Annette Dowdle — Senior VP, HUB International Gulf South

Women of Influence 2021

As Senior Vice President of HUB International Gulf South, Annette Dowdle works with regional and national specialists to align employers with proactive ways to achieve mutual goals for their organization and employees. Annette offers 20+ years of experience collaborating with employers on their benefits programs and is known for her compassion, authenticity, and dedication to making a difference in others’ lives. As a Certified Corporate Wellness Coach, she brings her clients wellness/productivity programming that engages their employees and creates a productive and positive workforce. Annette is a passionate advocate of heart health—she serves as the AHA Heart Walk Chairperson for 2022 as well as a member of the Circle of Red. 

3510 N Causeway Blvd STE 300, Metairie // 504.491.5576 // //


Casey Mintzer — President, New Orleans Perspectives

Women of Influence 2021

Economist Casey Mintzer started New Orleans Perspectives after seeing a lack in qualitative research with hard to reach populations.

“I wanted to be the one to say ‘yes’ to projects that have previously been shut down,” says Casey, President. “We find the people that companies, researchers, and nonprofits want to talk to.”

Serving New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, this focus group company conducts one-to-two-hour interviews with small groups in its custom-designed research facility or in regional hotels/centers. From healthcare topics—including patients with certain conditions—to legal and political research on topics such as women’s rights and civil rights, Casey’s work brings needed perspective while putting hundreds of thousands of dollars into the hands of locals.

1340 Poydras St., Suite 1440, New Orleans // 504.291.1844 //



Deanna Head — Founder/Owner, Unitech Training Academy

Women of Influence 2021

As Founder and CEO of Unitech Training Academy, Deanna Head has been responsible for growing an impactful institution that started with one small building in 1997 and has grown to seven statewide campuses that offer field-specific allied health job training to future employees and skilled, well trained graduates to Louisiana’s employers. 

Deanna started Unitech as a single mother—she negotiated her building rent, promising to pay when her first class started, and bought her first lab equipment at the Salvation Army. Having experienced a number of hardships throughout her life, including abuse and homelessness, Deanna saw a need for programming that could help people encountering similar barriers in life and others looking for employment. 

“Anything is possible if you’re willing to take a chance and follow through,” says Deanna.

Dedicated to improving the lives of others, Deanna has been recognized with a number of awards, including the Career Achievement Award from Connections, a National Leadership Award, the West Monroe Chamber of Commerce Female Champion Award, and more. In addition to owning Unitech, Deanna is Founder of For My Child learning centers and Owner of The Little Wedding Chapel & Party Room. Deanna and Unitech support a number of community organizations, including Animal Rescue Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, American Cancer Society, and others.

New Orleans Campus – 5401 Jefferson Hwy, Suite D, New Orleans // 504.541.6961 //



Dr. Devan Szczepanski — Founder, DS FAMILY MEDICAL GROUP

Women of Influence 2021

Dr. Devan Szczepanski believes there is a picture of health and well-being within everyone. As a Board Certified Physician and Founder of DS Family Medical Group, her mission is to rediscover the art surrounding the science of medicine. 

“No two patients are alike,” says Dr. Szczepanski. “My goal is to practice medicine the way Michelangelo created the Sistine Chapel—methodically, creatively, and with the powers of invention and innovation.”

At DS Family Medicine, her traditional medical services include convenient in-house ultrasounds and lab-work that provide “real time” comprehensive diagnostic care. With certifications in nutritional and genetic medicine, Dr. Szczepanski complements her work-ups with the DS Therapeutics division of her practice, offering a dynamic and reformative approach to medicine. Treatments are personalized, based in part on each patient’s DNA structure. Nutrigenic options, including vitamins and supplements, are customized, and elective in-house brain and gut-mapping technology provide unparalleled insight into the patient’s mind-gut-body health and function. 

Dr. Szczepanski’s newest business, SoLux Wellness Integrative Medical Spa, features aesthetics that realize beauty from the inside out. SoLux Wellness hosts an annual Sophrosyne Beauty Blessing event that benefits medical charities while empowering women. While leading the way in comprehensive lifestyle medicine, Dr. Szczepanski enjoys opportunities to give back to her community both professionally and personally.

56 Starbrush Cir, Covington // 985.246.5670 //



Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP — Partners; Michelle Roy, Elizabeth Penn, Erin Wedge Latuso, Amy Maccherone, and Melissa Fuller

Women of Influence 2021

With 50 percent female partners, Forman Watkins & Krutz is a New Orleans law firm trying cases throughout Louisiana for over 30 years. The firm’s New Orleans female leadership includes Michelle Roy, Elizabeth Penn, Erin Wedge Latuso, Amy Maccherone, and Melissa Fuller.

FormanWatkins is intentionally unique, valuing different perspectives. A commercial, employment, and litigation firm led by a diverse partnership, the experiences and talents of the female leadership are fundamental to its firm culture. Because of the firm’s commitment to skills development and professional advancement opportunities, FormanWatkins boasts high female retention and partnership.

The firm honors individuality and equality, and attorneys work together to elevate each other’s practice. FormanWatkins prioritizes active engagement in diverse and inclusive endeavors, both internally and in the local community. Attorneys participate in various organizations to advance women in the practice of law and have sponsored local law students seeking to participate in such events.

Through dialogue and collaboration, the women of FormanWatkins inspire inclusion throughout their firm and in the legal profession.

