Content tagged “People”

'Business Report': How former LSU, NBA star Shaquille O'Neal built a multimillion-dollar business empire

More than two decades ago, a 7-foot-1-inch basketball star with a lopsided grin, a sense of humor and a tenacious business drive attempted to walk into LSU professor Joe Hair's principles of marketing class and got stuck. "He joked a lot about his height, even saying, 'They don't make these doors big enough for a guy like me,'" Hair tells Business Report in a feature from the current issue. "And he couldn't fit at the desk, either. So we got him a different chair to sit in, but we couldn't find a desk for him to sit in because he was so big." Shaquille O'Neal is still living large. He retired from the NBA three years ago after a 19-year career and four championship rings. But the 42-year-old continues to build his brand and expand his investment portfolio. He has a net worth of nearly $350 million, and last year he reportedly made $23 million in television commercials, endorsements and partnerships. He owns car washes, fitness centers and burger chain franchises. He has his...

'Business Report': BR barber has kept customers laughing, looking good for five decades

Tucked behind what may be the smallest Subway sandwich shop in America on Perkins Road, just south of College Drive, is the three-chair Beau James barber shop. As Business Report details in a feature from the current issue, the unassuming shop is the sixth place where Jimmy Fontenot, 72, has cut hair since he left Mamou when he was 21 years old. Over that span, Fontenot has trimmed hair and traded barbs with four governors, a music legend and a whole lot of regular Joes. Customers like the entertainment—and suspense—Fontenot provides at the barber shop. Recently, Fontenot arrived at the punch line of a joke as he lightly applied a straight razor to the neck of Justin Speed, 25. "It's like he's daring you to laugh," Speed says. Dane Domingue, a 42-year-old engineer, enjoys trying his fractured French on Fontenot. "I'll pick up every 10th word," Domingue says. "I like talking to Mr. Jimmy. My mother's from Ville Platte." Domingue got childhood haircuts from Tom...

How do I go beyond the trite and cliché when trying to motivate my sales team?

A sales manager must continually look for ways to motivate his sales team. Unfortunately, banal incentive programs and speeches filled with clichés won't work. How do you go beyond the trite and cliché when trying to motivate your sales team? We asked three experienced sales managers and trainers for their advice.

On being a leader

The Capital Region's Top 100 private companies didn't automatically start out on top.

Executive Spotlight: James "Jim" Beard

In the new issue of Business Report, Beard Construction Group is ranked No. 63 in the Top 100 List of Private Companies, up from No. 86 in 2013. But its president, James "Jim" Beard, isn't one to rest on laurels. As he tells the magazine for its new Executive Spotlight feature: "I always seem to be focused on the next quarter or the next business year, always trying to figure out where the next job is going to come from." Still, Beard recalls appreciatively the firm's early days, in 2004, when he and his partners didn't yet have an office. "Mr. Louis Witty, the dad of one of the partners, allowed us to clean out his garage and set up shop there," Beard says. "We each took a corner and hit the ground running." Their first contract was a landfill project in Alabama following Hurricane Ivan. "After that, things took off at a much faster rate than we imagined possible," he says. The civil construction firm's headquarters went up in Port Allen in 2005, providing easy access to...

James "Jim" Beard

In this issue of Business Report, Beard Construction Group is ranked No. 63 in the Top 100 List of Private Companies, up from No. 86 in 2013. But its president, James "Jim" Beard, isn't one to rest on laurels: "I always seem to be focused on the next quarter or the next business year, always trying to figure out where the next job is going to come from." Still, he recalls appreciatively the firm's early days, in 2004, when he and his partners didn't yet have an office. "Mr. Louis Witty, the dad of one of the partners, allowed us to clean out his garage and set up shop there," Beard says. "We each took a corner and hit the ground running." Their first contract: a landfill project in Alabama following Hurricane Ivan. "After that, things took off at a much faster rate than we imagined possible," he says. The civil construction firm's headquarters went up in Port Allen in 2005, providing easy access to Interstate 10. BCG has completed projects across the Gulf South and beyond,...

Queens for a day

Professional basketball player

Talking Points: David LaCerte

Gov. Bobby Jindal in June elevated David LaCerte from deputy secretary to secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs. LaCerte replaces former Congressman Rodney Alexander, who stepped down after less than a year. While LaCerte, a former Marine Corps infantryman, does not supervise the federal Veterans Affairs system, he does hold strong opinions about what the scandal-plagued VA must do to establish trust with veterans and the rest of the American people.

Michael DePaul

"I can be very stubborn. My father often told me, 'Mike, it's not like the whole world is wrong and you're right.' His words stuck with me, because it's a wonderful reminder to try to recognize the signals and admit when I'm wrong. Still, it's much easier said than done. At work, I defend my positions pretty strongly, but I try to quickly recognize when there is more support for a different position. In fact, there's usually more than one way to solve a problem, and the difference between them is often minimal."

Shaq Inc.

More than two decades ago, a 7-foot-1-inch basketball star with a lopsided grin, a sense of humor and a tenacious business drive attempted to walk into LSU professor Joe Hair's principles of marketing class and got stuck.

