Business Council Of New Orleans Staff

Coleman D. Ridley, Jr.

Managing Director

A native of Newport News, Virginia, Coleman D. Ridley, Jr. is the managing director of the Business Council.  Before joining the Business Council in 2013, Coleman was a partner at Jones Walker, where he was a member of the firm’s Business and Commercial Litigation Practice Group.  While at Jones Walker, he represented national corporations and local/regional companies in tax litigation, as well as general business cases, including antitrust, construction, products liability, telecommunications, and intellectual property.  Coleman received his J.D., cum laude, from Tulane University Law School.   Following law school, he clerked for the Honorable Sylvia R. Cooks, Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeals.   Mr. Ridley has a B.A. in Economics from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.  His community involvement includes service on the Audubon Commission and Quality Assurance Review Advisory Committee of the Office of Inspector General.  

Previous community service includes serving on the boards of Crescent City Schools, United Way of Southeast Louisiana, New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute, New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, and Youth Empowerment Project – New Orleans.  He is a 2013 graduate of the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institue; a 2015 Norman C. Francis Leadership Institute Fellow; and a 2016 graduate of Leadership Louisiana.


Christy Harowski

Director of special projects

Christy C. Harowski is the Director of Special Projects for the Business Council.  In that role, Christy oversees Forward New Orleans, a Business Council initiative aimed at promoting excellence and accountability in city government.  Prior to joining the Business Council, Christy practiced law for ten years, first privately at the Barrasso Usdin law firm and then as a member of the City’s legal department.  While at the City, she handled high-profile litigation and policy matters, including a variety of constitutional and zoning disputes.  Christy graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Journalism and received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Tulane University. 

She serves on the board of Louisiana Appleseed, is an Adjunct Professor teaching trial advocacy at Tulane Law School, graduated in 2016 from the Bryan Bell Leadership Forum, and recently was honored as a member of Gambit’s 40 Under 40.  Christy lives with her husband and three sons in the Riverbend neighborhood, where they enjoy supporting New Orleans’ local restaurants and businesses.

Sharree R. Walls

Director of operations and communications

Sharree R. Walls is the Business Council's director of operations and communications. Ms. Walls has developed marketing and communications plans for Black Entertainment Television (BET), the YMCA of Greater New Orleans, and as an entrepreneur of her e-commerce brand, Solace. She also worked with The Idea Village and PowerMoves to build entrepreneurship ecosystems in New Orleans and Miami. Sharree, originally from Chicago, Illinois, graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Urban Studies.

Committed to civic engagement, Sharree serves on volunteer committees for the Friends of Lafitte Greenway and the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans, is a member of the New Orleans Global Shapers, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, and is a graduate of the Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans (Housing Team), Bryan Bell Metropolitan Leadership Forum, and the New Orleans Business Alliance Economic Development Ambassadorship program.

Ursula Joseph

administrative assistant