Meet our Board of Directors




For nearly four decades, Sandra Thompson Herman has earned a reputation for being a trailblazer in both public and private sectors. In 1975, when still in her 20s, she designed and served as the first cabinet-level Secretary for the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. She led the department through 1978.

In 1979, Sandra was the first woman to run for Louisiana’s secretary of state. Though she garnered much support by traveling to every parish of the state, she ultimately was defeated by a very narrow margin.

Undaunted, in 1980, she embraced an opportunity to become a female entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry, launching a trucking company to serve the state’s booming oil industry. Over the next 15 years, she grew the business from a small fleet of three trucks to 12, serving parishes throughout south Louisiana.

She returned to state government in 1996, serving as the Executive Director of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Atchafalaya Basin Program, for which she secured and managed $83 million in state funds to match Corps of Engineers’ $250 million. She led the development and implementation of the master plan for the 800,000-acre basin.

In addition to serving as president of Louisiana Center for Women in Government and Business Corporate Board, Sandra has served as vice president of the board of the French Market Corporation, board member of the Louisiana First Foundation and Louisiana State Museum, and on the boards of a number of cultural organizations.


David Anderson is the visionary spearheading the development of Viz Bank & Trust N.A., a new family-centric, internet-based bank combining modern banking and technology in a café-style setting in multiple major markets. David will serve as President of the bank.

VIZ bank was conceived and developed by a group of diverse professionals who are highly experienced in all aspects of banking, finance and investments. The team has made a commitment to providing unparalleled personal service coupled with leading-edge banking technology plus VIZ Life Centers, which will provide daily bank access with an organic coffee shop/health bar, Yoga/Pilates Studio, Holistic Medical offices and a technology friendly courtyard, plus conference rooms and office incubator space accessible to VIZ members.

David is a veteran of the banking industry with 30 years of experience. He most recently served as President of FPB Financial Corporation, the holding company of Florida Parishes Bank, for which he also served as Vice Chairman of the Board. During his tenure at Florida Parishes Bank, he successfully led the institution to a significant capital position and growth through the establishment of two new branches in Mandeville and Metairie, Louisiana. David has previously served as an organizer of a de novo bank, and led a $60 million capital raise. He is a graduate of the Louisiana State University School of Banking Executive Program, an Army veteran and a cancer survivor.


Respected philanthropist Janice Parmelee enjoyed an accomplished career as an executive banker in Baton Rouge before moving to New Orleans. She and her husband Bill Hammack founded New, a yellow pages directory, which they ultimately sold. She and Bill are major investors in the Link Restaurant Group, which includes acclaimed restaurants Herbsaint, Cochon, Cochon Butcher, Calcasieu, Peche Seafood Grill, La Boulangerie and Gianna.

In keeping with her passion for the arts, Janice served as President of the Board of New Orleans Museum of Art, and is currently serving on the museum’s Board of Trustees. She also serves on the boards of Lambeth House and Broadway Services, Inc. 

While now retired, she and Bill remain active in community with a focus on the the culture and political affairs, in keeping with their commitment to nurture the continued growth and prosperity of New Orleans.   


Morris Kahn is the Founder and Principal Associate with Morris Kahn & Associates, one of Louisiana‘s preeminent Tax Benefit Program Administration & Business Development Consulting Firms. He is a consultant, activist, philanthropist, and businessman who is an integral part of the New Orleans community. 

Morris has over 23 years of business development planning and finance, real estate development finance, and construction budgeting and auditing. Additionally, he been instrumental in the drafting and support of local legislative actions relating to business incentives and development.

He received his B.A. in Economics from Tulane University in 1978 and started his career in real estate, serving as an agent from 1978 to 1982. He then formed Kahn & Associates, and has since worked with businesses, individuals, and non-profit organizations around the city.


Russ Herman graduated from Tulane University with a B.A. Degree in 1963 and L.L.B. in 1966, and he proudly holds a place in the inaugural class of Tulane Law School’s Hall of Fame.

A Senior Partner of Herman, Herman & Katz, L.L.C., Russ he has enjoyed a distinguished career as an attorney. In 1977, he was named “Outstanding Trial Lawyer” by the Louisiana Trial Lawyers Association, and he served as LTLA President from 1980 to 1981. Public Justice presented Mr. Herman with its Champion of Justice Award in 1981, and he served as the national organization’s President. He has received prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards from the American Association of Law Associates, the National Trial Lawyers Association, Lawdragon and the National Law Journal Elite Lawyers.   