Still in the family

In April 1954, a Pak-a-Sak convenience store manager in Baton Rouge named Jay Prothro got the itch to open his own business. The married young father didn't know what kind of venture to launch; he was simply driven by the idea of entrepreneurship.

Mix and mingle

When Elizabeth Carter decided it was time to branch out into her own interior design firm, she learned the importance of networking.

Lord of the rings

The doughnut shop is an American institution.
Before gas stations became convenience stores, these establishments were one of the few places a consumer could purchase a cup of coffee without going to a full-service restaurant. National brands like Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kreme spread like wildfire over the second half of the 20th century, sometimes coexisting with successful mom-and-pop doughnut shops.

Watch 'em rise

In 1972, a local restaurant owner named Frank Dedman Sr. made a life-changing decision. Eight years earlier, in 1964, he had opened a drive-in eatery that sold car-side burgers, po-boys and homemade ice cream.

Encore entrepreneurs

When Tim Stoll was in his 40s, he envisioned himself climbing the corporate ladder until retiring in his 60s. But after two decades of working for one of Baton Rouge's chemical corporations, the business manager with a Ph.D. in chemistry had a change of heart.

Tess Brunet & Patrick Hodgkins

"We've created the record store that we would want to go to."

The barber

Jimmy Fontenot, 72, arrived at the punch line of a joke as he lightly applied a straight razor to the neck of Justin Speed, 25.
"It's like he's daring you to laugh," Speed says.
Customers like the entertainment—and suspense—Fontenot provides at Beau James barber shop.
The three-chair shop is on Perkins Road, just south of College Drive, tucked behind what may be the smallest Subway sandwich shop in America. It's the sixth place Fontenot has cut hair since he left Mamou when he was 21.

15 things we do at work that say, 'I don't care'

We care deeply about our clients, employees and co-workers. Of course we do. But if we're like most people in the workplace, we may occasionally do (or not do) things that send the wrong signal.

'Business Report': Local executives share advice on business plans

While many believe creating a solid business plan is the first step toward achieving success in a business venture, some wonder if it's necessary to spend countless hours perfecting the strategy. Business Report asked three local planning professionals—Stephen Waters, senior business consultant at the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southern University; Tim Stoll, owner of The Alternative Board-Metro Baton Rouge; and Jennifer Fowler, associate director at the Louisiana Business & Technology Center—how a business owner can tell if their business plan is holding them back. The consensus is that the plan should be analyzed, put into action and then re-evaluated for effectiveness, rather than remaining on a shelf. "If you have a written business plan, you are ahead of most business owners. But is it holding you back? I can assure you the plan is not," Stoll says. "Nevertheless, your plan might not contain a clear and compelling vision that tells your...

Moving up

Fonda Funderburk has been promoted to senior vice president of the Bank of Zachary. She is the manager of retail operations for the bank, overseeing all front-line activities. Funderburk is also a lending officer, primarily in consumer loans. She has been with the Bank of Zachary for 32 years, starting as a teller in 1982. Also, Kim McDonald has been promoted to vice president of the bank. She is the electronic banking manager, a position she assumed in 2013 after several years as manager of the Central branch. She first worked for the Bank of Zachary while a student at Zachary High, but began her current tenure in 2008. McDonald has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. Additionally, Donna Brown and Jeree Chaney have been promoted to assistant vice presidents. Brown works in the bank's accounting division. She started her career at the bank in 2002 as a teller, most recently serving as an assistant cashier. Chaney is a loan officer, primarily in...

How to hire a lawyer

If you're being sued, the prime time to hire an attorney has already passed.

Edward "Sandy" Comeaux

If you want to know what welders want in a cap, just ask them.

Keeping the home fires burning

An abiding principle in military strategy is, "Never fight a war on two fronts."

John Georges' big gamble

A little over a year ago, John Georges launched an experiment that flew in the face of conventional wisdom: He bought The Advocate, a daily newspaper, and instead of going digital, like other newspapers around the country, he expanded his printed product and took it regional.

How do I know if my business plan is holding me back?

While many believe creating a solid business plan is the first step toward achieving success in a business venture, some wonder if it's necessary to spend countless hours perfecting the strategy. We asked three planning professionals, "How do I know if my business plan is holding me back?" The consensus is that the plan should be analyzed, put into action, and then re-evaluated for effectiveness, rather than remaining on a shelf.

Spencer Watts

"A former boss told me, You can have the greatest collections and the types of services that librarians absolutely love, but if we're not making the right connection with the customers and giving them what they need and delivering it to them in a way that is convenient and fully accessible, then we're missing our opportunity.' His ultimate message was that steadfastly maintaining a focus on the customer helps us be as responsive as we can, and it also allows us to do a better job of anticipating what they need."

Robert Mercer

It's hard to imagine a more experienced hotelier than Robert Mercer. With nearly 50 years in the business, Mercer took the helm at the Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel in October 2012. Previously, Mercer had managed numerous upscale hotel properties in major Southern cities—in Atlanta, Memphis and Orlando, to name a few. Though his employer is actually Davidson Hotels & Resorts, Mercer's job entails working closely with the developer and owner of the landmark Bluebonnet Boulevard property, Mike Wampold. "It is our job to ensure that his investment is well taken care of, well thought of in the community, and financially successful," Mercer says. The GM's transition at the award-winning hotel was free of surprises. "I knew before I arrived how beautiful the hotel was and that I would be able to have interactions with the owner, which I believe is most important in order to fully understand what drives him and what he expects from me as the general manager." Wampold Companies, he...

