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Biz Talks

Biz Talks

By Biz New Orleans
One-on-one interviews with Biz New Orleans magazine and local leaders about issues that affect businesses throughout the greater New Orleans region.
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Episode 58: Production Value – New Orleans Movie Business is Booming
In this week's podcast, Trey Burvant, vice president of studio operations at Second Line Stages, talks about the state of the city’s film industry as it rebounds impressively from the pandemic shutdown.
June 8, 2021
Episode 57: High on the Hog – Hogs for the Cause Returns
Festival season is back!!! And kicking it off is the 13th iteration of Hogs for the Cause this Friday and Saturday, June 4 and 5. The creation of lifelong friends and New Orleans natives, Becker Hall and Rene Louapre, Hogs has grown to become one of the largest barbecue competitions and music festivals in the country. On this week’s episode, the founders give us the inside scoop on what to expect for the event’s triumphant return and what they’re most looking forward to after a tough year off.
June 1, 2021
Episode 56: Decade of Development - South Market Neighborhood
In the early 2000s, the four-block section of downtown that would become the South Market neighborhood was mostly empty parking lots and aging office buildings. Today, the area is a $300 million (and counting) blend of housing, retail and dining that has brought updated urban living to the area. On this week's podcast, we talk to real estate developer Matt Schwartz about how the project came to be, what’s next for the area and what other projects are on the horizon for Domain.
May 25, 2021
Episode 55: New Online Dating App Has a Retro Twist
Dating apps leave something to be desired, say this week’s guests, New Orleans natives Stephanie Hilton and Bayleigh Frickey, which is why they created The Meetery, a new kind of dating app that replace endless online chatting with 15-minute face-to-face ‘first impression’ dates. Frickey and Hilton share how it all works and why they think their app will be a game changer in the multibillion-dollar online dating industry in this episode of Biz Talks.
May 18, 2021
Episode 54: Over the Overpass – Activist Says It's Time to Remove the Claiborne Expressway, and Here's How to Do It
Amy Stelly is an artist, designer, planner and teacher, known for her advocacy work with the Claiborne Avenue Alliance, a coalition "dedicated to the thoughtful development of the Claiborne corridor." Stelly's work made international headlines recently when the Biden administration cited the Claiborne expressway, built by the federal government in the 1960s, as an example of historic inequity. On this week’s Biz Talks podcast, Stelly explains why the elevated expressway never should have been built, why it should come down and how to get the job done.
May 11, 2021
Episode 53: Louisiana Has Its First Sake!
The first-ever Louisiana made craft sake hit the market a month ago and the two women behind it — Nan Wallis and Lindsey Brower, owners of Wetlands Sake — tell us all about it, how it came to be, and where you can grab some on this week’s episode of BizTalks.
May 3, 2021
Episode 52: Tourism Report – Busy Spring Weekends Raise Hopes for Bigger Comeback in the Fall
Thanks to a long spring break season and exceptionally beautiful weather, visitors have been flocking to New Orleans again - but mostly on weekends and mostly by car. Attractions like the Audubon Zoo have been posting attendance numbers that are similar to 2019, but the hospitality industry - ordinarily a source of more than $10 billion in visitor spending - still has a long way to go. Hospitality officials are waiting for meetings, cruises, big weddings and international flights to return before they pop any champagne corks. On this week’s podcast, we talk to New Orleans & Company president and CEO Stephen Perry about the state of the industry, his high hopes for the fall and the slow road back to full health.
April 26, 2021
Episode 51: Looking to Make a Change? Heading Back to School Could Be the Answer.
Whether you’ve been laid off, are looking to make more money in a more in-demand field, or maybe always wanted to get a business degree but didn’t think you had the time or the money, there are some great new programs out there. Dr. Larry Audler and Dr. Barbara Wizer share some great options at University of Holy Cross, including a new Accelerated Business Degree program and lots of options to get into booming health sciences careers.  
