Biz New Orleans January 2018

Page 1

Business people of the year From doughnuts Introducing our second-annual


President and CEO of Oschner Health System

January 2018

to home automation, they’re conquering new frontiers

Turning Over a New Kale Leaf

Could the “Big Easy” become the “Big Healthy?” pg. 34

This Year I Will...

Resolutions every marketer should make pg. 46

Must-Dos for Startups

Advice from local professionals for the new year pg. 54

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Publisher Todd Matherne

Editorial Editor-in-Chief Errol Laborde Managing Editor Kimberley Singletary Art Director Sarah George Web Editor Kelly Massicot Associate News Editor Jenny Peterson Multimedia Blogger Leslie T. Snadowsky

Contributors Julia Carcamo, Maria Clark, Vincent Liuzza, Pamela Marquis, Ashley McLellan, Chris Price, Kim Roberts, Jennifer Gibson Schecter, James Sebastien, Poppy Tooker, Keith Twitchell, Melanie Warner Spencer

Advertising Vice President of Sales Colleen Monaghan (504) 830-7215 Sales Manager Maegan O’Brien (504) 830-7219 Senior Account Executive Caitlin Sistrunk (504) 830-7252 Senior Account Executive Carly Goldman (504) 830-7225 Account Executive Jessica Jaycox (504) 830-7255

Marketing Director of Marketing & Events Cheryl Lemoine Event Coordinator Whitney Weathers Digital Media Associate Mallary Matherne For event information, call (504) 830-7264

Production Production Manager Jessica DeBold Traffic Coordinator Topher Balfer Production Designers Emily Andras, Demi Schaffer, Molly Tullier

Administration Chief Executive Officer Todd Matherne President Alan Campell Executive Vice President Errol Laborde Office Manager Mallary Matherne Distribution Manager John Holzer Subscription Manager Brittanie Bryant For subscriptions, call (504) 830-7231 AABP 2016 Award of Excellence Bronze: Best Feature Layout 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123 Metairie, LA 70005 (504) 828-1380 Biz New Orleans is published monthly by Renaissance Publishing, LLC, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005; (504) 828-1380. Subscription rate: one year $24.95, two year $39.95, three year $49.95 — foreign rates vary call for pricing. Postage paid at Metairie, LA, and additional mailing entry offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Biz New Orleans, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005. Copyright 2016 Biz New Orleans. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. The trademark Biz New Orleans is registered. Biz New Orleans is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos and artwork, even if accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. The opinions expressed in Biz New Orleans are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine or owner.

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top stories this month


ABOVE: From left to right — Stephen Cali, Chris Audler and Aaron Vogel are three childhood friends whose business, District Donuts. Sliders. Brew, has been dominating doughnut reviews nationwide. Their aggressive expansion efforts included two new openings in 2017 alone, helping to place them among this year’s Business People of the Year.



Business People of the Year

CEO of the Year

The “Great Eight,” these leaders are taking on our coastline, our waistline, and everything in between. By kimberly singletary photographs by jeffery johnston

Led by CEO Warner Thomas, Ochsner continues to dominate the metro’s booming healthcare industry. By Chris Price photographs by Romero & Romero

january 2018 / Volume 4 / Issue 4

contents 16 / Editor’s note

38 / sports

The Year of Ochsner

Sugar Sweet: College Football Playoff Semifinal in ’18, Championship in ’20 will mean an influx of cash for the Greater New Orleans region.

18 / publisher’s note

RenPub Recognized in UNO25 22 / Calendar


24 / industry news 40 / entertainment 26 / recent openings 28 / Events

in the biz 34 / dining

Turning Over A New Kale Leaf: Could The Big Easy become The Big Healthy?

Alone: Loyola film instructor named a contender for an Oscar this year 42 / entrepreneurship

What We Can Learn from Detroit: The Motor City has become an example of an effective city government and business partnership.

50 / law

The Verdict Is In: Local law firms are moving toward sustainability and green practices, and it’s paying off. 54 / banking & finance

Must-Dos for Startups: Advice from local professionals for the New Year

44 / etiquette

Workin’ 9 to 5: Make consideration, respect and transparency central to your office policies and culture to create a safe and harassment-free workplace.

from the lens 80 / great workspaces

Shine On: Modern and funky give way to warm and cozy at Shine Spa in Mid-City.

36 / tourism

Pack Your Running Shoes: The Sweat Social makes fitness goals attainable during travel

46 / marketing

This Year I Will…: Resolutions Every Marketer Should Make

on the cover

86 / why didn’t i think of that? 58 / healthcare

No More Excuses: Local companies offer easy ways to squeeze beauty and health options into even the busiest of schedules. 62 / guest viewpoint

Biz New Orleans’ second-ever CEO of the Year, Warner Thomas, is leading Ochsner into the future with an ambitious expansion.

Access the Power of Your Peers: Peer advisory groups are a must for any CEO or business owner.

Extending a Longbranch To Those in Need: Abita Springs’ new $10 million addiction treatment facility promises residents on both shores a tranquil center for recovery. 90 / making a match: businesses and nonprofits

Clothes That Launch Careers: Dress For Success New Orleans offers businesses the opportunity to help local women put their best foot forward. 96 / on the job

ImPRESSive: Lionheart Prints

Editor’s Note

The Year of Ochsner Last year it was all about real estate: How could we not choose the Domain

Companies’ Matt Schwartz and Chris Papamichael as our first CEOs of the year with New Orleans experiencing an urban development boom the likes of which had not been seen in more than a decade? There’s no argument that the South Market District project has transformed Downtown New Orleans, and Domain projects like the Ace Hotel and The Shop at CAC continue to bring the city into the future. For this year, however, the big prize belongs in the healthcare field. In 2017 New Orleans was officially crowned No. 1 in the nation for healthcare job growth, and when it comes to healthcare jobs, there’s one name that stands above the rest — Ochsner Health System. Employing more than 18,000 people, Ochsner has been led by President and CEO, Warner Thomas since 2012. This year has been an especially big one for Ochsner — something I realized as I was researching the timeline of openings and news on pages 74 and 75. Included in it are a $100 million expansion in Baton Rouge that includes the Ochsner Baton Rouge Cancer Center opened this past June, a $30 million investment in St. John the Baptist Parish and a $20 million expansion of the Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center at Ochsner Medical Center. If you think you’re seeing the Ochsner name popping up everywhere, it’s because you are. This year’s eight Business People of the Year are all Biz New Orleans favorites — Erik Frank, Marty Mayer, and Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney were all featured in 2017. Leviton has long been a friend of Biz — they actually hosted our first Biz Night — and District Donuts? So far it’s just been about me deeply enjoying their Croque Madame Croquenuts, but I look forward to sharing their story further as the company continues to expand. Cheers to the start of an exciting new year! May it be one filled with health, love and prosperity for all. Happy Reading and a Happy New Year!

On the Web

Beyond the Magazine But wait, there’s more! Visit to watch videos from this month’s issue, including:


Kimberly Singletary Managing Editor

Local filmmaker and Loyola film professor Garret Bradley (bottom photo) may be up for an Academy Award this year for her short documentary, “Alone.” The film has made it to the final 10 selections — the official five nominees will be announced Jan. 23. For the full story, see this month’s Entertainment Column on page 40.

Clarification: In December’s Education Perspective, “Educating for Today,” John Nicklow, president of the University of New Orleans, was mistakenly referred to as Jack Nicklow. We regret the error.

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A link to the full 13-minute documentary is available at or / 17

Publisher’s Note

RenPub Recognized in UNO25 This month, the University of New

Orleans is launching a new initiative to recognize 25 businesses led by alumni. Executive Vice President Errol Laborde and I are both UNO alum, and we are proud to share that Renaissance Publishing is being recognized among the inaugural class. When I reflect back on my time at UNO I remember my one-on-one-conversations (of which there were many) vividly with Dean John Altazan, the founding dean of the College of Business Administration. It was his mentorship that guided me throughout my college years. When I was a student, I simultaneously held a full-time job and was starting a family with children on the way. Juggling so many roles was challenging, but Dean Altazan’s commitment helped me attain a bachelor’s of science degree in finance in 1993. I am forever grateful to him for his guidance and to UNO for its overwhelmingly supportive institution and staff. I am truly humbled to receive this honor and I congratulate the other 24 businesses being recognized. #UNOForever Todd Matherne

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Meet the Sales Team

Maegan O’Brien Sales Manager (504) 830-7219

Caitlin Sistrunk Senior Account Executive (504) 830-7252

Carly Goldman

Senior Account Executive (504) 830-7225

Jessica Jaycox Account Executive

(504) 830-7255

Colleen Monaghan Vice President of Sales (504) 830-7215 20 / Biz New Orleans / january 2018


January 9




ACG Louisiana University A One-Day Conference of Private Equity Education and Networking with Senior Deal Professionals 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Roosevelt Hotel, New Orleans 130 Roosevelt Way Propeller Growth Accelerator 2018 Informational Happy Hour 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wayward Owl Brewing Company 3940 Thalia St., New Orleans


New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Power Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 1515 Poydras St., 5th Floor Auditorium


Propeller Water Challenge Q&A No. 1 Webinar 12 to 1 p.m. Propeller Incubator 4035 Washington Ave., New Orleans


South Broad Business Coalition January Breakfast 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Rhodes Pavilion 3933 Washington Ave., New Orleans


New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Alliance Networking 5 to 7 p.m. Workplace Solutions 402 St. Joseph St., 3rd Floor


Propeller Raising Capital:Term Sheets and Negotiations Free to all entrepreneurs and business owners 5 to 7:30 p.m. Propeller Incubator 4035 Washington Ave., New Orleans

New Orleans Chamber of Commerce and AMA Educational Seminar: “Compel and Persuade” by John Deveney 8 to 9:30 a.m. 1515 Poydras St., 5th Floor Auditorium Association for Talent Development “The Bottomline on ROI” Workshop 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Whitney Bank 228 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans


St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce State of the Cities: Abita Springs, Madisonville and Folsom 7:30 to 9 a.m. The Lakehouse 2025 Lakeshore Dr., Mandeville


Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana Workshop Series — Sexual Harassment: Are you doing anything to prevent it in your workplace? 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Colmex Construction 4334 Earhart Blvd., New Orleans


LifeCity Love Your City Awards Gala 6:30 to 9 p.m. Sheraton Hotel 500 Canal Street, New Orleans


Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Prosper Jefferson: Navigating Workplace Sensitivity 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. JEDCO Conference Center 700 Churchill Pkwy., Avondale

For a more complete list of events visit We’d love to include your business-related event in next month’s calendar. Please email details to

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Close your next deal at one of these business-friendly bistros.

Compere Lapin


535 Tchoupitoulas • (504) 599-2119

337 Chartres St. • (504) 598-5005

Inspiration for the menu comes from the traditional Caribbean folktales featuring a mischievous rabbit named Compère Lapin that Chef Nina Compton read during her childhood in St. Lucia. Drawing on the story’s themes of exploration and play, she mixes the indigenous ingredients and rich culinary heritage of New Orleans with those of her Caribbean roots. Tapping into her classical French culinary training and deep experience with Italian cuisine, the result is a playful menu that takes food you know, and makes it food you love.”

Kingfish is a popular casual restaurant and cocktail bar in New Orleans that salutes the Huey P. Long Era. The Kingfish menu embodies new Louisiana cuisine. That along with our talented bartenders’ skill & expertise combine to create a unique Louisiana-centric dining experience. So whether you are a visitor to our wonderful city or one of our regulars, Kingfish is a perfect place to meet up with friends for brunch, lunch, dinner, or happy hour in the French Quarter.

Broussard’s Restaurant

Riccobono’s Peppermill Restaurant

819 Conti St. • (504) 581-3866

3524 Severn Ave., Metairie • (504) 455-2266

Visit a historical Grand Dame restaurant celebrating the tradition of Reveillion since 1920. Conveniently located in the heart of the French Quarter, Broussard’s Restaurant & Courtyard has been serving classic New Orleans dishes with a twist for 97 years. Whether it’s for brunch, dinner or happy hour, choose to dine in the majestic main dining room or in the palatial courtyard. Broussard’s - a local dining tradition since 1920.

For over 42 years the Riccobono family has been serving classic New Orleans and Italian fare to locals and visitors alike. Timeless classics like Shrimp Creole, Trout Amandine, Veal Parmigiana, Oyster Riccobono and much more. Consistently rated as one of the top dining destinations of Metairie. Private dinning facilities available for meetings and events. Join us for a meal to remember. Open Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. / 23

Industry News



Millennials Flocking to New Orleans

New Orleans Ranks Low in “Wallet Fitness” How many New Orleanians are “in a stable financial position, able to comfortably meet existing obligations as well as plan for the future”? Not many, according to a recent WalletHub survey that looked at 180 U.S. cities across 29 key metrics – ranging from unemployment, poverty and foreclosure rates to income volatility and savings habits.

Business Insider has named New Orleans to a list of 11 U.S. cities to which “millennials are flocking… in droves.” New Orleans was sited for its 8.5 percent growth in millennials from 2010 to 2015 — a growth of more than 5,000 people in this demographic Business Insider’s Top Millennial Cities (alpha order) Athens, OH food

Chef Emeril Lagasse to be Honored by NOWFE Jan. 25 The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE) will bestow its 2018 Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award on celebrity chef, restaurateur, television personality, author and philanthropist Emeril Lagasse. The gala will take place Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. at The RitzCarlton Hotel on Canal Street. “It is an honor for NOWFE to bestow the Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement Award on Chef Emeril,” said Traci Beninate, NOWFE past president, “and we are thankful she took that chance on him so many years ago.” Tickets to the event are available at for $175 per person. Proceeds benefit the many local nonprofit organizations NOWFE supports throughout the year. NOWFE 2018 is set for May 23 – 27, 2018.


Leadership St. Bernard Now Accepting Applications Emerging leaders are invited to join a six month program designed to educate and engage St. Bernard citizens in identifying needs, resources and opportunities for the parish. Leadership St. Bernard is now accepting applications for their 2018 class. Limited to 28 participants, the classes begin with an orientation Jan. 19 and meet once or twice a month through June 26. The cost is $250 for St. Bernard Chamber members and $350 for non-members. For more information, visit

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Austin Charlotte Fargo Memphis New Orleans Norfolk-Virginia Beach Oakland Owensboro, KY Pittsburgh Seattle Data compiled from personal finance company SmartAsset, real-estate analytics firm RCLCO, and mortgage software firm Ellie Mae.

