Our Founders & Staff
Gerald is currently the Co-Founder and CEO of Directed Initiatives for Youth, Inc. A Non-Profit organization that is committed to serve the youth of New Orleans through Summer programs, Enrichment programs, and athletics. He is an ordained Minister and currently serves as Pastor for TCANOE (The Church at New Orleans East) in New Orleans and also serves as an assistant High School Basketball Coach and Middle School Baseball Coach at Isidore Newman School. He has also worked as an Advertising and Marketing Professional for over 25 years.
He received his education at Vanderbilt University in Economics and English, at Tulane University for General Studies, and Isidore Newman High School. As a Youth Development Professional since 2006, Gerald is certified as a Youth Sports Administrator by The National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) and is an accredited high school coach by the LHSAA and NFHSC. Gerald’s mission is to help kids discover and develop the values that define true victory in the game of life. To teach a new generation what it means to play to win.
As Co-Founder, COO and Executive Director, Penny works as a Youth Development Professional to serve youth in New Orleans. Since Hurricane Katrina. She has been Director of all programming for Excite. In addition to running day to day operations, Penny has developed our programming to include physical fitness, academic enrichment, cultural enrichment, and spiritual growth. . Penny is also a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of a Marketing/Consulting firm–Lagniappe Promotional Planet, Inc. ,with her husband, Gerald. Previously, she worked as Executive Director of Youth Development for Building Better Communities, Inc., responsible for developing and implementing summer programming. Penny has also worked as a reading interventionist with the St. Bernard Parish School System, working with elementary school children with reading deficiencies. She graduated from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La. with a degree in Psychology, focusing on Organizational Development.
Marquez D. Williams- Director of Operations
Marquez D. Williams, is a junior at Spring Hill College, and has been with Excite for 10 years. Coach Marquez has worked as a junior counselor, assistant coach, coach, and special project leader at Excite. Marquez manages equipment and camp operations for Excite. In addition he leads special programming for youth. On the “Hill”, Marquez is majoring in Business Management and is a Spring Hill Ambassador and member of Legacy Chapter of Men of Color Council, Inc. At De La Salle, Marquez served on the Student Counsel and played Basketball, Baseball, and ran Track. Marquez was also Senior Class President, Class of 2015.
Program Director: Gerald M. Williams II, affectionately known as LG has been with Excite since its inception. LG started as a Junior counselor in 2007 and has worked in all phases of the Excite Program including Assistant Coach, Coach, Discipline, extended care and more… LG has led program activities such as the Chess Club and our Musical Theatre and Dance classes. LG is currently the Artistic Director of Excite’s StepN2theLight Theatre program and is a certified Up2Us Coach and After School program director for Excite. LG graduated from Jesuit High School in New Orleans and is a graduate of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La where he obtained his degree in Musical Theatre and Dance. LG was on the Dean’s List and has been selected to the National Honor Society.
Ebony is a sophomore pre-med major at Xavier University in New Orleans and has been a staff person for three years, after being a camper at Excite for a number of years. Currently Ebony is serving as an UP2Us Coach at Excite and is the lead coach for Excite After School @ Fannie C. Williams Elementary School. Ebony has been one of our lead coaches during our Excite Summer Experience and in addition Ebony served as Special Programs Director for the 2017 Summer Experience.
Nate LeJeune has been leading, teaching and coaching students for the past 13 years as a Student Pastor and motivational speaker. Nate uses his story to help motivate and encourage young people to find their true passions and gifts. Nate also serves as the Training Manager for the national non-profit, Up2Us and has a background which extends from fundraising as a Fundraiser Consultant, to being a small business owner, as the owner of Pets World. Nate mixes his passion for his family, people and sports, along with his story, to humorously communicate principles that help you find your greatness.
Adilah Brodie- Up2Us Coach, Director of Excite Epic Runners. Adilah hails from New York City, and is a USATF certified coach with years of experience sharing her passion of running with youth. She has completed multiple marathons. We are thrilled to have Adilah leading after school programming and the running programs for Excite All Stars. Read Adilah’s complete bio
Angie Brown- Grant Writer/Administrator- Angie is a grant consultant that provides grant research, evaluation and writing services to Excite All Stars. Angie has been on the grant writing team for LSU Health Science Center, and the Centers for Disease Control and worked both pre-post grant award.
Marilyn Barrow-Americorps Vista: Our Americorps Vista serves a one year term of service in the capacity of administrative support and volunteer management in addition to fundraising research and support. The service term for this year is August 2017 to July 2018.