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New Leaders Council

Our Board

Russell Hopson, Co-Director


Service, Community and Accountability are all stalwarts of Russell Hopson’s life.  In that charge he holds several positions in progressive and civic organizations in his chosen home of Atlanta, Ga.  A 2014 member of New Leaders Council’s Atlanta cohort, he currently serves as the Chapter Co-Director. He is currently president of Neighborhood Planning Unit Y of Atlanta where he’s made considerable strides in galvanizing and organizing 11 contiguous neighborhoods around public safety, sustainability, transportation, and civic engagement. He’s a member of the AB67, the community engagement board of Atlanta’s transcendent Beltline initiative where he educates communities on real estate policies and development opportunities. He serves on the Fulton County District 5 Constituent Services task force as Public Safety and Justice Chair, working to revamp inequitable incarceration practices and lowering recidivism rates. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Red Clay Democrats, Georgia’s largest Democratic Political PAC, is a graduate of the United Way VIP program in 2013 and a recipient of Outstanding Atlanta in 2015.

Born and raised in Hampton, VA, he grew up with a love for service and scholarship leading him to Florida A & M University.  While attending FAMU Russell founded a mentoring and tutorial program, served as an early childhood development instructor, taught Math and Science to Upward Bound students and was Community Service Chair for the Beta Nu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.  In the ladder role he helped to organize voter registration/turnout initiatives and student protests challenging the questionable polling practices of the 2000 election in Tallahassee, FL.

Upon graduating he relocated to Atlanta to start a career as a business consultant. Eventually transitioning to Home Health Care, he currently serves as a Business Development Manager for Amedisys Home Health, Inc. In a marriage of his professional and personal passions, for the past three years, he has served on the Morehouse School of Medicine - Prevention Research Center’s Community Coalition Board and was recently named to Morehouse School of Medicine / Morehouse Healthcare Board of Directors. He has served as a youth mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta, Parks Middle School and Raising Expectations, Inc.

In his spare time Russell is an avid traveler, fitness enthusiast and cigar aficionado.

Allison Hood, Co-Director Allison_Hood_Head_Shot.jpg

Allison Hood is the Development & Outreach Director for VOX Teen Communications, a non-profit that focuses on self-expression and leadership development for teens in metro Atlanta. Prior to joining VOX, Allison worked for Lutheran Services of Georgia as the Special Events Manager, She began her non-profit career in Atlanta as the Program Coordinator for youthSpark, a non-profit organization that works to end child sex trafficking through prevention and early intervention.

Allison is also involved with New Leaders Council-Atlanta, the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Atlanta, and the Young Professionals for Care-Atlanta. She is a graduate of Georgia State University with a Master’s Degree in Social Work and received her Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs from the Georgia Institute of Technology.


Ashley Brady, Curriculum Co-ChairAshley_Brady_Headshot.jpg

Ashley Brady is a Director in Huron Consulting Group's Healthcare Strategy Practice. In this role, she advises leading hospitals and healthcare systems, identifying and solving their most pressing strategic, organizational and operational challenges.  Prior to joining Huron, Ashley worked as Director of Strategy at DaVita, Inc., where she served as Chief of Staff and key strategy advisor to the Group Vice President, leading strategic growth initiatives across seven states and 300+ dialysis clinics. As Senior Manager in Corporate Strategy and Business Development for McKesson’s Healthcare Technology Solutions, Ashley was responsible for identifying, evaluating and managing new business opportunities, while supporting enterprise-level strategic decision-making. Prior to McKesson, Ashley worked as a Senior Healthcare Consultant with The Advisory Board Company, where she focused on population health management. Ashley began her career serving as a U.S. Diplomat with the U.S. Department of State. In her role, Ashley was responsible for carrying out the foreign policy of the President of the United States and representing the political and economic interests of the U.S. abroad.  She completed diplomatic tours in China and Canada. 

Ashley earned her MBA from Columbia Business School, where she was a Columbia Fellow. She also earned a MA in International Affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a BA in International Relations from Agnes Scott College. A native Texan, Ashley loves to travel internationally and to volunteer with Junior League of Atlanta. Ashley is a Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) MBA Prep 2011 alum, New Leaders Council – Atlanta 2017 Fellow, and a member of the National Black MBA Association – Atlanta chapter.

Chris McDade, Curriculum Co-ChairChris_McDade_Head_Shot_31.JPG

Chris McDade serves as the Packaging Category Lead in Marketing at Chick-fil-A and has over 15 years of experience in the Consumer Package Goods and Food Services Industry. Chris started his career at Procter and Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio where he was responsible for commercial innovation and new product development for the Bounty paper towel brand. In 2008, Chris relocated to Atlanta, Georgia and transitioned to The Clorox Company as a Senior Packaging Engineer. He continued leading new process and packaging development on brands such as Pine Sol, Clorox Bleach, Liquid Plumber, Green Works and Clorox Wipes. After obtaining an M.B.A with a concentration in Marketing Strategy, Chris transitioned to lead Brand Packaging at Chick-fil-A.

Chris has a passion for community service, civic engagement, and mentoring. While at Clorox, Chris developed a community outreach program to mentor at risk male students. The students made significant academic improvements and Chris was awarded the Educational Excellence Award from the Mayor of Smyrna. Chris currently serves in multiple organizations in Atlanta as a youth mentor for middle and high school students. He is a member of the Beta Gama Sigma International Honor Society, the Urban League Young Professionals-Atlanta, a founding board member of Another Level of Excellence, and a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated.

Chris hails from Los Angeles, California by way of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He is a graduate of Morehouse College and the Georgia Institute of Technology with dual degrees in General Science and Mechanical Engineering and earned an M.B.A. from Emory’s Goizueta Business School. His proudest accomplishments are is his faith in God and his family, where he is a loving husband, devoted son, and older brother to four siblings. 

Damian Denson, Selections Co-Chair

Damian_Denson.jpgDr. Denson is a behavioral scientist with over fifteen years of research experience in a number of local, state, and national public health initiatives. He has worked in health policy, epidemiology, intervention development, evaluation, behavioral surveillance, and data collection, monitoring, and analysis. He was both a former National Institute on Drug Abuse Pre-doctoral Fellow in the Department of Community Health Sciences in the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and a Satcher Health Policy Leadership Fellow at Morehouse School of Medicine. While at UIC, he served as a researcher with the Community Outreach Intervention Projects studying psychosocial determinants, internet use, substance use, and HIV risk behaviors among minority men who have sex with men (MSM). He currently works within the Prevention Research Branch of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His current projects assess the barriers and facilitators to HIV prevention, care, and treatment for populations at risk including MSM, substance users, youth, and transgender persons. In addition, Dr. Denson holds a Master of Public Health degree (Community Health) from New York University and a Bachelor of Science degree (Biology) from Xavier University of Louisiana. He is also the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors at Positive Impact Health Centers, a 2016 Fellow and 2017 Curriculum Co-Chair for the New Leaders Council – Atlanta chapter, Development Chair of The Gentlemen’s Foundation, and Steering Committee and Ambassador member of The Counter Narrative Project.

Abby McCann, Selections Co-Chair

A product of public education in the great state of Maine, Abby McCann is committed to closing the achievement and opportunity gap for the most underserved communities of students in America.  She began her career as a Teach for America corps member in South Louisiana. Her time teaching in Donaldsonville, LA, convinced her that she had much to learn about urban education, and she moved to Atlanta, GA, in search of school models successful in meeting the needs of low-income pupils.  This search led her to Charles R. Drew Charter School and the East Lake community. After teaching at Drew for years, Abby was recruited to join a new start-up, Purpose Built Schools, founded with the goal of replicating Drew’s highly-successful school model. An arm of Atlanta-based Purpose Built Communities, Purpose Built Schools supports public school districts across the nation in designing new charter and turnaround schools as part of holistic neighborhood revitalization efforts. As Coordinator of Teaching and Learning at Purpose Built Schools, Abby designs and facilitates professional development for the next generation of highly-successful urban school leaders. Abby graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College in 2011.