Wallet Fitness in New Orleans (1=Best; 91=Avg.) 152nd Median Household Income (Adjusted for Cost of Living) 150th Median Credit Score 157th Median Credit Card Debt

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday were recordbreaking days for us, resulting in major sales records both online and in-store for devices developed right here in New Orleans. Record numbers of new customers are turning their homes into smart homes and using their voice to control everything inside their residence, including lighting, temperature and audio.” Greg Rhoades, director of marketing, energy management, controls and automation in New Orleans for Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.


GNO, Inc. Releases Workforce Analysis of Digital Media Sector Last month, Greater New Orleans, Inc. released the State of the Sector report on digital media-related industries and occupations in the Greater New Orleans region. According to the report, the region boasts 16,459 jobs in digital media related industries and occupations. The State of Sector analysis, funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co., focuses on specifics of current and future workforce/job opportunities over the next 10 years in the Greater New Orleans region. According to GNO, Inc. President and CEO, Michael Hecht, “Greater New Orleans is now a fast emerging technology hub, poised for 26 percent growth over the next 10 years, which is creating unprecedented demand for technology workers.”

160th Non-Mortgage Debt per Person (as % of Median Income) 111th

% of Households with Emergency Savings

123rd Foreclosure Rate 88th

% of ‘Underwater’ Homes (with Negative Equity)

117th % of Uninsured Population 108th % of High School Dropouts


Jefferson Parish Council Adopts $645 Million Budget Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni won unanimous council approval last month for a $645 million operating and capital budget for 2018. Calling the parish’s bond rating “stable,” fund balance “healthy,” and noting that Jefferson is “poised” to lead the region, Yenni praised the new budget which represents an increase of more than $7.6 million over the 2017 budget — paving the way for more than $76 million of capital improvements in 2018 throughout the parish. A majority of the capital expenditures will occur in the public works area, amounting to approximately 75 percent of the entire capital budget with approximately 39 percent dedicated to drainage improvements. In an independent audit, the parish was said to have “no financial deficiencies” in its financial reporting, something previous administrations have failed to accomplish. / 25

Recent Openings


The Higgins Hotel & Conference Center On Dec. 8, The National WWII Museum officially broke ground on The Higgins Hotel & Conference Center at the corner of Andrew Higgins Drive and Magazine Street. The 230-room hotel, scheduled for completion in 2019, will operate as part of the exclusive Curio Collection by Hilton, one of the company’s 14 market-leading brands. It will be the first Curio Collection hotel in Louisiana.

Dunkin’ Donuts On Nov. 30, Dunkin’ Donuts held a grand opening celebration for its newest restaurant in Chalmette at 8609 West Judge Perez Dr. In attendance was St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis and the St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce. The store’s first 100 guests received a free coffee for a year coupon book, redeemable for one coffee a week for 52 weeks. Vik Patel, of Purple Square Management Company, is the Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee for the new restaurant in Chalmette and currently operates 56 restaurants throughout Alabama, Florida and Louisiana.


The property will also feature a secondfloor conference center with more than 18,000 square feet of meeting space, including a sophisticated boardroom and five meeting rooms bearing names related to the content and themes of World War II. Six levels of donor underwriting opportunities are available, ranging from conference meeting rooms to individual guest suites and rooms.

The Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, LLC (CTEH®) has launched ResilientRM, a new business entity designed to help clients plan and prepare for all-threat and all-hazard incidents such as offshore oil spills, natural disasters and human health events. ResilientRM provides full-service risk management solutions to help clients before, during or after crisis events occur. The entity includes a staff of industry leaders, staff consultants, training experts and data managers. It also includes an extensive network of in-house emergency responders, which are available 24/7/365 to deliver the entity’s preparedness, response and recovery services.


La Cire Local company Weber Condominiums, owned by Earl Weber, is opening a new luxury condominium building called La Cire in the French Quarter at the beginning of 2018. The building is located at 917 Conti St., at what was the former home of the Musee Conti Wax Museum. In its new form it will feature 16 one-, two- and three-bedroom units and 15 private parking spaces. Amenities will include a rooftop pool, hot tubs, sun deck and fitness center near the top of the property, as well as fire pits and a water installation in the main courtyard.

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Longway Tavern

Tulane PT Solutions Physical Therapy — Chalmette

Longway Tavern is set to open at 719 Toulouse in early 2018. It will be the fifth spot by the same New Orleansbased hospitality company behind local businesses Sylvain (2010), Meauxbar (2014), Barrel Proof (2014) and Cavan (2016).

Tulane Health System is collaborating with PT Solutions to operate a stand-alone physical therapy clinic in Chalmette. The clinic previously operated as Bridges Physical Therapy and is located at 801 W. Judge Perez Dr.

Longway Tavern will serve “approachable tavern fare” created by Barrel Proof Kitchen’s Chef John Sinclair, as well as both classic and creative cocktails led by partner and beverage director Liam Deegan from Barrel Proof.

Tulane PT Solutions Physical Therapy – Chalmette is Tulane’s fourth physical therapy clinic. There are plans to add additional freestanding locations in the future. / 27

Events 1






2017 JEDCO Annual Luncheon

BGR 2017 Annual Luncheon

Tuesday, December 5 | Hilton New Orleans Airport

Thursday, December 7 | New Orleans Marriott

JEDCO’s largest event of the year highlighted the organization’s successes in 2017 and announced the winners of its annual business awards. Among the top winners was Loop Linen, Small Business of the Year, and Aimee C. Vallot, director of the Jefferson Parish Inspection and Code Enforcement department, who won the Business Retention and Expansion Award.

“Meeting the Press in an Era of Fake News, Partisan Politics and High-Stakes Elections,” was the discussion moderated by Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of The Aspen Institute at this year’s BGR Annual Luncheon. The speakers were Betsy Fischer Martin, Emmy-winning former producer of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and Jonathan Martin, national political correspondent for The New York Times.

1. Christy Morino, Stephanie Cox, Francis Maness and Stephanie O’Brien 2. Kate Moreano, Brent Lawson, Kelsey Scram and David Magee 3. Robert Wolfe, Stephen Dickey, Randy Loup and Jerry Daul

1. Dominic Massa, Marcy Planer, Stephen Stuart and Dennis Woltering 2. Walter Isaacson, Jonathan Martin and Betsy Fischer Martin 3. Linda Roussel, Helena Moreno, Charmaine Caccioppi and Margo Phelps

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photographs by cheryl gerber / 29

Events 1






Support Service Alliance Networking Forum

2017 New Orleans Chamber Annual Meeting

Thursday, December 7 | Morton’s Steakhouse

Wednesday, December 13 | Hyatt Regency New Orleans

Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc., provided a vision of growth moving into 2018 as the guest speaker at the Support Service Alliance Networking Forum.

Attendees at this year’s New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting were able to network with over 1,000 local business leaders and hear from New Orleans Mayor-Elect, LaToya Cantrell.

1. Brittany Cruickshank, Vance Adams and Denise Davila 2. Darren LaBarthe, Michael Hecht and Gabe Raggio 3. Melissa Willis, Zach Gorres and Tony Qadir

1. Brandon Davis, Tiffany Davis and Frank Williams 2. Latoya Cantrell 3. Eileen Moynihan, Joshua Joachim, Michelle Dunnick and Chris Nuebel

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photographs by cheryl gerber / 31

Biz columnist s spe ak out


The Sweat Social is a young business capitalizing on both the growth of New Orleans tourism and the wellness industry. The company offers a variety of wellness options geared toward travelers.

In The Biz dining

Turning Over A New Kale Leaf Could The Big Easy become The Big Healthy? by Poppy Tooker

It’s that time of year again, when

New Orleanians make New Year’s resolutions about health, wellness and weight loss, then promptly break them when the first king cake appears. New Orleans has never been known as the healthy eating capital of the universe, but this may be the year that could change. Since it’s founding in 2013, the grassroots nonprofit organization Eat Fit NOLA, operating under the umbrella of Ochsner Health System, has permeated the dining landscape of New Orleans, effecting real change in delicious ways. Eat Fit NOLA currently has more than 100 restaurant partners with 250 locations. Options range from fine dining at Commander’s Palace to Danny & Clyde’s gas station takeout. At each participating restaurant, registered dietician Molly Kimball and her team of Eat Fit dietitians and ambassadors work with chefs, tweaking favorite menu items to focus on lean proteins, vegetables and whole grains while eliminating white carbs, added sugar and animal fats. By choosing Eat Fit options, diners can fully enjoy the experience while eliminating all of the guilt. Even cocktails are included in the mix. Look for the Eat Fit seal to easily make healthy choices when dining at participating restaurants. There’s also an Eat Fit app, with chef videos, recipes, workout fitness info and grocery lists for use at participating grocery stores like Whole Foods and Simone’s Market, where shelf tags make it easy to select items for Eating Fit at home too. The program has been so successful this year that the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation is supporting a statewide expansion, beginning with Eat Fit Baton Rouge and Eat Fit Acadiana. Green To Go

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SWEGS Kitchen

SWEGS Kitchen, another Eat Fit partner, strives to help their customers “Eat well and feel great.” SWEGS is an acronym for “Small Wins Equal Great Success.” Founder Michael Maenza has a vision — to find easy ways for people to eat better by allowing natural flavors to shine through despite no added salt and sugar. The company’s offerings include choices that are gluten free, dairy free, low calorie, low sodium, heart healthy and vegan. Many of SWEGS’ meals are diabetic friendly and meet National Kidney Foundation guidelines. Since opening its first location in Mandeville in 2015, SWEGS expanded to Mid-City and Veterans Highway, where guests can dine in or take out. Free home delivery is also an option, offered through Customer favorites include BBQ shrimp with cauliflower grits and turkey meatballs with “zoodles,” zucchini and squash ribbons instead of traditional pasta. Want to lose a few pounds in the New Year? SWEGS makes it easy with plans that include three meals plus two snacks totaling just 1,500 calories a day — and don’t worry, dinner even includes dessert! This year let’s turn the Big Easy into the Big Healthy by feeling good and looking good with the help of Eat Fit NOLA and their enthusiastic dining partners. n Catch Poppy Tooker on her radio show, Louisiana Eats! Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Wednesdays at 1 p.m. on WWNO 89.9 FM.

illu str ation by Ton y H e a le y

A native New Orleanian, Poppy Tooker has spent her life devoted to the cultural essence that food brings to Louisiana, a topic she explores weekly on her NPR-affiliated radio show, Louisiana Eats! From farmers markets to the homes and restaurants where our culinary traditions are revered and renewed, Poppy lends the voice of an insider to interested readers everywhere.

Gia DiLeo of Green To Go has been an enthusiastic partner of Eat Fit NOLA since its inception. Virtually her entire menu qualifies under “Eat Fit” guidelines. In January 2012, DiLeo began Green To Go with nothing more than a bicycle and a desire to combine the idea of green eating with green delivery. Her tasty, freshly tossed salads caught on quickly and by September 2012, DiLeo opened her first café at the Jewish Community Center

on St. Charles Avenue, expanding her rainbow salad concept to include juices, soups, wraps and baked goods. In 2015, Green To Go opened a second location in the CBD at 400 Poydras Street, servicing the Downtown crowd’s desire for healthy options available at a grab-and-go speed. Due to construction at the JCC, Green To Go now continues to serve their Uptown customers at a new location in the Napoleon Medical Building. Recently, they were asked to open a third spot inside of the Federal Courthouse, just a block away from the first Downtown location, serving those too busy to leave the building for lunch. / 35

In The Biz to u r i s m

Pack Your Running Shoes The Sweat Social makes fitness goals attainable during travel. by Jennifer Gibson Schecter

36 / Biz New Orleans / january 2018

culture are magic and left me wanting more. In terms of doing business as an entrepreneur here, it’s a small enough space to get your head around ideas and test your product, but it’s big enough that you have a diversity in customers and you aren’t confined.” Mohan took advantage of programming at startup incubator The Idea Village, where she said she found synergy with the marketing work being done to entice visitors to New Orleans. “The city is doing such a great job of promoting New Orleans that as an entrepreneur in tourism, even in a city that is relatively small, there are still endless amounts of opportunities,” she said. Those opportunities fast-tracked The Sweat Social to be an adaptive company responsive to early challenges. When asked about the biggest takeaway during her first year of business, Mohan referenced an often-overlooked body part — your ears. “It’s important to really listen to your customers and really focus on not making assumptions, which I think is hard for entrepreneurs, especially in offering a service and not a product,” she said. “Once we sat, talked and listened to our customers we really honed in on who our customer is and how we can provide the most value to who that person is.” Mohan used her Wall Street business acumen and love of people to shape her business model and has now secured clients who hire The Sweat Social to plan wellness programing around the country for corporate meetings and conferences. In line with the overall growth of the wellness industry, Mohan has seen growth in wellness tourism specifically and anticipates continued expansion for her company. The Sweat Social can plan and execute wellness programming for groups as small as five people for both leisure and business travelers. Family reunions, bachelor parties, corporate events and conferences have all been served by a variety of The Sweat Social’s offerings. To learn more, visit n

illu str ation by Ton y H e a le y

Jennifer Gibson Schecter was once a tourist in New Orleans herself and is now proud to call NOLA home. She also writes the Wednesday Tourism Blog on

How often have you stood in your

bedroom staring at your carry-on suitcase with a pair of running shoes in your hand, wondering if you are really going to make the time to exercise during your travels and if the space the sneakers take up is worth it? While the hotel gym may not be tantalizing, a New Orleans-based business is determined to inspire you to pack those shoes. The Sweat Social is a small business that designs wellness programs for conferences, meetings and group events in New Orleans and beyond. Launched in 2015, the young company was the first in the U.S. to design wellness services specifically for travelers. It’s since been flexing its muscles in the tourism industry, impressing wedding parties and corporate clients alike with event and specialty services that range from exercise classes and guided meditation to sleep clinics and health screenings. The company’s founder, Chief Exercise Officer Rupa Mohan, was inspired by her personal fitness practice while abroad. While traveling the world by backpack with her husband, Mohan said she felt constrained by indoor spaces and sought opportunities to combine a run with experiencing a new city. Other people noticed. “We created our own workouts to explore our destinations and other travelers started asking to join in,” she said. “We’d make plans to meet and start runs together. It really clicked that there was a market opportunity to provide wellness options for people who travel.” Mohan heard about New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) while still abroad and bought a one-way ticket to New Orleans from Delhi, India in order to attend. After that experience, and a 15 year affection for NOLA as a frequent visitor, she and her husband packed their New York City apartment and moved to New Orleans one month later. The decision to headquarter The Sweat Social in New Orleans was inspired by the city’s culture and its supportive startup climate. “The way I experienced New Orleans as a tourist is that this is a magical place,” explained Mohan. “The people and the / 37

