Nia Deonna Benn, was born and raised in New Orleans, LA. She is a Talented Theatre teacher for InspireNOLA schools working with students from 1st thru 12th grade. Her love for the arts began at the age of two when she began dancing and it only grew from there when she began acting and singing in elementary school. She earned her Bachelor of Arts as a Theatre Generalist major from the Alabama State University where her love for all aspects of theatre developed. ASU is where she found her passion and love for technical theatre but more specifically directing and stage management. “Two Brothers”, “Lion King Jr.”,” Good Girl Gone Bad”, “Romeo Must Die” and “Phoenix Rising” are a list of shows she has directed. She has Stage-managed shows such as “Rent The Broadway Musical”, “Dreamgirls”, “Momma’s Boy” and “For Colored Girls...” just to name a few. Taking a step into the world of film she currently holds the position of assistant director and production coordinator for a TV series. Her love for the arts and youth motivates her to keep growing!
Born in New Orleans, La Jay Dorsey is an up and coming Actor known for his work with notable New Orleans entertainers Elz Rachel and Donovan Weatherspoon. He’s currently working on stage and with film and television projects. Jay is also an employee of Algiers Charter at L. B. Landry high school where he’s been serving as a B.I. (Behavior interventionist) for the past 3 years.
Nicole Washington is a Theatre teacher and Drama Club Instructor at Lake Forest Charter Elementary School, with 5 years of teaching experience. Nicole received her Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts: Performance in the year 2016 from Dillard University. She is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. Nicole has been a part of many play productions and was also a director of four annual school productions. Recently, she directed and wrote a virtual production called Covid: Online School Chronicles.
Leah “Elz” Grimes, CEO
Leah "Elz Rachel" Grimes is a 31 year old New Orleans Native. After graduating from Edna Karr High School she then went in to receive her Bachelor's degree in Theater with a concentration in performing arts from Dillard University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. While in college she begin making comedic videos on her social media which expanded her brand and audience to over 300,000 followers and over 4,000,000 views over many different platforms. Since graduating she has performed in multiple plays throughout the greater New Orleans area and spent countless hours working on different ways to execute and perfect her craft. Leah has written, filmed, performed, and Directed her own Web Series called "Work Days with Nijay the New Orleans Way". She has also opened her own production company called Everything Elz Productions. She is currently a theater teacher at St.George’s Episcopal School. As a passionate performer and creative educator, sge believe in putting my skills and innovation at the forefront of her work for each one of her students to see and experience.
Kellie Rouege, CFO
A native New Orleanian, Kellie Rouege completed her undergraduate degree at LSU. She recently obtained her masters degree in Data Analytics from American University. In addition to being a fulltime Software Developer, she has worked for more than twelve years in the educational system as a Senior Data Analyst
Morrazel Grimes, President
Morrazel Grimes is a 31-year-old native of New Orleans, LA. He graduated salutatorian from Salmen High School located in Slidell, LA. After graduation, he decided to attend college and major in Business Administration with a minor in music management. While in college he dedicated a number of countless hours to giving back to the community and volunteering at local group homes for young boys. From there his passion for mentorship took off. Since then, Morrazel has gotten married and had a son of his own. He currently works for United Postal Service and owns his own music management company where he manages a wide variety of artists. He still has a strong passion for helping the inner-city youth, so he donates a lot of resources and time to helping as many kids in the community as possible. Serving as board president of EESPA has given Morrazel the chance to serve the youth by leading them to a creative and yet very nurturing environment.
Brian England, Vice President
Brian Egland is a Louisiana-based Artist from the small town of Breaux Bridge and is currently one of the resident Playwrights of the National Black Theatre. He is a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he was honored with the distinction of being the Outstanding Graduate of ULL’s Performing Arts Department. As a playwright Brian has been honored by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for excellence in Original Playwriting, has had his works become Official Selections of the Atlanta & DC Black Theatre Festivals, produced as audio plays through No Dream Deferred’s Writer's Lounge and streamed through Cicada Radio, he’s received placement in the former Southern Rep Theatre’s 4D program, a residency with the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production as one of their RPPL Artists, streamed on Broadway On Demand and his most recent play, Where the Suga Still Sweet, is being produced and having its World Premiere at No Dream Deferred’s We Will Dream Festival. Brian can also be seen in the recently released movies “We Have A Ghost” starring Anthony Mackie and “Renfield” starring Nicholas Cage.
Delphine Joseph, Secretary
Ms. Delphine J. Joseph is a native resident of New Orleans. She was born and raised in the New Orleans East community. She is a proud graduate of St. Mary’s Academy class of 2002. After graduation, she attended both DePaul University (Chicago, IL) and The University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC) where she studied Theatre Arts with a concentration in acting. In 2008, after the birth of her son, Delphine decided to change her plan of action and pursue a career in Early Childhood Education. Realizing that a parent is a child’s 1st and most influential teacher, Delphine began working toward becoming an early childhood educator. In 2014 she received an Associate’s Degree in Child Development. Currently Delphine works as the Assistant Manager of Children’s Palace Learning Academy. Her duties include managing the day-to-day activities of the preschool, preparing budgets and annual reports, and establishing performance goals and objectives. Delphine attends Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church where she is an active member of the Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary. As a member of her court’s executive board, She works hard to serve her family, friends, and community. In her free time, she enjoys listening to various types of music, reading plays, and spending time with her favorite guy, her son Aidan. Delphine is a very forward-thinking person and always enjoys good healthy competition. Delphine believes in the Motto of her Alma Mater St. Mary’s Academy, “No excellence without hard labor”.
Erin Hawkins, 1st Chairman
Erin R. Hawkins is a personal coach, and legal consultant who empowers people to improve their quality of life by improving their mindsets. After graduating from Howard University, Erin brought her drive and passion for advocacy to Tulane University where she completed both her Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration. Through her work as a high stakes civil litigation attorney Erin and her team have helped individuals recover millions of dollars in personal injury damages and saved companies from financial ruin through her defense of multimillion dollar lawsuits. As a trial attorney, Erin has particular knowledge about the unique stressors within the hyper competitive legal profession, how those factors impact legal professionals outside of work, and how individuals can maximize personal and professional performance, considering same. After getting married, becoming a mother, and being named one of the The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 civil litigation attorneys in Louisiana in the same year, Erin began sharing the tools she uses to find success while maintaining work life balance coaching and consulting. Erin facilitates transformation for her clients through individual and shared coaching experiences that create opportunities for students to develop the soft skills necessary to advance in practice and develop a healthy professional identity. These skills in clued heightened self awareness, cross cultural competency, emotional regulation, and effective communication. The approaches and strategy she uses are based on her 13+ years of legal and personal development experience. As a thought-leader, her goal is to empower as many lawyers as possible to create a life they love, while doing what they love.
Bethany Winfields, 2nd Chairman
Bethany Winfield is a 39-year New Orleans, Native and a mother of three. She graduated from Warren Easton high school where she graduated with honors. She then went on to attend Dillard University where she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. She has been a Registered Nurse for 16 years and has spent a lot of time working in schools in the greater New Orleans area. Her drive and passion for healthcare and helping people truly set her apart from the rest. Bethany has spent countless hours donating to many charity’s and organizations that give back to the community.