April 20, 2021
Episode 50: Commercial Real Estate Market Improving - But Pandemic Effects Still Unclear
The COVID-19 pandemic affected the residential and commercial real estate markets very differently. In New Orleans and elsewhere, home prices climbed as buyers sought more space and listings became scarce. The work-from-home trend, meanwhile, has emptied out office buildings while health restrictions reduced foot traffic in hotels, restaurants and stores. In this week's podcast, Henry Shortess of Urban Properties Real Estate gives his take on regional commercial real estate trends.
April 12, 2021
Episode 49: Did You Miss This Year’s NOEW? We’ve Got Your Recap
This year’s New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, held March 22-26, drew thousands of participants from over 34 countries around the globe eager to hear the latest from the region’s burgeoning entrepreneur community. But if you happened to miss it, all the over 87 sessions and 137 speakers are still accessible at thanks to this year’s completely virtual programming. In this week’s episode, Jon Atkinson, CEO of Idea Village, the producer of NOEW, shares the highlights from this year’s event.
April 6, 2021
Episode 48: Fat City Dreams –Van Vrancken Talks Revitalization of Metairie Neighborhood
In this week's episode, Jefferson Parish District 5 Councilmember Jennifer Van Vrancken talks about ongoing efforts to revitalize Metairie’s “Fat City” neighborhood. For years, Parish leaders have been looking for ways to create more green space, improve walkability, add street parking and spur development in the area – and recently they sought ideas from potential developers. Van Vrancken highlights what's been done and potential next steps.
March 30, 2021
Episode 47: Your Travel Questions Answered
What’s open? Where are the best deals? Should you book now or wait a bit? How will traveling look different? Melinda Bourgeois, owner of Travel Central travel agency in Metairie since 1988, answers all these questions and more in this week’s episode of BizTalks.  
March 23, 2021
Episode 46: The Last Mile – Local Expert on a Quest to Perfect Shipping Industry's Biggest Challenge
The "last mile" has always been the most expensive and complicated part of the journey for any product making its way to your home or office. Companies ranging from Amazon to local mom and pops are competing to come up with systems and technology to speed the process up and keep costs down. On this week's podcast, local shipping expert Jason Burns talks about the sale of his family's company - QCS Logistics - to Austin-based Dropoff and his new role looking for companies to join the Dropoff family.
March 16, 2021
Episode 45: A New Era is Dawning for Live Events – What Will It Look Like?
If you attended Celebration in the Oaks or Floats in the Oaks, you experienced innovative event solutions from local tech company WRSTBND, including everything from QR code ticketing text messages to traffic flow tracking and a custom-built radio station. As we look to return to more concerts, festivals and fundraisers, organizers will be making every effort to make them safer, more convenient and more engaging. WRSTBND CEO Conway Solomon shares some of the possibilities his company has developed so far and what he thinks the future holds for the industry.
March 9, 2021
Episode 44: ‘Zero Waste’ Proponent Sarah Andert Wants to Help New Orleanians Do Recycling Right
This week's guest is Sarah Andert, founder and owner of Vintage Green Review, a zero waste education, lifestyle and consulting business. Andert helps people live a vibrant, low-waste lifestyle with vintage-inspired solutions that make sustainability fun and interesting. She has a background in journalism, education, art and environmental studies.
March 2, 2021
Episode 43: Pandemic Primates — A look at the critical role the Tulane National Primate Research Center is playing in the fight against COVID-19
To test COVID-19 vaccines and treatments you need primates, and the United States had a shortage even before the pandemic. Jay Rappaport, principal investigator and director of the Tulane National Primate Research Center talks about the national partnership the center is leading to coordinate primate centers like never before in order to move new vaccines and treatments forward as efficiently as possible. He also shares a bit about the surprising scope of COVID-19 research the center is doing right here in Covington, including on the virus’s long-term effects and emerging variants. Plus, are you or someone you know apprehensive about the current vaccines? Rappaport addresses the concerns many have about the speed of their development and their safety and shares his thoughts on what we can expect in the next few months and years.
