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Board of Directors

Bricolage Board of Directors

Yvette Jones, Chair - Owner & President, The Jones Group of New Orleans

Yvette M. Jones is the President and Owner of The Jones Group of New Orleans, a consulting firm that provides a range of philanthropic and strategic consulting services to non-profit organizations.  Drawing upon her successful 36-year career in higher education administration, Ms. Jones’ areas of expertise include strategic planning, board governance, talent building, and all aspects of fundraising and campaign planning and management.   

Ms. Jones served at Tulane University in a variety of senior administrative roles from 1979 until 2016.  While at Tulane, she served as Executive Vice President for University Relations and Development, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President for External Affairs, Senior Vice President for Planning and Administration, Vice President for Finance and Operations, and many other roles.  

Ms. Jones is actively involved in the New Orleans community.  She serves on the Boards of Metairie Park Country Day School,  Eden House and Kingsley House.  She also serves as chair of the Dean’s Council at the A.B. Freeman School of Business and as co-chair of the Campaign Committee for the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives at Tulane University.  Ms. Jones earned the Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Business Administration degrees from Tulane University.

Arnel Cosey, PhD, Vice Chair - Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives and Community Services for Kingsley House

Dr. Cosey is the Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives and Community Services for Kingsley House, she works closely with internal and external partners on strategies that provides a path for families to economic prosperity.

Arnel W. Cosey, Ph.D. has 30 years of experience in higher education, 20 of those years have been in administration at the state’s largest community college. In her role she was responsible for the development and implementation of the strategic enrollment management plan. To support the diverse needs of a student population facing considerable academic and socio-economic challenges, she developed several partnerships at the local and national levels with corporations and organizations such as Education Design Lab, the GE Foundation, Chevron, Entergy, and The Fab Foundation at MIT. She also has extensive experience in key operational areas, such as organizational planning, budget management, campus expansion, capital outlay, deferred maintenance, and program planning and implementation.  

A proud New Orleans native, Dr. Cosey is committed to her local community demonstrated through her membership on local boards and in several service organizations. She has been the recipient of several professional and community awards such as the Louisiana Community and Technical College System Outstanding Staff of the Year, the Chancellor’s Innovation and Excellence Award, CityBusiness Women of the Year, Class, and CityBusiness One to Watch (education). 

H. Merritt Lane, III, Treasurer - Chief Executive Officer and President, Canal Barge Company, Inc.

Merritt Lane, III has served as the Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Canal Barge Company, Inc. since 1994 and as a director of that company since 1988. He is actively involved in industry affairs, having served as Chairman of the Board of the American Waterways Operators, as Chairman of the Waterways Council, Inc., and currently serving as a board member of the National Waterways Foundation and the U.S. Coast Guard Foundation.

He also serves on the Board of Pontchartrain Materials Company, a privately-owned company based in New Orleans, and Illinois Marine Towing, a wholly–owned subsidiary of Canal Barge Company based in Lemont, Illinois.  He formerly served on the Board of Directors of Hibernia Homestead Bancorp, Inc., as well as the board of International Shipholding Corporation, both publicly-traded companies.

Mr. Lane is active in leadership positions with numerous civic, educational and philanthropic organizations, having served as Board Chair of Isidore Newman School, The Idea Village (a New Orleans area non-profit entrepreneurial development organization), and the Baptist Community Ministries Foundation (one of the largest private foundations in Louisiana). He currently serves on the boards of The Nature Conservancy of Louisiana, the National World War II Museum, and Bricolage Academy; on the Executive Committee of the Bureau of Governmental Research and the Business Council of New Orleans & the River Region; and is a Board Member Emeritus of the Tulane University School of Public Health Dean’s Council.

He graduated from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce in 1983, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Finance.  He currently serves on the McIntire School of Commerce Advisory Board, and is an active alumnus of the school. Mr. Lane and his wife Eleanor (Elly) are both natives of New Orleans and have three daughters.

Deborah Augustine Elam, Secretary - President & CEO, Corporate Playbook

Deborah Augustine Elam is a visionary senior executive whose consummate leadership emboldens teams to confidently take positive and constructive action. As one of the country’s foremost experts in Diversity & Inclusion her passion and guidance have transformed the organizations she has led. Deb is known for being a powerful connector and inspiring speaker presenting on diversity to such esteemed audiences as The United Nations in New York and The House of Commons in London.

In 2017, Deb retired from a thirty-year career at General Electric (GE), and launched Corporate PlaybookTM, where she serves as President and CEO. Corporate Playbook provides leaders with strategic direction to elevate diversity, inclusion, philanthropy and culture in the workplace. In 2018, Deb launched Dining with DebTM, an innovative dining experience that brings together professional women across racial, religious and political lines to drive meaningful connections and conversations. 

