NORLI Graduates 44 Regional Leaders

NORLI Recognizes Graduates of the Regional Leadership Program

Cohort Completes an Intensive Nine Month Program Focused on the Advancement of Southeast Louisiana

New Orleans, LA (May 20, 2019)– After a nine-month long program dedicated to discussing and unravelling some of the most challenging and dynamic issues of the Greater New Orleans Region, the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute (NORLI) formally recognized the Class of 2019 as having completed the Regional Leadership Program in a graduation ceremony held on May 9th, 2019.

Each year, NORLI brings together a class of over forty business, civic, and elected leaders of diverse backgrounds and experiences with a mission to promote regional collaboration. The program provides a forum for the exchange of varying viewpoints and is designed to enhance personal leadership skills by enhancing civic understanding, enabling collaborative leadership, and examining issues central to the advancement of the entire ten-parish region.  Topics discussed include public policy, environment and sustainability, economic development, criminal justice, education, healthcare, and diversity and equity.

This year’s graduation ceremony, which capped off a two-day closing retreat for the participants, included individual recognitions for completing the program, as well as awards for Regional Leadership and Community Service.  These awards, whose recipients are selected by their peers, reflect the highest level of community involvement and leadership qualities of the class.

The NORLI Regional Leadership Award, which is given in honor of NORLI alumnus Lonnie Stockwell, recognizes an individual who, amongst other qualifications, inspires others to serve and demonstrates through actions and words all aspects of inclusion.  The recipient of this award was Klassi Duncan, Director of the Women’s Business Resource Center for the Urban League of Louisiana.  Klassi’s vast experience and boundless involvement in the Region served as a foundation for educated and deliberate dialogues about so many of the pressing issues in the New Orleans Region.

The NORLI Community Service Award, which is given in honor of NORLI Alumni Ric Smith and Jackie Sullivan, recognizes an individual who, amongst other qualifications, serves as a role model of sustained commitment and community give back, as well as possesses the ability to mobilize volunteers and resources for projects benefiting the greater community.  The recipient of this award was Carl “Mike” Woodward, Regional Executive Director at College Track New Orleans.  Mike’s unrelenting outreach and ability to connect and advocate on behalf of his organization and the students they represent inspired everyone to make even greater efforts to positively influence the future of our Region.

An additional honor was awarded to Jessica DeFraites who was selected by her peers to provide remarks and reflections on their shared NORLI experience. Jessica, who brought her intelligence, wit, and sincerity to her speech, received a standing ovation and provided one of the highlights of the NORLI experience.

NORLI’s 2019 Graduating Class
1.     Cathy Alfonso, Port of New Orleans
2.     Richard Arnold, Covenant House
3.     Jennifer Bernard-Allen, LaPorte CPAs
4.     Will Bishop, Phelps Dunbar, LLP
5.     Wayne “Ridge” Bourgeois, Geocent
6.     Tanner Broughton, CORE Construction
7.     Tap Bui, United Way of Southeast Louisiana
8.     Alexandra Carter, Louisiana Statewide Watershed Initiative
9.     Carla Chiasson, St. Charles Parish
10.   Bradley Cook, Stirling Properties
11.   Rebecca Cooley, AOS
12.   Jessica DeFraites, Greaux: The Floral Company
13.   Klassi Duncan, Urban League of Louisiana
14.   Alice Franz Glenn, Junior League of New Orleans
15.   Jenel Hazlett, Chalmette Refining
16.   Leslie James, IBERIABANK
17.   Tarun Jolly, TJ Enterprises
18.   Katharine Gonzalez Kay, Capital One
19.   Myrialis King, Foundation Preparatory Charter School
20.   Kisha Laurent Gaudin, City of New Orleans
21.   Chandler LeBoeuf, Fletcher Technical Community College
22.   Bill LeCorgne, Dupont-LeCorgne Construction Consultants, Inc.
23.   Ben Mahoney, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation
24.   Dr. Sonia Malhotra, University Medical Center/Tulane School of Medicine
25.   Rachel Massey, University of New Orleans
26.   Meaghan McCormack, World Trade Center of New Orleans
27.   Celeste McDonald, Postlethwaite & Netterville
28.   Ashley McLellan, New Orleans Magazine
29.   Mary Moran, Our Voice Nuestra Voz
30.   Julie Nosser, Hancock Whitney
31.   Chad Perez, Pinnacle Security & Investigation Inc.
32.   Scott Richoux, New Orleans Public Belt Railroad
33.   Graham Ryan, Jones Walker
34.   Perry Sholes, Progressive HR Strategies Inc.
35.   Randy Smith, Royal Engineers & Consultants, LLC
36.   Christine Stevens, Cox Business
37.   Andrew Sullivan, New Orleans City Council District C
38.   Neel Sus, Susco Solutions
39.   Lauren Tafaro, Adams and Reese
40.   Lynnette White-Colin, New Orleans Business Alliance
41.   Brandon Williams, GNO, Inc.
42.   Nikesha Woodridge, WellsFargo
43.   Carl “Mike” Woodward, College Track New Orleans
44.   John Zollinger, Home Bank

NORLI helps develop committed, knowledgeable, and action-oriented individuals to serve as catalysts in promoting positive change. The program also encourages creative partnerships and initiatives between the public and private sectors.  NORLI would like to note the support of Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry who provided beautiful awards to the class for graduation.  Additionally, it is through the ongoing Annual support of Entergy, Jones Walker, Atmos, Chalmette Refining, Hancock Whitney, Gambel Communications, LCMC Health, IBERIABANK, Metairie Bank, the Meraux Foundation, and the Port of New Orleans that NORLI is able to invest in leadership development and host innovative programs for the benefit and future of Southeast Louisiana.

For more information about NORLI, please visit or connect with NORLI on Facebook.