Russ has authored more than 200 articles and numerous books, including the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s best-selling six-volume video trial practice series, Courtroom Persuasion: Art, Drama & Science and a 443-page book by the same title, with recent updates for a third printing. His masterful use of art and drama in courtroom have resulted in tremendous success, including the 2004 unprecedented jury award of a $591,000,000 verdict in Scott v American Tobacco, et al. (96-8461, Orleans Parish, Civil District Court), for which Mr. Herman was lead trial counsel.

While his textbooks and courtroom presentations embrace the effectiveness of prose and drama, that creativity carries over into his after-hours passions of poetry and painting. When the pandemic brought to a temporary halt much of the nation’s commerce, Russ shifted his focus to his writing, and he recently completed a third anthology of his poetry. 


Nadia Alhashimi is the Executive Director of New Orleans Entertainment Coalition. A magna cum laude graduate and Fulbright scholar, Nadia’s scholarly work has included exploration of the economic impact of women in the arts and culture, the representation of women in media, and new trends in media and technology in the next generation.

Upon successful completion of her Fulbright tenure, Nadia worked in journalism across Jordan and in neighboring countries. In 2014, she returned to New Orleans, immersing herself in the region’s arts and culture sector. In 2020, she received her Masters in Communication at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, with a focus on adoption and impact of artificial intelligence.

Nadia has served as a consultant to numerous nonprofits and organizations, including New Orleans Business Alliance, Louisiana Center for Women in Government and Business and New Orleans Ballet Association’s BRAVO. On a national level, she worked with Women in Tech International (WITI) toward ensuring that the Arts were integrated into traditional STEM models for a broader and more diverse STEAM approach. As the COO of the National Association of Women MBAs, Nadia has focused on serving minorities and women, and on interweaving critical messaging of tolerance and acceptance. 


Renee Carrere is a nonprofit board veteran whose strengths include planning and launching initiatives in programming and fundraising, problem solving and identifying talent.

Her thirst for knowledge and passion for the arts were sparked in her hometown of Chicago when her mother, a public school teacher, introduced her to the wonders of museums, the arts, reading and education. Renee’s early favorites were the Art Institute, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Museum of Natural History and the Chicago Ballet. Through the Foreign Language League of America, she studied in museums throughout France and Italy, with highlights including the Louvre in Paris, the Uffizzi in Florence, the Natural History Museum in New York, the African American Museum in Washington DC and the Picasso Museum in Barcelona.

Renee began her pursuit of higher education at Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa, then transferred to Xavier University in New Orleans, earning a degree in history. She undertook graduate studies at the College of Urban Affairs at UNO, with a concentration on historic preservation and economic development. Renee collaborated with the university to redevelop the underused corridor of Bayou Road. The plan was approved by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and was granted Main Street status.

Among the boards and committees on which Renee has served are the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Stuart Hall, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, Young Audiences, Friends of City Park, New Orleans Museum of Art, College of Urban and Public Affairs and WYES. She has also served on the boards of the Louisiana Center for Women in Business and Government, Kingsley House, Kingsley House Foundation, Metropolitan Council on Aging, BRAVO with the New Orleans Ballet Association and the Louisiana Museum Foundation. In 2018, she was honored for her contributions to New Orleans by Women in Fashion.


Nicole Ferrier holds Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations/Communications from the University of New Orleans. For 15 years, she served as Executive Director of Community Programs in the Jefferson Parish Government, where she saw first-hand the benefits of these valuable programs in the community. Then the entrepreneurial spirit led her to form her own business specializing in event planning and public relations consulting.

A recognized leader in New Orleans, Nicole is involved in civic and volunteer organizations, including the Leading Ladies Guild and the New Orleans Museum of Art.  She has also served on the Board of the Press Club of New Orleans.  In her role as an advisory board member for the Louisiana Center for Women in Government and Business, Nicole focuses on increasing diversity and fostering critical skills of high school students who attend the LCWGB’s annual Louisiana Girls Leadership Academy with aspirations of women’s roles in leadership and government.


New Orleans native Laurie Guillaume is an award-winning sales, training & management expert, with over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical space. During her tenure, Laurie was the National Sales Trainer for Virology Learning and Development.  She designed and implemented training for the sales force and executed professional development training for the management group.

As a manager, Laurie led teams that spanned several states and focused not only driving sales but also the development and promotion of her representatives to Senior and Executive levels.  Under her guidance, her team won numerous sales honors including the Pinnacle Top Sales Award. Additionally, Ms. Guillaume captured the Partnership Award, served as National Corporate Citizen Coordinator and was also selected to the National Advisory Board.  She has also served as the vice president of The American Dream Program, designed to motivate students to further their education & shun drugs.

In 2011, Laurie created Pepper Leaf, a boutique communication skills consulting agency – Know Your Story, Own Your Career. Through Pepper Leaf, she helps her clients, particularly women, improve communication and interview performance by preparing them for next level / new employment opportunities and public speaking engagements.