Being a Big Buddy

Head coach, Southern University women's tennis

How do I handle a workplace bully?

Workplace bullying isn't limited to the extremes of verbal abuse or physical violence. Intimidation, humiliation and interfering with another employee's work all fall into the category of bullying. Managers and supervisors don't have to overlook such situations. In fact, having a strict policy defining bullying and its consequences is a good first step to maintaining a positive work environment. Read more advice on the topic, offered by three human resources professionals when asked, "How do I handle a workplace bully?"

Norman R. Morris Jr.

"George Brown and Charlie Tapp, former executives of the Beer Industry League of Louisiana, gave me an opportunity back in 1990 to start a career in governmental affairs. I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to work for them. I learned so many valuable lessons from George and Charlie, but the best advice they gave to me was In order to be successful you must love what you do,' and Your word is your bond.'"

Moving up

Randy Ledet has been named managing partner of Planche Politz Ledet, replacing Patrick Planche. He has been a CPA and partner in the firm since 2008. Ledet, a native of Houma, is a graduate of the LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business and a member of the Louisiana chapter of the Entrepreneurs' Organization.

The underdogs

Last year, Mike Legit made what seemed to some to be an unusual business move: He opened an independent pharmacy on a busy thoroughfare where CVS and Walgreens dominate two corners of a nearby intersection and Walmart and Winn Dixie dominate another.

Lani Guilbeau

POSITION Founder and owner
COMPANY Fleur Du Jour Florist
WHAT THEY DO Accommodate planned events with expert floral and design services
ADDRESS fleurdujourla.com
NEXT GOAL To reconnect with her clients

Executive Spotlight: Cynthia Rougeou

Cynthia Rougeou begins each workday at the Louisiana State Employees' Retirement System with a Diet Dr. Pepper. On the best days, she tells Business Report in its new Executive Spotlight feature, that kick-start is "followed by interacting and sharing ideas with our senior executive staff." Promoted to executive director in 2006, Rougeou oversees the daily operations of LASERS and professes a "passion" for its mission: "to provide a sound retirement plan for our members through prudent management and exceptional service." LASERS members do not participate in Social Security. "Our average retiree has a very modest pension," Rougeou says. Dispelling misconceptions has been a consistent part of her current job, she adds: "We are not going broke, and we are certainly not Detroit. In fact, our 30-year average actuarial return exceeds 8%." For the past decade LASERS has ranked among the top 10 performing public pension systems in the nation, notwithstanding its unfunded accrued...

Cynthia Rougeou

Cynthia Rougeou begins each workday at LASERS with a Diet Dr. Pepper. On the best days, she says, that kick-start is "followed by interacting and sharing ideas with our senior executive staff." Promoted to executive director in 2006, Rougeou oversees the daily operations of LASERS and professes a "passion" for its mission: "to provide a sound retirement plan for our members through prudent management and exceptional service." LASERS members do not participate in Social Security. "Our average retiree has a very modest pension," Rougeou says. Dispelling misconceptions has been a consistent part of her current job, she adds: "We are not going broke, and we are certainly not Detroit. In fact, our 30-year average actuarial return exceeds 8 percent." For the past decade LASERS has ranked among the top 10 performing public pension systems in the nation, notwithstanding its unfunded accrued liability. Rougeou says: "In our most recent valuation, the UAL dropped by nearly $700 million. For...

Talking Points

The Louisiana Workforce Commission has for several years been trying to figure out how better to meet the needs of the state's employers. Curt Eysink, who directs the LWC and spoke recently to many of those employers at a Rotary Club of Baton Rouge luncheon, says progress has been made. But as the Gulf Coast prepares for tens of billions of dollars in new investment, the real test is still to come.

My Favorite Tech: Stafford Kendall

It's no small feat to be singled out from all of the small businesses across the country and named as one of 75 Blue Ribbon Small Business Award winners by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. But that's just one of Covalent Logic's achievements under the leadership of Stafford Kendall. Her client list includes the likes of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, BREC, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Louisiana Economic Development, as well as publicly traded oil and gas companies, and hospitality firms.

Jennifer Carlton Rood

"When I began at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, I found an immediate connection with my then-boss, Dr. Donna Ryan. Over the next 20 years, she transitioned from boss to mentor to friend. She led by example, and I have tried to emulate that. She'd always say, Work hard, treat people with kindness, tell the truth and above all, remain calm.'"

