Our Board Members
President of the Board
Chairman for Housing Impact Area
Chairman for Arts & Entertainment Impact Area
Phanat (pa-not) Xanamane, is an interdisciplinary urban designer and visionary now residing in New Iberia, Louisiana where he helps initiate and develop community revitalization projects that have reinvigorated a part of town that needed attention following devastating hurricanes, poverty, and overall neglect. Phanat, who emigrated from Laos with his family when he was very young, was raised in the predominantly African-American ‘West End’ of New Iberia. His intellect and talent took him far from Louisiana. While he was away studying at Columbia University, the community where he grew up continued to fall further into economic decline. ‘Hopkins,’ the name of the main corridor through the West End and the name by which the community is often referred, became synonymous to some with vacant and blighted buildings and a reputation for high crime. His not-for-profit, Envision da Berry, uses art and information to create connections and build community; da Berry’s very first project in the West End was transforming elements of the Master Plan – community garden, civic center, transit hub – into a multi-location, public art installation. He is a ‘doer’ – someone who has an idea, tosses it out to friends and neighbors for feedback, then is off to turn that idea into reality. His passion and joy for community following his time at Columbia University have really made a very big difference for the small but vibrant community of New Iberia, and his work presents an example of what great things can happen when you introduce creativity and crop growth (plus show tunes) into a community. To contact Phanat, please click here.
Dr. Caryn Winters
Vice President of the Board
Chairwoman for Culture Impact Area
Dr. Caryn Winters is a native of New Iberia, LA. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Loyola University New Orleans, where she had dual majors in Political Science and Media Studies. As a Jesuit institution founded upon social justice and servant leadership, Loyola encouraged its students to be people with and for others. Dr. Winters deeply internalized this call to service, and joined the AmeriCorps program as a VISTA, or Volunteer In Service To America, where she worked as a community organizer in one of the most economically disadvantaged areas of Fort Worth, Texas. Following her service, Dr. Winters pursued her Masters of Science in Interpersonal Communication at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. During this time, Dr. Winters received the great honor of being inducted into the honor society of Phi Kappa Phi. After leaving UL, Dr. Winters attended The Pennsylvania State University where she earned her PhD in Communications. In addition to her work as a professional communication consultant and trainer, Dr. Winters serves on the board of Envision da Berry -a non-profit working to inspire the creative potential of Iberia Parish. Dr. Winters considers it a distinct honor to have the opportunity to return to New Iberia, UL Lafayette, and the Department of Communication, where she serves as an Assistant Professor of Organizational Communication. Dr. Winters teaches courses that include Leadership Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Public Speaking, Training and Development, and Communication Consultation. In addition to her work at UL, Dr. Winters also trains individuals and organizations in leadership, communication, and management. To contact Dr. Winters, please click here!
Dory Thomassie has always felt a need to be useful. She taught in the public school system for nearly 40 years. Her career began at Anderson Middle School, just a few blocks from Hopkins Street where Envision da Berry is headquartered and has a community garden. Her formal education career came to a close teaching art at Jeanerette High School. Phanat Xanamane was a former student from NISH. Seeing how the world could be through his eyes has been inspiring. Now retired, she spends time with her 3 children and two grandchildren. Dory enjoys painting, gardening, working out, bicycling, reading, wood working and attending community events. Other interests include operating sound and/or lights for productions at IPAL and setting up sound for Beneath the Balconies. Oh, and anything to do with technology and computers makes her very happy. The opportunity to work with Phanat and the other members of Envision da Berry is something for which Dory will always be grateful.
Chairwoman for Public Markets & Economy Impact Area
Jamie is brings over ten years experience working in the non-profit world. She has served as bookkeeper, project manager, event coordinator, volunteer wrangler, editor, web developer, aaaand just about anything else someone has thrown her way. She delights in turning problems into opportunities and loves learning new skills to help accomplish new ideas. To contact Ms. Braud, please click here.