PlayBuild NOLA Team
Charlotte Jones, Director of Operations and Programming – Charlotte runs PlayBuild’s day-to-day operations on-site and at special events. In addition, she’s designing and delivering the PlayBuild curriculum for grade levels K-7. Charlotte joined PlayBuild from the Preservation Resource Center where she facilitated architectural and cultural heritage programming in classrooms around New Orleans. Prior to PRC she worked at Louisiana Outdoor Outreach Program, empowering kids 8-18 through a range of active skill and team-building activities. Charlotte is a graduate of the University of New Orleans, where she received her Bachelor’s of Science in Urban Studies and Planning, with an emphasis on Historic Preservation and Public Culture.
Mariana Oldenburg, Creative Director – Mariana’s creative vision and design expertise define the look and feel of PlayBuild. An art director and print designer with 20 + years of experience, Mariana has worked as an Art Director for gift publishers, AMCAL, Inc and Papyrus, and as a Sr Designer for Chronicle Children’s Books in San Francisco, where she also hired and mentored the children’s book design fellows. A native of the Republic of Panama, Mariana supports New Orleans’ re-building efforts through pro bono work for kids’ non-profits and family literacy programs. A mother of two, she is a passionate advocate for diversity in design professions, and for the power of design to positively impact young people and enable them to effect change in their communities.
Angela Kyle, Founder – Angela Kyle has called New Orleans home since 2010. A global nomad, she grew up in the Gulf South, and attended Brown University and Columbia’s Business and Journalism Schools. As a member of the launch team of the New Orleans Business Alliance, she brings a grounded understanding of the issues and challenges facing the city and a passion for building creative and innovative solutions. Committed to raising awareness and support for PlayBuild both locally and nationally, Angela divides time between New Orleans and New York where she works for award-winning design and branding firm, Wolff Olins.
Dr. Lauren Bierbaum- Lauren J. Bierbaum is a Senior Research Analyst at CREDO. She contributes to a variety of projects and focuses specifically on CREDO’s qualitative research program. Prior to joining CREDO, Lauren worked as a market research and strategic planning consultant and most recently served as the Executive Director of the Partnership for Youth Development in New Orleans, LA.
Lauren received a master’s in developmental psychology and a PhD in American Studies from Yale University.
Jason Marsalis- Award-winning jazz drummer and composer, Jason Marsalis is the youngest member of New Orleans first family of jazz. From the age of three, Jason’s interest in music was sparked when his parents purchased him a toy drum set, and encouraged him to role play by introducing him to an imaginary audience. By age seven he was sitting in with his father – Ellis Marsalis’s jazz group. Jason attended the prestigious New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts High School (NOCCA) and Loyola University.
Over the twenty year course of his career, Marsalis has performed and recorded with such jazz luminaries as Joe Henderson and Lionel Hampton, and has been the percussionist for the Marcus Roberts’ Trio. He has travelled extensively around North America and internationally, performing at some of the world’s top music venues – from Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center to the White House. In 2009, the Marsalis family was honored with the NEA Jazz Masters Award.
Marsalis brings to the PlayBuild board his passion for New Orleans culture and his interest in the intersections between various forms of cultural expression including music, design and architecture.
Sean Tate- Sean Tate brings a track record in youth development and a passion for inter-disciplinary experiential learning to PlayBuild. From 2008-2011 he was program coordinator for Playworks in New Orleans. Following his time at Playworks he joined Partnership for Youth Development where he spent three years at the helm of the CP3 Afterschool Zone Program. Currently Sean is the founder and Executive Director of DiscoveryFEST an after-school enrichment program seeking to bring a diverse mix of creative and play-based curricula to New Orleans’ elementary students. Sean holds joint degrees in Psychology and English from Tulane University and a masters in counseling from Loyola.
Clifton “Cliff” Worley- Cliff Worley is the Managing Director of Investment Banking for IBERIA Capital Partners, an energy-focused brokerage business owned by IBERIABANK Corp. Cliff oversees the origination and execution of all corporate finance transactions including publically-traded equity and debt offerings, and financial advisory engagements. As of 2015, IBERIA Capital Partners had helped raise over $20 billion in capital under Cliff’s leadership.
Cliff was born and raised in the New Orleans area and received his B.A. and M.B.A. from Louisiana State University. Besides PlayBuild, Cliff is an active member of both St. Matthew’s UMC’s Permanent Endowment Committee, as well as the LSU College of Business Dean’s Advisory Committee. He currently lives in Metairie with his wife and two children.
Veronica Chambers- Veronica Chambers is a prolific author, best known for her critically acclaimed memoir, Mama’s Girl which has been course adopted by hundreds of high schools and colleges throughout the country. Born in Panama and raised in Brooklyn, her work often reflects her Afro-Latina heritage.