Sandra Weitz

Founder, Comprehensive Pain Management

Jerry Passman

Jerry Passman suspects building is in his DNA. His grandfather was a builder. His father, Bobby Passman, launched Passman Homes in 1971. "He paid me 50 cents to sweep out [his first spec home]," Passman says. "We were together from the beginning." In due course Passman took the reins of the family enterprise. He now has a business partner, Robert Baughman, yet his job remains full-time: "I handle a lot of the office work, do the government paperwork, meet prospective customers, work with our Realtors, and put together proposals." Nevertheless, in January, Passman assumed another role: the presidency of Louisiana Home Builders Association. "I had a desire to give back to the industry that has been so good to me," he says. He is the spokesman of LHBA's estimated 5,200 members, of whom 40% are licensed home builders. The remaining 60% represent "all industries involved in home building—from the dirt to the lumber ... to the attorneys who close the sales." In the legislative...

'225': LSU student with cerebral palsy fights for legalized medical marijuana

Jacob Irving, a 21-year-old political communications major at LSU, was diagnosed at birth with a spastic form of cerebral palsy. As 225 details in a feature from the current issue, Irving's muscles and movements are permanently impaired to the point that even the simplest of activities require a Herculean effort to perform. To maintain some flexibility, he exercises and stretches for 40 hours each week. His prescription drug intake is considerable. Although he has managed his condition with ease, Irving is quick to point out that he's more fortunate than most. For the majority of people, life with a permanent movement disorder is even harder. ​A member of the LSU chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Irving has become an ardent defender of medical marijuana, an affordable, non-invasive treatment option for some patients. For his own condition, Irving says using medical marijuana could be transformative. "It is known to loosen the muscles, making the daily...

In her own words

We asked Miss Louisiana USA 2014, Brittany Guidry, to tell us a little about what what she has experienced in the lead-up to the competition Sunday. Check out what she had to say and some photos from the events below!
Brittany: So far I'm feeling great! The anticipation is killing me for finals. As a state titleholder, this is what we've focused on from the moment we were crowned in our home state to the actual day of Miss USA finals.
We haven't had much time for sleep with our early mornings and late nights, but the excitement of it all keeps us running. A normal day for us is breakfast at 7 a.m., then we head straight to an event, get back for lunch and then one or two more events. After all of that it's time for dinner and we are headed off to another event or rehearsal! The days are busy, but I'm enjoying every second of it.

Meet Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady

The ladies vying for the 2014 title of Miss USA have gathered in Baton Rouge! The pageant airs Sunday at 7 p.m. on NBC, live from the River Center. But before the new winner is crowned, we spoke with Erin Brady, the current Miss USA, whose year in the spotlight is wrapping up. Find out what she revealed to us, including what you should keep in mind while watching the show, and the one beauty item she can't do without.

'225': A look inside the Buddy Stewart Memorial Music Foundation & Rhythm Museum

Philliper Stewart is keeping the legacy of her father, Buddy Stewart, alive in Mid City north. As 225 reports in a story from the current issue, Buddy was a musician who owned a popular record store on North Acadian Thruway. His daughter worked with him for 17 years. After he died, she had to figure out what to do with a long-standing business that was now selling an outdated product. She knew it was something she needed to hold onto, but wasn't sure the direction to turn. In the early 2000s, the store became the Buddy Stewart Memorial Music Foundation & Rhythm Museum. The site has photos and memorabilia, occasionally still sells a record or two, and hosts the annual Rocktober Fest community event. Another goal of the foundation and museum is to improve music education in local schools. Already, Stewart's foundation has partnered with Capitol High School to bring back its music program. She welcomes the opportunity to help young people gain an appreciation for music. "You...

Entrepreneur: Helena Cunningham

Helena Cunningham entered the affordable housing industry as a third-year law student. As Business Report details in its Entrepreneur feature on Cunningham from the current issue, she was already a CPA when she interned with the law firm that served as legal counsel for the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency. Based in Baton Rouge, the agency administered federal financing programs needed by developers of affordable housing. After passing the bar exam in 1997, Cunningham was hired as general counsel for LHFA; in April 2001 she became its president. "I loved its purpose," she says. "Once I got in, I figured out this organization had so much potential." Under her leadership, LHFA flourished, offering many programs to promote housing for low- to middle-income families. With a view to someday starting her own business, Cunningham moved into the development side of the industry in 2009, becoming the managing director of the NHP Foundation's Gulf Coast Region. She says, "Mostly our...

John Maginnis: A life in words

John Maginnis was one of a kind. We were proud to have his words appear in the pages of Business Report and Daily Report. John was our friend. But then, John made friends wherever he went, and once he found his home in syndicated columns, faxes and the Internet, that meant he had friends in every corner of Louisiana. And everybody was always glad to see John coming. We had the pleasure of working with John way back in the immediate post-Gris-Gris era. John was business partners with Rolfe McCollister Sr. and Rolfe McCollister Jr. in a weekly suburban newspaper called Baton Rouge Enterprise. David Dodson worked as a reporter for John there. After the founding of Business Report, John began his solo career, which led to books, a syndicated column statewide, online media and his role as a dinner speaker. When John was at the head table as a speaker, you knew you would be entertained, you would learn something, and you would leave feeling a little...

Reconnecting

For more than a decade and a half, Jeff Fluhr became a well-known fixture downtown, encouraging development of the city's center while working for Executive Director Davis Rhorer.

The next step

Owner, Judy P. Foust Inc.

