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WHO WE ARE

Board of Directors

CHARMAINE BAKER-FOX

For almost 50 years Charmaine Baker-Fox has served as a community activist and deathcare advocate, connecting community members with affordable funerals, helping to arrange services, delivering eulogies, and helping families connect with public victim-assistance funds. With deep roots in New Orleans civic life, Charmaine has served on the board of several community organizations, including Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans, Israelites Baptist Church, and 16 years on the board, including eight as Chair of District B, for Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee. 

AMELIA BIRD

Amelia Bird is the Operations and Admin Director at Sprout. She comes to Wake's work as a former hospice volunteer, the daughter of an end of life home healthcare nurse and an artist who carved skulls out of cypress. Amelia has a background in teaching, state parks, and print media, and her hand-made artist's books are collected in university libraries and private collections across the country. She has spent the last decade contributing to New Orleans area nonprofits with design, writing, project management, communications strategy, and fundraising. Amelia holds a BA in Environmental Studies from the New College of Florida, and an MFA in Nonfiction Writing and graduate certificate in Book Arts & Technologies from the University of Iowa.

 

AMY CONNOLLY

Amy Connolly is a mother, teacher, and scientist who hails from Seattle but has been living in New Orleans since 2003. Amy holds a BS in Biology from Santa Clara University and an MS in Biology from the University of Memphis. She has served in Cameroon as a Peace Corps Volunteer where she completed an assignment in Agroforestry and conducted agricultural and forestry interventions.  She studied community ecology at the University of Memphis and conducted her thesis on milpa (small farm) recovery and fertility as a function of distance from old growth tropical forestry stands. In 2004 Amy co-founded a non-profit called Baobab Leadership Initiative which brought New Orleans high school students on overseas service-learning projects and developed leadership skills.  She is a founding member of New Orleans Red Beans and Rice Parade and Social Aid Club and works as Small Business Specialist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

ALLISON DURANT

In 2012 Allison Durant followed her passion and returned to school to pursue a Master of Education in Counseling. Propelled by the loss of her mother at the age of 18, Allison shifted from the world of accounting and managing physician practices to creating a space that promotes healing and wellness around all things grief. Becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor in 2020, Allison founded The New Orleans Grief Center to open up dialogue, provide psychoeducation, and assist not only clients but other counselors to gain a better understanding of the process of grief. Allison’s previous career as a Certified Public Accountant gives her insight into the financial aspects of organizational management. She brings this unique combination of knowledge and service to the Wake Board of Directors, connecting a desire to support the community with an understanding of the financial requirements of running an organization. When not working, Allison can be found needlepointing or playing pickleball. She is also the mother of three amazing daughters. 

MIRANDA GANZER

Miranda Ganzer is a New Orleans resident by way of New York City, working remotely for a San Francisco based law firm; her day regularly spans four time zones. Miranda has over ten years of professional and volunteer experience in various nonprofit fields, including museums, public art institutions, independent bookstores, women’s healthcare, and animal welfare. Locally, she volunteers with the Louisiana Abortion Fund and Heart of Hospice. Miranda holds a BA in English and Women’s Studies from Hampshire College and an MA in English & American Literature and Women’s & Gender Studies from Brandeis University.

MOIRA GLACE

Moira Glace is currently the Director of Marketing and Communications at Stuart Hall School for Boys. She attended Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia before moving to New Orleans. Upon settling in New Orleans she traveled around the United States working in the film industry. During this time she took breaks to train to become a birth doula and learn back-end coding. After leaving the film industry, she worked with the local non-profit Electric Girls as their Operations Manager and Social Media Manager. Throughout her adolescence and adulthood, Moira has felt grounded by doing service work within her community. She has focused her time on reproductive justice, birth justice, and equity in education. Through her service work and lived experiences she has come to care deeply about one's personal choices when dealing with death.

TAJA KENNEY

Taja Kenney is an Afro-Indigenous Certified End of Life Practitioner and Spiritual Intuitive. With a background in mortuary science and public services administration, Taja is experienced with providing support throughout the end of life process, from hands-on care and vigil services for the ill and dying to practical help with pricing funeral arrangements and composing obituaries. Specializing in holistic, alternative grief support, Taja offers spiritual guidance using various forms of divination, as well as sound healing, to those dealing with grief and loss, or those simply needing spiritual guidance, clarity, and healing, at her practice The Rising Rose. 