In The Biz sports

Sugar Sweet A College Football Playoff Semifinal in ’18 and championship in ’20 will mean an influx of cash for the Greater New Orleans region. by chris price

38 / Biz New Orleans / january 2018

played Jan. 1, but its economic impact will last well into the year. This year’s game is a College Football Playoff Semifinal, the winner going on to play for the national championship. That means New Orleans has been a star in the sports world in the weeks leading up to the game, with media attention and an influx of teams, their fans, and international media all in town for the action. A semifinal game means big business for the host city, and New Orleans has reason to be excited. The 2015 Sugar Bowl, the last semifinal held in New Orleans, had an economic impact of $312.74 million, according to bowl officials. “The last time the Sugar Bowl Committee hosted a college football playoff semifinal, we welcomed nearly 100,000 fans to the city. Not only that, but the game was the most watched cable television broadcast of all-time, meaning New Orleans was highlighted for millions of people around the world,” said Jeff Hundley, the Sugar Bowl’s chief operating officer. “In the end, the Bowl’s mission is to bring valuable tourism dollars to the city and state, and we expect this game to accomplish that duty in a big way. Eighty-four years after it all started, the members of the Sugar Bowl Committee are still doing great things for New Orleans.” The College Football Playoff was established in 2014 to replace the Bowl Championship Series. Under the playoff format, the best four teams play two semifinal games (1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3) followed by the College Football Championship game. The semifinal games rotate among six current bowl games/cities (Sugar, New Orleans; Rose, Pasadena, Calif.; Cotton, Dallas; Orange, Miami; Peach, Atlanta; and Fiesta, Tempe, Ariz.), while the championship is up for bid to any interested city. New Orleans has that honor on Jan. 13, 2020, when it will play host to the College Football National Championship following the 2019 season. The 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship game between Clemson and Alabama had an estimated economic impact of $273.6 million for

Arizona, according to a study by the L. William Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business. It found 65,401 visitors came for the game and stayed an average of 3.88 nights. Additionally, more than 600 out-of-town media stayed an average of 4.3 nights. The last time a championship game was played in New Orleans, the economic impact for the region was over $260 million. In 2012, the Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic, which featured Michigan and Virginia Tech, and the Allstate BCS National Championship, with Alabama and LSU, had a combined economic impact of $493.73 million on the metro region, including direct tax revenue of $24.35 million for the state and $16.43 million for local governments in the New Orleans area, according to a February 2012 report by University of New Orleans economist Dr. Timothy R. Ryan. The New Orleans College Football National Championship Host Committee, led by the Allstate Sugar Bowl and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, will coordinate the event. The Sugar Bowl, which had its start Jan. 1, 1935, was founded to bring tourists to New Orleans in the slow winter months. It has been successful in its goal. According to Sugar Bowl sources, over the last decade the organization has generated more than $2.6 billion in economic impact, including $200 million in state and city tax revenue. Since 1988, the Sports Foundation’s events have generated an estimated $3 billion economic impact. n

illu str ation by Ton y H e a le y

Chris Price is an award-winning journalist and public relations principal. When he’s not writing, he’s avid about music, the outdoors, and Saints, Ole Miss and Chelsea football. Price also authors the Friday Sports Column at

The Allstate Sugar Bowl will be / 39

In The Biz e n t e r ta i n m e n t

Alone Loyola film instructor named a contender for an Oscar this year. by Kim Singletary

40 / Biz New Orleans / january 2018

“That is actually something that happens a lot,” explained Bradley, “with thousands of prisoners throughout Louisiana. Because of budget issues right now, many don’t have access to free representation so they are left waiting around to get a lawyer. What’s illegal though, is that they are holding these people in prison while they wait.” Instead of focusing on the politics and the prisoner, however, “Alone” focuses on its title character, Watson’s girlfriend, who is left struggling with what to do now. Watson wants to marry her. Does she do it? “The film is from a woman’s perspective,” Bradley explained. “It’s about loneliness and love — things anybody can relate to and connect with, regardless of the politics.” At one point, you see Watts trying on a wedding dress, describing how she wants to feel on her wedding day. In another you see her walk into a house and shut the door. At this point, all you get is the audio of Watts breaking the news that she is going to marry Watson in prison to what is assumed to be her mother and maybe a sister. Immediately there’s angry screaming that keeps going, punctuated finally by the other women calmly saying, “That’s a bad decision. What is it going to do for y’all?” What will it mean for her to marry someone in prison? Alone battles with this question. Bradley said that Watson has since been sentenced to four years in prison. He and Watts are together, but still not married. While she awaits the Oscar news, Bradley is about to release her next short, again a 13-minute film, this one shot this past April in Japan. The documentary is called “The Earth is Humming” and it’s about how Tokyo handles earthquake prevention. In addition to making her own films and teaching filmmaking at Loyola, Bradley is also the co-founder of Creative Council, an artist-led after-school program that helps high schoolers interested in arts schools develop strong portfolios. To see “Alone,” visit n

illu str ation by Ton y H e a le y

Kimberley Singletary is the managing editor of Biz New Orleans magazine. A 20-year Southern California veteran, she has been surrounded by the film industry for most of her life.

Last month I wrote about a local

filmmaker who is using his medium to shed light on the crime problem in New Orleans with a TV pilot called “Shepherd” that just won a development meeting with HBO. This month I’d like to highlight another person hoping to make a difference with her art — local filmmaker and Loyola film professor Garrett Bradley. This New York native’s 13-minute documentary short called “Alone” won the 2017 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Jury Award, and on Dec. 5 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced they had narrowed their field of Documentary Short Subject contenders for the Academy Awards from 77 to 10. “Alone” is one of those 10. The final five will be chosen Jan. 23. That means 31-year-old Bradley could be up for her first Oscar this year, an idea she says is a “huge honor,” but that she hopes more than anything will lead to illuminating the issues her film addresses. The issue? The personal toll that’s being wreaked on families and loved ones of the staggering one in 14 African-American men in Louisiana that are currently incarcerated. “Alone” provides a heart wrenching account of a man named Desmond Watson — with whom Bradley had worked with on her first feature film, “Below Dreams” a few years ago. “I got a call from his girlfriend, Alone Watts, that Desmond had been brought to jail,” Bradley said. “She was scared and alone and wondering what this meant for their future. I thought to myself, if I could take what I’m experiencing second-hand and use it, it could be an important story.” With support from The New York Times/ Op-Docs and the Sundance McArthur Short Film Fund, Bradley spent one month shooting with an all-local crew that included one of her students, Loyola digital filmmaking senior Daniela Leal, who served as the film’s assistant editor. The short starts with Watson having been incarcerated for one year with no sentence and no verdict. / 41

In The Biz e n t r e pr e n eu r s h i p

What We Can Learn from Detroit The Motor City has become an example of an effective city government and business partnership. by keith twitchell

America has not had a true free

market economy for many decades. There is hardly an industry in the country that is not subsidized, incentivized or otherwized. All of this certainly begs the question of what is the appropriate role of government in supporting business. From an entrepreneurial perspective, some very interesting answers can be found in a lineup of innovative entrepreneur support programs available through Detroit’s city government. That Detroit is serious about supporting new businesses and helping local businesses grow, is evident by a visit to the city’s website. Looking at a few of these programs is an amazing lesson in true public-private partnership, and how a government with limited resources can leverage relationships to promote quality economic development. Among the highlights: Motor City Match provides $500,000 in grants every quarter to new and existing businesses and building owners. Its purpose is to connect businesses looking for the right location to owners of business properties; the funds assist both in making a successful match. In the process, properties in the city’s longdistressed downtown area are revitalized and brought back into commerce. BizGrid is an interactive online directory of resources for new and growing small businesses, including essentials such as various business-planning services, co-working spaces and even financial resources. It’s extraordinarily userfriendly, well-organized and written in plain English rather than business speak. While New Orleans now has exceptional entrepreneurial resources itself, finding and navigating through them is extremely challenging. A compendium like BizGrid would be a huge help.

42 / Biz New Orleans / january 2018

BizdomU, a tech-focused startup accelerator that “provides seed funding and intense mentorship to entrepreneurs looking to launch and grow innovative tech-based startups in the downtown urban core of Detroit. It is focused on businesses that are web- or tech-based, scalable and can get to beta, prototype, or first customers within three months.” D2D — in essence a matchmaking service for local buyers and sellers. Collectively, these and other city programs have created an entrepreneurial environment that is rapidly bringing Detroit from its state of near-collapse just a few years ago into the forefront of urban revitalization. By being a true partner with the community, the city marshals resources in a way that gets substantially more bang for the public buck. The big picture thinking — as exemplified by the focus on incentivizing the restoration of blighted properties to create locations for new and growing businesses — connects multiple dots in ways that again make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. At the recent NationSwell conference in New York, Jill Ford, a special advisor to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan who coordinates many of these efforts, pointed out that “for Detroit to really come back, we all have to come back together.” Ford added that a very high percentage of participants in these programs are women and people of color — both populations are not so well included in New Orleans’ entrepreneurial landscape. Greater New Orleans has certainly established itself as a hub of entrepreneurship, yet there is always room for improvement. With new leadership coming into the city, this might be a time for all our regional administrations to come together with the private sector, examine the role of government in business, and see if Detroit and other locales offer models that will kick our economic environment up several more notches. n

illu str ation by Ton y H e a le y

Keith Twitchell spent 16 years running his own business before becoming president of the Committee for a Better New Orleans. He has observed, supported and participated in entrepreneurial ventures at the street, neighborhood, nonprofit, micro- and macro-business levels.

Build Institute offers a variety of programs for emerging entrepreneurs, from business classes to networking opportunities to mentorship. Funding opportunities are available via a partnership with international funding nonprofit Kiva. The city even puts on

“Build Bazaars,” pop-up markets featuring products from companies that participate in the program. / 43

In The Biz e t i q u e tt e

Workin’ 9 to 5 Make consideration, respect and transparency central to your office policies and culture to create a safe and harassment-free workplace by Melanie Warner Spencer

44 / Biz New Orleans / january 2018

Are you a hugger? Before flinging your arms open and going in for that hug, consider the client, the culture of your company or industry, how well you know the other person and the situation. What if a hugger is coming at you and you don’t like hugs? Simply extend your hand and say, “I’m sorry, I’m not much of a hugger.” It’s never inappropriate to establish your boundaries. If doing so is difficult for you, practice until it feels comfortable. In American business, a handshake is always appropriate, so when in doubt, stick with shaking hands. It is also important to consider the way you speak to others and the subject matter. Avoid discussing intimate details and offcolor or racy topics at any work-related activity, including during work travel. Finally, what if you are attracted to and sensing a genuine connection with a colleague and want to ask him or her out on a date? Learn your company’s policy on office dating and follow it to the letter. Familiarize yourself with modern rules of consent and follow those to the letter. While this advice might seem designed to be the opposite of romantic, remember, we are talking about your place of employment or the company you own, not a dating app or a bar. (That said, it’s always important to follow the rules of consent, whether at work or not). Consideration and respect are at the heart of workplace (and social) civility. If we treat one another with those two principles at the forefront of all of our interactions, it’s unlikely that we will ever have to worry about our conduct being inappropriate or unprofessional, or being perceived as such. “The Golden Rule” is a great place to start, but treating others as you wish to be treated might not always be the best course of action. As human beings we have the capacity to cultivate great empathy, so tap into and sharpen your innate ability to understand the feelings of those around you and treat others as they wish to be treated. n

illu str ation by Ton y H e a le y

Melanie Warner Spencer is editor of New Orleans Bride and New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles and managing editor of Louisiana Life and Acadiana Profile. Spencer’s ever-expanding library of etiquette books is rivaled only by her ever-ready stash of blank thank-you notes. Submit business etiquette questions to

From celebrity chefs and journalists

to Hollywood moguls and politicians, including even the highest office in the country, allegations of sexual harassment, misconduct, abuse and assault in the workplace have dominated the news both locally and nationally. These disheartening, shocking and heartbreaking situations have spurred much-needed reflection and conversation in New Orleans and throughout the country. If you haven’t already, now is a good time to revisit and make crystal clear and transparent — in both large and small companies — office sexual harassment policies either via a companywide email or in a company meeting. As individuals it’s our responsibility to learn cultural, social and business norms regarding these topics, as well as the specifics put in place by the companies in which we work. While harassment, misconduct, abuse and assault are much more complicated than basic etiquette, there are a few practices that will help all of us avoid the behavior that contributes to toxic, unsafe environments. First, and this may seem obvious, but it’s an important reminder: Think of every coworker — regardless of gender, age or level of experience — as a whole person. Each one of us wants to be respected for our knowledge, talent, experience and contributions to the workplace rather than being judged and objectified by our colleagues. Next, whether they are peers, supervisors or underlings, don’t violate personal space and refrain from touching your coworkers. Simply put: Keep your hands to yourself. Everyone has their own comfort level where personal space is concerned, so always be mindful of facial and verbal cues, as well as body language. Is it OK to give someone a literal pat on the back for a job well done? Yes, probably, if it is brief and confined to the upper back near the shoulder. But avoid shoulder and neck squeezes, a hand on the back or wrapped around the shoulder and other intimate gestures.

In The Biz marketing

This Year I Will… Resolutions Every Marketer Should Make by Julia carcamo

January is the month in which

we traditionally make intentions that will shape the rest of the year, yet New Year’s resolutions have become such an expected occurrence that we don’t flinch when we fail to stick to them and decide to revisit them instead during Lent. As a marketer, this is also the time when I make some resolutions that I believe will improve my businesses and bring success. I share them here with you. Make data actionable.

Marketers are now the beneficiaries of a plethora of data. Make a resolution to use data to make your marketing smarter or more efficient. If you’re buying media, stop buying the media you consume and start using data to buy media your targets are consuming. Identify where you can find quick hits and build a highly targeted and efficient media plan that you can track via your database. With this segmentation approach, you can match the highest growth, highest responsive audiences against media usage profiles. Get to know your customers.

The most successful businesses know their customers. Invest in research. Take a look at your customer’s journey. What are their pain points? What are the elements that make an ordinary purchase experience extraordinary? Focus groups and online surveys can give you a wealth of insight to help you build your marketing programs. Understanding your customer is essential to long-term growth and should be at the center of anything you do. Simplify your message.

