SMHA – Board of Directors

Lorna Bourg, President and Chief Executive Officer

Bourg is a co-founder of SMHA with more than 40 years’ experience organizing in Louisiana’s rural communities. She currently serves as the organization’s President and CEO. She is a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Louisiana Advisory Committee and was named as a MacArthur Foundation Fellow as well as a Fannie Mae Foundation James A. Johnson Fellow. She is a graduate of the J. F. Kennedy School of Government’s program at Harvard University for senior executives in state and local government. Bourg also co-founded the Sustained Excellence Alliance Corporation Inc., created and operated SMHA’s loan-origination program and has extensive professional experience with investments, fund development and management, budgeting and rural community development program design and implementation. She holds a master’s degree in Psychology.

Roberta R. Madden, Chair

Madden is the past director for Women's Health & Public Policy, YWCA Greater Baton Rouge. She also received the "Portrait of Caring" award from 100 Black Men recognizing her work in advancing unity and diversity. She is a former member and chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Louisiana Advisory Committee and is the Founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Louisiana. Madden also has served as the former director of Common Cause in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.

Marion Overton White, Honorary Chair

White is a renowned civil rights attorney and serves as counsel of record for the state chapter of the NAACP and several local chapters. He has served as president of the Louisiana NAACP and also as a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Louisiana Advisory Committee. He has participated in several landmark legal decisions dealing with race relations in the state and regularly represents poor legal defendants, pro-bono, in cases of police brutality claims.

Sister Helen Vinton, Sr. Executive Officer and Life Quality Initiatives Senior Advisor

Sr. Vinton is a rural specialist with more than 30 years’ experience working in rural organizing. She currently serves as SMHA’s Assistant Executive Director and director of Rural Life Quality and manages $2 million in program-related investments from religious congregations. Vinton is a member of the Sisters of Providence, is a founding member of the 13-state Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, former President of the Rural Advancement Foundation – U.S.A., has served as the national editor for Rural Catholic Life magazine and was the first woman named to the State Pesticide Commission in the state of Louisiana. She holds a master’s degree in biology with continued education in environmental studies.

Ned Doffoney, Board Member

Doffoney serves as the chancellor of North Orange County Community College District. He is the former president of Fresno State Community College, the founding president/chancellor of South Louisiana Community College, named to the Louisiana Blue Ribbon Committee on Excellence Board and has served as chief executive officer for Council of Louisiana. Doffoney also is the former president of Saddleback College in California and the former vice-president of academic affairs for Los Angeles Southwest College.

Karline Tierney, Board Member

Tierney is a professional chemist and Superfund specialist. She is the founder/organizer of several Louisiana women's advocacy groups and a past member of the national board for the American Association of University Women. Tierney also organized and established the ERA Ratification Coalition.

Judith Herring, Board Member

Herring is the past head of Directorate for Family and Community Development, former President of Rebuild Iberia, former board member of Episcopal Solomon House Outreach, former president of Louisiana Partners of the Americas and past board member of Louisiana Microenterprise Development. She works as a consultant for entrepreneurial and creative business approaches. She also has served as the director of the New Environmental Processes Research Team at the Rodale Research Center and as the director of programs retraining individuals through mentoring and education.

Ashley Shelton, Executive Director of The Power Coalition, Board Member

Shelton provides leadership and expertise to the SMHA board in policy and philanthropy. She serves as the Director of One Voice Louisiana, is the former interim-vice president of Programs and director of Policy Initiatives for Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation. Shelton also has worked as a senior consultant for PolicyLink, director of Grantmaking and Programs for the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and serves on the Capital City Kids Museum board. She was appointed to the Louisiana Board of Ethics in December 2012.

Senator Fred Mills, District 22, Board Member

Mills is the President and CEO of Farmers Merchants Bank & Trust and is a licensed pharmacist. He is a founding member and served as president of St. Martin Economic Development Authority and as vice-chairman of the hospital board of directors. Mills was appointed as the vice-chairman of the state Senate committee of Health and Welfare and also serves on Finance, Local and Municipal Affairs, Judiciary C, Coastal Restoration and Flood Control and Women and Children. He is the recipient of the 2010 Louisiana Family Forum - Family Advocate Award, the 2010 Life and Liberty Award and the 2010 Louisiana Rural Health Association Rural Health Legislator of the Year award.

Sister Barbara Kraus, SSND, Board Member

Sr. Kraus serves as the director of Progressive Adult Education Program in Iberia Parish. She also is the former provincial councilor of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, worked as an administrator of the Notre Dame of Dallas Special Education School and as principal Our Lady of Perpetual Help School. She received her Master of Arts in Special Education and remains committed to improving quality of life through education.

Margaret Ritchey, Board Member

Mag Ritchey is a Lafayette attorney, and has practiced corporate, commercial, real estate, and estate planning for over 26 years. She has served as a financial and investment advisor to several bank clients, and is an active member of the Lafayette community. Mag earned her Bachelor's of Arts from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and her Jurist Doctorate from the Tulane School of Law.

Martha Moore, Treasurer (non-board)

Financial Advisor for Edward Jones

Benny Menard, Assistant Treasurer (non-board)

President and CEO, Community First Bank

Members Emeritus

Phyllis Mouton

Former State Secretary of Labor

Beverly Rhodes

Former sugarcane worker

Deceased Members 1997-2017

Sister Anne Bizalion, OP

Co-founder, past President and Executive Director

Henry Pelet

Co-founder, sugar mill worker and former President of the local labor union

Rev. Vincent O'Connell

Labor movement organizer

Rep. Sydnie Mae Durand

Durand was named in 2008 by Governor Bobby Jindal to the State Pharmacy Board representing consumers. She also served as State Representative for District 46. During this time she chaired the Health and Welfare Committee, served on the House Executive Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She was the first female to be elected State Representative from St. Martin Parish. Durand also was active with the Woman's Policy and Research Commission and had 37 years of experience in the Louisiana oil and gas industry. During her life she also served as a board member for the Acadiana Regional Development District, the Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center and the New Start Center. She was a recipient of numerous local and state awards, including several for environmental and conservation efforts.

Simon Daniel

Retired farmworker and self-help housing pioneer

Gustave Rhodes

Former sugarcane worker