Posts Tagged ‘TABA’

The next economic hurdle? Achieving critical mass

Friday, August 21st, 2015

In the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has staged a remarkable economic comeback, adding thousands of jobs, attracting billions of dollars in investment and topping a host of “best-of” lists — everything from top cities for export growth to cities with the biggest increase in number of college graduates.

GNO Inc. chief Michael Hecht told a Freeman School audience that the region's next big challenge will be achieving a critical mass of companies and workers. (Photo by Cheryl Gerber)

GNO Inc. CEO Michael Hecht told a Freeman School audience that the region’s next big challenge will be achieving a critical mass of companies and workers. (Photo by Cheryl Gerber)

But in a talk at Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business on Wednesday (Aug. 19), the head of the nonprofit charged with leading the region’s economic development efforts said the hard part is just starting.

“I think our challenge over the next 10 years is building critical mass,” said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of GNO Inc. “[Harvard Business School professor] Rosabeth Moss Kanter said change is easy at first, but it gets hard in the middle. Here’s the thing: We’re getting to the middle.”

Hecht was the featured speaker at Katrina+10: New Orleans Now, a discussion of the city’s business environment 10 years after Katrina. Sponsored by the Freeman School and the Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA), the program also featured Gary LaGrange, president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans, as well as remarks from Freeman School Dean Ira Solomon and TABA President Chris Bonura.

Hecht said New Orleans is currently caught in what amounts to a chicken-and-egg situation: Some workers are reluctant to move here because of the limited number of employers and some employers are reluctant to move here because of the limited numbers of workers.

To reach the so-called tipping point — the point at which economic development becomes self-sustaining — Hecht said the region will need more companies, more employees, more venture capital to support growth and a regional brand that goes beyond food, music and Mardi Gras.

“That’s going to be hard work,” Hecht said. “But if we can get to that point and become self-sustaining, then economic development is going to become much more organic. We’re not there yet, but I’m incredibly optimistic about our chances.”

LaGrange followed Hecht with a discussion of the port’s accomplishments of the last 10 years as well as goals for the future. While port cargo is at a 14-year high, LaGrange said significant infrastructure investments will have to be made to continue to attract new companies.

“It’s all about financing for infrastructure improvements,” LaGrange said. “In order to maintain our competitive advantage, we’re going to have to find additional sources of financing.”

Bonura said Katrina+10 was the first of what he hopes will be many programs designed to bring alumni back into the classroom for educational events centered on important business topics. The presentation was broadcast over the web to alumni around the country.

Tulane Business Forum surveys changing business landscape

Monday, June 8th, 2015

With technology and shifting demographics changing the way companies do business, what can executives do to ensure that their organizations stay on top?

Warner Thomas

Warner L. Thomas

Thomas Ryan

Thomas L. Ryan

For its 36th annual program, the Tulane Business Forum looks at the changing business environment and highlights corporate leaders who are taking bold steps to adapt,  innovate and rise above the competition. “Changing Landscapes: Business Leaders Taking Action” will feature presentations from prominent business people who have distinguished themselves by embracing disruption and adjusting to change.

This year’s morning keynote speaker is Warner L. Thomas, president and CEO of Ochsner Health System, who will discuss how Ochsner is embracing change to provide health-care consumers with high-quality, coordinated care at a lower cost.

Delivering the luncheon keynote will be Thomas L. Ryan, president and CEO of Service Corporation International, North America’s leading provider of deathcare products and services. Ryan will discuss how SCI has managed to leverage its competitive advantages to remain relevant to its customers.

The Tulane Business Forum will take place on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, from 8:15 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. Others speakers at this year’s forum include:

  • Jennifer W. Allyn, managing director, Diversity, PricewaterhouseCoopers (New York)
  • Adam Bryant, “Corner Office” columnist, The New York Times (New York)
  • Andrew J. Champagne, CEO, Hollywood Trucks (New Orleans)
  • Michael A. Fitts, president, Tulane University (New Orleans)
  • David Nason, president and CEO, GE Energy Financial Services (Stamford, Conn.)
  • Ira Solomon, dean, A. B. Freeman School of Business, Tulane University (New Orleans)

The Tulane Business Forum is a presentation of the Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA), which represents over 19,000 alumni worldwide. Each year, the forum features speakers of national and international renown who address topics of interest to the business community.

