We are the Soul of New Orleans. We are the Guardians of the culture.

The diversity of New Orleans keeps life interesting and keeps visitors coming back again and again. Since 1990, the New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network has been working to strengthen that diversity and to encourage multicultural visitation.

Our mission is to identify and promote the cultural diversity of New Orleans and to increase leadership, career, and business opportunities at all levels of the hospitality industry. We partner with local businesses and tourism entities to help keep the city we love in the hearts of travelers.

JOIN THE NETWORK

MEMBERSHIP IS FREE UNTIL 12/31/2017!

We promote New Orleans’ cultural diversity and work to increase opportunities in tourism and hospitality for minorities and minority-owned businesses. If you or your business would like to join NOMTN, sign up here.

  • Connect with local organizations
  • Receive our newsletter
  • Get access to our job board
  • Receive listings in the Soul of New Orleans guide and website

Essence Harris Banks

 Chairman of the board

Essence Harris Banks currently serves as Director of Six Sigma/Operational Excellence at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel (Marriott International).

Banks has extensive board and leadership experience with several local/national non-profit organizations. She has served as a member of the American Heart Association GoRed Executive Leadership Team, WomenHeart Champion & Spokeswoman, a New Orleans City Council Environmental Advisory Committee Appointee (EAC), Luke’s House Clinic Board Treasurer, a member of the Dress for Success New Orleans Board, and founder/board member of Heart N Hands, Inc.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts & Sciences degree from Loyola University and her MBA from the University of New Orleans.

Kelisha Garrett

 1st Vice-Chairman

Kelisha Garrett is the principal consultant at Gen-X Consulting Group, a firm focused on business development, strategic sourcing and vendor compliance management. She is also the Executive Director of the New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce. In addition, she is a licensed realtor.

Garrett currently serves as a board member of the Bio Medical District, The Beautiful Foundation, NORLI, GNO, Inc. NextGen Council, advisory council for Ignite for Change, advisory council of UNCF New Orleans, and Executive Committee member of Project Safe Neighborhoods.

She previously served as the Co-Chair for the G.N.O. Women’s Breakfast, Treasurer of the Women’s Business Enterprises Council–South, Treasurer for the NONBMBA, Vice-Pres. of the Urban League, and as a board member for both Junior Achievement and the Jefferson Parish Chamber of Commerce.

Garrett holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix, a B.S. in Bus. Administration, and a nursing license. She is a graduate of the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute (NORLI) and Brian Bell Leadership class.

Jamal Brown

 Treasurer

New Orleans native Jamal Brown is the Finance Manager for MarketUmbrella, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to fresh foods in Louisiana. Brown previously worked for Liberty Bank and Trust Company in its Community Development Division and the New Orleans City Director for the Black Alliance for Educational Options.

Brown sits on several boards in New Orleans including Teaching Responsible Earth Education and 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans.

He earned a B.S. in Marketing from Loyola University and a graduate degree in business administration from Tulane University.

Josline Gosserand Frank

 Secretary

Josline Frank is co-owner/principal and Realtor of World Properties International, Russell Frank Realty Group, LLC. She has served as Co-chair of Fair Housing for NOMAR and is a member of New Orleans Metropolitan Area Realtors, Greater Baton Rouge Area Realtors, LREC and NAR.

Frank spent four years as an Adjunct Facilitator at the University of New Orleans and 33 years as an educator in the Jefferson Parish Public School System. As an Educational Consultant, Frank has served as an instructional and leadership coach to many school districts throughout the United States. She is also a partner in Building Blocks Learning, LLC.

Frank is an Active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Pontchartrain Chapter of LINKS, Inc., New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce. In addition, she serves on the Board for JEDCO. She holds a B.S. in Business Education from Southern University and a Masters in Business Education. She has 45+ hours of continuing education from Northwestern State University, Southeastern University, Tulane, Loyola and Our Lady of Holy Cross College. What’s more, she has additional educational certification in Computer Literacy, Marketing Education, Lodging Management, Cooperative Office Education, Administration, Supervision and Principalship.