Please, I beg you.... less is more. Sometimes it’s just a style. Sometimes, it’s our desire to maximize our media and creative expenses, but when you concentrate on simple messages, your customers will be able to hear and understand your message. Marketers with billboards loaded down with images and copy…I’m looking at you here.

46 / Biz New Orleans / january 2018

Make a “We’ve always done it that way” swear jar.

This is my favorite, and it will be yours too. There are beliefs and structures that have become obsolete, and yet we continue to base our marketing programs on them

Use your “Get Out of Jail Free Card” and try something bold.

Years ago, I listened to a marketing hero of mine tell a story of a promotion he developed as chief marketing officer of Kodak. It was a massive and expensive misstep. His lesson to us: “No one is going to die.” Most businesses can sustain a little creative thinking. Test something out. Think it through but take the risk. I’m giving you a (figurative) “Get Out of Jail Free Card” to try something bold and different. Email me your ideas. I’d love to hear them. Track, measure, cut or repeat.

It makes sense that we need to track what we do in order to understand which efforts drive the behaviors we need to meet our business goals. Select key performance indicators that are directly related to your business goals. Gone are the days when we can coast on vanity metrics. You need to measure revenue, cost for that revenue, conversion, etc. If you’re not measuring the things that are related to business goals, you’ll soon find yourself with nothing to measure. And finally, don’t forget the most important part of your marketing.

It’s you. Pick an area you want to improve to make yourself a valuable part of your team. Make a reinvestment in yourself. n

illu str ation by Ton y H e a le y

Julia Carcamo is president and chief brand strategist at J Carcamo & Associates, specializing in brand and marketing strategy. She is also the co-founder of espNOLA, a Hispanic marketing and engagement agency. Learn more at and

even though we have no idea why. The next time you implement something because it’s always been done that way, throw $5 in the swear jar. I’ll guarantee you that after a few deposits, you will change much of your marketing. You’ll either dig back into history to understand why you do things a certain way or someone will come up with a better, fresher idea. If there is one area of business that has proven itself to be independent of sacred cows, it’s marketing. Remember when we used only paid advertising...or the yellow pages? Marketing has changed more in the last two years than it has in the last 10, and it continues to evolve. Keep an eye out for changes and trends outside of the industry. / 47

hot topics in southe a st Louisiana industries

perspectives law  /  banking & finance  /  healthcare  /  GUEST VIEWPOINT

Get out of your own head and get help with your problems through a peer advisory group, a must for any business owner or CEO, says local businessman Vincent Liuzza in this month’s Guest Perspective.

Perspectives l aw

The Verdict Is In Local law firms are moving toward sustainability and green practices, and it’s paying off. by Kim Roberts

Law firms have traditionally had a

relatively noticeable carbon footprint when compared to other office environments, mostly because of the volume of paperwork generated in doing their jobs. It could also be argued that the long hours these professionals log contribute to increased power

50 / Biz New Orleans / january 2018

consumption. With this in mind, some firms in the New Orleans market are finding ways to operate their firms more sustainably, by incorporating “green” initiatives into the office setting. As law firms strive to ramp up sustainability practices, efforts include looking at methods of recycling, lowering energy consumption and

increasing indoor air quality, the latter of which has been tied to reduced sick days and an increase in productivity (see sidebar). Change has been slow, but steady. “Most New Orleans firms have implemented some environmentally-friendly practices, but those efforts may not extend far beyond matters

of necessity in the legal profession of the modern era — such as e-discovery and e-filing,” said Kerry Murphy, a co-founder of Lasky Murphy law firm. “The deliberate adoption of a broader range of green practices hasn’t fully caught on locally in the legal community. Business in general, however, has largely adopted more environmentally friendly practices, so we all are naturally making changes as part of the fabric of modern communication.” A small, woman-owned boutique law firm, Lasky Murphy opened its doors in March 2017. Murphy says the firm is looking at going paperless.

“We found it so much easier to reach our clients, and the public in general, when we went from print marketing to electronic.” Heather Laborde, IT manager with Herman, Herman & Katz

“Embracing technology in a way that fosters effective, efficient representation helps keep costs down for clients and is a piece of practicing sustainably,” she said. Recent amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure make electronically stored information — such as e-mails, instant messages, voicemails, e-calendars, graphics and data on handheld devices — discoverable in litigation and allowable in court. Discovery of electronically stored information (ESI) is known as electronic discovery. These changes are helping to do away with paper trails. “We found it so much easier to reach our clients, and the public in general, when we went from print marketing to electronic,” said Heather Laborde, IT manager with Herman, Herman & Katz. “The first thing we did was convert our newsletters to an electronic format. We found a much better reception to the electronic version. We also use blogs and social media: Facebook, etc., to communicate with the public. Everything is so much faster and you can give everyone a real sense of who the firm is and what we can do for people.” “Having a paperless office is sweeping the profession,” Laborde added. “The benefits can be found in the practice of law as well: organizing files,

did you know?

Harvard Study Finds Fresh Air Creates Smarter Workers A 2015 double-blind study by the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, SUNY Upstate Medical University, and Syracuse University gathered 24 workers (including architects, designers, programmers, engineers, creative marketing professionals and managers). Half were exposed to elevated levels of volatile organic compounds and CO2 for six days. The other half worked in green conditions, some with enhanced ventilation. Workers with enhanced ventilation scored significantly higher than those with poor air quality. Specifically:


higher in strategic thinking


higher in information usage


higher in crisis response Source: “Associations of Cognitive Function Scores with Carbon Dioxide, Ventilation, and Volatile Organic Compound Exposures in Office Workers: A Controlled Exposure Study of Green and Conventional Office Environments.” Published October 26, 2015, in “Environmental Health Perspectives.” / 51

finding documents, preparing for trial — it’s all made easier and more efficient through going paperless.” The whole idea of going green is not a new one; it’s been around for years. For many law firms, however, it’s a new way to cut costs, boost the bottom line, attract new clients and retain employees. But why are firms focusing on this issue now? The answer is competition. Competition is stiff and law firms (like many businesses) are being forced to implement new strategies to stay alive in the marketplace. To succeed, firms have to become more creative and responsive. “From our perspective as a small firm, sustainability efforts can’t hurt the marketing front,” Murphy said. “We do little things. We keep files electronically and scan all paper and recycle. When we print, we print double-sided. We have our A/C on an automatic timer so it doesn’t run unnecessarily and we turn off everything when we are not in the office. Also, we stopped purchasing disposable water bottles; instead we’re using filtered tap water, reusable water bottles and glasses. We use real plates and utensils in the office, not paper and plastic. To help with air quality, we open the window when the weather allows and have potted plants in the office.” Simple cost-cutting tactics don’t have to break a firm and bring operations to a halt. Common sense ideas that make both economic and practical sense include carpooling, recycling, installing water filters and using reusable mugs instead of paper or Styrofoam. These simple changes along with an energy efficiency plan can save firms thousands of dollars in the long run. “With a smaller firm it’s easier to revamp and go paperless or green,” said Jessica Quin, a legal assistant with Herman, Herman & Katz. “Being a medium-sized firm we had to take it step by step, and we are still evolving and finding ways to be environmentally conscientious. Technology has definitely helped.” “We started recycling years ago and we recycle ink cartridges as

52 / Biz New Orleans / january 2018


Best Practices for RESOURCE CONSERVATION and WASTE REDUCTION from the American Bar Association Recycle paper, toner, cans, glass, newspaper, batteries. Use recycled and recyclable copier and printer paper, toner, notepads and memo pads. Seek higher post-consumer content in recycled paper. Install recycled carpets and tile. Institute a “green” purchasing policy that incorporates waste reduction into purchasing decisions. Purchase refurbished or recycled furniture. Join buying clubs to save money on recycled products. Donate old binders, magazines and equipment rather than disposing of them. Recycle old electronic equipment. Some computer manufacturers, among others, will accept and recycle electronics, thus keeping them out of landfills. Use duplex or two-sided copying and printing. Use “print preview” before printing out documents to reduce multiple drafts. Use a spelling check function before printing out documents. Encourage responsible transit by taking advantage of tax-subsidized mass transit employee programs. Conserve water through low-flow toilets, aerators and water restrictors. Provide reusable food and beverage supplies, such as stir sticks and mugs. Increase alternatives to paper communication (electronic client and in-house newsletters and memos). Request soy-based inks in outside printing jobs. Provide recycle boxes in individual offices, conference rooms and common areas.

well as safely disposing of all electronic equipment out of service,” she added. “Upgrading equipment is also important. There comes a point when getting new equipment that operates more efficiently, requires less power and gives off less heat becomes the better environmental

choice. We have also asked vendors to bill us electronically. We travel less and utilize video conferencing. Less travel, less supplies, more efficiency ­— we have seen the benefits and been able to pass those savings on to our clients.” n

Ask building management to have trash separated from recycled paper and newspapers. Set forth an appropriate conservation message or directive in your employee orientation manual. Reduce use of attachments and other documents as feasible. Consider video conferencing in place of out-of-town meetings. / 53

Perspectives b a n k i n g & fi n a n c e

“Have a set business plan that is written down,” recommends Blake Gillies, vice president of risk management for Wealth Solutions LLC. “It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day of business and it’s important not to lose sight of both long-term and short-term goals. “I suggest the One Page Business Plan System,” Gillies added. “Secondly, find a Center of Influence group and work on ways you can help one another. Especially if the owner is also the sole employee.” Secure Ideal Employees

Patricia Ann Besselman-Main, managing partner of Besselman & Associates, believes one of the most important keys to sustaining business success is attracting qualified employees. “In lieu of a high salary, a startup may want to negotiate incentive bonuses and pay raises that won’t overload the business with expenses that will drain the startup cash reserve,” BesselmanMain said. Along the lines of incentivizing and attracting qualified employees, Besselman-Main noted the drawing power of employee benefits like health insurance and a retirement plan, but advised that, “In lieu of draining startup cash, a company should offer modest benefits until the company is producing consistent income.” Don’t Cheap Out On Insurance

Must-Dos for Startups Advice from local professionals for the New Year by James Sebastien

A new year is upon us, and with it comes

fresh opportunities to seize, such as launching a new business endeavor. While daring to venture onto a new path is noble and exciting, it’s important to remember that there’s not just one solitary secret to success that applies to all. When starting a company, small or large, it could be any one person’s two cents of guidance that leads to a windfall of pennies from heaven. So

54 / Biz New Orleans / january 2018

grab an umbrella and follow the wisdom, insights and tips of industry veterans and forecasters. Have a Business Plan

Devising a business plan is the standard first step that an entrepreneur must take for a good reason. A solid plan is as important to a business owner as a playbook is to a coach and can be as gospel as the Bible.

According to Chad Kropp, risk architect with Insurance Underwriters Ltd./IUL Risk Solutions, before starting a new business one “truly needs to understand that insurance will be in the top three of their costs.” Kropp warned that the most overlooked coverage is employment practices liability insurance (EPLI). An important form of protection for any company, EPLI is especially vital to startups that have yet to establish industry roots. The purpose of this type of coverage is to guard companies from losses that may arise from an employment practices dispute involving claimed discrimination or wrongful discipline. Another matter for entrepreneurs to consider is the recent uptick in ransomware (a form of cyber crime where data is ransomed) that has been hitting retail, hotels and even hospitals. Kropp said that the best tip he has for all businesses, not just startups, is to acquire cyber liability insurance as a precautionary measure against would-be hackers, who are willing to “hold your company hostage for $40,000 to $50,000.” / 55

Account for the Future

When creating a budget for business expenses, Joey Richard of Richard CPAs, said that one should first ask, “What does the company gain for the money and time invested? And is the investment of time and money worth it? Buy what you need versus what you would like. Do not overbuy. Shop prices.” Richard stressed that a major component of managing for the future is accounting for the “growth potential for the company.” “Detailed written plans provide evidence of sufficient analysis and care for the plans to be achievable,” he explained. “A detailed written plan provides you with important milestones for your short- and long-term goals. Make sure you are making your sales goals and that your customers are happy with your product and service.” As sales goals are met, Richard believes it’s critical to use profits to first “adequately compensate investors and owner-employees.” Moreover, he said, “Investor profits should be balanced between long-term and short-term returns. After that, profits can be used to grow the business.” Find the Balance

“Balance is important in everything,” said Keith Gillies. As CEO of United Wealth Advisors Group, managing principal of Wealth Solutions LLC, and president of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors of Greater New Orleans, Gillies travels about 200 days each year. In order to find balance, Gillies shared his tips. “First, no wasted motion. I catch up on emails and other tasks while waiting in airports or on planes. Also, after a nice morning walk, I try to work an hour or so while in hotels.” Gillies said he tries as much as possible to coordinate travel with personal priorities. “With my son playing baseball at Tulane, I will coordinate travel with their away schedule.” Stay the Course

While living in the mobile era is a blessing, it can also present many distractions. To minimize interruptions, Chris Ferris, executive vice president of Fidelity Bank, suggested, “Turn off the pop-up that alerts you that a new email has come in and designate certain times of the day to check

56 / Biz New Orleans / january 2018


Advice from a Frequent Flyer As CEO of United Wealth Advisors Group, managing principal of Wealth Solutions LLC, and president of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors of Greater New Orleans, Keith Gillies travels about 200 days each year.

and respond. It’s also helpful to make a list of what has to be done that day, and the old management rule of only touching a paper once still applies.” Another way to stay the course is to take part in seminars, programs and other business related events. Locally, Ferris feels a great place to start is New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, March 20-23, 2018. “New Orleans Entrepreneur Week is a great resource and Stay Local is always putting on valuable workshops at a very low cost,” he said. “It can never hurt to learn more about social media and digital marketing as the landscape is constantly growing and changing. At Fidelity Bank,

He offers entrepreneurs the following advice: 1. Be a loyal flyer. “Pick an airline or two” he said, noting that consolidating your flying will help business owners gain status for free upgrades and other amenities. 2. Find a good credit card. “I find the Business Platinum Amex is a great card,” he said. “I take advantage of every benefit.” 3. Join the clubs. Some of Gillies recommendations for frequent flyers include seeking out auto gold hotel status with multiple hotels and joining Delta Sky Club and National Car Rental’s Executive Elite. “All of these types of tools and techniques provide upgrades and save money,” he said. “I eat in the Sky Club and drinks are free. Gold status gets you meals at very good hotels and you can rent cars at the cheapest rate and drive off in luxury.”