February 23, 2021
Episode 42: New Orleanian Tyler Thompson Conquers Hollywood
On this week’s podcast, we talk to Louisiana native and New Orleans resident Tyler Thompson about the state of the film industry during the pandemic and the balancing act of raising a family in New Orleans while running one of the most successful production companies in Hollywood. Thompson is the co-founder of Cross Creek Pictures, which has produced films that have grossed more than $1 billion in worldwide box office and been nominated for six Academy Awards, 10 Golden Globes and 18 BAFTAs. The Cross Creek film The Trial of the Chicago 7, released on Netflix, is receiving Oscar buzz this year. When he’s not making deals with stars and directors - or chasing his kids around Defy Trampoline Park in Elmwood - you might find Thompson at Tipitina’s rehearsing with the band he put together to stave off COVID boredom. His first-ever album will be released this year.
February 9, 2021
Episode 41: Diversifying Corporate Internships
Diversity is good for the bottom line. In fact, according to a 2015 study by McKinsey Quarterly, ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to have a financial performance above the industry mean. So how do we get more diverse companies? One way is to diversify internships, and that’s what native New Orleanian Perry Sholes intends to do with his new nonprofit, Corporate Internship Leadership Institute (CILI). In this week’s podcast, Sholes shares how the program works, and the opportunities it will provide to elevate local companies, underrepresented New Orleanians and the region as a whole.
February 2, 2021
Episode 40: Port NOLA Weathers Multiple Storms
On this week’s podcast, we talk to Brandy Christian, the president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans and New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, about how the pandemic and hurricanes have impacted the two public agencies and what’s around the bend.
January 26, 2021
Episode 39: What Does Disaster Response Have to do With Flash Mobs?
Founder of the Cajun Navy Foundation in 2016, Rob Gaudet is a senior software developer that has harnessed the power of technology and social media to changed how we respond to disasters by creating what he calls a “flash mob-like” opportunity for groups of people to jump in, make a real difference, and return to their lives. In this week’s podcast, he talks about the issues behind why Lake Charles is still far from recovered from Hurricane Laura, what individuals and businesses can do right now to help, and the massive economic opportunity Louisiana has to become a world leader in disaster response.
January 19, 2021
Episode 38: Can Louisiana Successfully Achieve "Herd Immunity"?
In this week’s podcast, Dr. Kathy Baumgarten of Ochsner Health explains how a successful statewide vaccination program will help Louisiana achieve “herd immunity” - and get back to life as we know it. Baumgarten is Ochsner’s medical director of infection control and prevention.
January 12, 2021
Episode 37: The Woman Saving Carnival 2021
In response to the cancellation of traditional Carnival parades for 2021, Algiers Point resident Megan Boudreaux had what she thought was a simple, silly idea back in November to decorate her house like a float for Carnival this year and maybe recruit some neighbors to join in the fun. That idea quickly went viral and now Krewe of House Floats numbers 39 krewes, with thousands of registered participants reaching across the globe and partnerships with the City of New Orleans and WWL. In this candid discussion, Boudreaux talks about the philanthropical side of her new venture, the houses she personally is most excited to see, and how people of all budgets can still get in on the fun.
January 5, 2021
Episode 36: Can the airline industry recover after a turbulent year?
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted air travel so much that the airline industry is expected to lose more than $80 billion in 2020, according to the International Air Transport Association. So, will there be a recovery for the industry in 2021? And how might air travel change forever? To find out, we talked to Chris Schaberg, Loyola University New Orleans professor and the author of a new book about airlines’ COVID-19 response, recovery and future.
December 29, 2020
Episode 35: New Specialized Healthcare Startup Arrives in Louisiana
Healthcare is moving quickly into the digital world — as we’ve seen recently with the rapid expansion of telehealth — and with this move comes new opportunities for entrepreneurs. On this week’s podcast, we talk with a physician whose startup is the first to use technology to bring in-demand care to an underserved population that numbers 1.4 million people just in the U.S. Stanford University trained emergency physician and Silicon Valley veteran Dr. Matthew Wetschler is the CEO and co-founder of Plume, the first digital health startup for the transgender community, which announced its entrance into Louisiana on Dec. 14. In just its first year, Plume has reached nearly 90% of the transgender community, offering a monthly subscription service to provide immediate access to gender affirming hormone therapy through the convenience of a smartphone. Dr. Wetschler discusses what his startup will mean for Louisiana’s transgender community and what he sees for the future of health startups on this week’s BizTalks.
