On May 2, Loyola University broke with tradition by selecting Tania Tetlow as the school’s first female and lay-person president.
A graduate of Tulane University and Harvard law school, Tetlow has worked in New Orleans in a variety of non-profit, civic and community organizations, engaging in work targeting sexual assault cases and post-Katrina rebuilding of the New Orleans Public Library, just to name two.
Tetlow will be leaving her post as senior vice president and chief of staff at Tulane to move into her new office at Loyola. For Tetlow, the position will not only employ the career skills she has learned, but also the values she has embraced as a member of the Catholic church; and a family tradition of service.
Q: How does it feel to be the first female, non-Jesuit president of Loyola?
I am honored and humbled. It is a great responsibility to carry on the Jesuit mission as a layperson and to lead this university that means so much to me.
Q: What is it about Jesuit values that inspire you?
The many Jesuits in my family raised me to have courage and discipline. They taught me to challenge the way things have always been and to spend my life trying to make the world a better place.
Q: What advice would you give to young women who are looking to break into careers traditionally held by men?
Before you arrive, people will not always be able to picture you in the role. Sometimes that means you have to work harder and clear the bar by more. That isn’t fair, but once you are there, it will get a little bit easier for those who follow in your footsteps.
Q: How can women in leadership roles today provide unique guidance to a new generation of men and women?
Talent is distributed equally in men and women, in people of every race and creed — and the world cannot afford to squander that talent. I hope that the presence of leaders such as Mayor Cantrell, Gayle Benson and so many others helps remind young people of that fact and helps ensure that they won’t overlook talent in others or in themselves. Lindy Boggs did that for me.
Q: Why is volunteerism important to you?
This city is my heart, and nothing makes me happier than finding ways to help it. I think that Katrina unleashed the collective power of the New Orleans people. When we set our mind to something, it turns out there is very little we can’t accomplish. We need to keep that determination going.
Q: How has New Orleans influenced you?
I have chosen to build a career in New Orleans because this city and this community matter so much to me. New Orleans is creative, passionate, frustrating and joyful. It inspires me and drives me.
At a Glance
Education: Sacred Heart, Holy Name, Ben Franklin, Tulane and Harvard Law
Favorite Book: Portrait of a Lady, Henry James
Favorite Food: Oysters
Favorite Movie: The Mission
Hobbies: Training police officers, singing opera, cooking
Favorite Restaurant: Cochon