Shon Cowan Baker, Planning & Development Council Director

“Nevertheless, she persisted.”


Shon Cowan Baker is serving as the Planning and Development Director for the Junior League of New Orleans Board of Directors. In this position, she utilizes her forward-thinking capability to advise the board on long-range planning and integrate the Strategic Plan into everyday operations and planning. She cultivates funding sources and leads the volunteer team that reviews and formulates JLNO’s strategic plan, partnerships, community projects and fundraisers. She hopes to help JLNO continue to improve the lives of women and children in New Orleans in ways that capitalize on community support and in a way that leverages the talent of JLNO members.

After joining JLNO in 2009, Shon served on the Membership and Planning and Development Councils. She has chaired both the Esprit and Sustainer Connections committees and held positions on JLNO’s Development, Grant Writing, and Strategic Planning committees. She has made so many lifelong friends as a result of JLNO. Serving an organization with such a deep history and connection to the community is an honor for Shon. JLNO’s legacy and the impact that both the Sustainers and the current Actives continue to have on this city is inspiring and motivates her desire to serve. She feels fortunate to be able to spend her free time surrounded by so many inspiring women—executives, community leaders, entrepreneurs, mothers and professional women from diverse backgrounds. Shon’s JLNO service has taught her so much. Professionally, she has learned how to not only be a great leader but also to be a really great follower. Personally, JLNO has deepened her connection to the New Orleans community in ways she could never have imagined.

Shon is Chief Philanthropy Officer for The Foundation for Woman’s, the philanthropic arm of Woman’s Hospital. Shon leads the Woman’s Philanthropy team in connecting donors to the health system’s world-class care and educational programs through philanthropic outreach. With more than a decade of experience leading development strategy and comprehensive fundraising activities for nonprofit organizations, she assists Woman’s efforts to lead the nation in quality patient care and life-changing discoveries that are essential to the hospital’s mission of improving the health of women and infants. Shon oversees the Foundation’s giving campaigns including major, planned, annual, and corporate. She previously served as Xavier University of Louisiana’s Associate Vice President of Development where she provided strategic leadership and management for the university’s fundraising programs to include major gifts and corporate and foundation fundraising. Prior to her work with Xavier, Shon directed the Touro Infirmary Foundation where she led all aspects of the hospital’s fundraising to include annual and major giving as well as endowment management. Shon earned a B.S. from Campbell University, M.A. from the University of Holy Cross and Ph.D. from Louisiana State University. Her research interests include examining the impact of transformational donations on the mission of nonprofit organizations, female philanthropic leadership and feminist philanthropy.

In addition to her professional endeavors in philanthropy, Shon volunteers her time and expertise. She currently holds several positions with New Orleans nonprofits, including Board Member of the Friends of City Park of New Orleans, Krewe of Muses Chairwoman, and Vice President of the Board of Governors of Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre.  Shon also previously served as a Board Member for Dress for Success New Orleans. Her contributions have been recognized with several awards, including 2018 Person to Watch in Medicine by Baton Rouge Business Report, 2017 Top New Orleans Female Achiever by New Orleans Magazine and 2015 New Orleans CityBusiness Healthcare Hero. She’s chaired the following events: City Park’s Martini Madness, Le Petit Theatre’s Curtain Call Ball, Preservation Resource Center’s Julia Jump, First Line School’s Edible Evening, and Dress for Success’ Suits and Salads Luncheon.

Digital Sponsors

Become a sponsor ...

Sign up for our FREE

New Orleans Magazine email newsletter

Get the the best in New Orleans dining, shopping, events and more delivered to your inbox.