How do I turn a negative atmosphere in the office into a positive one?

Most people would like to have a good relationship with their supervisors and co-workers. They want a job where they look forward to starting their shift. The payoff is that creating a positive work environment can lead to getting the most out of your employees. The good news is management sets the tone. We asked three area professionals to answer the question, "How do I turn around a negative atmosphere in the office into a positive one?"

The Slumber Queen

Kim Brecheen's favorite color is red. Her favorite author is Danielle Steel, and her favorite food is chocolate. When you walk into her $2.4 million Central home, there is a large painting of a sexy red dress that hangs on the wall directly across the front door.

Moving Up

Campus Federal Credit Union has promoted four people on its executive management team. Kristie Daspit has been promoted to chief operating officer. She previously served as vice president for marketing and project management. Her responsibilities include the strategic oversight of information technology, marketing, operational systems support, vendor management, and research and product development. Ron Moreau has been promoted to chief development officer. He previously served as vice president for business development and community relations. His responsibilities include the strategic oversight of branch administration, business development, community and financial education, and the member relations center. Jay Noel has been promoted to chief lending officer from vice president of business services. His responsibilities include the strategic oversight of business and retail lending, collections and mortgage lending. And Jane Verret has been promoted to chief administrative...

Helena Cunningham

POSITION Founder and CEO
COMPANY National Housing Consultant Services
WHAT THEY DO Consultant and development services with emphasis on affordable housing
ADDRESS nhcsla.com
NEXT GOAL Develop the Saltz Building downtown

Lisa Traina

Lisa Traina is a trailblazer in the world of business and technology. She was one of the few women to major in computer science at LSU in 1982. "The women in the computer science department were few and far between," Traina says. "They still are. I've always worked in a man's world."

Mary Stein

Every morning, Mary Stein drinks one cup of Community Coffee, leisurely reads the whole newspaper, and jams to rock 'n' roll music in her car on the way to work. But talk to the Assistant Director of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library for five minutes and your would think Stein drank a pot of coffee, speed-read the paper and listened to Bollywood on her way to work.

Kimberly Robinson

Kimberly Robinson's passion for justice and improving people's lives is what attracted her to the practice of law. Few would assume her area of expertise—tax law—could be the means to feed those passions.

Jenni Peters

There are so many reasons Jenni Peters is an inspiration. She turned a $100,000 investment into a $2 million business. She ran competitively for Nike. She has trained local teams for the Boston Marathon. She has an impressive array of race medals hanging from the bookshelves in her office—and an even more impressive collection at home. She's 58 years old and still runs 30 miles per week.

Kristy Nichols

Don't tell Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols that the easiest way for a state to save money is to trim services. "I go crazy when I think about the way budget cuts are usually done," Nichols says. "There's a better way than in negatively impacting the end user, and that's by doing things smarter."

Melissa Juneau

For some, there is an entrepreneurial spirit hidden within, waiting to be awakened by an idea, a challenge or a vision. In the case of Melissa Juneau, the executive director of The Emerge Center for Communication, Behavior and Development, it was all three, and then some.

Kim Ginn

Not long after a blank slab of concrete was being laid for the construction of a new Baton Rouge casino in May 2010, Kim Ginn found herself staring at her own blank slate, tasked with building the brand of L'Auberge Casino & Hotel in Baton Rouge from the ground up.

Tobie Craig

One thing few people know about Turner Industries' Tobie Craig is when she's not connecting people in the heavy manufacturing sector, she takes to the open road. Recently she rode 500 miles through the hill country of West Texas on her friend's Gold Wing Motorcycle. Last year, she traveled to Grand Canyon to traverse 187 miles on a rafting trip and slept beneath the stars.

Kris Cangelosi

Afternoons at the Cangelosi Dance Project on Perkins Road hum with excitement. Young dancers in leotards with neat ponytails mill about, preparing to head into the studio for instruction. Dancing classes are a rite of passage for girls everywhere, but few in each crowd have dreams of making it big.

Jody Hanet

In the 10 months she has led Kids' Orchestra, Jody Hanet has overseen remarkable growth. Participation escalated from about 70 students to over 500. "We nearly had a logistical nightmare on our hands," she says. "We had to hire over 50 teachers, site coordinators and bus helpers. Hundreds of instruments had to be purchased." It all fell into place, though, with "tremendous" community support, and Hanet assembled a team to help her implement her five-year strategic plan. Hanet came to Kids' Orchestra with exceptional experience and training in musical education and leadership. She envisions the Baton Rouge program becoming "the catalyst for offering quality music education to multitudes of children across the state." Her motivation exceeds a belief in the intrinsic value of learning to play an instrument; she knows the personal and social dividends for participants are incalculable. "Music serves as a medium for all children to work together regardless of their home, school, culture...

