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Photo provided by Victoria Adams Phipps

Victoria Adams Phipps
Chief Strategy Officer at the New Orleans Business Alliance

How did you get to where you are today? What decisions, obstacles or milestones have defined your success?

My contributions to my community have defined my career in economic development. I began my career at The Idea Village, a small nonprofit that grew to play a significant role in the economic recovery of New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina. Within that role, I became deeply passionate about equitable economic growth, specifically focusing my efforts on building innovative programs that would infuse our community with critical resources.

The most notable of these was New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, an annual event that has infused millions of dollars into our local economy and its startup ventures. I’ve taken those priorities into my current role at the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), where I drive strategies to create economic growth for the businesses and residents of New Orleans.

A defining career accomplishment has been my most recent effort at NOLABA. As the effects of COVID-19 took hold within our economy, I launched the Gig Economy Relief Fund, securing $1 million in funding to provide more than 1,200 local gig workers with relief grants, including musicians, rideshare drivers, and local artists. I’m deeply proud of the tangible impact I’ve been able to create over the past decade.

How do you champion diversity, equity and inclusion in your daily life—personally and/or professionally? Why are these important values for our community?

As a Black woman, I hold diversity, equity and inclusion as deep values for my life, both professionally and personally. On a personal level, I am a vocal advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equitable practices within the spaces I occupy, whether that’s within the League, the various boards I sit on, or simply with friends and family. In addition, my husband and I are extremely intentional about where we spend money, ensuring that the businesses we frequent (and their ownership) align with our values. On a professional level, I’m the executive sponsor of our internal DEI committee. Within that group, we are constantly pushing ourselves and our partners to operate with a stronger eye towards equitable practices and outcomes, both internally and externally.

These values are critically important as we seek to address and dismantle historic inequities, such as the gender wage gap and systemic racism. We are collectively more prosperous when we equitably include, embrace, and elevate our fellow community members, whether that’s at work or in our everyday lives. Most importantly, we must remember that we all have power and influence we can leverage to bring about change.

How has the League influenced you personally and/or professionally? How has JLNO advanced DEI priorities and where do you hope to see this work evolve?

My time within the League has brought about rich friendships and has allowed me to build strong relationships with incredible women across the community. In my six years of membership, I’ve felt encouraged by the increased diversity of our members; however, there is much work that we, as a League, can continue to do to ensure that our membership is reflective of our community and that those members are embraced and included. As we seek to “develop the potential of women,” we must be clear-eyed about the challenges that many women and many of our members face, both in and outside of the League. We must be willing to face our own hard truths if we truly want to emerge as a stronger, more equitable and diverse League.

 

“We are collectively more prosperous when we equitably include, embrace, and elevate our fellow community members, whether that’s at work or in our everyday lives. “