Forum registration, which includes continental breakfast and lunch, is $200 for the general public and $150 for Tulane alumni. Accountants can earn five Continuing Professional Education credits, and engineers can earn five Professional Development Hour credits by attending. For more information or to register, visit or call 504-861-7921.


TABA to establish alumni chapter in Shanghai

Friday, December 19th, 2014

The number of Freeman School alumni in the People’s Republic of China has grown to nearly 400 in recent years, comprising a large, diverse group of business, government and community leaders. In January, the Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA) will pay tribute to the business school’s growing footprint in Asia with the establishment of a new chapter in Shanghai.

In January, the Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA) will establish a new chapter in Shanghai to serve the Freeman School's growing population of Chinese alumni.

In January, the Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA) will establish a new chapter in Shanghai to serve the Freeman School’s growing population of Chinese alumni.

The Shanghai Chapter of TABA — the association’s first new international chapter in 20 years — will sponsor networking events, promote the Freeman School and Tulane University in Shanghai, and serve as a hub and resource for Freeman alumni throughout eastern China. A ceremony and reception recognizing the chartering of the chapter will take place on Friday, Jan. 9, at Shanghai’s Grand Swissotel. All Freeman School alumni interested in being part of this historic event are invited to RSVP at

“One of the goals we outlined as part of last year’s strategic planning process was to expand our alumni outreach in China,” says Peggy Babin, associate dean for external relations. “The establishment of a TABA chapter in Shanghai will enable us to better support and serve the interests of our graduates in China, which boasts our fastest-growing alumni population in the world.”

The chartering ceremony is being held in conjunction with another major event designed to serve the Freeman School’s growing number of Chinese constituents. The West to East Career Expo, which will take place from Jan. 6 – 9 also at the Grand Swissotel, is a networking and recruiting event for Chinese nationals studying business at Tulane, Rice University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the University of Southern California. About 100 students will have the opportunity to network, attend company information sessions and interview for jobs in China.

“This event is a ground-breaking approach in serving our international student population,” says Leonard Williams, director of the Freeman School’s Career Management Center. “Although many of our international alumni have been successful in gaining employment on their own when they return to their home country, this event will make that process easier and possibly more efficient for them.”

In conjunction with the expo, the Freeman School will host a networking reception for Freeman School students and alumni in China on Tuesday, Jan. 6, at the Grand Swissotel. The reception is being modeled on Freeman Days events, so participation from alumni is essential to its success. Any Freeman School alumni interested in attending should RSVP  at as soon as possible.


Tulane Business Forum looks at leveraging Louisiana

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

The CEOs of two of Louisiana’s biggest home-grown success stories — Daryl G. Byrd of Iberiabank Corp. and  José S. Suquet of Pan-American Life Insurance Group — will discuss what it took to build those businesses as keynote speakers at the 34th annual Tulane Business Forum, “Home Grown: Leveraging the Louisiana Business Experience on a National Scale.”

Daryl G. Byrd

José S. Suquet

This year’s forum, which will take place on Friday, Sept. 27, at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, shines the spotlight on businesses that have leveraged the state’s unique resources to achieve national and international success.

Joining Byrd, who will deliver the morning keynote address, and Suquet, who will deliver the luncheon keynote, will be Gary P. LaGrange, president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans, and John F. Tercek, vice president for commercial and new business development at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

The forum will also feature a panel on tourism and economic development featuring Darryl Berger, chairman of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp.; Tod R. Chambers, general manager of the Roosevelt New Orleans Hotel; Jay Dardenne, lieutenant governor of Louisiana; and Gregory Rusovich, chairman of the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau. Scott Couvillon of Trumpet will moderate.

The 34th annual Tulane Business Forum is a presentation of the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University, the Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA) and Iberiabank.

For more information about this year’s program and to register online, visit



Freeman School launches TABA chapters in five U.S. cities

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

The Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA) has announced the establishment of chapters in five U.S. cities. The five TABA chapters are Houston, Nashville, Washington D.C., New York and Miami.


TABA has established new chapters in five U.S. cities.

Establishing TABA chapters in cities outside New Orleans has been a longtime goal of the association, and TABA President Tom Spiers (MBA ’01) says he hopes the creation of these chapters will help strengthen ties among alumni in those cities and enable TABA to offer programs that better serve their needs and interests.