'225': Four young women team up to connect BR women

Baton Rouge recently ranked as the second worst paying city for women in the U.S., with Capital City women reportedly earning a mere 65.7% of the annual income of their male co-workers in the same industries. But as 225 reports in its May issue, four young women have teamed up to start The Girl Gang in an effort to better connect local women and spotlight greater opportunities. Sydney Blanchard, Monique LeBlanc, Ashley Monaghan and Courtney Brandabur founded the group earlier this year, and The Girl Gang already has more than 100 members. Creating a sense of community is key for these women. "We felt like we knew a lot of awesome women doing amazing things," Blanchard says. "And we didn't really feel there was any kind of outlet, a strong community or anything connecting it all up. We thought we could come together and help facilitate [other women's] projects." Up next for The Girl Gang is launching a custom social media website to help women get and stay in touch with each...

Merit selection: Not an option

"Judges are not politicians," U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts declared during his 2005 confirmation hearing.

What's the best way to fire an employee?

"I managed a dental office for 25 years. Very often individuals would apply with a lot of words but not with matching skills. After realizing investing in an employee is a lost cause, I'd let him or her go. I simply said, Your skills don't match this job. You have way too much potential to limit yourself to doing the same thing day after day. Dentistry is highly regimented; you have to do the same procedures exactly in the same time frame. That is not who you are; you are imaginative and creative.' Instead of finding fault with the person, I found fault with the job."
Vallan Corbett, Independent banking professional

Wilbur McDaniel

AGE: 53

My Favorite Tech: Calvin Fabre

Once writing software from his garage, he is now the man behind the vision, execution, and guidance of Envoc, a software and graphic design firm with offices in Baton Rouge and Hammond.

Blane Clark

"My first real job was at McDonald's, where I worked for Charlie Valluzzo and many other managers who taught me a lot. My friends and colleagues at Kean Miller make fun of me for continuing to tell McDonald's stories' 35 years later. However, there is a piece of advice from one of my former managers, Charlie Jones, that I took to heart. He told me that if you wanted to advance up the corporate ladder, you had to train people to take your place. I am not sure if that philosophy is taught in management schools across the country, but it always made sense to me."

How can I attract and retain good staff when I don't have big bucks to offer them?

Think you're destined to lose your business's rising star to another company that can offer a higher salary? We asked three local executives for their advice on how to attract and retain good staff when you don't have the big bucks to offer them.

Moving up

Mike Anderson has been named Small Business Administration lending specialist for the Regions Bank south Louisiana market. He will work with small businesses and bank colleagues to facilitate SBA transactions and increase awareness about SBA lending. He previously held senior area leadership positions with community banks throughout the region and was part of the team that started Source Bidco, a Baton Rouge-based financial institution focused on the origination of SBA loans.

Dakota Roemer & Denver Benton

Sporting event participants usually register on one website, then leave it to make travel arrangements on Travelocity or another site. "It's two separate things," says Roemer. "What we wanted to do was marry the two"—and give events a predictable means to profit.

Executive Spotlight: Mark Slyter

Since November, Mark Slyter has been settling into his roles as president and CEO of Baton Rouge General and its parent company. "I have focused on listening and cultivating relationships with our talented team of leaders and caregivers," he tells Business Report in a new Executive Spotlight feature. "Team" is a word that comes readily to the former linebacker for the University of Kansas. Those he leads at the General he calls "team members," whom he lauds for their "tremendous dedication to the highest standards for quality and patient safety." Slyter says some roles at the executive level have been added "to enhance our focus on a few core areas: driving … reliable patient care quality and safety, fostering physician alignments and collaborations, and innovating for the future." To take the reins at the General, Slyter, now 45, left a parallel position with Baptist Health Systems in Mississippi, one of several systems in the South where he gained expertise in hospital...

Mark Slyter

Since November, Mark Slyter has been settling into his roles as president and CEO of Baton Rouge General and its parent company. "I have focused on listening and cultivating relationships with our talented team of leaders and caregivers," he says. "Team" is a word that comes readily to the former linebacker for the University of Kansas. Those he leads at the General he calls "team members," whom he lauds for their "tremendous dedication to the highest standards for quality and patient safety." Slyter says some roles at the executive level have been added "to enhance our focus on a few core areas: driving … reliable patient care quality and safety, fostering physician alignments and collaborations, and innovating for the future." To take the reins at the General, Slyter, now 45, left a parallel position with Baptist Health Systems in Mississippi, one of several systems in the South where he gained expertise in hospital administration. The move to Baton Rouge was, in effect, a...

'Business Report': Local executives, experts share advice on spotting talent on your team

In today's rapidly changing world, surrounding yourself with creative employees who bring fresh ideas to deal with new complications or old difficulties can make the difference between your business prospering or failing. As Business Report notes in a feature from the current issue, creativity can be harder to detect than years of work experience or technical skills and knowledge. So the magazine asked three top local executives—Kracke Consulting owner Sarah Kracke, LSU Foundation Director of Talent Management Yvette Marsh and Digital FX President Greg Milneck—for their advice on identifying talent and fostering it. "Creativity comes in all shapes and sizes and from all sorts of sources. That's why I surround myself with lots of different people with diverse backgrounds and varied points of view," Milneck tells Business Report. "If everyone shares the same hobbies and moves in the same social circles, ideas tend to take a circular pattern and nothing...

