Following the completion of a nine-month-long program dedicated to discussing and unravelling some of the most challenging and dynamic issues of the Greater New Orleans Region, the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute (NORLI) formally recognized its Regional Leadership Program Class of 2021 in a graduation ceremony held on July 16.
Each year, NORLI brings together a class of approximately 50 business, civic and, elected leaders of diverse backgrounds and experiences with a mission to promote regional collaboration. The program provides a forum for the exchange of varying viewpoints and is designed to enhance personal leadership skills by enhancing civic understanding, enabling collaborative leadership, and examining issues central to the advancement of the entire ten-parish region. Topics discussed include public policy, environment and sustainability, economic development, criminal justice, education, healthcare, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“NORLI’s Regional Leadership Program attracts the most dynamic and informed leaders in our area, consistently bringing together classes of influential and accomplished individuals committed to deliberate dialogue surrounding key topics essential to the well-being and future of the region,” said NORLI Board Chair Peggy Mendoza. “It is these graduates that represent the future of Greater New Orleans — those who will drive our economic development and quality of life for years to come. Congratulations to the Class of 2021!”
This year’s graduation ceremony, which capped off a two-day closing retreat for participants, included individual recognitions for completing the program, a class speaker, and awards for Regional Leadership and Community Service. These awards — whose recipients are selected by their peers — reflect the highest level of community involvement and leadership qualities of the class.
The NORLI Regional Leadership Award, which is given in honor of NORLI alumnus Lonnie Stockwell, recognizes an individual who, amongst other qualifications, inspires others to serve and demonstrates through actions and words all aspects of inclusion. The recipient of this award was Kenn Barnes, an attorney whose passion in the field of criminal justice carried over to multiple discussions throughout the course of the program and provided a grounded perspective for challenging dialogue.
The NORLI Community Service Award, which is given in honor of NORLI alumni Ric Smith and Jackie Sullivan, recognizes an individual who, amongst other qualifications, serves as a role model of sustained commitment and community giveback, as well as possesses the ability to mobilize volunteers and resources for projects benefiting the greater community. The recipient of this award was Erica Rogers, founder of the Braveheart Foundation and a tireless healthcare advocate who, as a registered nurse and community leader, has dedicated time and expertise to raising awareness and combating the spread of COVID.
“During the nine months together, our class gained a greater understanding of the issues facing the Greater New Orleans region; an understanding that now affords us the heightened ability to affect real and lasting change,” said Tim Duncan, who was nominated as the class speaker of 2021. “I look forward to working with my classmates and fellow NORLI alumni to effectively address those challenges facing our region, promoting and presenting ideas that are collaborative in nature, drawing upon leaders and solutions from across the region, knowing that our region will always be stronger when we use a collective voice.”
NORLI’s 2021 Graduating Class: