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Women’s Professional Council’s Beginnings

The year was 1984. Geraldine Ferraro was the first woman nominated by a political party for vice president of the United States. Dr. Kathleen Sullivan achieved another first for women; she walked in space. And Joan Benoit was the winner of the first Olympic women's marathon.

  • WPC’s founders included Ellen Yellin, Carol Wise, and Carole Neff.


Our Most Recent Decade: 2014 – 2024:


WPC presidents included: Beth Terry, Kristi Trail, Caitlin Cain, Crystal McDonald, Amy Collins, Liza Sherman, Beth Colon, and Christine Titus.


Early decade topics, speakers, and events included: 

  • Women Leaders in Criminal Justice Reform

  • Viewing and discussion of “Being Mortal” – Frontline documentary – at Lambeth House

  • Carrol Morton, Sr. Advisor to Deputy CAO for the City of New Orleans, at Café Carmo, with a discussion of New Orleans’ 300th birthday

  • “Cybersecurity- Personal and Professional” with speakers including Tracy Smith of the FBI

  • A session on financial planning held at the Louisiana Children’s Museum’s then new location in City Park… March 9, 2020, the last in-person event before the COVID shutdown. 

Zoom sessions, during the COVID, lockdown included: 

  • Day trip ideas

  • A tour of 12-Mile Limit bar with a cocktail lesson

  • COVID-vaccine and Women’s Health

  • Entertaining in the Time of Covid


In-person meetings started back in October 2021, and that programming year’s meeting space selection focused on our nonprofits; the objective was to showcase these entities, and we gave donations to each, with catering brought in for each session. 

Post-COVID topics, speakers, and events included: 

  • The history of opera in New Orleans

  • A visit to and history of the Lighthouse on Lake Pontchartrain – Water Works

  • “Pest or Asset? What a Non-Profit Board Member Really Should Do”

  • Women Mardi Gras Krewes

  • Poetry reading at Tulane University

  • Women on the Water – with the Coast Guard, Customs Agency, and a Logistician

  • Financially Living and Surviving through Divorce, and Protecting Your Assets from your Future Ex-Spouse

  • Communication styles and skills

  • “10 Disciplines for Maximizing &Managing your Energy” with Matt Hahne

  • A visit to Vue Orleans at the Four Seasons. 


WPC also hosted breakout sessions at the annual Women’s Leadership Conference sponsored by the New Orleans Chamber in 2022, 2023, and 2024.


Women recognized by various civic and news groups included:

Christine Briede, Mag Bickford, Amy Collins, Kristi Trail, Liz Broekman, Sandra Lindquist, Rashain Carriere Williams, and Rachel Nunez, 


The Third 10 Years: 2004 – 2014:
Presidents included: Marilyn Maloney, Gayle Dellinger, Patty Joyce, Dianne Boazman, Roz Koretzky, Suzanne Thomas, Norma Grace, Cindy Fromherz, Mag Bickford, and Beth Terry. 

Topics, speakers, and events included:

  • Magistrate Patty Joyce

  • Janet Howard of the Bureau of Governmental Affairs 

  • Dr. Elizabeth Bouldin - sleep specialist at Ochsner

  • An outing to Neal Auction House 

  • Hurricane Katrina that allowed members to house and volunteer with other members

  • Martin Wine Seller catered when no restaurants were open

  • Susan Roesgen of WDSU TV

  • Mark Lewis of the Louisiana Technology Council

  • Women of the Storm’s Anne Milling

  • City of NOLA’s CAO Brenda Hatfield 

  • Peggy Scott Laborde 

  • A visit to the Louisiana Children’s Museum

  • Lisa Richardson of the Port of New Orleans 

  • College scholarships

  • New Orleans recovery czar Ed Blakely

  • Bocce ball

  • Clancy DuBos of Gambit

  • US Attorney Jim Letten

  • Southern Food & Beverage Museum visit

  • Patty Gay of the Preservation Resource Center

  • Investigative reporter Lee Zurick 

  • Tour of the WWII Museum

  • A summer book discussion (Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristoff)