 

BARTLEY MULLIGAN

Bartley comes to Wake's work with a passion for good citizenry. As a full-time dad, and part-time coffee distributor, Bartley’s professional background includes cable installation, cocktail mixology, and training as an urban planner. The process of dealing with aging parents has brought him closer to issues of end-of-life care and he is committed to helping all people, regardless of means, to die and be mourned, with dignity. Bartley holds a BA from Rutgers University.

EZRA SALTER

Ezra Salter is a licensed embalmer and funeral director in New Orleans whose professional focus is on bringing green funeral options to the state of Louisiana, as well as facilitating community access to respectful deathcare and end-of-life planning. Ezra is a member of the New Orleans Mayor’s COVID-19 Deathcare Taskforce and has collaborated with The Order of the Good Death on end-of-life planning resources for the LGBTQ+ community. They are active in local deathcare outreach and are a strong advocate for the protection and revitalization of New Orleans’ historic cemeteries. Ezra's background is in theatrical costuming and they hold a Bachelor’s degree in apparel design from Louisiana State University and an associate degree in funeral service from Delgado Community College.

CORY SPARKS

Cory Sparks is Corporate and Foundation Relations Officer at Xavier University. In his career he has worked as pastor of churches and as a fundraising and organizational development consultant for more than 325 nonprofit organizations. Originally from Fort Smith, Arkansas, Cory has served churches in New Orleans and suburban Lafayette. Cory often speaks to groups about ways to promote a more just and caring society. He is Secretary of community organizing group Together New Orleans and Past President of the New Orleans Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He’s also on the advisory team for the Community Developers Program of The United Methodist Church’s General Board of Global Ministries. Rev. Dr. Sparks holds an A.B. from Columbia University, an M.Div. from Southern Methodist University, and a Doctorate in American History from Louisiana State University.

 

JAMILLIA STEVENSON

Jamillia Stevenson is an Attorney and Counselor at Law in the State of Louisiana, specializing in personal injury, estate planning and succession, and family law. Jamillia has served as a document review and trial-preparation attorney for law firms in the Greater New Orleans area, and provides pro bono legal counseling through the ProBono Project. She currently operates the Law Office of Jamillia Stevenson, LLC which helps low and middle income clients to access justice and the court system. Jamillia holds a JD from Southern University Law Center and an undergraduate degree from Centenary College of Louisiana.

AMBER TUCKER

Amber Tucker is a place-based public health advocate. She works as Program Manager at Propeller, as well as at The Healthy Neighborhoods Project and has previously served as the Program Director of Hagar’s House, a home for women and children in New Orleans. Amber has her master’s degree in Public Health from Louisiana State University, where her research focused on the impact of transportation and housing access on health outcomes. She has completed coursework in Clinical Mental Health at Xavier University and earned her bachelor’s degree at Smith College with a self-designed major in Social Movements and Activism. Amber’s engagement with housing equity work in New Orleans includes employment at Tulane University’s School of Medicine, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, as board member of the Tulane Canal Neighborhood Association, and the Tulane Canal Development Corporation.

JAVELYNN TYLER

Javelynn Tyler moved to New Orleans from her hometown of Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 2011, to work in the entertainment industry. Since then she has balanced free-lance work as a television producer with community engagement, volunteering for the past three years to support Wake initiatives. Javelynn credits her abiding interest in deathcare rituals to her Mexican heritage and believes strongly in the power of memorialization and the right of individuals to choose how they are celebrated after death. Javelynn considers herself a life-long learner who loves to travel and visit cemeteries and learn about deathcare traditions around the world. 

Staff

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Liz Dunnebacke (she/they) founded Wake in 2020 after experiencing the loss of several close family members. She comes to end-of-life work following a career in the entertainment industry. Since moving to New Orleans in 2004, Liz has served on the board and staff of several New Orleans-based nonprofit organizations in the arts and education sectors. Since 2013, they have worked to develop national resources for sustainable and affordable end-of-life care, serving on the board of the Green Burial Council, and forming the Equitable Disposition Alliance.

Liz holds a BA from Brown University.

PROGRAMS MANAGER

Laurie Dietrich (she/her) is a New Orleans-based deathworker with a background in hospice work, nonprofit administration, and community facilitation. A certified Death Doula and a Civil Law Notary Public commissioned in the state of Louisiana, Laurie oversees Wake’s Community Deathcare program, and is a passionate advocate for access, agency, and dignity at end of life. She holds a BS from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

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