“In lieu of a high salary, a startup may want to negotiate incentive bonuses and pay raises that won’t overload the business with expenses that will drain the startup cash reserve.” Patricia Ann Besselman-Main, managing partner at Besselman & Associates

we have a special program called P.O.W.E.R. that targets women in business. We will be publishing a monthly event calendar of things happening in the city that benefit women in business, so this will be a great resource for the woman business owner.” In business, relationships are everything.

“It’s important to have a banker that understands and wants to learn about your business,” noted Ferris. “Also, there are a number of small business incubators in the city and nonprofit organizations that can provide valuable feedback. It’s important to get involved in the business community. By being involved, you will meet other like-minded individuals that may have shared some of your experiences and can offer solutions.” During a startup’s first year, Ferris advised that it’s particularly important for an entrepreneur to “know what your goals and milestones are. How will you define success? Knowing and writing down your goals and communicating them to your key employees or business partners is important. Everybody working for your business should be able to articulate what those goals are and work with you toward achieving them.” n / 57

Perspectives h e a lth c a r e

The NEW YEAR presentS a perfect time to

No More Excuses Local companies offer easy ways to squeeze beauty and health options into even the busiest of schedules. by Maria Clark illustrations by jane sanders

58 / Biz New Orleans / january 2018

reconnect with family, reflect on the past year and focus on making changes to your health and beauty regimen. At least that’s the hope. But busy work schedules can often make it very difficult to stick with a new routine. However, folks with even the busiest work schedules have options that can become part of even the most hectic lifestyle. When Barbara Bolotte was working as a personal trainer she saw firsthand how challenging it was for clients to balance a workout routine with healthier food choices. Bolotte launched Clean Creations, a healthy food delivery service, out of her home before expanding to a commercial kitchen in Gretna. “I had clients who worked so hard at the gym but weren’t seeing the results they were hoping for because their food wasn’t ‘together,’” she said. Bolotte developed a menu of low-calorie, low-fat meals available for delivery for her personal fitness clients. “We even deliver right to your work place,” she added. “I know there have been so many times where I have forgotten to bring my lunch to work even though I went through the effort to pack it the night before.” The company, which has expanded to offer delivery service in New Orleans, the North Shore and Baton Rouge, uploads a new menu with a variety of new meal options to choose from every week. “It’s grab and go, open the fridge and they can set themselves up for success,” said Bolotte. A U.S. News and World Report published in January 2017 says that 80 percent of people can’t stick with their New Year’s resolutions, typically because the goal is unrealistic and too much of a dramatic change from what the person’s life is like. For those who have a desk job and must work for eight or more hours straight, sticking to a new health and beauty regimen can seem especially difficult. Dr. Pamela Egan at the Egan Wellness Center said that the trick is to keep resolutions simple. The center, located in Covington, offers a variety of services dedicated to skin care and nutrition. The company also operates on flexible hours — Egan added that she has made appointments with clients on Saturdays when they were unable to make it to a weekday appointment. The clinic can also consult with out-of-state customers via teleconferencing or Skype. Egan said that keeping the skin clean and using a “pure, organic skin care line is essential.” Because many skin care products have chemicals in them that can be toxic, the center recommends skin / 59

care lines with stem cells, which Egan says are the “repairmen of the body.” “It doesn’t have to be complicated,” she added. “A cleanser specific to one’s skin type, day cream with SPF 30 and a good quality night cream are essential. I personally use a tinted daytime moisturizer as my base instead of makeup.” The center also offers services that take little to no time and can fit into any busy schedule. For skin, they offer 30-minute hydrafacials. The service take as long as 90 minutes, depending on the extent the customer requires. Cosmetic procedures including facial fillers can take up to 30 minutes. Chemical peels can also be a relatively quick option, with the appointment lasting between 15 to 25 minutes. “For the Wellness Clinic, I spend one hour with new patients and 30 minutes with follow-ups,” Egan said. “Our Wellness Clinic incorporates five basic steps: restoring the balance, balancing hormones, restoring nutrients, removing toxins, and balancing the mind and body.” Megan Naccari, the owner of Saintly Skin LLC, said that when it comes to simple skin treatments people don’t have to devote too much time to be able to care for themselves, and a lot of their procedures can fit into a lunch hour. Saintly Skin’s treatments vary from teeth brightening, to eyelash extensions, to different types of facials, such as antioxidant facials and illuminating facials to reduce dark spots, as well as firming neck and décolletage treatments. “Many of our collagen and skin treatments don’t take more than 30 minutes. We also are very flexible and able to work with people’s schedules,” she said. One of the favorite treatments for facial aging at Etre Cosmetic Dermatology and Laser Center in New Orleans is the Sculptra Aesthetic, a filler that restores volume to the face and produces collagen for long lasting results. “With little to no downtime, patients can turn back the clock and lift sagging skin,” said Dr. Kyle Coleman, part of the dermatologist duo that runs Etre, along with Dr. Lisa Donofrio. “Patients are able to return to normal daily activities immediately.” Another option for someone with a busy work schedule is a treatment called the

60 / Biz New Orleans / january 2018


6 ways to stay healthy Just because you work in an office it doesn’t mean healthy habits can’t become a part of your hectic schedule. The following are some tips for a healthier, more active you: 1. Make healthy food choices. Grab a healthy snack on the go. Eat more fruits and vegetables. 2. Be active. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park farther away and walk. 3. Protect yourself from injury and disease. Put on a helmet, sunscreen, or insect repellent. Wash your hands for 20 seconds. 4. Manage stress. Don’t overschedule or overcommit. Take short breaks throughout the day. 5. Make an appointment for a check-up, vaccination or screening. 6. Quit smoking. Call 1-800-QUITNOW for free counseling on how to quit smoking for good. SOURCE: CenterS for Disease Control (Five Minute Health Weekly Tips)

Silhouette Instalift, a lunchtime face-lifting procedure. “The Instalift involves placement of dissolvable threads under the skin that lift sagging skin,” Coleman said. “While not comparable to a surgical face lift, this procedure can be done with little to no downtime and provide instant results.” The clinic also offers a procedure called Coolsculpting mini, which can be performed in the office in 45 minutes to reduce fat under the chin and help sculpt the jawline. For people with a little more time who want to help reduce unwanted bulges on their bellies, thighs and backs, Etre offers minimally invasive laser liposuction. The procedure is performed in the office under local anesthesia. Coleman added that patients are back to work and social activities within one

day; however, “full results take time, so it’s best to think ahead for spring and summer vacations.” For those that don’t have time to go to the office, there are many new topical treatments that can be done at home to prevent and reverse signs of aging. Combining tried-and-true therapies like retinol-containing products with newer products that plump existing collagen in the skin can prevent and soften fine lines, according to Coleman. “As technology has advanced, there are more options available to treat and prevent signs of aging without significant downtime. This has allowed patients with busy schedules flexibility to treat themselves without having to take significant time away from work or social engagements,” he said. n / 61

Perspectives guest viewpoint

in our area

national CEO and business owner organizations that support peer advisory groups Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Members: 12,000+ in 53 countries Highlights: global events, leadershipdevelopment programs, online entrepreneur forum and executive education opportunities EO Louisiana: 54 members as of Dec. 1, 2017 Vistage International Members: 21,000+ in 20 countries Highlights: Peer advisory groups of 12-16 executives, oneon-one coaching, world-class speakers, proprietary research Young Professionals Organization (YPO) Members: 25,000+ in 130+ countries Highlights: Ability to join local or regional chapters nationwide Get a copy of “The Power of Peers” by Shapiro and Bottany, follow the rules and form your own group!

Access the Power of Your Peers Peer advisory groups are a must for any CEO or business owner. by Vincent Liuzza

Access to a “Peer Advisory

Group” is an important tool for you to improve your effectiveness as a CEO or business owner.

62 / Biz New Orleans / january 2018

When having to deal with a major issue or opportunity, the CEO of a business is often in a very lonely position. Membership in a trade association group grants you valuable industry knowledge, but it does not allow you to share your innermost competitive thoughts, feelings, issues, nor your company’s strengths, plans and vulnerabilities. Normally, for advice on major issues and opportunities we turn to our regular trusted advisors — our CPAs, our lawyers and certain persons within our own organizations. Those trusted advisors, however, might not — or likely cannot — be totally impartial or objective because they also see you as a source of their fees or salary. Many successful executives and business owners deal with this by having confidential advisors outside of their organizations.

One source can be a peer advisory group composed of non-competing CEOs who can relate to you and your situation. Peer advisory groups exist for the single purpose of assisting each member in becoming a more successful executive, leader and decision maker. Groups are focused solely on members and their organizations. Peer advisory groups are dedicated to helping you deal with your internal issues and opportunities that generally cannot be discussed outside the company — and often even inside the company. Such outside advice is often critical to objectively making the best decisions for you and your company. A fundamental aspect of a peer advisory group is absolute confidentiality on everything discussed in its meetings. This condition is critical for

members to be comfortable enough to reveal their innermost concerns and feelings, which is fundamental to enabling the rest of the group to understand the member’s issues and concerns. Only then can members be positioned to offer their best insights, ideas and considerations. Within such a group all issues, questions, challenges and opportunities can be placed on the table — both those that may have just arisen and old ones that you may have put off dealing with for years. Outside of this group, we feel we must be effective cheerleaders presenting our companies in their best light. But inside this group is where we deal with: 1. What keeps us awake at night, as well as our most exciting opportunities;

2. Actions that for years our gut has been telling us to do, but we have never been able to bring ourselves to do; 3. Challenging the undiscussed and unexplored assumptions behind our major decisions and existing modus operandi; 4. Dealing with our own internal challenges and gremlins, not just those of our reports; and 5. Identifying and making the growth and educational changes within ourselves necessary to accomplish our major personal and organizational goals. In a peer advisory group these goals are achieved through regular — especially monthly — group meetings that free you from the daily consuming pressures of viewing your business from the inside out by enabling you to elevate yourself to the 40,000-foot level and see your business from the outside in. How do you become a member of a peer advisory group? There are organizations that support and help create such groups that are listed further below. Or you can form your own. Many CEOs already have a few other similar executives from whom they believe can receive impartial advice and with whom they occasionally consult. They can be the basis for creating your own group. The five necessary principles of a successful peer advisory group are: 1. Select the right peers — ideally 6 to 12 that respect each other and have a strong desire to learn and help. 2. Create a safe environment — where there is absolute confidentiality and no negative criticism that promotes honest, unbiased suggestions. 3. Utilize a “smart guide” — someone who is appropriately trained or self educated on creating and enforcing the important principles of a peer advisory group.

4. Foster valuable interaction, which is interaction that is focused on the problems and opportunities of each member. Here, members have both a willingness to ask the tough questions underlying the issues and a willingness to hear those penetrating questions. A good group not only attempts to answer your questions, but questions your answers. 5. Be accountable. Once the group helps you reach a decision, be willing to report your progress or difficulties back to the group. One of the highlights of my business career would have been impossible but for the help of my first peer advisory group through my membership in YPO. The achievement was the first national initial public offering (NASDAQ IPO) of a Louisiana company in 10 years. I still benefit as a continuing member of that group. Remember, the company you keep is a major contributor to your growth and success. Consider utilizing a confidential peer advisory group. n

Vincent Liuzza chairs the newest of six Vistage CEO peer advisory groups in Greater New Orleans. He is a past chairman of the Louisiana Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization and was active in the establishment of YPO Forums (peer advisory groups) within the chapter’s membership. As one of 400 Certified Turnaround Professionals in U.S., Liuzza is the only C.T.P. in Louisiana. He specializes in turnarounds and corporate renewal. He can be reached at (504) 919-1401 or / 63

b y k i m s i n g l e ta r y / p o r t r a i t s b y j e f f e r y j o h n s to n

The “Great Eight,” these leaders are taking on our coastline, our waistline, and everything in between. this year, Biz New Orleans celebrates our second-ever business people of the Year — individuals that are taking their companies and industries to new markets and new frontiers in efforts that are gaining them recognition not just at home, but on the National stage.



fourth generation New Orleanian, Jay McLellan has been called a “father of the home automation” industry thanks to his founding of Home Automation, Inc. Back in 1985, the company produced a product that offered the ability to control a home’s temperature, security and lighting from the then-new Motorola bag phone. Home Automation, Inc. grew into a global home and business automation company that was acquired by Leviton Manufacturing in 2012. Based in Melville, New York, Leviton is a 111-year old company that holds over 1,000 patents and manufactures 2.5 million parts related to electrical wiring devices, networking and automation every day. In July 2014, Leviton opened its Experience Center at 334 Carondelet St. in New Orleans, joining similar centers in San Francisco and Anaheim. The centers invite people to see for themselves how the company’s security and automation, lighting and energy solutions operate in real life business and residential settings. In September 2017, Leviton opened an Innovation Center at 865 Fulton St. McLellan leads the center’s team, which is already a recognized leader in the Internet of Things — defined as the interconnection, via the internet, of any device with an on and off switch.

B U SI N E SS P E OP L E O F T H E Y E AR / T e c h L e a d e r o f t h e Y e a r

Jay mclellan Vice President, Energy Management, Controls and Automation for Leviton The Innovation Center works on product marketing, development and support, including electronic design, cloud services, apps and embedded firmware. The company has developed strategic partnerships with Amazon, Apple, Google and Samsung to develop products that work specifically with their voice controls and smartphones, among other things. In 2017 alone, Leviton received more than 16 “smart” awards from

home builders, engineering societies, architects, third-party review sites and retailers. The company was 2017’s Home Depot’s Electrical Supplier Partner of the Year. After more than 30 years spent selling to high-end clients, home automation is finally available to everyone. “Now, $40 smart switches and dimmers sell at Home Depot, Amazon and other major retailers, which creates a larger customer

base for our NOLA-based products,” McLellan said. “Voice control is the No. 1 driving factor right now, with a majority of our customers using the My Leviton app along with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant devices.” McLellan says the fact that the company now sells to end users requires Leviton to be a consumerfacing company. “We’re focusing on ‘Excellence in Customer Experience’ initiatives moving forward.” / 65


he brainchild of former American Powerlifting national champion and certified personal trainer Erik Frank, Your Nutrition Delivered provides fresh, healthy meals and snack options to businesses, hospitals and casinos, as well as rewards platforms to incentivize healthy eating. Since winning the 2013 “Big Idea” competition by Idea Village, Frank’s company has really taken off, most notably over the past two years.

