Meet the 2024 Influential Women in Business

    The founder of a multimillion-dollar early childcare network. A community consultant whose impact spans the Gulf Coast. A top bond attorney whose clients include hospitals, universities and the Port of New Orleans. An expansion manager for Shell.

    Those are among the nine 2024 Influential Women in Business being honored May 21 by Baton Rouge Business Report. The day begins with the Women’s Leadership Symposium, followed by the Influential Women in Business celebration. Get all the details.

    Meet the honorees:

    • Jodi Conachen, COO, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center

    • Lana Crump, General Counsel and Partner, Kean Miller

    • Rachel DiResto, Managing Director, Emergent Method

    • Melissa Dotson, Expansion Manager, Shell Chemical Geismar

    • Meredith Hathorn, Managing Partner, Foley & Judell

    • Tessa Holloway, CEO, Kidz Karousel

    • Cheri Johnson, Senior Vice President of Patient Care and Chief Nursing Officer, Woman’s Hospital

    • Amanda Martin, President and CEO, Studyville

    • Alicia Vidrine, CFO, Tiger Athletic Foundation

    The second annual Women’s Leadership Symposium in the morning will feature 10 dynamic women sharing their insights and experiences on work/life topics. Speakers and panelists include C-suite executives, entrepreneurs, nonprofit changemakers and executive coaches.

    Keynote speaker is Queen of Sparkles founder Jaime Glas Odom, Business Report‘s 2024 Young Businessperson of the Year. The serial entrepreneur with dual degrees in petroleum engineering and international trade and finance has always had a passion for fashion, and that passion kept calling―even as she worked on a land drilling rig in Texas.

    Tired of wearing ill-fitting flame-resistant coveralls that were made for her male co-workers, this engineer decided to design her own as a side hustle that later became a full-time pursuit. Her company, HauteWork, was the first flame-resistant clothing line in the nation to focus exclusively on apparel for women in industry. In 2019, the newly minted entrepreneur sold her line to National Safety Apparel. Today, her third company, Queen of Sparkles, is a favorite of Coach Kim Mulkey and thousands of other women around the globe looking for some sparkle and glam in their everyday fashion.

    The event will also feature two panels. The first, Building Your Network, takes a deep dive into forming meaningful connections. A panel of veteran connectors shares their experiences on how to build — and nurture — professional and personal networks with authenticity. They’ll also share inside tips for getting in the door to serve on community boards and growing strategic connections through social media. Panelists are Rachel Eggie Gibbs, Christel Slaughter, Beverly Brooks Thompson and Kathy Victorian.

    The second, Discovering Your True Potential, builds on themes from the book Hidden Potential by author Adam Grant, Panelists will share how they accelerated their own careers by leaning into discomfort and learning from challenges and failures. Panelists are Julie Gerdes Becnel, Melissa Thompson, Ann Trappey and Sabrina Galloway.

    The Influential Women in Business Luncheon will follow, with a celebration of the honorees, who will also take part in a special panel discussion led by Melara Enterprises Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Tormo Alvarez.

    Both events will provide opportunities for strategic networking and tangible takeaways for both rising and seasoned professional women, and are sponsored by Mercedes Benz of Baton Rouge, b1BANK, Kean Miller, Window World and Woman’s.

    Get all the details and purchase tickets here.