She has also written more than a dozen books for children, most recently Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa and the body confidence Y/A novel, Plus. Her teen series, Amigas, is a collaboration between Chambers, producer Jane Startz and Jennifer Lopez.
Veronica spent two seasons as an executive story editor for CW’s hit series, Girlfriends and earned a BET Comedy Award for her script work on that series. She has also written and developed projects for Fox and the N.
Veronica has contributed to several anthologies including the best-selling Bitch in the House, edited by Cathi Hanuaer and Mommy Wars, edited by Leslie Morgan Steiner.
A graduate of Simon’s Rock College at Bard, she and her husband have endowed three scholarships at the college in the fields of music and literature. She has been the recipient of several awards including the Hodder fellowship for emerging novelists at Princeton University and a National Endowment for the Arts fiction award. She speaks, reads and writes Spanish, but she is truly fluent in Spanglish. She lives with her husband and daughter in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Jackie DeHuff- Jackie DeHuff is a multi-disciplinary designer and creative director with a passion for design education. Formerly VP of Creative for Viacom Integrated Marketing, Jackie serves on the Board of Advisors for the University of Southern California Roski School of Art & Design.
Michael Hanson- Michael Hanson is Director of the Masters Concentration in Creativity and Cognition at Teachers College at Columbia University. In addition to his work at Teachers College, Dr. Hanson has a consulting practice in curriculum design and program evaluation, and he works with arts organizations, youth-development programs, individual schools, and boards of education and corporations.
A designer by background, Hanson holds a degree in Architecture from Yale University, and is the author of an upcoming book on the development of creativity.
Thomas Landry II- Tom Landry is a New Orleans-based architect and interior designer who is the founder of Camp Jacob and Jacob’s Color Link Initiative, a non-profit focused on providing resources and care for handicapped youth in Haiti.
Since the earthquake in 2010, Tom has been volunteering in Haiti, first in an architectural capacity but later assisting medical teams around Port-au-Prince. Over the past 4 years, Tom’s philanthropic work has taken him on 32 trips to Port-au-Prince, Gramothe, Jacmel, Leogane, Cabaret, St-Henri, Cabaret, Saint-Marc, Cap-Haitien and the surrounding countryside.
Tom founded campJacob in 2011 to work specifically with the residents of St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince. In 2014, Tom decided to found Jacob’s Color Link Initiative (JCLI), an organization specifically focused on enabling the futures of these remarkable youth.
Melissa Lee- Melissa is the Senior Advisor for the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) responsible for funding and planning support to help revitalize commercial corridors throughout the City of New Orleans.
Her previous experience includes serving as Managing Director of the Coalition for the Improvement of Bedford-Stuyvesant (CIBS); a Brooklyn based nonprofit member association of two dozen organizations dedicated to enhancing a sustainable community as well as service in the New York City Mayor’s Office of Comprehensive Neighborhood Economic Development (CNED) and the Lower East Side Business Improvement District (LES BID) managing the Lower Manhattan Small Business and Workforce Retention Program aiding area small businesses in the September 11th recovery.
Ms. Lee received a B.S in International Relations from the University of Redlands and a M.P.A with a concentration in Urban Community and Economic Development from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University.
Ije Nwokorie- Ije Nwokorie is Global CEO of Wolff Olins, one of the world’s most influential brand and design businesses.
Prior to becoming CEO, Ije was Managing Director of the firm’s UK office. He has advised the boards of some of the world’s leading companies – Daimler, Skype, Expedia, EE, and Orange, among others – on strategy, innovation and growth.
Born in America, Ije spent his early years in Nigeria, an experience he credits with underpinning his creative outlook, as it is a world where commerce, culture, and creativity are necessarily intertwined in every day life.
Ije started his architecture training at the University of Nigeria (BSc) and completed it at Columbia University in New York (M.Arch). Graduating in the mid-90’s, Ije found his creative outlet in the emerging world of multi-media and digital products, working first in special effects, then as a producer in online gaming for the Eidos, the home of iconic game Tomb Raider.
Since then Ije has gone on to build a career that seeks to blur the lines between technology, creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurialism, a passion that has found a fruitful outlet at Wolff Olins.
Ije acts as an adviser for numerous startups, including SortedFoods, through his venturing vehicle, Co-Incidence.
Ije is a passionate speaker on the subject of creative leadership and increasingly an influential voice in the emerging creative industries of Africa.
Lisa Osborne, Founding Advisory Board Member- Lisa Osborne is a strategist and multi-media content producer and a start-up veteran.