Esohe Galbreath, Finance Chair esoshe.jpg

Esohe Galbreath serves as the Chief Executive Consultant of Sohé Solutions. Established in 2012, Sohé Solutions’ mission is to support growing small businesses through affordable consultation while allowing business stakeholders to focus on their core competencies.

Esohe completed her collegiate studies in Electrical Engineering at the University of Kentucky. In 2004, she began her career at UPS and held management roles in Distribution Solutions, Implementations, Operations, Engineering, and Transportation Solutions, and in her free time assisted small businesses with planning, financial documentation, and tax preparation. In 2012, Esohe merged her corporate experience with her small business consultation experience to form Sohé Solutions – Boutique Small Business Consulting.

In early 2015, Esohe decided to dedicate 100% of her time to her entrepreneurial endeavors. Through consulting clients, Esohe discovered a love and passion for working with creatives, artists, and visionaries and was inspired to co-found Urban Art Expression – a company dedicated to encouraging individual art expression and building the individual art experience; ARTiculate ATL – an annual art social featuring 30+ artists with 1,000 art enthusiast attendees; and UAE Youth Artists Program – a 501c3 non-profit bridging the exposure gap of some of Atlanta’s most visually talented youth.

As Esohe continues to immerse herself in Atlanta’s rising artist economy, she is the Treasurer of the Castleberry Hill Neighborhood Association and finds inspiration living in the historic district with her husband George. She serves as treasurer on the Board of Directors for Village of Wisdom, a non-profit protecting the intellectual curiosity and self-image of Black children from the harmful effects of systemic racial bias. Esohe is a New Leaders Council (NLC) 2016 Fellow and currently serves as Finance Chair for NLC Atlanta. Esohe and George are members of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. 

Ericka McCracken, Recruitment Co-ChairEricka_McCracken.jpg

Ericka McCracken has been writing ever since she can remember. She majored in English as an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia, but she never imagined that one day she would be completing her very own memoir. Her first book, ALTARcation promises to be a book that will not only be inspirational but will challenge you to forgive those who have hurt you, including yourself.

Ericka McCracken’s story reads like an epic adventure filled with joy, sadness, challenges, courage and ultimately triumph. From her life’s experiences, life’s purpose was revealed in an unlikely way. Ericka truly realized the God-given resilience that she always had and knew that her journeys in life were meant to be shared. She realized that the joy is not only in overcoming life’s obstacles but teaching what you have learned. Ericka desires to share how truly powerful forgiveness is so others can either avoid or overcame the barriers that life sometimes presents.  

To date, Ericka has completed two documentaries, “Tic Toc: The Black Women’s Timeline” which details how the Black family is viewed in the eyes of its own as well as  “No Color To It: A Real American Story”, the story of a local business owner who didn’t allow his impoverished upbringing to deter him from serving a community who always supported him. Ericka has also completed a web series titled, “Thirty Below”, a comedic take on the breakups and breakthroughs of turning 30. In addition, Ericka released her first memoir in April 2015 titled ALTARcation: My Story of Forgiveness and released her second book which is an instructional guide, Let It Burn: 7 Ways to Ignite Your Future Through Forgiveness in January 2017. Ericka also speaks at schools, churches and conferences.

Ericka completed Atlanta’s chapter of the New Leader’s Council Institute in May 2017. Completing this prestigious program geared towards training the next generation of leaders, has provided Ericka a community of those with the same passions as well as innovative ways to give back to the community that has given so much to her. Ericka has also hosted the F.R.E.E. conference, which helps individuals find freedom and success in love, career and business.Ericka currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia


Victoria Phifer, Recruitment Co-Chair Victoria_Phifer_Headshot.jpg

Victoria Phifer is a Public Health Analyst at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She is passionate about health equity and building healthy communities by addressing the social determinants of health. She entered into public service as a 2015 Presidential Management Fellow. During her time with the agency, she has worked with senior leadership in the CDC Washington Office, supporting Congressional relations; the Office of the Associate Director for Policy, contributing to innovative health systems collaboration; and most recently the Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services. Previously, Victoria worked as a field organizer in Ohio during the 2012 Presidential election.

