Meet YLC’s 2021 Role Model Class!

Young Leadership Council Announces 2021 Role Model Class

Annual Gala Highlighting Community Leaders Returns to The Fillmore

NEW ORLEANS (May 27, 2021)
Young Leadership Council (YLC) has announced its 2021 Role Model class. Composed of 16 business, community, and civic leaders, the 2021 class will be honored at the 35th Annual YLC Role Model Awards Gala on Saturday, September 25, at The Fillmore New Orleans, located at 6 Canal Street. There will be a Patron Party starting at 6 pm and the Gala will begin at 7 pm. 

Annually since 1986, YLC has selected a class of outstanding New Orleanians who serve as Role Models by actively contributing to the betterment of the Greater New Orleans region. These individuals are an inspiration to YLC’s young professional members and to the community at large. The 2021 YLC Role Model class is composed of the following individuals:

Dr. Jennifer L. Avegno, M.D.

City of New Orleans Health Department

Edel Blanks


Dr. Jawan Brown-Alexander

New Schools for New Orleans

Martha Castillo

Pan-American Life Insurance Company

Patrick Comer


Nancy Scott Degan

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC

Nicole Deggins

Sista Midwife Productions

Troy Duhon

Premier Automotive Group

Mamie Gasperecz

Gulf Coast Bank & Trust

Hunter G. Hill

IBERIABANK | First Horizon

Quentin L. Messer, Jr.

New Orleans Business Alliance

Paula Peer

Trapolin Peer Architects

David W. Robinson-Morris, Ph.D.

Ochsner Health

Chuck Roth

Boys Hope Girls Hope of New Orleans

Syrita Steib

Operation Restoration

Erica Woodley

Tulane University

Each year’s class of honorees is selected by a committee including members of YLC’s Board of Directors and past YLC Role Model Award recipients. The committee reviews all nominations before selecting a final list of individuals. Honorees are selected based on significant contributions to their field of work and to New Orleans. Notably, a person can only receive the honor of YLC Role Model once in his or her lifetime.

“2020 was a challenging year for our community and country. In the face of multiple crises, we saw inspirational and vital leadership in the Crescent City,” says Yelena McCloskey, Young Leadership Council Board President. “As we return to The Fillmore for our 35th Annual Role Model Awards Gala, it is important for YLC to recognize those who continually make an impact in our community, as well as those who stepped into critical leadership roles during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The annual YLC Role Model Awards Gala is a “creative black-tie” event and will spotlight the accomplishments of the members of the 2021 Role Model class followed by dinner, dancing, and live entertainment. This year’s event is chaired by YLC Board Members Patrick Hernandez and Kristie Kaaa.

This year’s YLC Role Model Awards Gala will feature a new Restaurant Sponsorship opportunity designed to support the city’s culinary institutions. “In the past, YLC has relied upon donations from restaurants to ensure the gala is a fundraising success. Considering the challenges that 2020 has brought to city’s restaurants, YLC felt it was important for the organization to contribute to the economic recovery of this industry,” adds McCloskey.

Gala tickets will go on sale June 1 and will cost $125 for YLC members, $150 for Friends of YLC, and $350 for a Patron Party + Gala ticket. For information about table purchases and sponsorship opportunities, contact Lindsey Jakiel Diulus, Executive Director, at or call 504-585-1527. To learn more about YLC and view a list of past Role Model Award recipients, visit