“Driving the Economy Through Quality of Life” – NORLI Annual Luncheon

New Orleans, LA (July 30, 2018)The New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute (NORLI) gathered leading private sector senior executives, civic leaders and elected officials at its Annual Luncheon at the Pavilion of Two Sisters, City Park on Friday, July 20, 2018. The luncheon, which was themed “Driving the Economy Through Quality of Life,” featured presentations by representatives from City Park New Orleans and Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.).

The program began with a welcome and opening remarks by Executive Director Stephen Reuther, as well as recognition of the recently graduated NORLI Class of 2018 and the incoming NORLI Class of 2019.  “NORLI strives to be the point of convergence for thought leadership and action,” said Reuther after the Luncheon.  “That effort culminates every year with the graduation of one NORLI class, and the beginning of another.  Our primary goal is to empower our Alumni to drive the changes that make New Orleans and the Region even stronger.”

Following Reuther, Board Chair Mark Cunningham took the podium to share NORLI’s achievements over the past year.  Of note was the transformation of NORLI into an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  Additionally, Cunningham mentioned NORLI’s new downtown office, the launch of their new website, and the introduction of several new programs over the next year. “We provide a platform for the most influential and forward thinking leaders in our city to engage with each other and collaborate on issues of critical importance to the economic development and well-being of our region. Your presence here today demonstrates that value proposition we offer to our alumni and stakeholders,” Cunningham said.  After inducting the members of the 2018 Board of Directors and recognizing the contributions of those whose service on the Board was ending, Cunningham introduced NORLI’s Vice Chair, Patty Riddlebarger, for a special announcement.

Riddlebarger, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Entergy, announced that, with support from Entergy, NORLI will be hosting an annual conference named Fusion in the fall. NORLI Fusion will be an annual initiative designed to bring together national and regional thought leaders for a targeted learning experience and dialogue around topics that most impact our future growth and prosperity. Fusion will provide a platform for these leaders to influence the national, regional, and local conversation. The theme of this year’s Fusion conference will be “Climate Change: Embracing the Leadership Challenge.”

The program then shifted to the key note speakers and their featured presentations on “Driving the Economy through Quality of Life.” While Mr. Robert W. Becker, Chief Executive Officer of City Park New Orleans, largely discussed the impact the park plays in elevating quality of life for the region, Mr. Michael Hecht, President and CEO of GNO, Inc., focused on attracting business and talent by addressing quality of life issues such as the cost of living, public safety, emergency preparedness, and transportation.

The New Orleans Advocate highlighted the luncheon here:


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