Allen Square, Jr.

Founding Member

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Mr. Square has over 20 years of private, public, and entrepreneurial experience in consulting, IT, telecommunications, manufacturing, construction transportation, business process outsourcing, and private equity industries.  Prior to starting Square Button, a Mechanical and Low-Voltage construction company, Square led technology as the Chief Information Officer of the City of New Orleans and the Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for PosiGen Solar Solutions.  At the City of New Orleans Square also led a successful consulting team that focused on identifying and capturing revenue and cost improvements.  Post completion of an MBA, from The Wharton School, Square spent time working as a consultant with Bain & Company, Inc. Allen also holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tulane University and an MS in Telecommunications from Southern Methodist University.  Prior to attending business school Allen was well respected in the wireless telecommunications industry as an expert on GSM and CDMA technologies.

 

Andrea Chen

Founding Member

Andrea is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation, a social innovation incubator in New Orleans focused on systemic change in sectors such as food access, water, public health, and education. Propeller has accelerated 50 new ventures that have generated over $20mm in revenues and financing in the last 3.5 years.  Propeller's 10,000 s.f. Propeller Incubator facility is now home to over 80 socially minded companies.  Andrea was named “40 Under 40” by Gambit Magazine, 2010 City Business Women of the Year, and is an appointed board member of the New Orleans Business Alliance, the official economic development arm of the City of New Orleans. She completed her B.A. at Stanford University and M.Ed. UNO and Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Beth Galante

Founding Member

Beth Galante

Beth is the Vice President of Government Relations and Business Development of PosiGen. Beth practiced energy and environmental law in Louisiana for 15 years, including work with the Tulane Law Clinic when it received the National Law Journal's Runner Up Lawyer of the Year and Distinguished Environmental Achievement Award from the American Bar Association.  After Hurricane Katrina, Beth directed Global Green New Orleans, a nonprofit focused on the sustainable rebuilding of the city that worked with actor Brad Pitt to build LEED Platinum homes in the Lower 9th Ward, and offer citywide energy education, for which Time magazine wrote "no organization is doing more to green New Orleans..."  Beth was named a Champion of Change by the White House for creating New Orleans energy efficiency program, and is an Aspen Institute fellow in its flagship Henry Crown program.

Coleman D. Ridley, Jr.

Founding Member

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A native of Newport News, Virginia, Coleman D. Ridley, Jr. is the managing director of the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region.  Before joining the Business Council, Mr. Ridley was a partner at Jones Walker, where he was a member of the firm’s Business and Commercial Litigation Practice Group.  While at Jones Walker, he represented national corporations and local/regional companies in tax litigation, as well as general business cases, including antitrust, construction, products liability, telecommunications, and intellectual property.  Mr. Ridley received his J.D., cum laude, from Tulane University Law School.   Following law school, he clerked for the Honorable Sylvia R. Cooks, Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeals.   Mr. Ridley has a B.A. in Economics from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.  His community involvement includes service on the boards of Crescent City Schools, United Way of Southeast Louisiana, New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute, the Ellis Marsalis Center Musicians’ Village and New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts Institute.    

Jamal Brown

Director of Operations

Jamal is a born and raised New Orleanian. He earned a B.S. in Marketing from Loyola University, New Orleans and a graduate degree in business administration from Tulane University.  Jamal is the incoming Director of Operations for NexusCity. Jamal Brown previously worked for Liberty Bank and Trust Company in its Community Development Division. Jamal also sits on several boards in New Orleans including Teaching Responsible Earth Education, 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans, and The New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network.

Jamar McKneeley

Founding Member

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My educational philosophy is derived from Marian Wright Edelman’s special quote: “The question is not whether we can afford to invest in every child; it is whether we can afford not to”.  I earned both a bachelor’s degree in Finance and a master’s degree in Educational Administration from Southern University in Baton Rouge. Prior to becoming an educator, I worked in the field of finance as a budget analyst for two non-profit organizations in Baton Rouge. After serving for seven years as a teacher and Assistant Principal at Edna Karr High School, I transitioned to the position of Principal of Alice Harte Charter School. In 2013, together with the principal of a nearby high school, I formed InspireNOLA charter schools, a new Charter Management Organization in New Orleans focusing on educating the youth of our city. Currently InspireNOLA manages two schools, Alice Harte Charter School and Edna Karr High School, which are two of the top performing charter schools in New Orleans.

Under my leadership, Alice Harte and its students experienced great success, including: increased School Performance Score by 25 points; improved structure and discipline; matriculated all 2011-2012 eighth grade students to the top five performing high schools in New Orleans; fulfilled 22 out of 24 school-wide assessment goals set from 2010-2012; ranked in top 10% of schools in New Orleans; earned a Value-Added score of 5 for academic growth; incorporated a belief that all students can achieve levels of basic or above on all state test and DIBELS; and added an Academic Games and student leadership program. Over the last five years Alice Harte was ranked as a top five charter school in New Orleans. For the 2013-2014 school year Alice Harte was ranked as an A school and top gain school proving that students with high-poverty can excel.