“The Freeman School has more than 20,000 alumni worldwide, representing an incredibly diverse population in terms of both geography and demographics,” says Spiers. “I think it’s important for us to do everything we can to engage those individuals at the local level, and the establishment of these first five TABA chapters will greatly enhance our ability to do that.”

According to Peggy Babin, associate dean for external relations, the five chapter cities were chosen based on several criteria, including the number of Freeman alumni residing in the greater area and the response of alumni in those cities to TABA’s outreach regarding the creation of local chapters.

“The five cities we chose—Houston, Nashville, Washington D.C., New York and Miami—are each home to hundreds of Freeman School alumni, and individual alumni in those cities were instrumental in providing the enthusiasm and support we needed to establish TABA chapters,” says Babin. “Our strategy is to get these chapters up and running initially and then add more cities in the coming months and years.”

For information on how to become involved with a local chapter or how to start a chapter in your city, contact Babin at or Rhonda Brown at


Sports takes the spotlight at Tulane Business Forum

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

From the NBA All-Star Game and the BCS College Football Championship to the NCAA Men’s Final Four and the Super Bowl, New Orleans has in the last four years reemerged as one of the nation’s leading destinations for major sporting events.

Tulane Business Forum

A panel of local sports officials said greater collaboration has helped New Orleans reemerge as one of the nation’s leading destinations for major sporting events. From left, Mark Romig, Jay Cicero, Rick Dickson, Dennis Lauscha and Doug Thornton.

At the 33rd annual Tulane Business Forum, which took place on Friday (Sept. 28) at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, a panel of local sports officials said that impressive post-Katrina run isn’t an accident.

“I can think back five or six years ago to conversations that all of us here had in terms of what can our industry do to impact and contribute to the recovery of our state,” said panelist Rick Dickson, Tulane athletics director. “It’s been very gratifying to help to facilitate these events.”

Joining Dickson for the panel discussion of sports and economic development were Dennis Lauscha, president of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Hornets; Doug Thornton, senior vice president of SMG, the management company for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the New Orleans Arena; and Jay Cicero, president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation. Mark Romig, president and CEO of New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp., moderated the session.

Increased collaboration has been a big factor in attracting major sporting events to the city, but an even bigger factor may be the city itself. According to the panelists, no other city in the nation features world-class venues and abundant hotel rooms within walking distance of a hospitality center like the French Quarter.

That compact footprint enables the city to save millions in hosting expenses. While Super Bowls in Indianapolis and Dallas cost upwards of $35 million, New Orleans is hosting Super Bowl XLVII for about $13.5 million.

“The reason we can do that is because of our footprint and because of everyone working together,” said Lauscha. “It’s really amazing when you think we’re going to have one of the best Super Bowls, and we’re going to do it for about a third of the cost of Dallas.”

With the title “Scoring Big: Building on Business Victories,” this year’s forum had a sports theme. In addition to the panel discussion, Tulane President Scott Cowen delivered a sobering presentation on the state of intercollegiate athletics, an institution facing serious obstacles in the form of  increased commercialism, challenges to amateurism, questions of integrity, a lack of financial sustainability and concerns over player safety.

Carl J. Schramm

Carl J. Schramm, president of Schramm & Co. and former president of the Kauffman Foundation, discussed ways to make American capitalism more entrepreneurial as this year’s keynote luncheon speaker.

“The current system is not sustainable in its current form,” Cowen said. “I want to be proven wrong. I believe very strongly in the value of intercollegiate athletics in the higher education community. I would just like to make sure that it’s sustainable and that it represents the values that we always envisioned for intercollegiate athletics.”

Delivering the keynote addresses this year were Carl J. Chaney, president and CEO of Whitney Bank, who discussed Hancock Holding Co.’s acquisition of the venerable New Orleans bank in 2010, and Carl J. Schramm, president of Schramm  & Co. and former president of the Kauffman Foundation, whose luncheon keynote talk addressed ways to make American capitalism more entrepreneurial.

The program also included presentations by Beth A. Brooke, global vice chair of public policy with Ernst & Young, who discussed the potential impacts of the presidential election on business, and John C. Sheptor, former president and CEO of Imperial Sugar Co., who talked about how he repositioned Imperial for new products and markets.

The Tulane Business Forum is an annual presentation of the A. B. Freeman School of Business and the Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA).


