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Introducing 2020 Mentors For The Taylor Center’s Social Venture Accelerator

Introducing 2020 Mentors for the Taylor Center’s Social Venture Accelerator

The Taylor team is proud to introduce an incredible group of mentors for the 2020 Changemaker Institute cohort.

These mentors commit their time and expertise to support our budding social entrepreneurs develop and hone their ideas for social change.

Mentors assist CI participants by serving as a:

  • Resource: Teaching and advising the mentee(s) on how to make professional contacts, and introducing mentee (s) to new people, communities or ideas.
  • Coach: Helping mentee(s) explore, develop, and work to achieve, realistic and meaningful goals. Mentors offer feedback on assignments and guide mentee(s) for next steps.
  • Honest critic: Challenging mentee(s) ideas and offering generative feedback
  • Motivator: Expressing their belief and confidence in the mentee’s abilities and encouraging the mentee to try new things.
  • Facilitator: Considering the mentee’s ideas and helping them create an action plan.
  • Validator: Offering emotional support and guidance in times of uncertainty

2020 Changemaker Institute Mentors

Paulina Apone is a Management Development Analyst with the City of New Orleans. Through the Changemaker Institute, Paulina provides mentorship and support for Ruben Luciano’s venture, Buddies In Need. Paulina serves on a LGBTQ+ Community Advisory Board, and also works as a Business Case Manager with Fund 17. Fund 17 is a nonprofit organization that works to prevent opportunity inequality in New Orleans by providing micro-entrepreneurs with financial and educational tools for empowerment.

David Barksdale is a Tulane alumnus providing mentorship and support for Pax Analytics, Kwasi Agyeman’s venture. David Barksdale is Principal of Alluvian Capital, a private investment office which invests in early-stage technology enabled companies headquartered in the southeastern United States. David previously served as Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Spread Networks, LLC.  Founded in 2008, Spread Networks designed, built and operated ultra-low latency fiber optic and wireless networks designed for institutional trading customers operating in the New York and Chicago financial markets. David also focuses on furthering economic opportunity in the greater New Orleans region through inclusive entrepreneurship and small business creation. He previously served on the board of the National World War II Museum and the New Orleans BioInnovation Center. David is an attorney, having worked as an associate in the New York offices of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP.

Stephanie Barksdale is Director of University Partnerships and Social Innovation for Tulane’s President Emeritus Scott Cowen and an adjunct lecturer who teaches the Leadership and Senior Seminar courses in the Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Minor (SISE). Through the Changemaker Institute, Stephanie provides mentorship and support for Hannah Pellouchoud’s venture, Peace of Mind Retreat Center. Stephanie is currently Chairman of Propeller, a Force for Social Innovation, and a founding Board Member and former Chair of Grow Dat Youth Farm. Stephanie has been a student at Tibetan House for the last two years and is also a student of  the  Clairvision School. It  has been her goal to blend her personal exploration of meditation with her teaching of leadership.  Prior to coming to Tulane, Barksdale worked for The Low Income Investment Fund, Upwardly Global, and the King Hussein Foundation International. In 2019, Stephanie was awarded Outstanding Social Entrepreneur of the year.

Jeanne Firth is providing mentorship and support for Sea Green Bahamas, Taryn Smith’s social venture. Jeanne is a Consultant with GrowDat Youth Farm, a Diversity and Inclusion facilitator with VISIONS, an internationally acclaimed organization focused on equity and multiculturalism, and a highly sought after speaker and instructor on food justice and food movements. Jeanne is currently obtaining her PhD through the Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics. In her PhD program, she is researching food, agriculture, and equity in New Orleans.

Will Marshall is a Tulane alumna who is providing guidance for The Culture Container, Jordan Reaves’s social venture. Will Marshall is a designer and consultant living in New Orleans. Will is an avid supporter of the arts and education, a board member of the New Orleans Friends of Music and Ripple Effect, and is president-elect of the Musical Arts Society of New Orleans. Will has also done a lot of work in urban planning, serving as a contributing author to the Greater New Orleans Water Plan, and focusing on research and design for urban parks and sustainable water management.

Johnny Saye is an Innovation Consultant and Design Thinking Strategist for Alliance Safety Council, a non-profit organization based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Through the Changemaker Institute, Johnny provides mentorship and support for Wesal Abualkhair’s venture, The Next Mile International. Through Alliance Safety Council, Johnny’s core focus to help align teams, build products, and get to quality solutions fasters by using innovative methodologies like design thinking, design sprinting, and visual thinking to foster collaboration and real results. An expert in Design Thinking and Workshop Facilitation, he has led over 300 sessions in the past 3 years and is a certified Design Sprint Master. Having chosen a less traditional path, Johnny had several careers before finding a home in Design Thinking. He is a former professional soccer player, a former journalist, as well as a former door to door salesman.


Interested in learning more about our mentorship program, connecting with a mentor or potentially serving as a mentor and supporting our budding social entrepreneurs?

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