Fastly

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Ross Levine

Vice President, VillageMD

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Charon Flowers Maple

CEO, BypassLines

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James White

Program Manager, Ascend

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Donnell Bailey

Chief of Staff, Brothers Empowered to Teach

Donnell Bailey is chief of staff at Brothers Empowered to Teach. Previously, he was the executive assistant to the senior vice president and dean of admission at Tulane University. Prior to that, he managed programs for Democrats for Education Reform in Louisiana, interned in the Obama White House working on the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, and interned for former US senator Mary Landrieu and congressman Joseph Cao. Bailey chairs the Governance and Nominating Committee for the KIPP New Orleans Board of Directors. A native New Orleanian, he’s currently pursuing a master’s of public administration in nonprofit and philanthropic management at Tulane, and he earned his BA in sociology from Franklin & Marshall College, where he served as the first Black student body president.

Lowrey Crews

Founder, The 18th Ward Sports Club

Lowrey Crews is founder and executive director of The 18th Ward Sports Club, a New Orleans organization that provides high-quality sports programs and trained coaches, created to increase youth access to sports by eliminating barriers to participation. Crews was previously a teacher and school leader with KIPP New Orleans schools, from 2011 to 2021. In 2007, he was named Teacher of the Year for Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools. The Aspen Institute’s Project Play initiative recognized The 18th Ward as a Project Play Champion in 2021, for committing to take new, meaningful, and specific actions consistent with the initiative’s framework of physical literacy for kids. Crews has a master’s degree in teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Trivia Frazier

CEO, Obatala Sciences

Dr. Trivia Frazier is co-founder, president, and CEO of Obatala Sciences, a biotechnology toolkit start-up. A stem cell researcher and biotech business professional with 15-plus years in biomedical sciences and management, she previously directed projects for biotechnology firm LaCell and was physics department chair and a researcher at Dillard University. Frazier’s board service includes the New Orleans Task Force, Biophysics Reviews journal, University of New Orleans Research and Technology Foundation, and The Beach. Her accolades include Gambit’s 40 under 40, Dillard University’s 40 under 40, St. Mary’s Academy’s Woman of Distinction award, and UNCF’s MASKED Award. Frazier holds bachelor’s degrees in physics and biomedical engineering and an MBA and PhD in biomedical sciences from Tulane. She completed postdoctoral work at Pennington Biomedical Research Center and Tulane Center for Stem Research and Regenerative Medicine.

Patrick Hill

Senior Account Executive, Fastly

Patrick Hill is an advisor to media and entertainment technology executives. Since 2019 he has been a senior account executive at Fastly, a cloud computing services provider. Previously, he was a major account executives for six years with Akamai Technologies, a content delivery network services provider that also offers cloud security solutions. With over 20 years experience in media and entertainment, Hill was part of the successful launches of Setanta Sports North America and Fox Soccer Plus. He’s been a longtime contributor to youth music programs in the greater New Orleans area through programs with the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, Music Forward Foundation’s charitable partnerships, the Krewe of Red Beans, Tipitina’s Foundation, and New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic & Assistance Foundation. Hill has an MBS and a bachelor’s in marketing.

Ross Levine

Vice President, VillageMD

Ross Levine is executive vice president at VillageMD, a fast-growing, innovative primary care group focused on bringing high-quality, low-cost healthcare to over 1.6 million patients across 22 US markets. Since the company’s founding in 2013, his roles have included CFO, COO, and chief strategy officer. Previously, Levine built and partnered with high-growth health care technology and services companies, as well as growth-oriented companies in other industries. He was an interim vice president of clinical analytics and vice president of strategy and operations for Accretive Health, an associate at Financial Technology Partners, and worked at J.P. Morgan, Huron Consulting Group, and EuroConsult. Levine has an MBA in general management and finance from University of Virginia Darden School of Business and a BA in economics from UVA.

Charon Flowers Maple

CEO, BypassLines

Charon Flowers Maple is co-founder and CEO of BypassLines, a digital ordering platform that fosters a connection between nonprofits and universities and their communities. She has worked in nonprofit, for-profit, and government sectors for over 20 years and has a wealth of experience in workforce development, training and education, communications, and project management. Maple previously worked at the US Department of Veterans Affairs, most recently as an employee education officer, and at the US Department of Health and Human Services for over a decade, as a health communications and education specialist. She has worked on a national media campaign to encourage teens to lead healthy lifestyles and developed an approach to preventive teen pregnancy. A native New Orleanian, she is a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana and Tulane University.