TABA co-hosts Entrepreneurship Showcase and Networking Happy Hour

Monday, March 12th, 2012

New Orleans BioInnovation Center

Join the Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA) on Thursday, March 15, at 5 p.m. for a Tulane Entrepreneurship Showcase and Networking Happy Hour at the New Orleans BioInnovation Center.

The showcase and happy hour culminates New Orleans Entrepreneur Week’s Tulane Day, a new program of the week-long entrepreneurship festival designed to highlight some of Tulane University’s most promising technologies, entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship initiatives. The centerpiece of Tulane Day is the Tulane Challenge, in which seven Tulane-based entrepreneurs will pitch their ventures to a distinguished panel of Tulane alums with a $50,000 prize on the line. The winner of the Tulane Challenge will be announced during the event.

The Tulane Entrepreneurship Showcase and Networking Happy Hour is co-hosted by TABA, the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship, Tulane Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives, the Tulane Office of Technology Transfer and the Idea Village.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Rhonda A. Brown at 504-862-8470 or

New alumni group hopes to improve ranking

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Edward Crawford, left, organized the first Freeman 50 meeting in March.

A new alumni group hopes to improve the Freeman School’s national ranking by reaching out to recent graduates.

The Freeman 50 is the brainchild of Edward Crawford (MBA ’08, MGM ’09), who says he was inspired to start the group after seeing the success that other schools had had with initiatives such as class agent programs.


TABA Baseball Tent Party Friday, May 8

Friday, May 8th, 2009

TABA Baseball Blowout Friday, May 8The 2nd annual TABA Baseball Blowout will take place Friday night, May 8, at Turchin Stadium.

The Tulane Green Wave baseball team takes on UAB at 6 p.m. in an important Conference USA contest, so to help fans get ready for the big game, TABA is sponsoring a pre-game Tent Party featuring food, refreshments and fun for friends and alumni of the Freeman School. The Tent Party runs from 5 to 7 p.m., and the cost (including a game ticket) is $25 for adults and $15 for children aged 3 to 17. Walk ups are welcomed as long as the food lasts, but to insure your place, contact Rhonda Earles at 504-862-8470 or to reserve a ticket.

Tulane Business Forum preview

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Richard M. Bracken, president and COO of HCA, the world’s largest private operator of health care facilities, highlights a wide-ranging lineup of speakers scheduled to present at the 29th annual Tulane Business Forum.

This year’s forum, which will take place on Friday, Oct. 17, at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, focuses on the theme of innovation, a topic that forum co-chair Keith Crawford says is relevant to all businesses regardless of size or industry.

“Innovation can be found in some unlikely places,” says Crawford, a management consultant and chief financial officer with local entrepreneurial support firm the Idea Village. “For example, you don’t think of the offshore services industry as being terribly innovative, but Todd Hornbeck has brought an incredible level of innovation not only to his boats but to the way the business is structured. The joke among the industry is that his vessels out in the Gulf look more like NASA space shuttles.”

Hornbeck, chairman, president and CEO of Covington-based Hornbeck Offshore Services, will participate in a panel discussion on spotting opportunities along with Jim Bridger, general manager of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, and Matthew M. Wisdom, co-founder and CEO of TurboSquid Inc. Business writer and editor Kathy Finn will moderate.

The forum kicks off with David M. Mize, retired major general and senior vice president with Apogen Technologies/QinetiQ North America, who will discuss the proposed Federal City project in Algiers, an innovative new model for military and federal installations. Next, Debra Neill Baker and Edwin Neill III of Hammond-based Neill Corp. will talk about the role innovation has played in building their business, one of the nation’s leading beauty and salon services companies.

William F. Borne, chairman and CEO of Baton Rouge’s Amedisys Inc., a leading provider of home health care and hospice services, will address his company’s approach to the value proposition in health care. Following the panel discussion, Bracken will deliver this year’s keynote luncheon address, “HCA and Innovation: Not Only a Requirement for Success, but an Important Aspect of Company Culture.”

“Innovation as a process is something the New Orleans business community needs,” says Crawford. “I think one reason more businesses aren’t demonstrating innovative thinking is that no one’s ever shown them how to drive innovation through their organizations. That’s really what we strived to do with our slate of speakers.”

Registration for this year’s forum is at 8 a.m., and the conference runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tulane faculty and staff can register at the special discounted rate of $75. For more information about the special rate, please contact Rhonda Earles at 504-865-8470 or To learn more about this year’s program, visit

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