Her consulting company Jigsaw Global is her fifth start-up. The first was TART, a cheeky, New York zine started by college friends. Then came startup jobs at Turner Network Television, adidas International, and an interactive TV company. For more than three years, she helped run the American Film Institute’s entertainment product incubator (AFI Digital Content Lab). Lisa left the Lab in 2009 to start Jigsaw Global, a digital strategy and education company.
Since earning a journalism degree at Northwestern University, her career has been characterized by a fascination with trying new things, running decentralized teams, and teaching. She has worked on projects for ABC, Cartoon Network, EarthEcho International, ESPN, DIRECTV, ITVS, MTV, NBC, PBS, Sundance Film Festival, and Weekly World News; about Ben 10, the World Cup, Top Chef, David Beckham, and Kobe Bryant, and has partnered with some of the world’s leading creative teams and talent from PeetKegler, OK/No Way, Sprout, Leagas Delaney, Digital Pulp, Digitaria, Method, Schematic, Big Spaceship, Team One, Barbarian Group, Code and Theory, and Pod Design.
Lisa is an adjunct faculty member for Carnegie Mellon University, a member of the TV Academy, and an unofficial adviser for the New Frontier Story Lab, an emerging Sundance Institute program focused on digital storytelling. She also served on the board of the Women In Film Foundation.
Mary Rowe- Mary W. Rowe is Vice President, Managing Director for the Municipal Art Society of New York, where she supports the work of her colleagues to research, train and advocate for city building practices and policies that build economic vitality, cultural vibrancy, environmental sustainability and social diversity.
Her engagement with MAS follows five years of work in the recovering city of New Orleans, most recently as coordinator of the New Orleans Institute for Resilience and Innovation, a loose alliance of initiatives that emerged in
response to the systemic collapses of 2005. Her initial engagement in NOLA was as part of a fellowship awarded to her by the blue moon fund of Charlottesville, Virginia, to focus on self-organization in cities as the underpinning of urban and regional social, economic and environmental resilience.. Her work in New Orleans included supporting a broad array of local, connected initiatives that include building the local economy, creating more open governance and data collection and sharing, fostering entrepreneurship, creating a culture of planning that supports transparent decision making and land-use, the emerging role of social media, and creating peer-to-peer learning in the emerging civil society-led innovation in the Region.
Mary is an experienced facilitator, convenor and communicator on urban issues, and worked for ten years in Toronto as President of Ideas that Matter. Books to which she has contributed include What We See: Advancing the Observations of Jane Jacobs (Center for the Living City/New Village Press), Oil and Water…and Other things that don’t mix (LL-Publications), Toronto: Considering Self-government (The Ginger Press), Women in Green: Voices of Sustainable Design (Ecotone Publishing), and Ideas that Matter: The Worlds of Jane Jacobs (Island Press/Ginger Press).
Leslie & Sam Davol, The Uni Project- This husband and wife team are the co-founders of the 5013c, StreetLab, Inc., and the visionary social entrepreneurs behind the award-winning Uni Project. Leslie & Sam have worked tirelessly to bring their vision to fruition securing grant funding from MIT to develop the initial design in partnership with Höweler + Yoon Architecture. Following a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, the team deployed the first Uni on the streets of New York. To-date supported by a team of volunteers, Leslie and Sam managed over 200 deployments of the Uni around the 5 boroughs of New York City, and have shipped Uni reading rooms around the country and around the world so that other communities can take part in this innovative approach to bringing learning to public space. The Uni Project was a recipient of the 2013 Innovation in Reading Prize by the National Book Foundation, and a Winner of the 2014 Mayor of Boston’s Public Space Invitational. The Uni design was featured in the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2012 and was also awarded an Architizer A+ Award for Public Interest Design in 2014.
Founded in 1950 Palmisano Contractors has deep roots in the New Orleans community. Entrepreneur Warren Palmisano Sr. started the building tradition with residential projects following his return from WWII. While the company continued to perform mainly residential work for the first 50 years of its history, they occasionally took on a light commercial job.
Following in his grandfather and father’s footsteps as construction entrepreneurs in the local market since 1950, Current President, Wesley Palmisano opened a new chapter for Palmisano Contractors in 2013. After many years of experience working with Palmisano Contractors, Wesley gained 12 years of experience in the commercial construction industry serving as Vice President of a local firm. His lifelong dream led him to transform Palmisano Contractors into a cutting edge commercial contractor that handles all types and sizes of projects. In the fall of 2013 Palmisano and PlayBuild partnered to complete the final phase of construction on 2828 Thalia. Through Palmisano’s efforts and network over 37 firms came together to contribute professional services, materials, man-hours and expertise to the re-launch of PlayBuild’s flagship play space complete with an innovative contemporary sloped-roof open-air pavilion design, outdoor classroom space, kitchen and bathroom facilities, and wi-fi.