Richard Bates is a native New Orleanian (Franklin High School) who spent most of the 90’s homesick in grunge-less New York, Paris, and London. With Young Audiences since November of 1999, he is currently putting NYU English and French degrees to good use as Associate Director, shuffling budgets, project outlines, and special requests for maximum impact in compliance with Intergalactic Arkestral auditing requirements. His favorite part of the job is holding the paper trail at bay long enough to actually see or speak with any of our phenomenal teaching artists, all of whom have made great personal sacrifices to develop and share their inclusive, transformative gifts with children and with the community at large. Richard is also a thankful son, mischievous brother, fortunate friend, lucky husband, bewitched father, aspiring rock star (hear him with the hons), and vehement enthusiast of the serial comma.
Omote was born in Texas and raised on the Space Coast of Florida. She is proud to say she is Nigerian-American, but she is also a Florida girl through and through. Omote's adventurous spirit has taken her from law school in Los Angeles to policy reform work in Washington, D.C., but in the end, all roads lead back to the South and she relocated to New Orleans in 2013. Along the way, she earned a degree in Communications and Writing from the University of Tampa and a Juris Doctor from Southwestern Law School. Her experience in the juvenile justice policy reform community exposed her to the need for equity and quality in education for all youth and she is passionate about ensuring youth receive just that. When she is not working, she is most likely enjoying her family and friends in an outdoor setting, or expending energy in some creative fashion, through baking, sewing, writing or creating music.
Director of Development
Although not a New Orleans native, Jen considers herself an official New Orleanian after herchildren Jonah and Ruby were born here. Enamored with old and quirky things, Jen began her nonprofit career at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum in 1999, working in seemingly all capacities for several organizations before joining the Young Audiences team in August 2016. With a BA in Fine Arts / Art Education from New College in Florida, friendraising and fundraising for arts enrichment helps her feel less guilty about not making the time to focus on her own artwork. Her family, the color orange, the number 32, macaroni and cheese, and her 17-year old cat Wineglass Breaker are among the things that make Jen the happiest.
Special Events and Donor Relations Manager
Margie Henry joined the Young Audiences team in September 2016 as the Special Events and Donor Relations Manager. Possessing 6 years of digital marketing and project management experience, she also serves as the organization’s in-house marketing and communications expert. Margie holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as a Masters of Arts in Management-- with a focus on Art in Youth and Community Development and Entrepreneurship-- from Columbia College. Despite originally hailing from Chicago (Southside), Margie has a love of palm trees and 70 degree winters. Since neither were offered by her hometown, she relocated to NOLA in June of 2016. To her role at YALA, she brings a passion for mission-driven work, a love of learning, and something Jon Cosper calls an “up-north personality”, which she takes as a compliment.
Director of Education and Programs
Jenny joined the Young Audiences team in January 2007 as a physical education specialist in an after-school program, but surprisingly found that her English Degree better prepared her to supervise the implementation of Young Audiences' arts-integrated literacy program, Arts for Learning Lessons. She quickly moved into the role of Program Director. When she is not at the office or a school, she spends her time practicing her Italian and trying to devise ways to meet Rod Stewart.
Afterschool and Summer Program Associate
A computer geek and aspiring fiction writer, Chean lived in various states along the east coast before settling in Louisiana. She graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of New Orleans in 2012; in September 2013 she enthusiastically joined the Young Audiences staff. Chean maintains the student databases and assists with everyday office duties while fending off massive stacks of paper. After hours, she writes, polishes her web design skills, goes dancing, or rides her hybrid bike around the city.
Rickie, a graduate of McGill University in Montreal, has been Executive Director of Young Audiences of Louisiana for 22 years. During her tenure the organization has expanded its mission to focus on arts, education, and youth development. Prior to joining Young Audiences, she taught drama and language arts to high school students. When Rickie is not visiting schools or writing grants she can be found jogging in Audubon Park or having early morning coffee breaks with friends.