Hall of Fame Luncheon

November 21, 2015 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Nicholls State
906 E 1st St
Thibodaux, LA 70301
Dr. Laura Badeaux

Louisiana Center for Women in Government and Business Inducts 12 Persons Into Hall of Fame

Ten women and two men, known for their outstanding support of leadership among women, were be inducted into the Louisiana Center for Women in Government and Business’ Hall of Fame on Nov. 21 at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux.

“As The Center celebrated its 25th year of promoting, informing and encouraging leadership among women in government and business, we are proud to add the names of these 12 distinguished women and men who have excelled in their fields and support,” said Laura Badeaux, Ph.D., Executive Director of The Center.

The Center’s Hall of Fame was begun in 1994 and includes former Congresswoman Lindy Boggs, former Louisiana Treasurer Mary Evelyn Parker, former newspaper writer Iris Kelso, former state official Sandra Thompson Herman, Levees.org Founder Sandy Rosenthal, and former Lieutenant Governor Melinda Schwegmann.

This year’s Hall of Fame honorees were inducted at a luncheon on Nov. 21 from 12:30 to 2 p.m., in the Donald G. Bolinger Cotillion Ballroom at Nicholls. Award-winning actress CCH Pounder, who stars in the hit CBS drama NCIS: New Orleans, was the keynote speaker at the luncheon.

The 2015 Hall of Fame Inductees are:

Nell Nolan, veteran journalist

Jackie Clarkson, New Orleans City Councilwoman

Vanessa Whipple, Chief Judge, Louisiana’s First Circuit Court of Appeal

Leah Chase, Owner of Dooky Chase’s restaurant in New Orleans

Felicia Frederick, Manager of Governmental Affairs at Chevron

Karen Puckett, President of Global Markets, CenturyLink

Stephanie Burks, Co-founder and Vice-President of RYCARS Construction

Leslie Marsh, Donor Relations Officer, Tulane University

Brandie Toups, Chair, Louisiana Girls Leadership Academy, Nicholls

Donnell Zeringue, Lafourche Parish Commission for Women

Christian LeBlanc, Emmy-award winer and star of The Young and the Restless

Russ Herman, Senior Partner, Herman, Herman & Katz Law Firm

Earlier on Saturday, Nov. 21, between 8 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., The Center will hosted its “Summit on Pragmatic Leadership,” featuring interactive sessions with two best-selling authors, Dr. Sam Bacharach and Ryan Lowe.

On Friday, Nov. 20, The Center hosted its Patrons Party, 7-9 p.m., at the home of doctors Raja and Gayatheri Talluri in Thibodaux where Marsh, Toups, and Zeringue will be recognized as The Center’s Outstanding Activists for 2015.

Co-chairs of the 25th Anniversary events were Cherry Fisher May, Publisher of IND Media in Lafayette, and Major Renee Brinkley of the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Emcees and presenters at the events will be actor Christian LeBlanc; Eric Paulsen, WWL-TV anchor; former Governor Blanco; Sandra Herman, President of the Board of Directors of the Center for Women; Sonia Perez, AT& T executive; Andie Bollinger Giardina; and Dr. Badeaux.

More About the 2015 Hall of Fame Honorees, by category

Blue Ribbon Award for Media
Nell Nolan-The Advocate

Well-known for telling the stories of women from New Orleans and around the world, Nolan is a veteran journalist who has worked for six newspapers and has also put her talent as a teacher and actress to work for charities throughout her career.

Award for Public Service
Jackie Clarkson-New Orleans City Council

With a record of public service that spans more than 20 years, Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson has represented the people of New Orleans as both a State Legislator and a Council member-at-large.

Judge Whipple

Vanessa Whipple-Chiefe Judge, LA First Circuit Court of Appeal

A lifelong Terrebonne Parish resident, Judge Whipple was the first woman elected to the First Circuit Court of Appeals 24 years ago and was sworn in as the first female chief judge for that district in 2013.

Lifetime Achievement Award


Leah Chase-Owner, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant

Respected as “The Queen of Creole Cuisine,” Leah Chase has fed US Presidents from both Parties (Bush II and Obama) and top performers such as Ray Charles, Quincy Jones and Duke Ellington. She successfully broke the “color” line and is embraced by all for her cuisine, her love of people, and her contribution to the arts.