Learn more about these amazing women of influence by visiting

201 St. Charles Avenue, #2100, New Orleans // 504.799.4383 //



Heather Joseph — CEO, River Oaks Hospital

Women of Influence 2021

An internationally recognized psychiatric hospital located minutes outside of New Orleans, River Oaks Hospital has served individuals from across the globe. A recognized leader in the treatment of eating disorders and trauma, River Oaks prioritizes quality patient care.

“As CEO of River Oaks Hospital, I am honored to say that we are continuously enriching our clinical programs while maintaining the tradition of excellence in behavioral healthcare,” says Heather Joseph. “There is nothing more rewarding than being a voice and advocate for those struggling with mental illness and substance abuse disorders, and our team of leaders proudly share the vision and dedication necessary to provide the most clinically advanced programs in the region.” 

1525 River Oaks Rd W, New Orleans  // 800.366.1740 //



Kristen Stanley-Wallace — Owner, Stanley-Wallace Law, LLC

Women of Influence 2021

Kristen Stanley-Wallace always knew she would one day be an attorney who helped others, and as Owner/Attorney of Stanley-Wallace Law, she is known for serving clients with empathy and compassion, traits other attorneys may lack.

“Our clients are at the forefront of everything that we do,” she says. “We know that when they visit us, it’s often on their hardest days.” Whether an injury, custody battle, or the loss of a loved one, every legal issue is handled with both professionalism and care.

In 2015, Kristen received the East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce’s Young Athena Professional Award, which honors exceptional women in leadership roles. 

2065 First Street, #102, Slidell // 985.288.4621 //



Laurie McCants — Operating Partner/General Manager, Mercedes Benz of Covington

Women of Influence 2021

Laurie McCants loves cars and helping others, and as Operating Partner for Mercedes Benz of Covington, Honda of Covington, and Covington Powersports, she found her dream job. Under her leadership, Mercedes Covington received the prestigious Mercedes Best of the Best Gold Laurel Award in its first year of eligibility. Likewise, Honda of Covington is a multi-year President’s Award winner while Covington Powersports is yearly recognized in Honda’s Council of Excellence.

Laurie’s exceptional community involvement has included board positions at Safehaven Foundation, St. Tammany Hospital Foundation, St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce, and the Northshore’s Go Red for Women from the National Heart Association. Her Mercedez Benz and Honda dealerships support a wide variety of Greater New Orleans nonprofits.

8080 Westshore Dr, Covington // 985.900.1212 //



Nicole Dorignac — Secretary/Treasurer, Dorignac’s

Women of Influence 2021

Now entering its 75th year, Dorignac’s has provided generations of families with the foods and specialty items that make their everyday meals and special occasions both meaningful and familiar. Founded in the 1940s by Joseph Dorignac, Jr. and his mother Margaret Dedebant Dorignac, the grocery is still run by the passionate, committed Dorignac family now in its 4th generation. 

For Nicole M. Dorignac, Secretary/Treasurer, and her family, it’s important to continue hiring individuals with developmental disabilities, a practice the company’s founders began in Dorignac’s early days. “We work with Arc of Greater New Orleans to employ these amazing individuals and see them take pride in a job well done—they are such an important part of our team,” says Nicole. “We are grateful for Arc and its mission and enjoy working with them to provide job opportunities to their clients.”

Additionally, Dorignac’s and its team members support various schools, religious institutions, and organizations and non-profits. 

“As community members, it’s important for us all to take part in helping the area recover from the pandemic, and we’re looking forward to providing support where needed to this community that has kept us thriving for generations,” says Nicole.

710 Veterans Memorial Blvd, Metairie // 504.834.8216 //



Olivia F. Scott — Founder, Omerge Alliances

Women of Influence 2021

Accomplished business owner, former Carol’s Daughter CMO, Assistant Professor, and writer Olivia F. Scott channels her creativity and entrepreneurial spirit through Omerge Alliances, a marketing communications consultancy, and Freedom at the Mat, a wellness brand offering online and in-person short-form mindfulness
and movement classes.

Omerge Alliances specializes in advertising campaigns, media planning, and branded event productions for clients such as ESSENCE Festival, New York Theological Seminary, and Game Show Network. Olivia created Freedom At The Mat to empower women with tools and body-positive physical activity to combat the daily stressors of life.

“In addition to personally mentoring young women, I and my businesses support the advancement of women through alliances with A21, New Orleans Family Justice Center, Iris House Women’s Center for AIDS, and more,” says Olivia. 

646.325.3201 // //



Sandra Herman — Founder, New Orleans Entertainment Coalition

Women of Influence 2021

After serving 20 years in state government, heading major departments, philanthropist and strategic advisor Sandra Thompson Herman founded New Orleans Entertainment Coalition (NOEC) to promote global awareness, education, and celebration of the arts and culture as a means to enhance the quality of life, support tourism, and strengthen the economy.

As CEO & Board President, Sandra is committed to Louisiana’s unique culture of tourism and entertainment and making sure that there is a seat for everyone at the table, specifically women and minorities. As the designer of the Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism, NOEC is a continuation of her legacy and commitment to Louisiana’s arts, culture, and tourism.

Sandra thrives on leading and motivating others to achieve their full potential. Through NOEC and her leadership roles on numerous boards, she encourages collaborations between arts-dedicated non-profits, including Ballet Resource and Volunteer Organization, The Club of New Orleans, Louisiana Girls Leadership Academy, and First Lady Donna Edwards’ Louisiana First Foundation, among others.

Widely recognized as one of the most accomplished women in Louisiana governance, Sandra has won numerous awards, notably the Louisiana Center for Women in Government and Business’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Trailblazer for Women, Entrepreneur of the Year, and Career Achievement Award.

625 St Charles Avenue, New Orleans //