As Executive Director of InspireNOLA, I currently manage two of the highest performing open-admission schools in New Orleans and focus on creating a pipeline for leadership, supervising administrative and instructional personnel, establishing a clear vision for the organization’s mission and goals and branding the new CMO. For the 2013-2014 school year InspireNOLA charter schools was ranked as an top performing charter management organization.

Every day I am reminded of our shared purpose of inspiring the lives of children in the city we serve.

Matt Wisdom

Chairman of the Board

Matt Wisdom is a co-founder of NexusCity and serves as Chairman of the Board. Through various non-profits and other organizations, Matt has observed the time wasted on administrative decision making, and sees a great opportunity to make this simpler and even a little fun. In the biggest sense, Matt wants to see large groups of people make decisions together in ways that take democracy to a level not possible before today's technology. Matt is a 2014 Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and co-founded the Nexus as part of his fellowship.

Matt currently serves as the CEO of TurboSquid, a company he co-founded in 2000 to solve the problem of how to buy and sell 3D digital models on the internet. TurboSquid is the oldest company selling user generated content on the internet, and the world leading company selling 3D models that are used for everything from feature films to architecture and military training. TurboSquid has completed several rounds of venture capital, totaling over $10 million, and currently employs more than 60 people, with over 300,000 products for sale and more than 2 million registered members.

Matt serves on the TurboSquid board of directors as well as other non-profit boards and philanthropic organizations. Frequently featured in the media, Matt has won numerous awards, including being named "Technology Leader of the Year" for the State of Louisiana Governor's Technology Awards.

Michael Hecht

Founding Member

Michael Hecht is President & CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc., the economic development organization for southeast Louisiana. GNO, Inc.'s mission falls broadly into two categories: business development – attracting and growing businesses – and product development – creating better business conditions. Under Michael's leadership, GNO, Inc. was recently named the #2 economic development organization in the United States by Business Facilities magazine.

Before coming to GNO, Inc. Michael led the quarter-billion dollar Katrina Small Business Recovery Program for the State of Louisiana. While with the State, Michael also established the $90 million Louisiana Revolving Loan Fund, the first of its kind in the nation.

In the years following 9/11, Michael worked for Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City as an Assistant Commissioner. Michael also served as inaugural Director of Business Development for the Food Bank for New York City, the largest in the country.

Michael's entrepreneurial experience includes co-founding a conglomerate of restaurant ventures, including “Foreign Cinema,” named Restaurant of the Year 2000 in San Francisco. He began his career as a strategic management consultant.

Michael holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was a member of the Public Management Program, and an undergraduate degree from Yale University, magna cum laude.

Recently Michael has been recognized as “One of the 25 Most Powerful People in the 10/12 Corridor,” a New Orleans “Innovator of the Year,” and one of “Ten People Who Made a Difference” in the South.

With family roots in Louisiana back to the 1830s, Michael now lives in New Orleans with his wife, Marlene, an ESL professor at Delgado, and his two sons, Dexter and Kaj ("Kī").

Ronald M. Carrere, Jr. 

Founding Member

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Ronald M. Carrere, Jr. is a native New Orleanian, graduate of the University of New Orleans with degrees in Business Administration and Finance specializing in Real Estate Finance. An alumnus of the Bryan Bell Metropolitan Leadership Forum, New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute, Loyola Institute of Politics and the Norman C. Francis Leadership Institute.

Currently employed by Liberty Bank & Trust Co., Ronald Carrere, Jr. is a leader in both the Real Estate and Commercial Lending Divisions, while also assisting with several community initiatives.  Prior to entering the private sector, he spent seven years working for the City of New Orleans in both the Workforce Development and Economic Development departments.

He currently serves on: the Regional Planning Commission; Eastern New Orleans Neighborhood Advisory Commission; New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute Board (N.O.R.L.I.); New Orleans African American Museum Board; City Year New Orleans Advisory Board; Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans Board; State of Louisiana Civil Service Commission; New Orleans East Economic Development Board; and the Urban League of Greater New Orleans Board.

His previous service has included: Dress for Success Board; treasurer for Einstein Charter School; campaign manager for several political candidates; planning committee for the Norman C. Francis Leadership Institute and the transition teams of Mayor Mitchell Landrieu and Sheriff Marlin Gusman. 

Tim Williamson

Founding Member

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Tim Williamson is Co-Founder and CEO of The Idea Village, a nonprofit organization dedicated to growing a dynamic network of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and professionals committed to helping startups launch in New Orleans. Under Tim’s leadership, The Idea Village has established itself as a globally recognized leader in developing place-based entrepreneurial ecosystems and he has led the efforts to position New Orleans as a significant entrepreneurship hub.


Tim is a dynamic business leader who successfully started multiple ventures in cities across the country before founding The Idea Village in 2000. He has been a steadfast advocate for entrepreneurship in New Orleans and is a frequent speaker on entrepreneurship and leadership at conferences across the country and internationally. Over the years, Tim has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Time, USA Today, The New York Times, Business Week, CNN, Inc.com, Forbes, and Japan’s Nikkei Times.


A New Orleans native, he received a B.S.M. in Finance from Tulane University in 1987.