December 22, 2020
Episode 34: Delgado Offers Affordable Job Training During Pandemic
This week's podcast features Krystal James, the strategic initiatives coordinator for workforce development at Delgado Community College.  The pandemic has put tens of thousands of New Orleanians out of work - especially in the tourism and hospitality categories - but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any jobs out there. In fact, there are plenty of healthcare, construction and technology jobs available right now. That’s where Delgado comes in: the college is offering affordable - in some cases, free - training that will give people the skills they need to compete for these jobs. Of note, Delgado has partnered with GNO Inc., Verizon, and Generation USA to offer two free technology training programs that will begin in January.
December 15, 2020
Episode 33: To the Moon, NOLA! — What’s new at Michoud and Stennis
Did you know NASA’s “rocket factory” and the premier rocket engine test complex in the country are both in our own backyard? This week, we talk to Robert H. Champion, director of the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, and John W. Bailey Jr., the associate director of NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, about the role these two space powerhouses play in our local economy, what they’re working on now, and why you may be able to hear a bit of history being made all the way from Mississippi very soon.
December 8, 2020
Episode 32: The Importance of Supporting Local
Maryann Miller of StayLocal, an independent business alliance active in New Orleans since 2001, designs programs and directs operations that support StayLocal's efforts to build a thriving local economy. In this podcast, she talks about the importance of supporting local businesses in general and during the pandemic in particular. Miller has also worked to promote the role of historic preservation in economic development at Preservation Resource Center. Most recently, she helped develop new lines of business for the Louisiana State Museum system. She is a certified real estate finance professional with a background in sociology.
December 1, 2020
Episode 31: What’s Up With City Park?
The current pandemic has been just as devastating as Hurricane Katrina was for New Orleans’ City Park according to its CEO, Bob Becker.  While many areas of the park are busier than ever in this time of social distancing, the funding sources necessary to keep the park operating have been severely limited. Becker shares the details of how the park is faring, along with what you need to know about this year’s new Celebration in the Oaks driving tour — which starts Thanksgiving night — and offers up some ideas for fun ways you may not realize you can support the park.
November 24, 2020
Episode 30: The Wealth Edit Blends Community and Personal Finance
This week’s podcast features Lauren Pearson and Emily Lassiter, the co-founders of the Wealth Edit, a new online membership-based community for women looking to confidentially discuss and expand their knowledge of personal finance. The company is officially launching in New Orleans with a series of virtual and in-person events on Thursday, Nov. 19.
November 17, 2020
Episode 29: Can small business find greater success in international trade right now? With Ed Webb, CEO of the World Trade Center
Just a few days after Louisiana International Trade day on Nov. 4, Biz New Orleans Editor Kim Singletary caught up with World Trade Center CEO Ed Webb to get a rundown on the latest news in international trade, an industry worth $93 billion annually to the state and employs an estimated 500,000 people. Webb explains how a majority of the industry is made up of small- and medium-sized businesses and it is with them in mind that the WTC is using artificial intelligence to create a new platform to help businesses make valuable connections to help them compete in today’s global economy.
November 10, 2020
Episode 28: How long can local restaurants survive? With Stan Harris of the Louisiana Restaurant Association
We talk to Stan Harris, the president and CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association. New Orleans restaurants are facing an existential crisis because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Logically, chains with deep pockets are in the best shape to survive the down year but many mom and pops in Nola and around the state are holding on by learning to put quality food on the table with lower budgets and fewer employees. But how long can they survive? And what happens to those former employees who are waiting for jobs to return? The answer may depend on how much more federal and state aid is headed their way in the coming months. We’ll talk about all this plus why you don’t hear about restaurant bankruptcies, how artificial intelligence can’t sauté a piece of fish and why the restaurant industry is particularly good for the state. Hint: no tax breaks.