In 2016, Frank became the director of sales and innovation for Refreshment Solutions, the largest full-service vending, coffee and micro-market provider in the state of Louisiana. The company is dedicated to creating healthier workforces by providing healthy eating options for company break rooms. “An office break room used to mean stale coffee and honey buns,”

B U SI N E SS P E OP L E O F T H E Y E AR / H e a l t h a n d W e l l n e s s C h a m p i o n

66 / Biz New Orleans / january 2018

erik frank CEO of Your Nutrition Delivered

said Frank in an interview with Biz New Orleans for the June 2017 issue, “but today, with micro-market technology, it can mean a chai tea latte and Greek salad with chicken and a honey balsamic dressing.” Clients currently include Laitram, Ochnser and LCMC. Alongside Ochsner, Frank and Refreshment Solutions have also been working with the Ochsner Eat Fit NOLA program, which encourages local chefs to create more healthy dining options. The partnership is helping to put Eat Fit options into company vending machines. In addition to serving on the board of the Entrepreneurs Organization, Frank also serves as a committee chair for Humana’s health advisory board. The insurance company has created a Bold Goal program with the aim of making New Orleans 20 percent healthier by 2020. Frank’s committee is tackling diabetes in the workplace by running pilot programs around positive food choices at work. The first programs have been put in place at Laitram and Harrah’s Biloxi. At these locations, employees targeted as pre-diabetic are encouraged to purchase healthy food options from their company’s micro-market machines using a payroll deduction program. If the employee makes a set amount of healthy purchases, the company will reimburse them for part of the cost of the purchased food. “Other incentives could include things like added vacation time or some form of recognition,” added Frank. “Our plan is to add more companies as time goes on.”


e lebrated as the “coastal crusader” that he is, Marty Mayer, CEO of Stirling Properties, was the cover feature for Biz New Orleans’ August 2017 issue, just two months after the Louisiana legislature passed the $50 billion 2017 Louisiana Coastal Master Plan. Declared a federal emergency by both the state and federal government, Louisiana’s land loss is severe — 2,006 square miles of coast between 1932 and 2016 according to a U.S. Geological survey. Spurred by a problem that affects business just as much as everyone else, Mayer said it was during a conversation with Michael Hecht and Robin Barnes — president and CEO, and executive vice president and COO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. — that the importance of raising awareness of coastal issues in business came up. The idea of creating a business group was raised. “We felt we could help in two ways,” said Mayer. “First, we can spread the word. Our goal has been to use our voices and connections in a way that will hopefully protect funding that has already been earmarked for coastal restoration; for example GOMESA (Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act) gives us royalties from offshore oil and BP fines. Second, we are in a position to advocate for other legislative policy issues that may end up expediting the permitting process of these projects that are designed to help.” The Coalition for Coastal Resilience and Economy (CCRE) was formed in 2014. Chaired by Mayer, it represents a diverse group of leaders that range from banking and finance, to hospitality, manufacturing, law and energy. Following the passage of the master plan — of which the CCRE was a fervent supporting force — the group has turned its attention to finding creative ways to help secure long-term sustainable financing for the projects included in the plan.

B U SI N E SS P E OP L E O F T H E Y E AR / E n v i r o n m e n t a l C h a m p i o n

Marty Mayer CEO of Stirling Properties

“Right now the funding has a lifespan of about 15 years,” said Mayer, “but these projects are going to go on a lot longer than that.” The CCRE has also created an education task force, with the goals of partnering with schools and children’s organizations to educate the next generation about Louisiana’s coastal situation, as well as coordinate curriculum for the jobs that will be created by the master plan’s projects. “It’s a whole new industry for South Louisiana,” he said. / 67

o ne month before the first issue of Biz New Orleans was published in October 2014, one of our bloggers wrote a little profile on a new company that had just been formed the previous year by three local men — childhood friends Aaron Vogel, Chris Audler and Stephen Cali. All three had experience working in the restaurant business — Vogel and Audler were executives at New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Co. — and had decided to team up and create their own venture. The result was District Donuts. Sliders. Brew. Instead of creating a concept and then looking for a place to put it, the three men went about things the opposite way — falling for a 1,700-square-foot shop in the Lower Garden District next to Stein’s Deli on Magazine Street and then asking themselves what it was that particular area was missing. Apparently it was missing more than 200 varieties of specialty donuts served all day and created completely from scratch (even the sprinkles), as well as sandwiches, sliders and coffee. It turns out, this was a gap waiting to be filled in a lot of neighborhoods. Just a year after opening, District Donuts opened a second location further up the same street, a less-than-200-square-foot spot in Uptown New Orleans on the corner of Arabella and Magazine. Less than two years later, in 2016, the company expanded again with the opening of another location, this time in Lakeview.

68 / Biz New Orleans / january 2018

B U SI N E SS P E OP L E O F T H E Y E AR / S m a l l B u s i n e s s Ow n e r s o f t h e Y e a r

Stephen Cali, Chris Audler & aaron vogel Co-owners of District Donuts. Sliders. Brew District Donuts’ most aggressive growth, however, came in 2017 with the opening of two new locations, including its first out of New Orleans. In February the company opened at Elmwood Shopping Center, adding craft beer to the menu — a first for any of their stores. In May, the most recent addition to their brand was made in Baton Rouge’s Towne Center.

Along the way, the company has racked up a fair share of local and national attention, topping must-try lists from The Food Network, New York Post, Huffington Post, MSN and Travel & Leisure Magazine, who proclaimed District to be on a short list of America’s best donut shops, specifically calling out their Vietnamese Iced Coffee donut.

The most recent accolade is from the Foodable Network, which, based on consumer data, proclaimed District Donuts home of the “Best Donut in the Nation.” What’s next for these donut dynamos? According to Cali, it’s more expansion even further from home. “Right now we are focused on growing out of state,” he said.

cathy deano & Renee Maloney Owners of Painting With a Twist

B U SI N E SS P E OP L E O F T H E Y E AR / Fr a n c h i s o r s o f t h e Y e a r


o t many people can claim they created a whole new industry, but Renee Maloney and Cathy Deano have done just that. These two Mandeville residents were friends and fellow PTA moms back in 2007 when they went looking for a way to stay busy and give back to their community in the post-Katrina landscape. What they came up with was a fun way to hang out with friends, have some wine, and create a painting you can take home with you. From that idea, the first Painting With a Twist was born in Mandeville in 2007. The 10 years since have been one expansion after another. In 2017, the now-successful franchisor opened five more studios throughout California, bringing the company to a grand total of 349 studios across 39 states. It was the most significant expansion in California since the first studio was added in 2013. In 2017, the company also opened its first studios in Wisconsin, New Mexico and Arizona. Last year was a game changer that started right out of the gate in January with Maloney’s appearance on the CBS hit television series, “Undercover Boss.” In addition to providing Maloney and Deano with an opportunity to get an undercover look at their own rapidly growing company — something that Maloney said in an interview in the February 2017 issue of Biz New Orleans led to the implementation of “a lot of changes” — the show also served to spread awareness of the brand throughout the country. January also marked another prestigious recognition: For the fourth year in a row, Entrepreneur Magazine rated Painting with a Twist the No. 1 paint-and-sip studio in the country — a fitting honor since it’s an industry they created. The magazine also named the company “FastestGrowing Franchise.” The first ladies of fun art are showing no signs of slowing down. According to Maloney, the company’s goal is to someday reach 700 stores nationwide. There’s even thought of going international. / 69


The Healthiest of Them All

Led by CEO Warner Thomas, Ochsner continues to dominate New Orleans’ booming healthcare industry. By Chris Price photographs by Romero & Romero


n 2017 it was announced that

Best advice you’ve ever received?

Stay in a place long enough to make a difference. Don’t job hop and move around. Sometimes people keep moving and searching for the next thing without making a difference

Greater New Orleans is now No. 1 in the nation when it comes to healthcare job growth. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, the website STAT reported that between 2007 and 2017, 14,400 people were employed in the field in the metro area. By 2017, that number had ballooned to 25,700 — a 78 percent increase. Research by GNO, Inc. anticipates this growth will only continue, putting the healthcare industry as the top sector for job growth in the region through 2026 thanks to an additional 19 percent increase. Leading the industry in jobs and job creation is Ochsner Health System, Louisiana’s largest nonprofit health system. Ochsner provides an economic impact of more than $1 billion to the region, and employs more than 18,000 people, including 1,100 physicians in more than 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and cares for patients from all 50 states and more than 80 countries worldwide each year. Additionally, more than 650 medical students, more than 275 residents and fellows, 160 advanced practice providers, 1,200 nursing students and 680 allied health students work and train in Ochsner’s system. As president and CEO of Ochsner Health System, Warner Thomas is responsible for the overall strategic growth and development of the 30 system-owned, managed and affiliated hospitals, and more than 80 health centers and urgent care centers located throughout Southeast Louisiana, including Greater New Orleans, Slidell, Covington, Raceland and Baton Rouge. Thomas joined Ochsner in 1998 as president and chief operating officer. He was promoted to his current position in 2012 after orchestrating Ochsner’s growth in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In the years since the storm, Ochsner has acquired six hospitals and developed strategic partnerships and affiliations with 22 others. In 2014, Thomas was appointed to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, which advises Congress on issues affecting Medicare.

Would you discuss Ochsner’s ongoing expansion? We’re going through a time of pretty significant growth and it’s all related to the need for our services and the expansion of our patient base. Last year Ochsner took care of patients from every parish in Louisiana, every state in the U.S., and 86 countries from around the world. We’re a true destination center, and that demand for our services is driving a lot of our growth and expansion.

72 / Biz New Orleans / january 2018

On Jefferson Highway, we’re expanding our west tower. That will add significant inpatient capacity and expand our transplant, neuroscience and cancer programs. We broke ground recently on an expansion of our Tom and Gayle Benson Cancer Center. We’ll double the size of our cancer center over the next couple of years. That is driven by the fact that we’re seeing more and more cancer patients, not just locally, but from around the entire Southeast, coming to Ochsner for cancer care. If you look back over the past seven years, we’ve had cancer patients from 49 of the 50 states come to the Tom and Gayle Benson Cancer Center. It’s really been a phenomenal center, and one that draws from a very large geographic area. We’re also making a pretty significant investment in Baton Rouge — $100 million in micro-hospitals and significant outpatient services. That’s going to strengthen and deepen our position and commitment to the Baton Rouge market. We’re excited about that. We’re going to open a large expansion on the North Shore. It’s all outpatient focused. It’s going to have primary care, neurosciences, sports medicine and a big rehabilitation component. Also on the Jefferson Highway campus, back to New Orleans, at the intersection of Jefferson Highway and Causeway, we’re building a large post acute care center that will house all of the services our patients will need once Did you know? they leave the general hospital but before they Ochsner has more can go home – things than 90 medical like rehabilitation and specialties and subspecialties, employs skilled nursing services. more than 18,000 That will open up in the employees, and has middle of 2018. more than a $1 billion We also have a variety economic impact in the of clinics in the region. communities it serves.

Biggest life lesson you’ve learned?

Give people the benefit of the doubt. You can do that in a number of ways. When you get into positions of leadership, it’s about giving people chances or opportunities or helping them through tough times. How people help people through adversity says a lot about who they are. The other life lesson is I believe you learn a lot more about people when you go through rough times than when you go through easy times. It’s easy to lead when everything is going great. When it gets tough, that’s when you find out what people are made of. / 73



I like to bike and swim. I also like to travel.

We have a new clinic Team work that will be opened on Tchoupitoulas. We (Left to Right) Dr. Marc have a new clinic in Old Matrana, medical oncologist and medical Metairie. There’s a lot director of the Precision happening around the Cancer Therapies region. Program; Anne Marie The key is that this Miller, pediatrics unit director; Warner is all driven by the fact Thomas, CEO of Ochsner; that over the past several S.K. Klein, supervisor years, we’ve continued of transplant social to build the depth of workers; Dr. Bridget our team and clinical Bagert, neurologist and director of the multiple resources, and our sclerosis program. physician group has expanded. That has made all of the difference in now needing to have the facilities expansion. It’s not the other way around, where we’re building facilities and hope that we have the team to go with them. We’ve built an incredible team in all of our specialties. It’s driven by patients who want to have and seek their care at Ochsner.

What separates Ochsner from your competitors? I think there are a few things. One, Ochsner’s core is its group practice, which is the Ochsner Clinic. We have over 1,200 physicians in the Ochsner Clinic. It’s really part of the core that makes Ochsner different. Our approach to medicine is team oriented. It’s not about individuals, but a team. Whether it is our transplant center, cancer services, primary care, we’re about a team of physicians, nurses and social workers. We approach things in an extremely team-oriented environment. That’s driven from when Ochsner was started back in 1942 by five physicians that believed in the group practice of medicine. I think the second thing is we’ve made a significant investment over the past decade in leadership development for our physicians and administrative leaders. We have, frankly, some of the best of the best leaders, myself excluded, in the business. I think that makes us different. It helps us execute better.

74 / Biz New Orleans / january 2018

ochner openings in 2017

January Acquired MHM Urgent Care and Occupational Medicine Clinics Opened Ochsner Health Center – Belle Meade in Gretna March Opened Ochsner Health Center for Children Pediatric Subspecialties - Houma at Terrebonne General Medical Center (TGMC). The clinic is a partnership between TGMC and Ochsner Hospital for Children.

April Launched the Ochsner Precision Cancer Therapies Program at Ochsner Cancer Institute Rebranded MHM Urgent Care to Ochsner Urgent Care May Opened Slidell Comprehensive Weight Loss Center, along with Slidell Memorial Hospital June Opened Ochsner Baton Rouge Cancer Center

Announced $100 million expansion includes newlyopened Ochsner Baton Rouge Cancer Center, development of a new Medical Office Building, Micro-Hospital and Surgical Center along the I-10 Bluebonnet/Siegen Corridor, and the expansion of several new clinics across multiple parishes. Anticipated completion date for the new Medical Office Building, MicroHospital and Surgical Center is scheduled for 2019.

Favorite TV show?

Jimmy Fallon

Announced plans to lease the recently closed Louisiana Heart Hospital in St. Tammany Parish. Partnering with St. Tammany Parish Hospital and Slidell Memorial Hospital, the plan is to open a post-acute care hospital sometime in 2018 to include long-term acute care, skilled nursing and inpatient rehabilitation services.

disabilities, and neuro-cognitive, behavioral and communicationrelated conditions such as autism. Expected to open early 2018 as part of Ochsner’s pediatric campus on Jefferson Highway.

August Announced plans for Michael R. Boh Center for Child Development for children with neuro-muscular, or physical

Ochsner Medical Complex, River Parishes in LaPlace opened– 20,000 square-foot medical complex is part of a $30 million investment and three-year

Ochsner Health Care Denham Springs re-opened, provided access to primary care and specialty services after Aug. 2016 flooding.

commitment to St. John the Baptist Parish Opened new location on Metairie Road (Ochsner Health Center – Old Metairie) offers primary care services, including annual physicals, immunizations and chronic disease management, along with OB/GYN services.

part of a joint venture between Lafayette General Medical Center and Ochsner Hospital for Children.