Victoria holds a Master of Public Health degree in Health Policy from Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health where she served as a Department Representative. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Howard University in Health Administration and became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. A native of Toledo, OH, she enjoys listening to podcasts, running and learning about Georgia through service. 

Ashley Nealy, Mentorship Chair NL_Photos_AshleyN_9.jpg

Ashley Nealy is the Web Team Lead for the U.S. Department of Treasury in the office of Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and Founder of Mindly Maven, a web and graphic design company. Ashley was awarded the top Next Generation of Government Award for Innovation and is a member of Outstanding Atlanta Class of 2016.

Ashley is very passionate about STEM and creating opportunities for underrepresented communities in technology and established the Ashley Nealy A.T.O.M.S. Center Fund at her alma Kennesaw State University to advance the teaching of science and mathematics in Georgia's K-12 Schools. She serves as the President of Young Government Leaders - Atlanta and the Kennesaw State University Black Alumni Society. In her spare time, you can find Ashley cheerleading or spending time with her dog Khloe.


Nse Ufot, Community Engagement Co-Chair Nse_headshot.jpg

Nse Ufot has dedicated her life and career working on various civil, human, and workers’ rights issues. As the Executive Director of the New Georgia Project, she is proud to lead the organization to its goal of strengthening the state's democracy by registering and engaging Georgia’s eligible, but unregistered African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans.

Prior to joining the New Georgia Project, Ms. Ufot worked as the Assistant Executive Director for the Canadian Association of University Teachers, Canada's largest faculty union. She also served as the Senior Lobbyist and Government Relations Officer for the American Association of University Professors. In this role, she coordinated initiatives for mobilizing members around legislation and regulations that impacted higher education and labor law.

Ms. Ufot, a proud naturalized citizen, was born in Nigeria and raised in Southwest Atlanta. She earned a Bachelor of Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Juris Doctor from the University of Dayton School of Law. Ms. Ufot is fluent in both French and English. In her free time, she enjoys international travel, listening and playing music from the African Diaspora, and hosting house parties for close friends and family.

Yasmin Neal, Community Engagement Co-Chair Yasmin_Neal.jpg

Yasmin Neal is a native of Georgia and was the youngest member of the GA House of Representatives from the 2011-2013; elected at the age of 25 years old. In the House, Yasmin served on the Judicial Non-Civil Committee (sets GA criminal law), Public Safety and

Homeland Security, and Children and Youth.Yasmin graduated from the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University 2014. Yasmin also has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, and is currently pursuing her MBA in Global Management. Yasmin was a police officer on the Chief’s Staff at the Clayton County Police Department, specializing in policy and accreditation. She was a Detective in the Major Felony Unit (Homicide, Rape, Robbery, Child Crimes etc). Yasmin also worked at the Clayton County Sheriff’s Department as an Internal Affairs/ Backgrounds and Hiring Investigator, and then an Investigator in the Fugitive Unit.

Yasmin made national news for the bill she drafted while in the House of Representatives, House Bill 1116- the controversial Anti-Vasectomy Bill, which earned nationwide and international news. Yasmin was interviewed live on CNN, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, the Young Turks, BET including being featured on, but not limited to; CNN, CBS “The Doctors” show, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, Current TV, EBONY, BET, Jezebel Magazine, V103 (radio), 102.5 (radio), NPR (radio), Huffington Post, Telemundo going viral on YouTube, trending on Twitter; and countless news media outlets in the United States and abroad. The bill was drafted as a response to the controversial GA Abortion Bill, which impeded upon women’s reproductive rights in GA. Yasmin had a non-profit, Clayton Rocks, which engaged and supported youth activities in the Clayton County area. The kick off event was defense class that was taught to teenage girls over the summer of 2011. Yasmin has been invited to speak at the Georgia Bar Association, Morehouse University, Clark Atlanta University and Southern Polytechnic University. Additionally, she lectured at Clayton State University Women in Politics course, and Clayton State University for an American Government course. Yasmin also lectured at ITT tech to Criminal Justice Courses as well. Yasmin has also won awards for her community service and charitable efforts as well. For more, please visit her website at