November 3, 2020
Episode 27: The Quarterback of the Current Superdome Renovations, Trey Trahan
Originally constructed in 1975, our beloved Superdome began a major, $450 Million facelift this year and Trey Trahan, founder and CEO of Trahan Architects, is leading the efforts. In this week’s podcast, he talks about what it was like bringing the Dome back from Hurricane Katrina 15 years ago and what he loves about the changes you’ll see with this new renovation. As the head of the No. 1 design firm in the United States, he also shares his thoughts on New Orleans’ place in the architectural landscape and what’s up next for the firm.
October 27, 2020
Episode 26: Audubon Institute Prioritizing Care of 15,000 Animals During Budget Crisis
On this week's podcast, we talk to Audubon Institute president and CEO Ron Forman about the organization's pandemic-related budget crisis and why zoos and aquariums have been left out of all federal relief programs to date. The conversation ranges from Audubon's recent request to borrow $10 million from its partners in a riverfront development project to the bright future Forman envisions for all the museums and parks the institute operates.
October 20, 2020
Episode 25: Meeting The Needs Of New Orleans Families
With a foreclosure crisis projected in Louisiana in the coming months, local homeless shelters may be struggling to meet an increased demand. On Oct. 5, a new report by Housing Louisiana was released that warned the state is only four months away from a wave of foreclosures. According to the report, 28 percent of homeowners in Louisiana (or nearly 110,000 households — 36,000 of which were in New Orleans) were unable to pay their mortgage in September. What does this mean for local homeless shelters who are already struggling to accommodate pandemic changes including remote schooling, enhanced cleaning protocols and social distancing after losing the ability to raise funds through events? Melissa Tyler, development director for the New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter, talks with Biz New Orleans Editor Kim Singletary about the challenges of meeting the needs of New Orleans families in need and shares some surprisingly easy ways you can help.
October 13, 2020
Episode 24: How to Rebuild New Orleans Tourism
This week, we talk to Stephen Perry, the president and CEO of New Orleans and Company – the destination marketing organization that promotes the city to potential visitors. Among the topics covered: the fate of New Orleans restaurants and hotels, how long it’ll be before the city reaches 2019 levels of income and how the meeting business will change forever.
October 5, 2020
Episode 23: Should You Be Testing Employees for Marijuana? Thanks to New Changes in Louisiana’s Medical Marijuana Law, the Answer Is Complicated.
This past August, more than 200 new laws went into effect in Louisiana, including one that now permits any practicing physician to recommend medical marijuana for any condition determined to be “debilitating” — vastly expanding potential use from what was formerly only 14 recognized medical conditions. What does this mean for local employers? Should you be testing for marijuana use or will that cause more problems than it’s worth? How does this change impact federally regulated industries? In this week’s podcast, Biz New Orleans Editor Kim Singletary chats with drug testing expert Jared Rosenthal, founder and CEO of Health Street, a software solution that helps over 20,000 businesses set up drug tests and occupational health services at over 10,000 clinics nationwide. Rosenthal shares the struggles this has created for employers nationwide and what he advises they do.
September 29, 2020
Episode 22: Pandemic's Effect on Residential and Commercial Real Estate
Lacey Merrick Conway, president and CEO of Latter & Blum, talks about the pandemic's effect on residential and commercial real estate in New Orleans. The seller's market for homeowners will likely last through 2020 but the pandemic's worst repercussions may not be felt on the commercial side until 2021 or later. Latter & Blum is a real estate brokerage that’s been in business in Louisiana for more than 100 years. Conway grew up around the company - her father Bob Merrick was its longtime CEO - and she took the reins in January.
September 21, 2020
Episode 21: Gretna Company Launches Dating App for Cat Lovers
In the three years since New Orleanian Leigh D’Angelo and her sister, New Yorker Casey Isaacson, founded Dig, a dating app for dog lovers, the company has found fast success on a national scale. With hundreds of thousands of users now spread across every state, Dig Dates, Inc. just launched its second offering, Tabby, a dating app for cat lovers. In this episode of Biz Talks, D’Angelo chats with Biz New Orleans Editor Kim Singletary about the company’s road to success and why she thinks now is the purrfect time to launch Tabby.