Ochsner Baptist opened a Women’s Walk-In Care Clinic.

Opened the Ochsner Clinical Simulation and Patient Safety Center, utilizing human patient simulators which mimic physiological functions of a real patient. Simulations include circumstances of trauma, labor and delivery, pediatric and premature neonatal patients.

September Opened new pediatric subspecialty clinic in Lafayette –

Announced reopening of former MHM Urgent Care in Houma as Ochsner Terrebonne Urgent Care.

The St. Bernard Parish Hospital Service District Board approved a Strategic Partnership with Ochsner Health System to continue the day-to-day management of St. Bernard Parish Hospital (SBPH) which was implemented on Nov. 5. (Celebration was 11/20). November Broke ground on $20M expansion of Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center at Ochsner Medical Center — Jefferson Highway. / 75


Favorite book(s)?

“Good to Great” was a pretty amazing book.

It helps us take better care of patients and have a safer, more clinically improved environment. We often say we are not perfect at all, but we want to be perfect at getting better. We are relentless about getting better and that’s driven by the people and team here at Ochsner. The third thing is that we have an amazing board. Our board and our governance is excellent. They do an amazing job helping to guide the vision and strategy of the organization. They’ve been supportive of Ochsner and our growth and development over the past decade-plus. They think big picture, and they challenge us to be the best that we can be. That’s both our community board members and also our physicians’ board. Having a strong board and governance is extremely important to the success of any organization.

How is Ochsner embracing technology? We made a significant investment six or seven years ago, and now have all of our hospitals and clinics on one electronic medical record (EMR). We’re really the only organization in the state that is fully implemented, fully integrated on one EMR. Many are trying to get there now, but we have certainly been an early adopter here in this region. That has created a backbone and an infrastructure of data and technology that we are building on. We also built what we call Innovation Ochsner, which is building digital medicine capabilities in hypertension and diabetes care that help us think about how we interact with our patients in a very consumer-oriented way. We now book about 300,000 of our patient appointments online. We get over 800,000 electronic messages each year from our patients that we answer electronically. louisiana’s best We are very tech-oriented. We use it to provide a better experience for our patients. All of our Ochsner’s main campus information is electronic, and for patients on on Jefferson Highway our patient portal it’s all completely transparent was recognized by to them. They can look at any of their clinical the 2017 CareChex awards as the No. 1 information at any time. I think we’re doing hospital in Louisiana some groundbreaking things in digital medicine. for 12 specialties.

How would you describe the state of health care in the United States? I think the state of health care in the United States is very challenging, and it’s going to continue to be more challenging going forward. There are a couple of phenomena that are driving that. One is there are significant regulatory changes at the federal level, and that is impacting reimbursement for programs like Medicare. It could, and likely will, impact funding of the Medicaid program, which is so important to every state in the U.S. The second piece is with the aging of our population we see more and more folks aging into Medicare programs and governmental reimbursement, which is significantly less. Every hospital in America gets paid less for a Medicare patient than a commercial patient. That is creating

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• Bariatric Surgery • Cancer Care • Gastrointestinal Care • GI Hemorrhage (#9 In The Nation) • General Surgery • Interventional Carotid Care • Neurological Care • Neurological Surgery (#4 In The Nation) • Organ Transplants (#1 In The Nation) • Pneumonia Care • Heart Transplant • Liver Transplant (#1 in the nation)

significant economic challenges for hospitals. I think you’ll see a lot of pressure on hospitals going forward given the changes at the federal level.

How would you describe the general health care landscape in Greater New Orleans? What are our biggest challenges? They’re the same. All of the issues that we see at the federal level impact every organization in New Orleans and this region. You’re seeing organizations being challenged with all the change. Some, like ours, are embracing it more than others. Our motto is ‘You have to make change work for you and not fight change.’ I think because of that we’re able to take on many of the challenges with an optimistic attitude and work through them. The environment is challenging. But at the same time it’s exciting because it’s driving a lot of change, new thinking, and encouraging relationships that we’ve never seen before. In the last year we announced a significant partnership with Blue Cross to build insurance products together and take them to market. I don’t think that would have happened two, three, four years ago. With this increasing change in health care we’re seeing a lot of innovation and new ideas. I think that’s exciting.

What best practices are there for businesses to better control their employee health care costs? We have nearly 20,000 people on our employee health plan and our medical costs the past couple of years have been essentially flat. We do things like coordinating our care, incentivizing our employees to take care of themselves with pathway to wellness programs. We do a lot on the prevention side. We’re constantly focused on making sure our people are getting their annual physicals, screenings and getting appropriate and timely check-ups.

What is your business philosophy? Make something better than when you found it, and make a difference in what you do everyday. At Ochsner, we’re here to take care of patients. We focus every day on making a difference in people’s lives, changing and saving lives, and really trying to improve the situation we’ve inherited. If you keep that in your mindset and you keep that in front of you it allows you to deal with a lot of the challenges and really understand why you’re here and what you’re trying to accomplish.

What qualities do you look for in candidates for your management team? I look for people who are optimistic, curious, good leaders, and, probably most important, focused on and make it a priority to develop the team around them. I find the people that have been through challenges and know how to persevere, problem solve, think and deal with adversity well — those are the types of people we tend to look for. In today’s world, it’s more and more adverse, and a leader’s ability to deal with that adversity, keep the right attitude, motivate those around them, and problem solve is critical to their success.

How do you manage stress and balance work and family life?

Pet peeve(s)?

I’m not real big on dealing with folks who are arrogant, not down to earth, fake, or mean to people. We never know what someone is going through until you walk in their shoes, and I think sometimes we’re way too judgmental and we don’t understand what someone’s situation is all about.

That’s certainly a challenge. For any leader it’s difficult. I try to make sure that I take the appropriate time off and make sure I spend the right amount of time with my family. I like to travel and get out of town with them. I also have a very disciplined approach to keep myself healthy. I exercise every day. I probably miss maybe four or five days of exercise a year. It’s part of my ability to stay sharp and a great stress reliever as well. Exercise is a critical part of my routine. It gives me time to think and problem solve. I think it’s important for anybody to stay active. To keep an active mind, you’ve got to have an active body. / 77

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Southe a st louisiana businesses in full color


Shine Spa — an oasis in Mid-City — is a serene escape with a modern, sustainable design that incorporates the natural element of fire.

From The Lens g r e at wo r k s pac e s

Shine On Modern and funky give way to warm and cozy at Shine Spa in Mid-City by Melanie Warner Spencer photos by Sara Essex Bradley

Spas often seem like society’s last

bastions of serenity — leave your cell phone at the door. Quiet lounges and treatment rooms, luxe services administered by experienced professionals and décor designed to induce relaxation are a surefire combination. The latter is, of course, key when it comes to the most successful spas, which

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is why Cindy Cocke and Sandy Blum turned to StudioWTA for the design of Shine Spa. The duo behind Spa Aria, which has been operating inside the Hotel Monteleone for 13 years, opened Shine Spa in 2014 as the second step in their plan to eventually operate four spas, each one representing one of the four elements of nature: earth, water,

air and fire. Spa Aria represents air and Shine spa, fire, which meant the designers already had a built-in concept with which to work. “Shine was a name we both wrote down,” says Cocke, referring to when the co-owners were brainstorming about the concept of the spa. “We think of orange and colorful, funky, fun and bright.”

Cindy Cocke and Sandy Blum opened their second spa, Shine Spa in MidCity, in 2014. The pair worked with StudioWTA on the design, which is based on the theme of fire, to coincide with the earth elements concept of their spas.

at a glance

Shine Spa Address: 421 N. Carrollton Ave. Office completed: 2014 Architect: StudioWTA Square footage: 1,700 Main goal: To create a bright, funky and modern spa interior with a retail area and intimate lounge and treatment rooms Standout Feature: The custom routed birch screen separating the lounge from the walkways / 81

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The 1,700-squarefoot spa includes a retail space housing various natural product lines and a custom blending bar. The cash wrap is made from decorative routed panel and an orange 3form Fizz panel. A portion of the wall is covered in locallysourced reclaimed plaster lath.

The 1,700-square-foot space embodies Cocke and Blum’s initial description. Visitors enter through the retail area, which is awash in white with orange and wood accents to bring in the fire element. Herbal and botanical skincare products, including a Shine brand, are displayed throughout the room. Customers can also use the custom blending bar for personalized products. The StudioWTA team used a white CNC decorative routed panel and orange 3form Fizz panel for the cash wrap. The wall that leads to the inner area of the spa and treatment rooms is covered in a swath of locally-sourced reclaimed plaster lath, bringing warmth to the light-filled room and prefacing the inviting space down the short hallway. / 83

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The lounge features a custom routed birch screen. Lower light in the lounge area, walkways and treatment rooms evoke an atmosphere of calm and relaxation.

The mood of the space transforms as you enter into the spa area. Low light and a lowered ceiling evoke coziness and calm, allowing customers to transition from the busy-ness of their day. The lounge is to the left of the hallway and is separated by a custom routed birch screen, meant to stimulate meditation and reflection. Adding to the peaceful ambiance is a variety of soothing herbal scents, which waft through the lounge, walkways and rooms. Each of the four treatment rooms — which include a room for facials, a body treatment room and the couple’s massage room — features the reclaimed wood lath to continue the fire element theme. Rectangular white sinks in the rooms have a residential characteristic, providing a homey touch. “We are a small business and like to keep it intimate and personal,” says Cocke. “We connect with our guests and they all know who we are.”n / 85

From The Lens w h y d i d n ’ t i th i n k o f th at ?

Extending a Longbranch To Those in Need Abita Springs’ new $10 million addiction treatment facility promises residents on both shores a tranquil center for recovery. by Ashley McLellan photos by Cheryl Gerber

disease. People got used to going out of those with cancer in the U.S. received state for treatment. Our [state] is the first treatment. to have this. Our center is top notch.” Such is the case with substance abuse. Longbranch Recovery in Abita Springs In 2015, the problem affected 20.8 offers 30- to 90-day programs, 32 patient bedrooms, therapists’ offices, meeting million Americans, approximately 8 percent of the population. The prevalence rooms, a restaurant, yoga room, activity of substance abuse is 1.5 times that of all center and Japanese meditation garden, all with the goal of providing complete cancers combined, and yet opportunities for treatment remain few and far between. care to patients and their family. Chris McMahon and Dan Forman In addition to trauma counseling, dual are aiming to change that in Southeast diagnosis, and family and community Louisiana. support, Longbranch aims to include a This month, patients will begin arriving well-rounded recovery plan, according at Longbranch Recovery Center, a $10 to McMahon. million inpatient addiction treatment “Our treatment is cutting-edge and facility in Abita Springs. A renovation and will include all aspects of the mind and rehabilitation of the historic Longbranch body, including acupuncture, yoga by the Hotel, the center represents the largest pool, nutrition, and a food and culinary investment in private addiction treatment program,” he said. “We want to approach in the history of Louisiana. The site is treatment from all sides.” planning on hiring approximately Longbranch Recovery is available FAST FACT 50 staff members in 2018. for both male and female patients, Longbranch is the brainchild of 1 in 7 who are separated by floors. A people in the local healthcare entrepreneur Chris United States proposed women’s wing is being McMahon, who is himself 17 years discussed. or sober from an opioid addiction. The center is a drug-free treatMcMahon is also CEO of Passages 14.6% ment program, but has a relationof the Hospice in New Orleans. ship with Covington Behavioral for population, “This is a mission for me,” he said. are expected patients in need of detox prior to “People have been afraid to talk to develop a admittance. about [addiction], and before this substance use “We do not want to trade one disorder at was seen as a moral failing instead some point in addiction for another,” McMahon of a disease. And it is 100 percent a their lives explained. Imagine if only 10 percent of

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Such a large investment in addiction treatment is more than warranted in Louisiana. According to the CDC, in 2016 the state ranked seventh in the nation for highest amounts of opioid prescriptions written — 118 per 100 residents. Yes, you read that right. More prescriptions are written for opioids in Louisiana than there are people to fill them. Last May, Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz announced the launch of “Operation Angel,” a drug-fighting program that invites anyone battling a drug addiction to show up at any police station in the parish and receive treatment, not jail time. The program is the first of its kind in Louisiana. Longbranch Recovery’s Abita Springs inpatient center is modeled on and resides in the former Longbranch Hotel, a historic retreat for asylum seekers looking to

“People have been afraid to talk about [addiction], and before this was seen as a moral failing instead of a disease. And it is 100 percent a disease.” Chris McMahon, president and CEO of Longbranch Recovery

refresh the body and spirit with the town’s healing waters in a quiet country setting. It was this past, and its distance from the city, that McMahon said drew him to the site. “We are implementing a treatment modality that is intense, and many of our patients will already have feelings of fear or trust issues,” he said. “This is a place that feels safe. It’s surrounded by a state park, and we have three-story-high bamboo around us.” Citing its geographical distance from New Orleans, McMahon said the facility is positioned in the “Goldilocks zone.” “People don’t want to go too far for treatment, but they don’t want it to be too close

either,” he said. “[Longbranch] is the same distance as Hazelden is from Minneapolis. It’s 45 miles from New Orleans.” DRUG-FIGHTING DUO

Joining McMahon is Longbranch Healthcare Chief Marketing Officer Dan Forman, who oversees marketing and communications for all of the treatment programs at Longbranch. Forman has extensive experience with addiction recovery, most recently serving as president and CEO of The Dependency Pain Treatment Centers in New Orleans, which was rebranded under a different name, Medication Assisted Recovery Centers (MARC), in 2017 and treats patients at one central location in Metairie. The brand “Dependency Pain” is also transitioning FAST FACT 10 percent into The Dependency of people with Pain Foundation with a substance the mission of creating abuse problem and facilitating treatreceive ment opportunities for treatment. patients with chronic pain and opioid-use disorder. Forman remains on the advisory committees of both Dependency Pain and MARC. Friends since elementary school, McMahon tapped Forman after his formal departure from Townsend Treatment Center and The Dependency Pain Treatment Centers. “I have known Chris McMahon since we were both students at Metairie Park Country Day School,” said Forman. “I followed his career closely and it turns out he followed mine as well. He approached me about joining his executive team after my former company, Townsend, was sold to American Addiction Centers in 2016 — it was a very public acquisition. We both share a mission in that we want to build the quality treatment programs that New Orleans deserves.” Forman’s role with Longbranch Recovery is to engage patients and their family while providing the essential information on how to receive help. “I view marketing as an essential piece of a recovery program,” he said. “I’m not selling treatment — my entire focus is to sell

