Jim Amoss was editor of The Times-Picayune for 25 years, beginning in 1990. During his tenure, the newsroom won four Pulitzer Prizes, the first since its founding in 1837. A native of New Orleans, he began his journalism career as a reporter for his hometown newspaper, eventually becoming city editor and metro editor. Amoss served nine years as a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board, served on the board of the American Society of News Editors and on the Board of Visitors of the Manship School of Mass Communication at LSU. From 2019 to 2021, Amoss served as a coach developing the leadership skills of public media editors, under the auspices of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Amoss graduated from Jesuit High School in New Orleans, graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.
Two-time Oscar nominee and six-time Grammy-winner Terence Blanchard has been a consistent artistic force for making powerful musical statements concerning painful American tragedies – past and present.
From his expansive work composing the scores for almost 20 Spike Lee projects over three decades, Blanchard has interwoven beautiful melodies that created strong backdrops to human stories. Blanchard has received two Oscar nominations for his original scores, becoming only the second Black composer to be nominated twice in the original score category, duplicating Quincy Jones’ feat from 1967’s In Cold Blood and 1985’s The Color Purple.
More recently, Blanchard has composed his second opera, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, based on the memoir of celebrated writer and The New York Times columnist Charles Blow.The Metropolitan Opera premiered Fire Shut Up in My Bones on September 27, 2021, making it the first opera composed by an African American composer to premiere at the Met.
Kim Boyle is a partner based in the New Orleans office of Phelps Dunbar. She practices in the areas of labor and employment, civil rights, constitutional law, commercial, tort and general litigation. She frequently speaks on employment-related topics, litigation and issues of procedure, as well as diversity, ethics and professionalism.
Leith Hill works as a professional business coach in New York and as a community activist in New Orleans. She is dedicated to New Orleans, the city she calls home, and serves on several non-profit boards, including Dillard University and the New Orleans African American Museum. Leith has a background in business and degrees in social work and coaching.
Walter Isaacson is a New Orleans native who has written biographies of Leonardo da Vinci, Steve Jobs, Jennifer Doudna, and Benjamin Franklin. He has been the President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, the CEO of CNN, and the editor of Time. He is a professor of history at Tulane.
Edward Lewis, born in the Bronx, New York, worked as a financial analyst for First National City Bank from 1966-1969. In 1968, his vision turned from banking to publishing when he co-founded ESSENCE magazine and eventually became the publisher, CEO and chairman of ESSENCE Communications Inc. Later, he produced the ESSENCE Awards television show and the ESSENCE Music Festival in New Orleans over the Fourth of July weekend, now in its 27th year.
Marc H. Morial
Marc Morial is the current president and CEO of the National Urban League, the nation’s largest historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization. He served as mayor of New Orleans, as well as the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He previously was a Louisiana state senator and was a lawyer in New Orleans.
Alden J. McDonald, Jr.
Alden J. McDonald Jr., is President and CEO of Liberty Bank and Trust Company, one of the top African American owned financial institutions in the United States. McDonald oversees an expanding network of financial institutions serving urban communities and provides leadership in community development to a diverse customer base throughout America.