September 15, 2020
Episode 20: COVID has "Changed The Game" for Small Businesses on Oak Street
This week features a conversation about how COVID-19 has "changed the game" for small business owners on Oak Street - a historic commercial corridor in Uptown New Orleans - and citywide. Our guest is architect and Tulane grad Min Yang, who is the president of Oak Street Merchants, Residents and Property Owners Inc., a nonprofit that promotes the street and produces Po-Boy Fest.
September 8, 2020
Episode 19: HGTV Comes to NOLA
HGTV’s new show “Selling the Big Easy,” premiering Sept. 11 at 8 p.m., is getting a lot of buzz, but what is the show about? How did it happen? And what kind of exposure will the city be getting? The show’s star, New Orleans native and successful high-end real estate agent, Brittany Picolo-Ramos, shares how she made the surprising leap to the small screen and what she hopes the network’s millions of viewers will learn about the city.
September 1, 2020
Episode 18: Has COVID-19 changed restaurants forever?
New Orleans restaurants are facing an existential threat. The pandemic has drastically reduced the number of visitors to the city and locals are dining out less frequently. It’s unclear when health restrictions will ease and life can return to normal. On today’s podcast we talk with Jennifer Weishaupt, the founder and CEO of the Ruby Slipper Restaurant Group, about how COVID-19 may change restaurants forever - and how she’s managed to keep her business moving forward despite all the challenges. ----  A chemical engineer, Jennifer “retired” from Shell Oil Company in 2015 with 16 years of service, most recently as operations manager for three oil and gas production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. As founder and CEO of Ruby Slipper Restaurant Group, Jennifer oversees all aspects of restaurant operations and future growth for what has grown from a single neighborhood café in 2008 into an award-winning, 18-unit restaurant group spanning five states and two sister brands (Ruby Slipper Café and Ruby Sunshine). Jennifer stays engaged in her community where she recently completed a term of service on the board of directors of Liberty’s Kitchen and previously served on the board of directors of Morris Jeff Community School. She and her husband, Ruby Slipper co-founder Erich Weishaupt, have been married for 19 years and have three amazing school-aged children who keep her on her toes.
August 24, 2020
Episode 17: Could an online graduate degree program be a fit for you?
Looking to use this time to prepare for a career change or add to your list of marketable skills? Tulane’s AB Freeman School of Business is launching their first-ever online graduate degree program — a Master of Management in Entrepreneurial Hospitality degree — in January. This week AJ Brooks, assistant director for entrepreneurial hospitality and real estate programs within the Freeman School, talks to Biz New Orleans Magazine Editor Kim Singletary about what the program will look like and how it can be customized to fit those interested in positioning themselves for leadership in a wide variety of industries as we move into a new normal. ---- AJ Brooks is a Lecturer in Finance and Management at the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University.  He is also Assistant Director for Entrepreneurial Hospitality and Real Estate Programs within the Freeman School.  In addition to his work as an educator, Brooks has developed several real estate projects as the founder and CEO of Left Brick Capital, LLC, a privately-owned real estate development company based in New Orleans.  With a focus on urban infill and historic rehabilitation projects, Brooks specializes in incentive-based development and is responsible for placing over $30 million in real estate assets in service over the course of his career. Prior to founding Left Brick, he worked as an asset manager at Gibbs Development and as a financial analyst at Stonehenge Capital.  Brooks holds an MBA with a concentration in finance and specialization in energy from Tulane’s A. B. Freeman School of Business.
August 18, 2020
Episode 16: How the New Orleans music industry is dealing with COVID-19
In this podcast, we talk to music manager Reid Martin (Big Freedia, Tank and the Bangas, Sweet Crude) about how the New Orleans music industry is dealing with the severe changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some artists, like Big Freedia, have pivoted in a big way while others are hunkering down and getting creative. All of them need as much support from fans, the community and government to survive financially until they can begin performing in front of crowds again.