Rochelle Lindsey, Alumni Chair


Ms. Rochelle Lindsey, is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, has reside in Atlanta, Georgia for over 10 years. Ms. Lindsey has worked with such organizations as the YMCA, YouthBuild, Year Up Atlanta, Citizen Schools and TEACH. Her areas of expertise include event and conference planning, professional development facilitator and youth development. Her roles have required her to cultivate community partnerships, engage volunteers as potential donors and enhance clients’ experiences by revamping services provided and crafting satisfaction surveys. Ms. Lindsey  has an extensive background with developing in-school learning experiences, mentoring and college bridge programs. During her time at Morehouse College, she oversaw one of the largest Atlanta University Center initiative hosting over 160 students in service to over 300 young preschoolers throughout the WestEnd community. It was through this initiative, she led the Jump for Joy Campaign, providing over 3000 books to preschool programs.

Her personal commitments includes mentoring and volunteering with a host of organizations throughout the Atlanta area such as Raising Expectations, Girl Scouts, and Clark Atlanta University Alumni Association. She is a member of Gamma Phi Delta Business and Professional Sorority. Ms. Lindsey has worked on several projects focused on empowering young girls and boys to become powerful leaders of tomorrow such as the “Red Garden Luncheon” and “Bowties and Brunch”. For over six months, Ms. Lindsey volunteered her time working at a homeless women’s shelter providing resources and support to single women with children. Ms. Lindsey has received numerous honors such as Morehouse College Employee of the Year, nominee for Power 30 Under 30, Precious Pearls Community Leader of the Year and Clark Atlanta University Alumni Service Award.

Currently, she works with HERO for Children a nonprofit with a mission to improve the quality of life for children infected or affected by AIDS/HIV. Ms. Lindsey holds a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from Clark Atlanta University, a Master in Public Administration from Kennesaw State University, and a Master in Social Work from the University of Georgia. Her mission statement is, “Service starts in the heart, develops in the mind and performed in the community.”

Shantrice Jones, Communications Co-ChairShantrice_Jones.JPG

Ms. Jones is a Public Health Professional with over ten years of experience conducting research and evaluation efforts aimed at enhancing the health and quality of life of minorities and disadvantaged communities. She is currently pursuing a professional goal of expanding the public health workforce as the Employer Relations Manager at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Prior to joining the Office Career Development, Ms. Jones worked as a Program Analyst for United States Peace Corps after serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala, Central America. She volunteered for two years in rural communities educating health care professionals, training local community members, and building improved- sanitary infrastructure projects.

A native of Atlanta, GA, Ms. Jones graduated from Mercer University in Macon, GA with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. She also obtained a Master of Public Health, specializing in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Upon graduating from Emory, Ms. Jones was awarded a fellowship with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a Research and Evaluation Fellow with the Prevention Research Centers Program.

Ms. Jones enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends, volunteering her time with service organizations, and enjoying enriching cultural events. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

Christopher DeVore, Communications Co-Chair DeVore_Headshot.jpg

Christopher DeVore is a Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a 2nd year Master of Public Health Candidate in Health Policy at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

At the CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, Mr. DeVore administers special assignments that supports the Office’s mission to prepare, response, and connect during major public health events. Mr. DeVore also serves on the National Academies’ Genetic Population Health Action Collaborative working to develop a national policy for the cascade screening of Tier 1 genetic disorders. At Rollins, Mr. DeVore is a student leader, representing his department as its elected student representative on the Rollins Student Government.

Previously, Mr. DeVore worked as a contracted Executive Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC. In this role, he provided administrative support to the Assistant Secretary during various public health emergencies such as the Ebola outbreak, Flint, Michigan water crisis, and Zika Virus outbreak.

Mr. DeVore was a member of the New Leaders Council’s Atlanta Chapter Fellowship Class of 2017. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health from the University of Maryland, College Park.

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