Southern Epidemic

Opioids Flood the South Top 10 states for opioid prescriptions in 2016 — (Number of prescriptions per 100 residents). 1. Alabama 142.9 2. Tennessee 142.0 3. West Virginia 137.6 4. Kentucky 128.4 5. Oklahoma 127.8 6. Mississippi 120.3 7. Louisiana 118.0 8. Arkansas 115.8 9. Indiana 109.1 10. Michigan 107.0

Longbranch Recovery CEO Chris McMahon has first-hand knowledge of addiction, specifically opioid addiction, and the recovery process. Now sober for 17 years, his personal experience with recovery guided the building of a holistic approach to treatment that will include trauma counseling, nutrition, exercise, community and family interaction and meditation. / 87

Longbranch Recovery is located on the site of the historic 1865 Longbranch Hotel in Abita Springs. The careful renovation of the main building features 14-foot ceilings, deep covered porches, 32 well-appointed patient rooms, a gourmet restaurant, pool, activity center and Japanese meditation garden. A proposed additional women’s wing is being considered.

against the disease of addiction. We don’t IN OR OUT compete with other treatment programs — Outpatient facilities will also soon be availour only competition is denial. Addiction is able in Old Metairie at Longbranch Wellness. like having a slick Madison Avenue public “Longbranch will offer an intensive relations company in your brain telling outpatient program for addiction in Old you that it’s okay to continue to Metairie that mirrors the quality use or drink, even though it’s and substance of our residenFAST FACT destroying your life and causing tial program in Abita Springs,” Alcohol- and drugMcMahon explained. “[Old you to lose everything.” related crime and Forman’s approach is to Metairie] will provide a combiviolence, abuse and child neglect, convince those who need help nation of medication-assisted and the increased to make the change and meet treatment and counseling in an cost of healthcare their goal of recovery. outpatient setting, allowing the has an estimated “Our tools allow us to break patient to continue to work and yearly economic impact of through those negative messages sleep in their own bed at night. — that denial, those excuses for The outpatient program will be $249 billion for alcohol misuse continuing to drink and use — and designed for busy individuals and focus on getting the patient to with jobs and families who are $193 billion embrace the idea of recovery,” he unable or unwilling to commit for illicit drug use. said. “Marketing is not supposed to a residential treatment. It to fix the issue. Our job is to meet will be highly discreet and the patient where they are, get confidential and typically paid for by medical insurance. Our outpatient the patient to pick up the phone, to ask facility is gorgeous. It feels more like a for help, to accept the idea that living a spa than a treatment center.” life in recovery is far better than the life they currently have. Once they call us, For those participating in Longbranch’s our team takes it from there.” new inpatient treatment, McMahon

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Longbranch Recovery Center 21516 Hwy. 36 Abita Springs, Lousiana

stressed that efforts have been made to encourage family and friends “to participate in the recovery process.” “We will have a corporate account with the Southern Hotel for visitors,” he said. “We will also have a family program for families and friends, along with visitor hours. We will provide family counseling

Recovery Resources

Additional Addiction Treatment Centers in Southeast Louisiana Odyssey House Louisiana 1121 N. Tonti St. New Orleans 504-821-9211 Nonprofit • Medically supported detox program • Short-term, 28-day adult residential program • longterm housing • adolescent program • community health center Townsend 888-497-4108, Accepts most insurance • Outpatient facilities in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Covington, Houma, Lake Charles and Metairie • 24-hour nursing coverage • consulting psychiatrists on staff • medical stabilization • group and individual counseling • family counseling Bridge House/ Grace House 4150 Earhart Blvd., New Orleans, 504-821-7120,

for patients and their families, as well as grief counseling.” BAD AND JUST GETTING WORSE

That’s how both McMahon and Forman describe the current opioid crisis. “We are seeing more opioid problems today, as pain is now treated on a scale

like never before,” said McMahon. “We are creating a new generation of addicts.” “The opioid crisis is only beginning and the amount of available treatment options are a drop in the bucket against the tide of destruction,” added Forman. “You think it’s bad now, it will only get worse. There aren’t enough good outcomes-based treat-

ment options for the amount of patients who need them and will need them in the future. Louisiana is in desperate need of good treatment options for patients. “We are bringing Louisiana the addiction treatment program it deserves, along with the privacy and attention the people of Louisiana deserve.” n

Nonprofit • flexibleterm residential treatment • group and individual therapy • vocational activities and training / 89

From The Lens m a k i n g a m atc h: b u s i n e s s e s a n d n o n pro fi t s

Clothes That Launch Careers Dress For Success New Orleans offers businesses the opportunity to help local women put their best foot forward. by Pamela Marquis photos by cheryl gerber

We all do it. We can’t help it. When we

meet a person for the first time our reaction to him or her is frequently based on their overall presentation. Is his suit dreadfully out of fashion or fabulously fashion forward? Is her blouse wrinkled or sharply pressed? Are his shoes shined or scuffed? Over time, a person’s actual personality and character will probably change our initial reaction,

90 / Biz New Orleans / january 2018

but in the beginning, clothing and appearance, for better or worse, guides our assumption about this person’s personality, character and worth. In the case of employment, it could very well decide whether we hire this person or not. This is in part what drove second-year law student Nancy Lublin to use a $5,000 inheritance from her great-grandfather as a gift that would

keep on giving. Lublin teamed up with three nuns and, identifying a crucial need that was not being filled, founded Dress for Success in the basement of a church in Manhattan in 1996. The idea was to help women who once faced personal hardships to feel successful and valued, earn their own money, build new lives and look confident while doing it.

Since starting operations, Dress for Success has expanded to more than 152 cities in 28 countries and has helped nearly 1 million women work toward self-sufficiency. “Dress for Success for me has meant an introduction back into society after I hit rock bottom,” said Katherine Madere, an active participant in Dress for Success New Orleans (DFSNO). Madere currently works as a volunteer coordinator at Longue Vue House and Gardens. “When one is coming back from really hard times and searching for a job, a budget for nice clothes is really far down the list of essentials. The thing is, especially for women, being able to dress nicely is a large part of feeling good about going out into the world.” Each Dress for Success affiliate location is a member of Dress for Success Worldwide but is also an independent nonprofit organization with its own policies, staff and board of directors. All affiliates work to fulfill the overall mission of helping women become more self sufficient, while taking into account each city’s cultural traditions and resources. DFSNO partners with a diverse group of nonprofit and government agencies— including Job One, Grace House, Eden House and Café Reconcile — to refer women to its organization once they have Director of secured a job interview. Operations, “We serve 40 to 50 Lori Byargeon; President of the woman a month,” said DFSNO Board, Lori Byargeon, director of Meaghan operations. “There is no Bonavita; and Director specific type of woman of Programs, who comes here. They Brianna are all different educaReddeman tion levels, ages and races. So many women of all different statuses are only two paychecks from being homeless.” Helise Madden, this year’s DFSNO Client of the Year, graduated from college with a degree in psychology. She and her husband started a business and were becoming successful. Madden said she saw herself as a future leader in her community. Then she was injured and everything changed.

A Good Match

for companies who... Are looking to work directly with women in the community to improve lives and self-esteem.

Madden’s back had a constant stabbing pain and she used prescription medication to find relief, but eventually her life became completely unmanageable because of a growing drug dependency. “I had lost my business, my husband, my home and my daughter,” she said. “I was pulled over and arrested. I was done. I committed myself to an intensive rehabilitation center for six months. I did the impossible…I found sobriety and hope. Through this rehabilitation program, I learned how to cope with my disease, and when it was time to begin looking for a job, I was introduced to Dress for Success New Orleans.”

“When one is coming back from really hard times and searching for a job, a budget for nice clothes is really far down the list of essentials, said Katherine Madere (top). “The thing is, especially for women, being able to dress nicely is a large part of feeling good about going into the world.” Helise Madden (bottom) lost her business, home and family due to an opioid addiction. With Dress for Success New Orleans’ help, she found a job four-and-a-half years ago and is still employed in the hospitality industry. Madden was DFSNO’s Client of the Year in 2017.




unique women were served in 2016


secured employment Each year DFSNO has increased the number of local women served. The organization has helped many clients secure jobs in big companies including: Peoples Health, Whole Foods, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Hyatt Regency Hotel New Orleans, Commander’s Palace and Harrah’s Hotel and Casino. DFSNO has partnered with more than 49 local referral agencies including: Grace House, Eden House and New Orleans Women and Children’s Shelter.


growth in volunteer base, from 102 to 108 volunteers in 2017


hours donated by volunteers in 2017 Nationally


women received support from Dress for Success


of participants in the Going Places Network — DFS’ workforce development program — gained professional skills, accelerated their job search, and had access to resources such as the career center and job specialists for oneon-one career coaching


of participants in the Professional Women’s Group — DFS’ employment retention program — remained gainfully employed after one year


of Financial Education participants collectively saved over $13,000 and paid down over $4,300 in debt, which laid the foundation for critical emergency funds


of Financial Education Program participants improved their credit scores / 91

DFSNO is a volunteer-driven organization run by a wide variety of people who donate their time and talents. “We have career women and retired women who generously share their knowledge,” said Meaghan Bonavita, president of the DFSNO board. “When a client comes to the store to be suited it’s not just about the outfit. Our volunteers talk with them and share their knowledge. As they are working as personal shoppers they are also doing mini-career counseling sessions. It makes the whole process a lot easier and much more comfortable. Our volunteers work with clients to help them choose an interview outfit as they also provide guidance and support for the upcoming interview.” The organization’s assistance doesn’t stop once a woman walks out with an interview outfit. Once a woman gets a job, she is welcome to return and receive help putting together a week’s worth of clothes. “They get skirts, blazers, shoes and blouses — all things that work together as separates and all that help clients increase their confidence,” says Brianna Reddeman, director of programs. Dress for Success New Orleans also offers ongoing workshops on topics such as financial literacy and leadership. “We focus on helping clients remain employed and provide them with strategies to succeed,” said Reddeman, “We want them to feel stable in their new jobs so we continue to help them develop their professional skills. It helps them stay motivated and optimistic.” The Professional Women’s Group also offers women the chance to meet regularly to support and encourage one another. These meetings continue to build their confidence, increase their networking opportunities and give them a chance to discuss workplace-related topics. “I live a life of service and it gets better all the time,” Madere said. “I often say about Dress for Success that it’s not really about a suit; it’s about saving a soul.”

Cheryl Butler Her life was at a dead-end when Cheryl Butler left Chicago to take her son to Alcorn State University in Mississippi. “I decided there was no reason to return to Chicago and so I stayed in New Orleans where my father lived,” said Butler. She began working with Job One and when she got an interview, she went to Dress for Success to be suited. Butler now works for Strategic Staffing Solutions and loves her job. “I couldn’t have done it without Dress for Success,” she said. “They helped with so much more than a suit. I learned life skills and finances. Life can sometimes hit you hard but this program can change your station in life.”


dress for success Mission: To empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Website: Location: 6117 Magazine Street New Orleans 70118 Annual Budget: $300,000 Major Fundraising Events:

“There is no specific type of woman who comes here. They are all different education levels, ages and races. So many women of all different statuses are only two paychecks from being homeless.”

May 11, 2018 Suits and Salads Luncheon — This annual event will take place at The Hyatt Regency Hotel New Orleans at 11 a.m. Guests will be treated to cocktails, raffles and a silent auction. The luncheon features a Dress for Success client testimonial, as well as a keynote speaker and fashion show.

Lori Byargeon, director of operations

Helise Madden ”Dress for Success New Orleans came at a very, very important point in my life in recovery,” said Helise Madden, who noted that her self-esteem was so low that she didn’t think it was even possible for her to reenter the professional world. “But the women at Dress for Success were so kind and encouraging. They gave me hope. That new start meant everything to me.” Four-and-a-half years later, Madden is still working in the hospitality industry as a concierge. “I love being an ambassador for the city,” she said, “and I love being able to give back.” n

Dress for Success’ help doesn’t stop once a woman is outfitted for a job interview. Once a job is secured, women are invited back in to pick out a week’s worth of work appropriate attire to get them started out right.

Success Stories

Katherine Madere “When I first interviewed for my first job at Longue Vue House and Gardens the women of Dress for Success were right there with me,” said Katherine Madere. “Even with my qualifications and education, if I hadn’t had them there believing in me and holding my hand as I reentered the world in sobriety, I don’t know where I would be.” Madere was chosen as Client of the Year in 2015 when she was promoted to her current job as volunteer coordinator at Longue Vue. “These two amazing organizations have also allowed me to give back to my community,” she added.

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How to help

6 Ways a company can partner with Dress for Success New Orleans 1. Host a gathering or event with proceeds going to DFSNO. 2. Sponsor a fundraising event. 3. Provide volunteers for events, sales or educational opportunities. 4. Host a Professional Women’s Group Networking Night. 5. Host a workplace clothing drive. Note: To ensure that an article of clothing or suit is appropriate, ask yourself if you would feel comfortable wearing it on an interview. 6. Plus-sized fashions are always in demand.

November Date T.B.D. 2018 Fashion Gala — This event usually includes participation from local boutiques and designers who display mannequins dressed in the theme of the evening. Upcoming Volunteer Events: Dress for Success New Orleans relies on its volunteers who help suit clients and work on resume building and interviewing skills. DFSNO also has two storage units that volunteers help to keep organized. Volunteers help DFSNO run its various public sales throughout the year along with tailored opportunities to larger groups. If you would like more information, please contact Brianna Reddeman at (504) 891-4337 or Brianna@ / 93

PUBLISHER’S NOTICE: All real estate advertised herein is subject to the Federal Fair Housing Ace and the Louisiana Open Housing Act, which make it illegal to advertise any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination. We will not knowingly accept any advertising for real estate which is in violation of the law. For more information, call the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-273-5718.

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From The Lens ON T H E JOB

ImPRESSive Photo by jeffery johnston

Ross Turner, pressman at Lionheart

Prints, is shown here hard at work at the retail store and studio at 3312 Magazine Street, which opened last September. Operating “Norman,” one of two 2,300-pound antique letterpresses on site, he presses wedding invitations, social stationery and greeting cards featuring bright, funny and witty hand-lettered designs for the company — created by artist Liz Maute Cooke five years ago this month. n

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