James White

Program Manager, Ascend

James White is a program manager for leadership and communications with Ascend at the Aspen Institute, a policy program that works to create a society in which families pass a legacy of prosperity and well-being from one generation to the next. At Ascend, White supports diverse leaders building political will to change systems and drive this policy agenda. Prior to joining Ascend, he supported programming dedicated to elevating youth voice across the Aspen Institute and beyond. Before joining the Aspen Institute in 2017, White was public relations intern at Time Inc., supporting brand communications efforts across publications including TIME, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated. A native New Orleanian, he holds a BS in communication with concentrations in persuasion and social influence and media studies from Cornell University.

Solution Showcase Speakers

We have some exciting speakers lined up this year. Click on their photos to learn more about them.

Natasha Carrizosa

Poet & Emcee, Natty Roots and Rhyme

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Big Freedia

Hip-hop Artist

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Walter Isaacson

Professor, Tulane University

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David McKinney

Executive Director, Aspen Institute

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Dana Peterson

CEO, New Schools for New Orleans

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Gwen Thompkins

Journalist, NPR

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Natasha Carrizosa

Poet & Emcee, Natty Roots and Rhyme

Natasha Carrizosa is a poet, writer, creative writing teacher, and speaker. Her work is deeply rooted in her childhood and life experiences. Raised as the daughter of a fierce African-American mother and Mexican father, her writing reflects the dichotomy of these two rich cultures. Carrizosa is the author of mexiafricana, heavy light, and crown. She has performed her work and conducted workshops for audiences in Madrid, Paris, St. Lucia, New York, Chicago, Houston, and many other places. Her love for the arts inspired the creation of natty roots & rhyme, one of the most dynamic poetry open mics in the country.

Big Freedia

Hip-hop Artist

Big Freedia (born Freddie Ross, Jr.) is a hip-hop artist known as the Queen of Bounce. Her latest EP, Big Diva Energy in 2021. Her previous EP, Louder, was released in March 2020, just a few days into the COVID-19 global lockdown. During the pandemic, Big Freedia pivoted and launched an online cooking show, making fun cocktails, foods, and desserts while hunkered down in her kitchen. She has collaborated with artists including Beyonce, Drake, Kesha, and Boyz II Men, and has performed on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and at Outside Lands, Voodoo, Bonnaroo, and New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival , among others. Her memoir is Big Freedia: God Save the Queen Diva!.

Walter Isaacson

Professor, Tulane University

Walter Isaacson is the Leonard Lauder Professor of American History and Values at Tulane University. From 2003 to 2018, he was president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, where he is now a Distinguished Fellow. He has also been chair and CEO of CNN and editor of TIME magazine. Isaacson’s latest book is Leonardo da Vinci; The Innovators; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography. He co-authored The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. An advisory partner at financial services firm Perella Weinberg, Isaacson is chair emeritus of Teach for America and vice-chaired the Louisiana Recovery Authority.

David McKinney

Executive Director, Aspen Institute

David McKinney is executive director of Youth Leadership Programs  at the Aspen Institute. With more than 25 years’ experience in the social sector advancing equity and opportunity for young people, families, and marginalized communities, he was previously executive vice president of public affairs with TNTP (formerly The New Teacher Project), where he led public engagement efforts to implement better experiences for students in K-12 schools. Prior to that, McKinney was the first director of the Center for Engagement and Neighborhood Building at the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, supporting nearly 500 direct-service nonprofits to authentically engage with neighborhoods and communities. Earlier in his career, he held numerous positions with national service and leadership development organization Public Allies and began as a community organizer in his hometown of Milwaukee. McKinney was honored with an Aspen Institute Fellowship for emerging nonprofit leaders in 2010 and selected by Independent Sector as an American Express NGen Fellow in 2009. He holds a bachelor’s degree in education policy from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Dana Peterson

CEO, New Schools for New Orleans

Dana Peterson is CEO of New Schools for New Orleans, an education nonprofit that delivers on the promise of excellent public schools. Previously, he was an assistant state superintendent in the Louisiana Department of Education, where he worked with the Recovery School District to launch the Baton Rouge Achievement Zone, a collaborative of state and district turnaround charter schools. Prior to that, Peterson helped develop the New Orleans Career Center, a technical training hub. Currently board chair of the Career Center, he is also a member of the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission, the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors, and the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Peterson holds an MBA from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business and graduated from the University of Houston with an economics degree.

Gwen Thompkins

Journalist, NPR

Gwen Thompkins is a journalist and writer. Since 2012, she has been executive producer and host of the public radio program “Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins,” showcasing the varied musical landscape of Louisiana. She is also the New Orleans correspondent for WXPN’s “World Café.” Thompkins was previously senior editor of NPR’s “Weekend Edition” and NPR’s East Africa bureau chief. Her stories have been featured on NPR news magazines, NPR Music, The Oxford American, the Library of Congress Recording Registry, and The New Yorker online. She is currently writing a book based on the “Music Inside Out” interviews. A native of New Orleans, she returned full time following a fellowship at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.