Second Harvest Food Bank Leadership Team

Natalie Jayroe
President & CEO

Natalie Jayroe became the president and CEO of the Second Harvest Food Bank in January 2006, having worked with food banks in Founder, Board and Executive capacities for 23 years. In 2007, she was named one of City Business’ Women of the Year. In 2008 she received Mazon’s Irving Cramer Award and was a graduate of the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute. She was named a Young Leadership Council Role Model and City Business Money Maker in 2011, and participated in the Leadership Louisiana class of 2012. Natalie currently serves on the Policy Engagement and Advocacy Committee for Feeding America and on the Board of Directors of the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute.

Annette LeBlanc
Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer

Annette’s work with Second Harvest since 1988 has included long-range strategic planning, annual work plans, budgeting, and the development of performance metrics; she is responsible for ensuring that all of the systems, policies and procedures are in place to sustain the mission, support the strategic goals and to mitigate risk. In 2010, Annette graduated from the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute (NORLI) and was named one of CityBusiness’ Women of the Year. Annette has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a major in accounting and minor in management from UNO.

John Dziurgot
Chief Operating Officer

John directs and manages all daily operations of our 200,000 square-foot facility, including warehousing, inventory control, procurement, transportation, and public warehousing functions. Additionally, he oversees Second Harvest’s ongoing disaster-response plan. An experienced food bank operations executive originally from Detroit, John previously served as Vice President of Operations for Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan for 12 years.

Melanie McGuire
Chief Impact Officer

As Chief Impact Officer, Melanie oversees the Programs and Community Kitchen departments that provide meals to people in need and help them improve their future food security. She also leads Second Harvest collective impact initiatives to ensure our services are reaching our 23-parish service area. Prior to joining Second Harvest, Melanie served in a leadership role with a non-profit organization focused on civic education programs for Louisiana students. Melanie is a native on the D.C. area. She holds a degree in Sociology with a focus on Social Justice.

Kristen Riegel
Chief Philanthropy Officer

Kristen Riegel joined Second Harvest after more than fifteen years of development experience. After several years in event fundraising and major gifts for University of Houston-Downtown, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Rice University, Kristen spent eight years raising funds for social service organizations such as Center for Reform of School Systems and Buckner International. A native of New Orleans, she brings her years of major-market experience in fundraising to the mission of Second Harvest. She is a graduate of the Academy of the Sacred Heart and attended Louisiana State University for both undergraduate and graduate school.

Courtney Johnson
Executive Assistant

A native of New Orleans, Courtney received her Bachelors of Science from Xavier University. Prior to joining Second Harvest, she helped plan and produce years’ worth of major live events such as the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the Essence Music Festival, and events hosted during Super Bowl in New Orleans. Courtney is responsible for providing vital assistance and support to the President and CEO, as well as to the Board of Directors and Executive Leadership. Courtney was named as one of Gambit’s “40 Under 40,” an honor which recognizes some of the brightest and most innovative people in our community.

Jay Vise
Director of Communications and Marketing

Jay oversees all aspects of public relations and marketing for Second Harvest. Jay also manages production of photo and video projects, as well as producing printed and electronic newsletters. Prior to joining Second Harvest in 2013, Jay spent six years as a reporter, anchor and digital content manager for WWL Radio in New Orleans. He received his BA in Marketing from LSU/Baton Rouge and his JD from the Loyola College of Law in New Orleans.

Shannon L. Alexander
Business Process Manager

Shannon has been with Second Harvest for more than seven years. She facilitates the advancement of the organization through evaluation of best practices of efficient business processes, utilization of technology solutions and continual staff training. Previously, Shannon worked in the field of HIV prevention. She is a Native New Orleanian and alumni of Dillard University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education in May 2000.

Brandy Spencer-Byrd
Human Resources Manager

Brandy joined Second Harvest in 2014, where she is responsible for the overall management, administration, and delivery of all human resource functions, including recruiting, training, compensation, benefits administration, and legal compliance. Previously, she worked as a business teacher at John McDonogh High School. Originally from Orange, Texas, Brandy holds a Bachelor’s in Mass Communication from McNeese State University and a Master’s in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix.

Susan Goss
Director of Community Kitchen

A chef for more than 30 years, Susan graduated from the New York Restaurant School in 1983. Though she had planned on a career in archaeology, her love of cooking drew her to the restaurant business, which she describes as “being like a different play every night.” After owning and operating successful restaurants in Chicago, Susan joined our mission in 2013, first as a volunteer and then with a role in securing healthy donations from retail partners. In 2016 she was excited to assume the leadership role in our 8,500 square-foot Community Kitchen.

Mamie Jackson
Director of Operations

Mamie Jackson joined the Second Harvest Team in September of 2006 after serving as a Supply Sergeant in the United States Army. Her lifetime of expertise in logistics and inventory management is essential to managing the tens of millions of pounds of food that passes through our facilities every year. In her 30-year Army career, she oversaw the logistics of supplying everything from nuts and bolts to trucks, and helicopters to installation furniture. Following her retirement from military service, she has found a true passion for supplying food and nutrition, as she works determinedly to do her part in ending hunger in Louisiana.

Kathryn Gsell
Community Relations Manager

As the Community Relations Manager for Second Harvest, Kathryn manages several major annual events and fundraising initiatives, such as Harvest at Home and Duck Derby. Kathryn earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of New Orleans.

Megan Nuismer
Associate Dir. of Food Strategies

As the Associate Director of Food Strategies, Megan is responsible for effectively and efficiently channeling food products through Second Harvest’s network, overseeing the procurement of donated food, non-food items, the purchase of food for Second Harvest programs and USDA allocations. She also advocates for local, state and federal food policies that increase the impact of Second Harvest’s mission. Megan earned her Bachelor of Science from Grand Valley State University in Michigan and her Master’s in Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in 2010.

Mary-Kay Rath
Development Manager

As the Development Manager for Second Harvest’s Southwest Louisiana Branch, located in Lafayette and serving 12 parishes in the region, Mary-Kay contributes to the organization’s financial growth by increasing and maintaining the broad base of donors and revenue and expanding awareness and knowledge about the impact of the organization throughout Southwest Louisiana.

Heather Sweeney
Director of Development

Heather joined Second Harvest Food Bank in 2008. As Director of Development, she is responsible for growing and sustaining community support from individual, corporate and foundation donors that is crucial to fulfilling Second Harvest’s mission. She has more than 10 years of experience working in development and philanthropy. In her spare time, Heather serves on the Advisory Board of the Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans.

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