August 11, 2020
Episode 15: The latest news from the convention center with Michael Sawaya and Jerry Reyes
Hospitality and tourism are the lifeblood of New Orleans, and a big chunk of those visitors are a result of the events and groups hosted by the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Ranked in the top 10 of convention centers in the nation in number of conventions and tradeshows held annually, the Morial Convention Center is battling a huge drop in revenue while in the midst of a $557 million renovation and modernization plan. In this week’s podcast, we talk to convention center president and general manager, Michael Sawaya, and Jerry Reyes, newly-appointed president of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority —the governing board of the convention center — about the present and future of this critical, multi-billion-dollar revenue generator.
August 4, 2020
Episode 14: Navigating Public Relations During The Coronavirus
 The COVID-19 pandemic means that nonprofits have had to find new ways to raise funds, restaurants have devised new ways to sell their services and every business has a new story to tell. On today's podcast, we talk to new Gambel Communications CEO Amy Boyle Collins about the challenges her New Orleans clients are facing, the strategies they've employed to survive and how the public relations industry has evolved in the time of the coronavirus. ----------------- Amy Boyle Collins is the new chief executive officer of New Orleans public relations firm Gambel Communications. Collins holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from Loyola University New Orleans. She received her master’s in mass communication from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communications. Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Collins took a break from communications consulting and spent six years leading the Young Leadership Council, where she developed the downtown Wednesday at the Square concert series. During the early part of her career, Collins worked in sports marketing for the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, Super Bowl XXXI Host Committee, New Orleans Brass Hockey Team, Louisiana State University Athletics and University of New Orleans Athletics. During her career, she has worked in the communications agency business on teams at J. Walter Thompson Worldwide, Logan Marketing, Deveney Communication and P.R. PR, Inc.
July 28, 2020
Episode 13: Could your next trip be on a private jet?
With commercial airlines limiting flights and concerns over the safety of travel at an all-time high, Ron Silverman, chief business officer for XO — the first global digital marketplace for private aviation — says XO has seen its national customer base grow to five times pre-COVID-19 levels, with many of those travelers experiencing private aviation for the first time. Options now exist, he says, that make flying private out of cities like New Orleans for both business and pleasure more accessible than ever. Silverman explains these options and discusses the present and future of air travel in this new era with Biz New Orleans Managing Editor Kim Singletary in this week’s episode of Biz Talks.
July 20, 2020
Episode 12: Louisiana State Treasurer John Schroder talks Main Street Recovery, challenges facing Louisianians
Our guest on this week's podcast is Louisiana State Treasurer John Schroder, who talks about Main Street Recovery, a new state program that will offer grants of up to $15,000 to reimburse businesses for pandemic-related expenses. Schroder also discusses the many potential challenges facing Louisianians in the months ahead as the state tries to recover from the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
July 14, 2020
Episode 11: Caregiver Family Leave Insurance - it’s finally a reality thanks to Dr. Kyshun Webster
On June 12, Dr. Kyshun Webster, through his company, Compassion Society Benefits, officially launched the nation’s first caregiver family leave insurance. Backed by Nationwide Insurance, it offers affordable premiums and provides up to 80 percent income replacement to aid employees forced to leave work to care for a family member. In this episode of Biz Talks, we talk with Webster about this exciting new product, how it works, and the benefits it offers to both employees and employers.
July 7, 2020
Episode 10: How to Create an Inclusive, Anti-Racist Workplace with Heather Lonian
As the national discussion about the Black Lives Matter movement continues, businesses and organizations nationwide are examining their policies to determine how to provide a more inclusive, anti-racist environment for employees, clients and customers. Stone Pigman attorney Heather Lonian, chair of the firm’s diversity committee, talks to about her work and what other organizations could be doing.
