Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette area People in Business for Dec. 17, 2017

The Advocate


Kathryn Robinson has been named youth program director at Urban Restoration Enhancement Corp., directing initiatives that include the 21st Century Community Learning Centers at Southern University and Glen Oaks Park Elementary School and the College and Career Ready Program.

Robinson was national director of practitioner development for City Year Inc. She has nearly 20 years of experience in education, working as a classroom teacher and district official and in youth development, curriculum design, program development and nonprofit leadership.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College and master’s from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

J.D. Morein, owner of J.D. Morein Consulting of Lafayette, has been named associate partner at Veillon Business Consulting LLC in Baton Rouge, with responsibility for the Acadiana and Lake Charles markets.

Morein will keep his company name for separate marketing purposes.

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber has named Emilia “Emi” Gilbert as senior vice president of investor development, overseeing fundraising efforts and cultivating support of BRAC’s five-year strategic plan.

Gilbert was senior director of development for the LSU College of Science as an employee of the LSU Foundation. A Certified Fundraising Executive, the Rockford, Illinois, native holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from LSU.

Russell S. Bennett and J. Chad Jones have been elected to the board of directors of First National Bankers Bankshares Inc. and banking subsidiary First National Bankers Bank.

Bennett is president and CEO of First National Bank of Clarksdale in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Jones is president and CEO of First Bank of Alabama in Talladega, Alabama.

They succeed L. Royce Cumbest, of Merchants and Marine Bank in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and Dennis Upchurch, of CB&S Bank in Russellville, Alabama.

First National Bankers Bank, chartered in 1983, has offices in Baton Rouge and Shreveport; Birmingham, Alabama; Little Rock, Arkansas; Lake Mary, Florida; Ridgeland, Mississippi; and Marietta, Georgia.

The Water Institute of the Gulf named Jeff Hebert as vice president for adaptation and resilience, effective Jan. 1.

Hebert was deputy mayor, chief administrative officer and chief resilience officer of New Orleans. He earned a bachelor’s degree from New York University, a master’s from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a graduate of the Achieving Excellence in Community Development program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.


Pacific Hospitality Group has named Kenneth Jacques as general manager of the 220-room AC Hotel New Orleans Bourbon.

Jacques was general manager at Marriott’s Moxy New Orleans. He has more than 15 years in the hospitality industry, previously holding management and leadership positions at The Westin New Orleans Canal Place, Loews New Orleans Hotel, W Washington D.C. and W New Orleans. The New Orleans native is an LSU graduate.

Jennifer Schmidt has been named chief nursing officer at Lakeview Regional Medical Center, a campus of Tulane Medical Center.

Schmidt was the associate chief nursing officer at Tulane Medical Center and the on-site nursing leader for the Lakeside Hospital for Women and Children. She holds a master’s degree in nursing, with a focus in health care systems management, from Loyola University in New Orleans.

Jeff Wilke, managing director at SVN | Gulf Partners in New Orleans, was recently installed for a two-year term as the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors‘ South regional director.

Wilke has 20 years of commercial real estate experience in sales, leasing and investments. He has completed over 9 million square feet of real estate transactions in the southeast U.S. The global professional organization certifies commercial real estate service providers with the SIOR designation, based on achievement, knowledge, accountability and ethical standards. There are more than 3,200 members in 680 cities in 36 countries.

Matthew Schaefer has been named chief operating officer of Children’s Hospital.

He will be heavily involved in the $300 million expansion project at the Uptown Campus, as well as strategic planning and growth. Schaefer was president of Texas Children’s Hospital’s West Campus and has 10 years of health care experience, including as an associate for global management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. He received a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Texas A&M and earned his Master’s in Business Administration from Rice University.

Desmond LaVelle has been named vice president, executive creative director, at Peter Mayer, overseeing the marketing firm’s creative, studio and development departments.

LaVelle was creative shop global lead of creative partnerships at Facebook, where he spent six years co-creating the future of brand storytelling with the global creative community. He also has been a senior vice president and creative director with Leo Burnett and FCB San Francisco.

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