  • Rotating venues for meetings for a change

  • Historic New Orleans Collection holiday party

  • Times-Picayune columnist Sheila Stroup

  • New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux

  • Sally Kenney of Newcomb College

  • Restauranteur Ti Martin 

  • Sallie Ann Glassman of The New Orleans Healing Center

  • A book discussion on Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In”

  • Jay Cicero of the New Orleans Sports Foundation

  • A program on financial planning

  • Visit to Herman Grima House

  • Michael Hecht of GNO Inc and Allison Plyer of the Community Data Center presented on the rebirth and future of the region


Women recognized by various civic and news groups included: Julia Bland, Christine Briede, Priscilla Lawrence, Bev Nichols, Rachael Schorr, Carol Wise, Roz Koretzky, Mag Bickford, Caitlin Cain, Mignon Faget, Angela O’Byrne, Denise Williams, Ellen Yellen, Valerie Cahill, Salley Kenney, Diane Lyons, Carole Neff, Diane Bozeman, Jaye Calhoun, Pamela Senatore, Vanessa Brown Claiborne, Janet Fabre Smith, Suzanne Thomas, Judge Laurie White, and Cheryl Bragg. 


At the thirty-year mark, eleven of the original members were still active, and membership was around 80. 


WPC’s Second Decade: 1994 - 2004

Presidents included: Suzanne Boudreaux, Nancy Penton, Jean Felts, Janice Leaumont, Liz Tahir, Margie Berry, Pam Wegmann, Holly Sharp, Martha Ann Samuel, and Mary Judice.


Topics, speakers, and events included:

  • Mayor Marc Morial

  • State treasurers Mary Landrieu and Ken Duncan

  • Tulane architecture dean Donna Robertson

  • Group bowling

  • A Newcomb college networking panel

  • Liz Claiborne at a Tulane event

  • College scholarships

  • A wine tasting at Maison Dupuy

  • Zephyr’s baseball game

  • Shirley Corey of the Arts Council

  • Peter Ricchiuti of Tulane’s Freeman business school

  • Financial planning

  • Mignon Faget

  • Richard Gruber of the Odgen Museum

  • A tour of the new New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA)

  • Historian Sally K Reeves

  • Ambassador Lindy Boggs

  • John Pope of the Times Picayune

  • Kim Sport – the founding chair of United Way’s Women Leadership Council

  • Radio personality Andre Trevigne

  • An outing to The Bottom of the Cup – a French Quarter palm reading house

  • Criminal defense attorney Laurie White

  • John Bullard of New Orleans Museum of Art

  • Mark Davis of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. 


The second decade ended with a banquet at Ralph’s on the Park and an HNOC outing to celebrate WPC’s 20th anniversary.


Women recognized by various civic and news groups included: Nancy Penton, Virginia Roddy, Suzanne Boudreaux, and Ellen Yellin


The First 10 Years: 1984 – 1994

The first WPC meeting was dinner at Masson’s French Restaurant. 


WPC presidents during the first decade were: Ellen Yelin, Susan Loehr, Pamela Wilson Steeg, Joan Donnels, Carol Wise, Sara Shackleton, Carole Neff, Jane Armstrong, Maria McLellan, and Beverly Haslauer.


Topics, speakers, and events included:

  • An executive of the 1984 Louisiana World’s Fair

  • Ron Forman of Audubon

  • WWL anchor Angela Hill

  • Several career conferences at UNO

  • Governor Buddy Roemer

  • Dave Dixon – Superdome developer

  • Restauranteur Ralph Brennan

  • Lieutenant Governor Melinda Schwegmann, 

  • Dr. Ione Elioff – the first woman president of Delgado Community College

  • Fishing trips with Frank Davis 

  • Roundtables on communication skills

  • Crawfish boils

  • Charitable donations

  • A Bayou Segnette weekend


Monthly meetings were almost always held at the iconic Andrea’s Restaurant in Metairie (which closed in 2022). 


Women recognized by various civic and news groups included: Martha Jane Murray, Carole Neff, Judity Zabalaoui, Jean Felts, and Sara Shackleton


For a detailed history of the first 30 years, go HERE

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