NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute (NORLI) gathered executives, civic leaders and elected officials at its Annual Alumni Luncheon at the Pavilion of Two Sisters, City Park on Friday, July 7.
“The Annual Alumni Luncheon is always a great opportunity to reconnect with friends and classmates from NORLI, but I believe this luncheon marked a new chapter for us,” said 2016-17 Chair Christe Brewton.
With a welcome by Brewton, the program started by recognizing the service of its board members and officers, as well as the recognition of Jackie Sullivan as a Director Emeritus. Additionally, Brewton highlighted major changes for NORLI and formally introduced Stephen Reuther, the first ever executive director for the organization.
Reuther, who presented a package of initiatives and new programs to be rolled out over the next few years, shared his vision for the evolution and inevitable growth of NORLI. “Building upon our history of innovative programming, exemplary experience, unparalleled networking and meaningful engagement, we will create additional programming opportunities so that more individuals can partake in the NORLI experience,” said Reuther.
Reuther plans to implement a professional, regional conference in Fall of 2018 that would bring together thought leaders and practitioners to discuss key policy issues that affect our region and state. Following that, NORLI plans to introduce a condensed, intensive program catered to executives and professionals who are new to the region, and a seminar series devoted to honing the skills and knowledge of young professionals interested in community leadership roles. There are also plans to increase networking and socializing events for our Alumni, and to create new ways for them to interact and grow through NORLI.
The luncheon, which was themed “Turning 300 Years Young – Future Development of New Orleans,” featured presentations by representatives from the Port of New Orleans, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. While Michelle Ganon, vice president of public affairs with the New Orleans Port, largely discussed economic impact and opportunities from Mississippi River commerce, Tim Hemphill, vice president of sales and marketing with the Convention Center, focused on physical improvements to the facilities and infrastructure of the Convention Center. The presentations were rounded out by Mark Romig, president and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, who discussed the advertising and marketing strategies surrounding the 300 year anniversary of the City of New Orleans.
Reflecting upon the luncheon and the role NORLI plays in the region, Reuther said, “We are an extremely unique organization in that our diverse group of stakeholders represent so many facets of leadership and sectors of the economy across the region. We have a vast array of perspectives and opinions, and yet we can come together and form relationships and friendships around our desire to positively impact our communities. We come together to connect and to make a difference. The importance of that cannot be overstated.”