Executive Vice President & COO, Greater New Orleans, Inc.
As the number two executive at GNO, Inc., the regional economic development organization for Southeast Louisiana, Barnes oversees several major initiatives designed to create and protect jobs in the region. To turn environmental threats into economic opportunity and job creation, Barnes has led the development of the region’s new Emerging Environmental industry and workforce sector and the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan. She has built new coalitions to better engage the business community in restoration and resilience efforts, including the Coalition for Coastal Resilience & Economy in Louisiana. Barnes serves on the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans and recently served on the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force.
Formerly, Barnes was Managing Director for Louisiana at Seedco Financial, now called TruFund Financial Services, a national nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution. In 2006, she relocated from New York City to New Orleans to open Seedco Financial’s Louisiana field office and run the organization’s emergency business and economic recovery response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike, and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. At Seedco Financial, Barnes deployed Federal funds totaling $30 million for emergency grants and loans to a total of 1,000 small businesses in greater New Orleans.
Barnes co-chairs the Sustainable Industries Industry Council of ProsperityNOLA: A Plan to Drive Economic Growth for 2018 for the City of New Orleans; and is a member of the ULI Sustainability Center Advisory Board, the marketumbrella.org Community Advisory Board and the Local Advisory Board for Education Pioneers.