La. ranked No. 9 in 'Chief Executive' list of 'Best & Worst States for Business'

At No. 9, Louisiana has received its highest-ever ranking from Chief Executive magazine in its annual "Best & Worst States for Business" list, released this morning. "Having jumped 31 positions from 40th in 2010 to No. 9 this year, Louisiana is the Cinderella state of Chief Executive's ranking, proving that a concerted effort to transform old habits and policies can truly pay off," says the magazine's editor in chief J.P. Donlon in a press release issued by Gov. Bobby Jindal. "Its high-tech side emerges by landing major IBM site for Baton Rouge, and entrepreneurism grows. But Louisiana still mostly lags rest of top 10 'Best States' in tax-friendliness," the magazine also notes. Citing figures by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jindal says Louisiana is one of only 16 states in the U.S. (excluding Washington, D.C.) with more jobs today than in January 2008, which is...

'inRegister': 6 philanthropic students are making an impact in the Capital Region and around the world

"Go ahead. Call them stubborn. These kids won't mind," reads the opening of this month's inRegister cover package. "The very trait that might have been flagged as problematic in the preschool years has helped six determined high-school and college students achieve more than their doubters ever expected—and in the process has made a lasting effect on children and adults in need." Among the six local students recognized by the magazine for their charitable efforts, one led a charge to raise thousands of dollars to fulfill a young cancer patient's dying wish. Another created a foundation to help abused girls in Nicaragua. Still another shares his downtime with the needy in one of Baton Rouge's poorest neighborhoods. "I think a lot of people doubted that we could do something so big," admits 18-year-old Ashton Kennedy, who spearheaded a campaign to raise funds to feed the hungry. "But when I hear someone say something is impossible, that just makes me want to try even...

'225': 10 young creatives lifting Capital Region culture to new heights

"Creativity, many have said, takes years to perfect," writes contributing writer Kaci Yoder in the cover story for the May issue of 225. "Legend has it that many of the greatest poets and musicians in history owe the depth of their work to decades of experience and even some hard-earned life lessons. In his popular book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell [who speaks at Leadercast Greater Baton Rouge on Friday] champions the concept of a craft taking 10,000 hours to master, calling achievement 'talent plus preparation.'" But what does it really take to create something meaningful, something of impact? As the cover story reports, if you ask the promising youth of Baton Rouge, they'll tell you that it takes talent, energy, inspiration and the drive to get things done. "In 20 or fewer years, these 10 young people have found their creative passion and are following it with ferocity," the feature notes.

'Vestigial' traits

For Jesse Guillory's show at the Walls Project's new space downtown, the LSU art student didn't want to hold back—on the audience or himself.

Entrepreneur: K. Emily Levine

A Craigslist ad was K. Emily Levine's entree into film production. As Business Report details in its new Entrepreneur feature on the Florida native, she had graduated from LSU in 2005 with a degree in studio art and found work at a local company that went belly up in 2009. At loose ends, she responded to a help-wanted ad for a production assistant in the art department of an independent film being shot in Baton Rouge and was hired. Levine's view was pragmatic: "I accepted the job because it was four months of employment and seemed to be something that would be interesting to do." She explains that "production assistant" is "kind of a blanket term for anybody who's just getting into the industry." As a first-time PA in The Chameleon production, Levine performed myriad tasks some might deem menial: "anything from getting coffee to helping to do research for sets." Nevertheless, she says, "I loved it." Levine's first big break came during her second gig, on Battle: Los...

Buddy Guy buys $1 million BR home, planning homecoming move

If you weren't able to catch blues legend Buddy Guy in concert at L'Auberge in March, chances are you'll have another chance to see him in the area in the future, as the guitarist and Lettsworth native is finally making the move back home to the Capital Region. Guy, who moved to Chicago in 1957 and has called the city home ever since, purchased a home in the Nicholson Drive/River Road area last week for a little over $1 million. "We've been home shopping for about a year," says Tigue Bonneval of Beau Box Commercial Real Estate, who brokered the deal. "Basically, I think he just wants to get back home." Bonneval says that Guy will keep his house in Chicago, but the Baton Rouge house will be his permanent home. "He's still going to have Buddy Guy's Legends, which is a big club in Chicago, but he's pretty much transitioning into the home here in Baton Rouge as his primary residence," Bonneval says. "He's playing in New Orleans in three days at the House of Blues. I'm sure he'll do much...

'Business Report': Six budding entrepreneurs find early business success

"It takes a special drive and passion to build a business when you're still in school—high school, that is," writes Business Report Executive Editor Stephanie Riegel in the magazine's new cover package. "Yet five of the six young people presented on the pages that follow are juniors or seniors in high school. Just one is old enough to be in college—and he is the youngest member of LSU's Student Incubator ever." Business Report's cover package details the entrepreneurial efforts of John Cooper, 17; Edward Daniel, 17; Ali Duplessis, 17; Lilly LaGrange, 17; Travis Mamon, 20; and Benjamin White, 18. "It is not age alone that makes the accomplishments of these young men and women so impressive, however," writes Riegel. "It is also their focus, their intelligence and their initiative that makes them noteworthy. All of them hit upon a moneymaking-idea—either because they were looking for extra income or because they realized they could get paid for doing what...

