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Children’s Hospital New Orleans Welcomes New Chair, Four New Board of Trustees Members

Will Hales, Deuce McCallister, Deanna Rodriguez and Wil Jacobs. Image courtesy of Gambel Communications.

NEW ORLEANS – Children’s Hospital New Orleans, the first and largest freestanding children’s hospital serving Louisiana and the Gulf South, names Tod A. Smith chair of the hospital’s Board of Trustees and welcomes four new members – Will Hales, Deuce McCallister, Wil Jacobs and Deanna Rodriguez.

Smith is a New Orleans native and currently serves as the President and General Manager of WWL-TV. He graduated from St. Augustine High School, Loyola University and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, where he concentrated in management and development for television executives. In addition to his storied career as a leader in the broadcast journalism sector in markets across the country, Smith has also served as an adjunct professor of marketing at Tulane University. In addition to his role at Children’s Hospital, Smith sits on the boards for the United Way of Southeast Louisiana, Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana, The Urban League of Louisiana, New Orleans Museum of Art, Historic New Orleans Collection and Loyola University New Orleans.

“Tod has been an integral member of the board since 2020 and has helped steer the hospital through some of our most transformational moments,” said Children’s Hospital President and CEO Lucio A. Fragoso in a press release about the appointment. “I look forward to continued growth and operational excellence under his visionary leadership.”

Will Hales, son of beloved New Orleans pediatrician Dr. Stephen Hales, is a native New Orleanian. Hales attended college at Bowdoin College and the University of St. Andrews, then earned his MBA from Tulane University. He began his career at IBERIABANK and has since gained more than 15 years of experience as an investor and an adviser in sectors including military, software, energy and industrial. In addition to serving on the Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees, Hales has also served on the boards of the Young Leadership Council, Friends of the Cabildo, New Orleans Firefighters Foundation, Louisiana Historical Society, Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans, New Orleans EMS Foundation, Metairie Park Country Day School Alumni Board, Southeast Super Region Committee, Coalition for Coastal Resilience and Economy, Greater New Orleans, Inc., Defense Entrepreneurs Forum, NextOp Veterans and The Idea Village.

Deuce McCallister grew up in Morton, Mississippi and attended the University of Mississippi where he played college football. After a record-breaking career with the Ole Miss Rebels, McAllister was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the first round as the 23rd overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft. He spent his eight-year career with the Saints and retired from the NFL in 2010. McAllister was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. Today, he is a business owner and a sports commentator. He also serves as an athletic consultant for St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie.

Wil Jacobs earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of New Orleans and an MBA from the University of Michigan. From 2008-2013, Jacobs was the housing policy director for the State of Louisiana Office of Community Development – Disaster Recovery Unit. After his time with the state office, Jacobs worked in recovery services at Jacobs Services. Today, he serves as relationship manager at First Bank and Trust (LA). In addition to the Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees, Jacobs also serves on the boards of Reconcile New Orleans, Crescent City Community Land Trust of New Orleans, Academy of the Sacred Heart, Sustainable Communities Fund and is a member of the Audubon Commission.

Deanna Rodriguez is a Texas native who earned her bachelor’s degree in government from The University of Texas at Austin and her master’s degree in public affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. Rodriguez serves as President and CEO for Entergy New Orleans and has worked in multiple roles over her career including director of external affairs, vice president of corporate contributions and now president. Before Entergy, Rodriguez was the minority affairs liaison for the State Bar of Texas. In addition to her new appointment to the Children’s Hospital New Orleans Board of Trustees, Rodriguez also serves on the boards for United Way of Southeast Louisiana, The National WWII Museum, Louisiana’s International Women’s Forum, Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Youth Empowerment Project.

To learn more about Children’s Hospital and its mission to provide expert pediatric healthcare for children across the state and region, visit


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