Corporate Honorees


Felicia Frederick-Governmental Affairs Manager, Chevron

She joined Chevron in 2000 as Manager of Political Compliance Programs in San Francisco. Felicia now serves nine states as State Governmental Affairs Representative for Chevron’s Government, Policy, and Public Affairs.

Karen Puckett- President of Global Markets, CenturyLink

As the president of Global Markets for CenturyLink, Karen is one of the 50 most powerful women in the world of technology, according to the National Diversity Council. She joined CenturyLink in 2000 and helped elevate the company to a Fortune 500 technology company.

Stephanie Burks-Co-founder/VP of RYCARS Construction

The co-owner and co-founder of RYCARS Construction, LLC, Stephanie’s leadership put RYCARS in the Top Ten 100 Black Industrial Businesses in 2012. The company has operations in 10 states.

Men Who Support Strong Women


Christian LeBlanc-Emmy® Award-Winning Actor

This star of stage and screen has used his celebrity status to support numerous charities, including The Center, Bayou Junior Woman’s Club and The Lafourche Commision on Women, in raising money for their outreach and education programs. He is most definitely “a man who supports strong women” honoree.

Russ Herman
Russ Herman- Senior Partner, Herman, Herman & Katz

He has authored 200 publications and has served as President of The Association of Trial Lawyers of America. He has been listed in Best Lawyers in America and has been hailed for accomplishments by the National Law Journal and Fortune Magazine. His philanthropic support of and work for The Center makes him a ‘man who supports strong women’ honoree.

Outstanding Activists for The Center for Women
Leslie Marsh

A member of the Advisory Board for The Center and The Son of a Saint, Leslie has served on numerous committees in support of our mission. She began her career in the hospitality industry and now serves as a Donor Relations Officer at Tulane University.

Brandie Toups

Brandie has shown her commitment to The Center is through the Louisiana Girls Leadership Academy. From a camp in 2007, she helped grow the academy to a four-day leadership experience that includes communications, team building, public service, public policy, and energy and environmental competition projects.

Donnell Zeringue

For seven years, Donnell has served as chair of the Public Service Project for The Center’s Louisiana Girls Leadership Academy. From the Lafourche Commission on Women to the National Leaders Summit to The Louisiana Leaders Conference, her support of women in leadership roles spans 20 years.

More About the Speakers and Presenters

CCH Pounder

is a four-time Emmy® Award nominee who has received accolades for her roles in some of the most popular television series in history, including Sons of Anarchy, Law & Order: SVU, The X Files, The Shield, ER and others, including her current role as Dr. Loretta Wade on the hit CBS series NCIS: New Orleans. She has appeared in multiple highly acclaimed and blockbuster feature films, including Avatar and Prizzi’s Honor, and received the highest honor in the genre of audio publishing. A graduate of Ithaca College in New York, Pounder is an activist for and advocate of the arts in the U.S., Senegal and South Africa.


Dr. Sam Bacharach

is the best-selling author of Get Them On Your Side and Keep Them On Your Side, is a dynamic speaker who will lead an interactive session about leadership, change, and innovation. Bacharach is also a professor emeritus or organizational behavior at Cornell University.

Ryan Lowe

CAO, is an acronym for Chief Attitude Officer. The author of Get Off Your Attitude and Get Something Done has been featured in print, radio and TV, including Selling Power Magazine and Success Magazine. He works with organizations to help create a positive culture and mindset to achieve excellence.


Kathleen Babineaux Blanco

served as Louisiana’s first woman governer (2004-2008) through one of the state’s toughest times, as hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck Louisiana within a month of each other in 2005. Her distinguished career in public service includes election to the State Legislature and the Louisiana Public Service Commission.

Christian LeBlanc

“What do you do and what have you contributed to life?” is the question by which this three-time Emmy® Award winner for Outstanding Lead Act lives his life. Christian stars in the role of Michael Baldwin on the daytime drama The Young and the Restless. For 20 years, this television and stage actor has used his star power to assist numerous statewide charities, including The Center, Bayou Junior Woman’s Club, and The Lafourche Commission on Women in raising money for their charity and education programs.

Eric Paulsen

is one of the southeast Louisiana’s most familiar faces and the 15-year veteran anchor of the number one ranked morning newscast in America. Eric Paulsen has covered the world with his WWL-TV news team and also landed the final in-depth broadcast interview with Tennessee Williams.