Denice Ross is a Director at the National Conference on Citizenship and a Fellow at Georgetown’s Beeck Center. Her recent focus is on data quality and the 2020 Census and she also provides strategic support for the State Chief Data Officer Network. Denice comes to this work from New America, where she studied the power of networks to advance progress on big challenges. As a Presidential Innovation Fellow (2014-5), she co-founded the White House Police Data Initiative to increase transparency and accountability and worked with the Department of Energy to improve community resilience in disaster-impacted areas. Earlier, she served as Director of Enterprise Information for the City of New Orleans, establishing their open data initiative, now recognized as one of the most successful in the country. Prior to government, Denice co-directed The Data Center of Southeast Louisiana, a non-profit data intermediary. She brought a data-driven approach to numerous post-Katrina community planning initiatives and co-founded the first new childcare center after the storm.

Allison Plyer is the Chief Demographer for The Data Center of Southeast Louisiana. Dr. Plyer is co-author of The New Orleans Prosperity Index which examines the extent to which economic outcomes have improved for black New Orleanians since the end of the Civil Rights era. She is also author of The New Orleans Index series, developed in collaboration with Brookings to analyze the state of the recovery post-Katrina and later to track the region’s progress toward prosperity. She served as an editor for the Brookings Institution Press volume entitled “Resilience and Opportunity: Lessons from the U.S. Gulf Coast after Katrina and Rita.” Allison is an international expert in post–Katrina demographics and disaster recovery trends and frequently provides commentary on recovery and development to media such as NPR, the Associated Press, the New York Times, and USA Today. Allison received her Doctorate in Science from Tulane University and has an MBA in marketing and organizational behavior from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. 

Jeff Coates is the Research Director for the National Conference on Citizenship , and leads the organization’s Civic Health Index initiative and program evaluation. He previously worked at the Knight Foundation as Strategic Initiative Associate, where he managed grants totaling over $20 million, including supporting Knight’s Soul of the Community project. Prior to joining Knight, he worked at the Greater New Orleans Disaster Recovery Partnership, where he collaborated with more than 50 nonprofits to develop strategic plans for long-term recovery. Earlier, he served with the American Red Cross’ Hurricane Recovery Program in New Orleans and also co-founded the Recovery Action Learning Laboratory (RALLY) Foundation, a nonprofit that monitored and evaluated post-disaster programs. At Rally, Jeff developed assessment tools, formulated data collection methods, and directed the collection of primary data for the assessment and evaluation of programs implemented in the Gulf region by large-scale international organizations such as Mercy Corps, World Vision, Save the Children and the Department of Justice. 

Emily Laackman is the Lead Data Analyst at the National Conference on Citizenship. Emily has a background in data analysis, visualization, and storytelling. Prior to NCoC, Emily worked at Digitas, a global digital marketing firm, where she was a manager of Data Analysis and Strategy. Emily is a recent MBA graduate from The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and earned her B.A. in Comparative Human Development from The University of Chicago. 


Substantive contributors to this Pandemic to Prosperity report:

John Kilcoyne, Project Support

Dr. William Pewen, Epidemiologist

Kevin Soo, Data Scientist, Civis Analytics

Cameron Blossom, Communications and Design

For their valuable advice and comments on the indicators selected and preliminary findings, the authors would like to thank:

Andrew Aurand, Lamar Gardere, Tanya Gulliner-Garcia, Robert Habans, Amy Howell, Allyson Laackman, Usha Pasi, Sanjiv Rao, Sally Ray, Regine Webster and the Board of Directors of NCOC: Garrett Graff, Michael Weiser, Barry Byrd, Lattie Coor, Phil Duncan, Paula Ellis, Eric K. Federing, Hon. Bob Graham, Gail Leftwich-Kitch, A.G. Newmyer

David Napoli created the open-source hexagon map-making template:
“Hexagon Tile Map in Excel.” Napoli. PolicyViz. May, 2016.

Suggested citation format:

Ross, D., Plyer, A., Coates, J., & Laackman, E. (2020, August 21). Pandemic to Prosperity: Chronicling the Path from Response to Recovery. Retrieved from National Conference on Citizenship website:

For More Information 

Denice Ross, Senior Fellow, National Conference on Citizenship,
Allison Plyer, Chief Demographer, The Data Center,