About Us

We know that success isn’t accidental; it’s cultivated.

Our mission is to bring together a group of active early-stage investors to:


Identify and assess promising early-stage companies in which members can invest


Support and foster economic development and job creation through aggregated investment capital


Engage as a substantive member of the early-stage ecosystem in the Gulf South region, and beyond


Take part in education that helps members make wise and well-considered investment decisions

Who We Are

Our strength is in the diversity of our perspectives and insights, so we welcome those new to angel investing as well as experienced angels.

We are a group of 135+ accredited men and women from across America, with a large base in Southeast Louisiana. Together, we evaluate, fund, and nurture early-stage companies. Members make individual decisions to invest in high-growth businesses where the path to exit is clear.

Our goal is to advance angel investing in Louisiana and the United States, with reliable due diligence, national syndication opportunities, and a diverse network.

Improving the investment landscape isn’t just an exercise in civic-minded philanthropy, it’s good business. GSA connects entrepreneurs and investors by aggregating our resources, our experience, and our contacts.

Mike Eckert

Board Chairman

Prior to moving to New Orleans, Mike was part of the team that launched The Weather Channel and Weather.com, for which he served as CEO for 14 years. He has served as Chairman of The Atlanta Technology Angels and as a Fellow in Georgia Tech’s Venture Lab. 

Elizabeth Favrot

Managing Director

Elizabeth supervises and helps with the organization’s operations, people and all ventures in order to maintain and grow the Gulf South Angels.

Lee Alexander

Board Member

Coming soon…

Rick Babb


Mr. Babb is a Managing Director of Louisiana Funds, two Early Stage Venture Capital Funds since 2004. He also served as CFO for Medical Science Partners’ three venture capital funds and was the CFO and Chief Compliance Officer for Apeiron Partners, a boutique investment bank in the Life Sciences sector. 

Stacey Berger

Board Member

Stacey Berger is a founder and principal of Hope Housing Partners, a private investment firm focused on value-added multifamily real estate and CHQ Capital, a private investment firm focused on value-added commercial and multifamily real estate and early stage business opportunities. He retired as executive vice president of PNC Bank, NA after over 30 years of leadership in the commercial real estate finance industry.

Max Cox

Board Member

Max is Vice President, Deputy General Counsel of Corporate Governance and Transactions at Lumen Technologies, a global communications and technology company.  In his 17 year tenure at the company, he has supported mergers, acquisitions and divestitures totaling over $30 Billion.

Aleicia Donald

Board Member

Dr. Donald has served as faculty in the Department of Anesthesiology at Tulane University before moving into a busy private practice in Lafayette, Louisiana. Her passion for vetting the science, potential impact and path to market for novel products and services, ultimately led her to become an active member of the Gulf South Angels.

Mark Fullmer

Board Member

Mark Fullmer is a Partner at Phelps Dunbar LLP, an AmLaw 200 law firm with over 370 lawyers across the Gulf South. He has over 40 years of experience representing start-ups and companies in the mature stages of their growth cycle in business and finance, mergers and acquisitions and corporate and securities law.

Allen Graber

Board Member

Coming soon…

Alison Hartman

Board Member

Originally from New York City, Alison is principal of The Hartman Group, a management consulting practice focused on organization effectiveness. She has a unique combination of cross-functional expertise in business, human resources, and information technology.

Joe Lagarde

Board Member

Prior to retirement in 2017, Joe established ComputerEase, Inc. in 1985 providing computer management and EMR systems for Medical Clinics and Physicians. In 2003 ComputerEase was acquired by WebMD/Medical Manager. In 2006 he purchased HAMCO of New Orleans, a regional supplier of various paper products to Casinos, Restaurants and Financial Institutions which was sold in 2017. 

Byron LeBlanc

Public Policy

Byron has served as president of LeBlanc & Schuster Public Relations, Inc., a highly respected, full service public relations and marketing firm handling a wide variety of regional and local accounts since 1976. Mr. LeBlanc is also very active in civic and community affairs. He was a charter member of the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce and served as Chairman in 2014.

G. F. Gay LeBreton

Board Member

Ms. LeBreton began her career at Bankers Trust Company in NY, and now heads the Mergers & Acquisitions group for Chaffe & Associates, Inc. She has extensive experience in the structuring & negotiation of transactions, the valuation of companies, and the development and execution of competitive processes for the sale or purchase of businesses.

Rick Mekdessie

Board Member

Rick is the founder of Crowd9 Agency, which provides guidance and resources to startups and growing businesses seeking to raise capital through marketing campaigns on any crowdfunding platform. Before launching Crowd9, Rick was CEO of eGov Systems and spent more than 25 years working closely with state and local government agencies to design, develop, and deliver innovative technology-driven solutions. 

Brian Mora

Board Member

Brian has over 20 years of accounting experience. He started his career at a Big 5 accounting firm in Atlanta and most recently was a CFO and partner with an oil and gas company. During his time in Atlanta, he specialized in business valuations and corporate acquisitions, before moving back home in 2012. Brian was a founder and CFO of Aquasize, LLC, a frac sand mine servicing oil and gas drilling companies until the sale of the company in 2015.

Jeff O’Hara

Board Member

Since leaving a corporate career, Mr. O’Hara has started 10 companies in hospitality and real estate and is now the owner of PRA Business Events New Orleans, a company that provides services to the Corporate Meeting and Incentive Travel sectors.

Daryl Schloz

Board Member

Daryl grew up in Iowa and is an Engineering graduate from Iowa State. Daryl retired from John Deere after enjoying 38 years in a wide variety of responsibilities at 7 Deere factories, as well as Corporate, which have taken him to over 40 countries around the world.

Dann Schwartz

Board Member

Dann is a successful, serial entrepreneur that started and grew companies, such as medical devices and e-commerice into successful enterprises for 20+ years. Since 2005, Dann does consulting utilizing his knowledge in manufacturing, distribution, patents/trademarks, medical devices and quality management standards such as ISO 13485 & CE.

David Waller

Board Member

David recently retired from IBM, where he spent 42 years as a Sales Executive with local, regional, and international level assignments, including three years in Vienna, Austria, where he managed key segments of the IBM business in Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and South Africa.

Scott Whittaker

Board Member

Mr. Whittaker is a New Orleans native, Chairman of the Business Section of the Stone Pigman law firm, and a 30-year veteran corporate lawyer.  He has handled hundreds of M&A and corporate finance transactions, including representing many companies from start-up through capital raising, expansion and exit.

Finding The Right Founders

We seek companies that have the potential to scale regionally, nationally, or internationally and that have a clear path to exit.