“Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.”
As the organization’s President, Maria Pardo Huete leads the 2016-2017 League Year for the Junior League of New Orleans. She provides responsible and effective guidance for the Board of Directors and staff, in addition to presiding over meetings of the Board, Joint Council, and General Membership and serving as the organization’s official spokesperson. With “big picture” thinking and keen desire for collaboration, she assists the Board in confirming goals and tasks at the beginning of each year and in evaluating and recommending paths for the future.
Maria was one of many women eager to volunteer immediately after Hurricane Katrina. Luckily, she chose the Junior League in 2006 as one of many organizations to which she devotes her time. With much of her effort spent in the Business and Communications Council, she has previously served on the Cookbook Committee, as Property Manager, Bloomin’ Deals Committee Chair and Business and Communications Council Director. Those committees enabled her to learn about the League’s operations while assisting in the growth of the organization’s largest fundraiser, its Thrift Shop, on the thriving Freret Street corridor. Even with her focus on business, Maria’s favorite community shift was Rebuilding Together where she provided direct service to someone in our community. The idea of “home” is personal to her and making sure that it is safe and habitable for a family is a wonderful feeling. She enjoyed meeting the homeowners and being able to volunteer as a family. Maria’s husband David is a retired Shell employee, and they were able to volunteer together as Shell has partnered with JLNO on Rebuilding Together for over 25 years.
After graduating from Loyola University New Orleans, she taught social studies and served as the Department Chair at the Academy of Our Lady in Guam, where she developed an affinity for education, curriculum development, and lumpia, a savory fried spring roll. She extended her career in education as a Senior Admissions Counselor for Loyola University New Orleans. Outside of the Junior League, Maria has also served as a board member for several other local organizations, including Core Element, Café Reconcile, St. Elizabeth’s Guild and Family Service of Greater New Orleans. She has also volunteered her time on fundraisers for Friends of City Park, Preservation Resource Center, Children’s Hospital and Louisiana Children’s Museum.
Maria and her husband David live Uptown and have the pleasure and challenge of raising three 16 year-olds. Anthony attends Holy Cross School, August “Gus” attends Jesuit High School, and Annalisa attends Ursuline Academy. Daily, she is inspired by her parents who came to the United States with nothing and built a life that enabled their four children to go to college and have successful lives. Her unofficial family motto is “always forward, never backward.”