Our Board of Directors

Christy McMannen, President
Attorney, Christovich and Kearney, LLP

2015-07-19 12.16.18 HDR

Christy, Irwin (Rabbit Burrow), Annabelle (Garden) and Jim

Christy was born and raised in southern Virginia and graduated from the University of Virginia in 2002.  After graduation, she headed to New Orleans to embark on what she thought would be a two-year adventure here as a Teach for America corps member, teaching high school math in eastern New Orleans.  Little did she know that her fellow teacher and New Orleans native, “Mr. Dennard” (Jim), would eventually become her husband and convince her to stay in New Orleans.  It was also during this teaching experience that Christy learned the long term impact that a child’s early educational experience could have. After her service with Teach for America, Christy attended Tulane Law School.  She is currently employed as a civil defense attorney at Christovich and Kearney in downtown New Orleans.  When she’s not in search of the perfect recipe for some of the thousands of pounds of turnips her husband’s family grows on their farm every year, Christy enjoys baking and planning her family’s “imaginary house” that will one day be built on Bayou St. John.  Christy and Jim are the parents of Annabelle,  Irwin and Griffin.


Emily Mickley-Doyle, Vice President
Cofounder, SPROUT NOLA


Emily and Thomas

Emily Mickley-Doyle earned her B.A. in Sociology from Loyola University New Orleans in 2008. In 2011, she cofounded SPROUT NOLA, an interactive urban farming organization that spreads the love of growing fresh, healthy food through community engagement and outreach, partnerships with local food vendors and food justice organizations, hands-on training programs, and advocacy. SPROUT NOLA grows market gardens throughout New Orleans, leads backyard and community garden builds, and publicly advocates for sustainable agriculture. SPROUT NOLA coordinates the ReFresh Community Farm, a teaching garden that is located at the innovative community health hub The ReFresh Project. The garden offers educational resources to community members about gardening basics, assistance and education opportunities for individuals interested in starting a backyard garden, and tools to learn how to harvest and prepare fresh fruits and vegetables.

Emily is a member of the ReFresh NOLA Coalition and co-organizes the ReFresh Community Crew, the committee that facilitates bidirectional communication between ReFresh Project partners and community stakeholders. In addition to her work with SPROUT NOLA, Emily is the farmer’s market associate for Vintage Garden Farm, a Parkway Partners community gardener, a Louisiana Master Gardener, and serves on community advisory board for the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Center (LaCATS) and the Orleans Parish Nutritional Advisory Leadership Council. Emily resides in Mid-City with her husband Thomas, her dog Tooloulah, and her cat Marigny.


Elaine Garvey, Treasurer

Director, Postlethwaite & Nettervile (P&N)


Elaine and Evie (Fish Cove)

Originally from Northern Ireland, Elaine studied law at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and the College of Law in York, England. In a twist of fate, or you could say economic downturn, Elaine ended up pursuing a career in accounting! Working with PwC for nearly 20 years, Elaine obtained her professional Chartered Accountant qualification in England and then, following a move to California in 2000 her CPA license in the U.S. Elaine lived in San Francisco and Los Angeles and specialized in working with not for profit organizations and universities. Elaine moved to New Orleans in 2007 and became an active volunteer with STAIR, Start the Adventure in Reading, a board member with a number of not for profit organizations, and decided to indulge the her love of learning and study part time for a Masters in Liberal Arts at Tulane. In 2014 Elaine joined P&N as a Director where she works in the accounting and audit group with a wide range of clients. Elaine also serves on the boards of Youth Run NOLA and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Elaine is “Evie’s mama”. Evie is two and currently in the Rabbit Burrow at Abeona. Both share a love of music, art and City Park!



Chrissy Sheets
Kitchen Designer, Cabinets by Design


From left: Max (Class of 2016), Chrissy, Carter, and Elizabeth (Rabbit Burrow)

Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Chrissy Sheets moved to New Orleans in 1999 to attend the Tulane School of Architecture.  After receiving her Master of Architecture degree in 2004 Chrissy worked for a local architecture firm before becoming a kitchen designer with Cabinets by Design.  Chrissy married her high school sweetheart, Carter in 2005, and the pair welcomed their first child, Max (Fish Cove), in 2011. Searching for childcare was not easy, but both Chrissy and Carter knew they had found a home away from home for Max when they found Abeona House. Their second child, Elizabeth (Beehive), joined the family in early 2014. Chrissy is currently an active member of the Junior League and the Young Leadership Council, where she has served as both a board member and the VP of Development.  She has also co-chaired Edible School Yard’s Edible Evening, been a member of the STAIR Affair committee, and is an active member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association.


Vera Lester
Owner, Yoga teacher and Officiant at ViraYoga, LLC

Kirtan waliVera Lester and Elizabeth (Rabbit Burrow)Vera Lester is a yoga teacher, officiant, and speaker who brings humor and reality to a spiritual way of life. She teaches vinyasa flow and Bowspring classes at Wild Lotus Yoga, and works privately with clients. She is especially passionate about teaching yoga to recovering addicts and alcoholics at Odyssey House of Louisiana. Prior to starting this crazy new life, Vera was a professional fundraiser for several dynamic nonprofits in New Orleans. She’s a proud product of New Orleans public schools, and has always been committed to making an excellent education accessible to all New Orleans families. She’s proud to be “Auntie V” to Max and Elizabeth.



Erika Wright
Violence and Behavioral Health Services Manager, New Orleans Health Department


Erika, Kodi and Gabriel (Rabbit Burrow)

Originally from Sacramento, CA, Erika is proud to be connected to three generations of men who are native New Orleanians; her grandfather, husband, and now 1 year old son Gabriel.  After two years of serving as a teacher in the U.S. Peace Corps in Cameroon, West Africa, Erika returned to the states and continued her youth development work in Chicago, IL, where she originally met husband Kodi.  In 2010, Erika jumped back into to school to pursue a degree in social work, she received her MSW from Washington University in St. Louis in 2012.  Shortly after, Kodi received an offer to teach in LSU’s history department, which brought the couple back home to New Orleans. Currently, Erika is employed with the New Orleans Health Department, where she works very closely with the Mayor’s Office on the City’s violence and murder reduction initiatives.  In addition to this challenging work, Erika continues to pursue her passion around youth development through a small but mighty family literacy project.


Cullan Maumas

Director of Development for the New Orleans Redevelopment Fund

cullan.jpgBorn and raised in New Orleans, Cullan Maumus graduated from Ben Franklin High School and attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst on a baseball scholarship. There, he met his now wife and best friend, Jill.  In 2006, Cullan and Jill moved to New Orleans ready to aid in the rebuilding of New Orleans – Cullan as a real estate developer and Jill as an architect. Their proudest contribution to the City’s renaissance to date has been Maddox (currently a Rabbit in the Burrow). “Experiencing the joys of New Orleans through his eyes has become our greatest source of happiness and motivates us to work harder every day.”

Cullan received his MBA from the Freeman School of Business at Tulane where he focused his studies on Entrepreneurship and Real Estate Finance. He is currently the Director of Development for a local private equity fund focused on eradicating blight in Mid-City. Cullan has volunteered with multiple non-profits; most recently serving as Vice-Chair of the Gen Y Board for the YMCA of Greater New Orleans.

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