Caroline Samuels

Age: 17
School: Senior, Baton Rouge Magnet High School
Extracurriculars: President of the Jewish Cultural Association, soccer
Dream job: Performing in a major symphony orchestra
Inspiration: Yung-Chiao Wei, LSU associate professor of double bass

Randall Cunningham

Age: 18
School: Senior, Central Private School
Extracurriculars: Movies, comic books, video games
Dream job: Writer, director, producer, actor
Inspiration: My father, who shows me you can achieve anything, road bumps and all

Josh Campesi

Age: 13
School: 8th grade, St. Aloysius Catholic School
Extracurriculars: St. Aloysius Spirit of Service organization, writing music
Dream job: Record label CEO
Inspiration: Doug Gay, Baton Rouge Music Studios

Jane Gressaffa

Age: 19
School: Freshman, LSU
Extracurriculars: Old movies, Japanese comics and music
Dream job: Brand owner and designer
Inspiration: My mom and her Coco Chanel-like sense of style

Audrey Marsh

Age: 18
School: Senior, St. Joseph's Academy
Extracurriculars: Choir, student newspaper, rebuilding cars, writing, drama, student ministry, volleyball, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Beta Club
Dream job: Biomedical engineer
Inspiration: Local artist Carol Arabie

Samuel "Kidd LOS" Muyaka

Age: 18
School: Senior, Madison Preparatory Academy
Extracurriculars: Soccer and football
Dream job: Touring full-time and teaching music to children
Inspiration: Pharrell Williams

Executive Spotlight: Tina Holland

Tina Holland began her tenure as president of Our Lady of the Lake College on April 22. As Business Report details in its new Executive Spotlight feature on Holland, it's a role she has prepared for over the last 20 years. Holland moved to Baton Rouge from Notre Dame, Ind., where she rose to the position of executive vice president and provost of Holy Cross College. There the mother of four began her career in higher education as an adjunct instructor in math. "As my children grew, I was presented with increased levels of responsibility in teaching and in academic leadership," she says. Ready for challenge, she came to teach full-time, then moved into administration, completing a doctorate in higher ed along the way. Holland was attracted to the opportunity at OLOL College "to advance the FMOL Sisters' compelling mission to educate those who will serve in the 'healing ministries.'” Her goals in assuming the presidency are defined, she says, by the college's mission and...

Tina S. Holland

Tina Holland began her tenure as president of Our Lady of the Lake College on April 22. It's a role she has prepared for over the last 20 years. Holland moved to Baton Rouge from Notre Dame, Ind., where she rose to the position of executive vice president and provost of Holy Cross College. There the mother of four began her career in higher education as an adjunct instructor in math. "As my children grew, I was presented with increased levels of responsibility in teaching and in academic leadership," she says. Ready for challenge, she came to teach full-time, then moved into administration, completing a doctorate in higher ed along the way. Holland was attracted to the opportunity at OLOL College "to advance the FMOL Sisters' compelling mission to educate those who will serve in the 'healing ministries.' " Her goals in assuming the presidency are defined, she says, by the college's mission and current strategic plan. She notes that OLOL College's aims include "ambitious but realistic...

A sporting chance

Information technology director, Louisiana Racing Commission

In Conversation: Monty Sullivan

Monty Sullivan, former chancellor of Delgado Community College, recently replaced Joe May as president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. As Louisiana tries to meet workforce demands created by the anticipated industrial building boom, Sullivan and the schools he leads will be expected to do much of the heavy lifting.

How do I spot creative talent on my team?

In today's rapidly changing world, surrounding yourself with creative employees who bring fresh ideas to deal with new complications or old difficulties can make the difference between your business's prospering or failing. Creativity can be harder to detect than years of work experience or technical skills and knowledge, so we asked three top executives for their advice on identifying it and fostering it.

A troubled search

Members of the East Baton Rouge Parish Planning Commission were quick to praise themselves at a special April 23 meeting for the thorough and transparent way in which they have conducted the search for a new planning director.

Dionne Viator

"About 18 years ago, the late Chris Barnette, former COO of Baton Rouge General, said this about people navigating change: When you're in the room, it's planning. When you're left outside, it's plotting.'It's fundamental to embrace inclusivity and collaboration, with all stakeholders 'round the table, right out of the gate. It's a guiding principle we strive to live by daily."

The next generation

During the course of my interview on the LSU campus with clothing designer Travis Mamon—one of the six young entrepreneurs profiled in this issue's feature on youth in Baton Rouge—I lapsed into occasional reminiscences of my own days at LSU.

Youth in Baton Rouge are inspiring

Many adults don't take teenagers seriously.

Moving up

Cassie Phillips has joined United Community Bank as a vice president and commercial lending officer. She has more than 10 years of banking experience, most recently as an assistant vice president for Home Bank. She will manage commercial relationships and will be responsible for business development in East Baton Rouge Parish.

K. Emily Levine

A Craig's List ad was K. Emily Levine's entrée into film production.

My new demographic reality

I recently celebrated a birthday with a zero in the "ones" column.

Benjamin White

Unlike many of his classmates and friends, Benjamin White didn't ask for a car or an iPhone for Christmas in his junior year.