June 30, 2020
Episode 9: Sabrina Short
As New Orleans is becoming the new “Silicon Valley of the South” we’re also making the move to capitalize on our creative economy, and together that means jobs in technology across a wide variety of industries are only going to continue to grow. But how do we ensure everyone knows about and can access these incredible opportunities? That’s where NOLAVATE Black comes in. Known as the “Great Connector” because of her unwavering passion for community and social justice, New Orleans native Sabrina Short is the founder and CEO of NOLAVATE Black, New Orleans’ Black Tech collective, which, among other things, is the creator of Black Tech Nola, the largest inclusive innovation conference in New Orleans. In this week’s BizTalk, Short joins Biz New Orleans Managing Editor Kim Singletary to share more about the upcoming conference and talk with us about how opportunities in tech are more diverse and easier to access than many realize.
June 23, 2020
Episode 8: Dr. MarkAlain Dery
June 16, 2020
Episode 7: Denis Juge
As some businesses start to bring employees back into the office, chief among concerns is employee safety. But what if someone does get sick? Is that a workers’ compensation claim? Attorney Denis Juge says his firm, WC Defense, has already started seeing some COVID-19-related claims pop up in New Orleans. He joins us to explain how workers’ compensation handles the disease, along with how the popular move to work from home may lead to new legal precedents. Denis Juge is a director/shareholder with WC Defense. Since its founding in 1983, the firm has represented companies and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi, largely in the realm of state and federal workers’ compensation and has collectively tried over 1,000 cases to verdict. Outside of practicing, Juge taught insurance and workers’ compensation law at Loyola Law School from 1982 to 2005 and is the author of two books on Louisiana workers’ compensation as well as numerous Law Review articles. He may be reached at
June 9, 2020
Episode 6: Alyssa Fletchinger Higgins
On today’s podcast, we talk to Alyssa Fletchinger Higgins, the vice president at Plush Appeal - The Mardi Gras Spot, a New Orleans company that creates thousands of custom products for Mardi Gras organizations, business and individuals in New Orleans and beyond.  Normally, Higgins spends several weeks or more each spring traveling to overseas factories but this year has been different, of course. She talks to us about how Carnival organizations are preparing for next year's event despite the uncertain times and the other ways the pandemic has affected the family business.
June 2, 2020
Episode 5: Melinda Bourgeois
Eager to get away? The travel industry is starting to open back up, but is it safe? What are the most in-demand destinations for New Orleanians right now? When can you expect the best deals? Melinda Bourgeois has owned Metairie-based travel agency Travel Central since 1988. Having personally traveled to 47 states and over 56 countries, Bourgeois shares her expertise and recommendations for summer and fall travel.
May 26, 2020
Episode 4: Mark Romig
In this episode, Rich Collins talks to Mark Romig, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at New Orleans & Company, about the state of tourism, New Orleans & Company's marketing plan and what is in store for the city following the coronavirus pandemic.
May 19, 2020
Bonus Episode 1: Amy Bakay
Is your business ready to reopen? Do you have the right policies in place? Have you checked all the boxes? In this special bonus podcast, Biz New Orleans Managing Editor Kim Singletary talks to Amy Bakay, founder/CEO of HR NOLA, who shares her top tips for making sure you’re ready to get back to business in a safe, productive way.
May 15, 2020
Episode 3: Michael L. Williamson
With all the talk of opening businesses back up, one thing not being discussed a lot is childcare. According to a recent survey, one-third of childcare providers in greater New Orleans reported that an extended closure will force them to permanently close. With so many industries and jobs whose workers rely on affordable childcare options, what’s being done to help these providers? In this episode, Michael L. Williamson, president and CEO of United Way of Southeast Louisiana talks about what’s being done, as well as the work underway to help area nonprofits — another sector fighting to survive in this new world.
May 12, 2020
Episode 2: Mike Siegel
In our second episode, associate news editor Rich Collins talks to Mike Siegel, the president and director of office leasing at Corporate Realty, about the effects of COVID-19 on the New Orleans real estate market. He shares his thoughts on the hospitality side of the industry, which will be the hardest hit, to the pandemic’s effect on the demand for office space.
May 5, 2020
Episode 1: Quentin Messer
In our first Big Talks episode managing editor Kim Singletary talks to Quentin Messer, president and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance.
April 27, 2020