Brandi Payton

 Board Member

Brandi Payton began her career at JetBlue Airways as a crewmember and worked her way into the role of General Manager for the company. In 2011, Payton and her team received the Safety Star Award. To date, she has been the only GM to receive the award. In 2015, she stepped into a new role as a Dual City General Manager, while continuing to use her industry background and skills on various company projects.

Payton received her Bachelor's Degree in Business Management from SUNO. She went on to get a second Bachelor's Degree from UNO in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism.

Barbara A. Waiters

 Board Member

Barbara Waiters is the Director of Public Affairs & Policy for the Downtown Development District of New Orleans. She serves on the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority Board of Commissioners, Ochsner Hospital West Bank Governing Board, New Orleans Public Library Foundation Board of Directors, Boys Town Louisiana Board of Directors, and Chalmette Refinery Community Advisory Board.

Waiters holds a Bachelor's of Science in Marketing with a minor in Economics from Xavier University in New Orleans.

Diane B. Lyons

 Board Member

Diane Lyons is an event planner and the president/owner of ACCENT-DMC, Inc., a DMC Network Company – an award winning destination/meeting management company). She also sits at the helm of ACCENT on Children’s Arrangements, an international provider of onsite convention childcare programs.

In 2011, Lyons founded FestiGals, an organization dedicated to uniting women of all ages, professions and cultural backgrounds. She has also worked with the New Orleans Morial Convention Center on NOLA ChristmasFest.

Lyons currently serves on the Board of Directors of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. She served as a board member for the DMC Network, and the Professional Convention Management Association. She is a member of the Financial Insurance Conference Planners, Meeting Professionals International, the Association of Destination Management Executives International, and the International Live Events Association, as well as the Women’s Business Enterprise Council South and the Women’s President’s Organization.

Lyons was named one of New Orleans Magazine’s People to Watch 2016 and is an honoree for the American Red Cross Power of Women 2016. She was selected as a New Orleans Magazine Top Female Achiever in 2013, and was one of New Orleans CityBusiness’ Women of the Year in 2004 and 2012.

Cyndi Nguyen

 Board Member

Cyndi Nguyen is the co-founder and executive director of VIET (Vietnamese Initiative in Economic Training) which works to develop educational and economic training programs and act as a resource center for minority residents in Louisiana.

Nguyen is a fellow of the Community Leadership Fellowship Program funded by the Kellogg Foundation and a co-host on the Good Life Show with Gumbo Talk on WBOK 1230AM. She serves on the boards of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, Boys Scout of America, East New Orleans Business District Development and Girl Scouts of Southeast Louisiana. She also serves on the Community Advisory Committee for WYES and the New Orleans East Hospital.

She holds a Bachelor Degree in Social Work from Loras College and a Master in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix.

Oscar Rainey

 Board Member

Oscar Rainey is employed by Remy Cointreau USA, where he serves as the Senior Market Manager for Louisiana and Arkansas. He is also a managing partner of V Productions, a certified DBE at the Louis Armstrong Airport. Rainey’s hospitality career began at a very young age at his family’s 40-year-old business – “Rainey’s Restaurant Caterers” – where he started as a dishwasher/busboy.

Rainey sits on several boards and is a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.; Prince Hall Grand Lodge, F&AM. of Louisiana, Platta Temple #15 Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles Mystic Shrine of North & South America and Its Jurisdiction Inc., and Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Hotel - Motel Management from Grambling State University.

Meagan Cook

 Board Member

Meagan Cook is Director of Catering & Conference Services at the Windsor Court Hotel. Before that, she served as Account Director, Catering for the Sheraton New Orleans and Director of Catering and Conference Services for the Intercontinental New Orleans.

Along with serving on the NOMTN board, Cook’s volunteer work has included stints as Vice President, Finance and Communications Chair, and President for the MPI (Meeting Professionals International) Gulf States Chapter.

Angie Simon

 Board Member

Angie Simon’s background in hospitality is as impressive as it gets. She has served as Director of Sales and Marketing at Doubletree by Hilton, Sr. Sales Manager at Hyatt Regency New Orleans, Director of Sales at IHG, Senior Account Executive at Marriott International and Sales Manager at Merdien Hotels & Resorts.

Simon is an alum of University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

GET THE SOUL GUIDE

GET IN TOUCH