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Full-time Staff

Vashti Little

Grants Senior Program Manager
vlittle@buildbatonrouge.org

Vashti serves as a Senior Program Manager and focuses on Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program delivery. She is a New York City native and holds two Bachelor’s degrees in English and Economics & Politics, a Master’s degree in Sociology, and is currently pursuing a Juris Doctor degree at the Southern University Law Center. Prior to joining BBR, Vashti worked to help elderly, disabled, and low-income residents through the East Baton Rouge City-Parish Office of Community Development.

Rebekah Strickland

Administrative Assistant
rstrickland@buildbatonrouge.org

Rebekah serves as Administrative Assistant and coordinates a host of general administrative tasks, including office management, scheduling, and supporting BBR’s community events. She is a Zachary, Louisiana native and previously worked in event coordinating and home school management.

Ashley Vaughn

Grants Program Manager II
avaughn@buildbatonrouge.org

Ashley serves as a Program Manager II implementing HUD-related community planning and development grants. She is a Baton Rouge native and graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in Political Science and Sociology. Prior to BBR Ashley worked in sales and marketing at WAFB and Lamar Advertising.

Tara Titone

Chief Operating Officer
ttitone@buildbatonrouge.org

Tara serves as Chief Operating Officer and manages the agency’s operations, including financial management, human resources, and a variety of special projects. She works closely with the CEO and the Board of Directors, assisting with the implementation of strategic and targeted action plans, securing external funding, and coordinating with the agency’s local, state, and federal government partners. Tara is a Shreveport, Louisiana native and holds a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University. Tara joined BBR in 2014 as Director of Finance and Economic Development, making her the longest-serving staff member. Prior to joining BBR Tara worked as a landscape architect for the Center for Planning Excellence and Edsa, Inc.

Christopher Tyson

President & Chief Executive Officer
ctyson@buildbatonrouge.org

Chris serves as the President and CEO and is responsible for directing day-to-day operations as well as developing and implementing the Authority’s short and long term strategy and plans. Also serves as a direct liaison to the Build Baton Rouge’s Board of Directors and communicates on behalf of the Authority to other key stakeholders, including the City of Baton Rouge/East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President. He is a Baton Rouge native and holds a Bachelor of Architecture, with honors, from Howard University; a Masters of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School; and a Juris Doctor degree from the Georgetown University Law Center. He is currently on leave from his position as the Newman Trowbridge Distinguished Professor of Law at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University. Chris has also practiced as a real estate and land use attorney, a management consultant, and a member of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu’s Washington, DC legislative staff.

Cornelius Payne

Director of Real Estate
cpayne@buildbatonrouge.org

​Cornelius serves as the Director of Real Estate structuring and executing real estate transactions that generate affordable housing and commercial assets for low-income communities.  His past experience includes serving as Principal of Growing Paynes Development, Senior Project Manager at the Housing Authority of New Orleans, and Project Manager at Gulf Coast Housing Partnership.  Cornelius was also a former banker examiner for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and a real estate professor at Tulane University.  He obtained his Bachelor’s in Finance from Southern University and a Master’s in Real Estate Development from Columbia University, where he graduated with distinction.

Courtney Hunt

Grants Program Manager I
chunt@buildbatonrouge.org

New Staff Bio

Leonard Briscoe

Grants Program Manager I
lbriscoe@buildbatonrouge.org

Leonard serves as a Community Planning & Development Program Manager I executing implementation and management of various CPD grants.  Prior to BBR, Leonard worked at Franklin Associates as a Project Manager where he led a team to provide direct support for the Mayor’s COVID-19 initiative.  Additionally, he managed a quality assurance component for a $30 million dollar grant awarded to the Louisiana Department of Health – Office of Behavioral Health by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association.  He has also served in roles as Assistant Director of Operations for Anchor Community Services, and Program Coordinator for Warrick Dunn Charities.  Originally from Dallas, Texas, he journeyed to Louisiana to pursue a degree in Rehabilitation Services from Southern University and his Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.

Gretchen Siemers

Director of Planning and Special Projects
gsiemers@buildbatonrouge.org

New Staff Bio

Marla Muse-Morris

Grants Fiscal Manager
mmorris@buildbatonrouge.org

Marla serves as Grants Fiscal Manager and is responsible for maintaining financial and accounting-related support services related to BBR’s administration of HUD community development programs. Marla is a Greensburg, Louisiana native. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Southeastern Louisiana University and is currently pursuing an MBA from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. Marla has over 18 years of experience in accounting and grants/contract management. Prior to joining BBR she was employed as a Business Operations Accountant at LSU and as a Grants Accountant at The Water Institute of the Gulf.

Vallorie Young

Grants Senior Program Manager
vyoung@buildbatonrouge.org

Vallorie serves as a Senior Program Manager for all HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program related matters, including sub-recipient contracts and federal compliance tracking. She is a Baton Rouge native and graduate of Louisiana State University. Prior to BBR she worked with the Louisiana Office of Community Development to administer the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program on behalf of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security. Before that she was a Quality Assurance/Quality Control Consultant for Cohn Reznick where she managed and monitored program controls and processes for the federally funded Restore Louisiana rehabilitation program.