Deb’s journey with GE began in 1986. She quickly became recognized for her business intuition. She was highly regarded for her ability to “see around corners” by anticipating problems, synthesizing data, developing solutions, and then connecting the appropriate resources. Deb’s experience and leadership spanned multiple businesses and industries across GE including Global Exchange Services (Computer Technology), Transportation, Consulting Services, Capital Mortgage Corporation, Insurance Services, Capital Markets Services, Commercial Finance and the company’s corporate headquarters. Deb oversaw all talent management from succession planning to organization design and leadership development. She led HR programs and practices overseeing compliance with applicable employment laws and effectively managed complicated variable incentive compensation plans (VIC) in financial services. In 2010, Deb co-led a GE global expansion strategy on the continent of Africa. In 2013, Deb was appointed President of the GE Foundation and retained the role of Global Chief Diversity Officer. Her ability to align the Affinity Network efforts with Company initiatives and deliver high, positive impact, resulted in prestigious awards for GE in both diversity and philanthropy from The Asia Society, Catalyst, ​Working Mother,​ ​Black Enterprise​, ​Fortune,​ ​GI Jobs,​ ​Military Times​, Points of Light, and the US Chamber of Commerce. 

For her accomplishments, Deb has received numerous accolades, including 50 Most Powerful Women in Philanthropy from ​Inside Philanthropy,​ Women of Excellence Legacy Award from the National Association for Female Executives, and Women of Power Award from the National Urban League.

Prior to her tenure at GE, Deb received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, from Louisiana State University and a Master of Public Administration, from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science from Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. While at GE, Deb completed the highest level of executive education, including advanced financial management training.

Deb serves on the board of directors at New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute, chairing the Human Resources Committee, Louisiana State University Foundation, chairing the Talent Management Committee and Bricolage Academy Charter School as Secretary.​ ​She was appointed to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment (ACDDE). Deb previously served as a Visiting Executive at the Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business and served on the boards of Delta Research and Education Foundation, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Foundation and Ursuline Academy of New Orleans. Deb is also a member of the National Black MBA Association, Chair for Delta Sigma Sorority Association, Inc; and Faculty for the Leadership Academy of The Links, Inc.

Deb has two young adult daughters. She and her fiancé reside in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Norman Barnum - Chief Financial Officer, New Orleans Business Alliance

Norman E. Barnum IV is a finance executive with over 30 years in community and economic development leadership experience in cities in the Northeast and Gulf South. Barnum currently serves as Chief Financial Officer at the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), an economic development organization that partners with City government to attract and support businesses, develop talent and workforce, and strengthen sense of place.

Internally, Barnum develops the overall financial strategy and implementation of data systems at NOLABA. He manages the finance team, treasury, shareholder relations, accounting, tax, external audit, and risk management. Barnum also leads the development and implementation of strategic initiatives that increase the organization’s self- sustainability and minimize dependence on public funding. To do so, he serves as a liaison between leaders in the public and private sectors and community members to generate outcomes that drive prosperity for all citizens of New Orleans.

Prior to joining NOLABA, Barnum held previous CFO roles with WYBE Public Television and the Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation in Philadelphia, PA. He also served in several senior financial roles at the Delaware River Port Authority in Camden, NJ. Throughout his nearly 30-year career in nonprofit finance, Barnum has established a reputation for building self-sustaining revenue streams and aligning financial and business metrics to support organizational growth. Barnum has developed multiple real estate projects and raised in excess of $90 million in financing. For his achievements, he was nominated by the Philadelphia Business Journal for 2009 CFO of the Year in the Nonprofit Category. Barnum holds a B.S. in Accounting from Xavier University in New Orleans, LA and an MBA in Finance and Management from Eastern College in St. Davids, PA.

Tonya Johnson - Attorney at Law, Johnson Law Office

Attorney Tonya S. Johnson is a graduate of Hampton University in Virginia where she received a bachelor of arts degree in print journalism, and she worked at the Times Picayune after graduating from college. She attended Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, where she served as the Editor of the Law Review and she has been a practicing attorney for the past 21 years. Her practice focuses on personal injury and medical malpractice, and she enjoys assisting her clients in navigating the complexities of the legal system.

Ms. Johnson believes in giving back to the community, and has a specific interest in projects and organizations that focus on issues affecting women and children. She is married to Attorney Garron M. Johnson, and is the mother of three beautiful children, Tyler, Gabrielle and Brock Johnson who is a Bricolage seventh grader.

Annie Phillips - Civic Leader

Anne Sarpy Phillips was born and raised in New Orleans.  She graduated from Newman High School and the University of Georgia, B.A with a major in History and a minor in Spanish.  She received her JD from Loyola New Orleans University School of Law. Admitted to the bar in Georgia and Louisiana, she has practiced in Atlanta and New Orleans in the areas of corporate, securities, real estate, and public utility law as well as matters of commercial litigation.  

Her passion for education and the children of New Orleans began when she worked as a teacher and administrator for Summerbridge (now Breakthrough New Orleans) in high school and in college.  Since then she has worked extensively for her children’s schools as well as Samuel J. Green Charter School and Lafayette Academy Charter School.

Annie is committed to the New Orleans community and has been active in numerous civic, educational and philanthropic organizations including the Louisiana Children’s Museum, the Preservation Resource Center, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Audubon Nature Institute, the Herman-Grima and Gallier Historic Houses and the Junior League of New Orleans. 

Annie and her husband Nat, also a lifelong New Orleanian, have three children.