Aug 2014 08

Today, Pres­i­dent and CEO of the New Orleans Busi­ness Alliance Rodrick Miller announced that he will leave his post later this month to assume the role of CEO of the Detroit Eco­nomic Growth Cor­po­ra­tion in Detroit, Michigan.

Miller joined the New Orleans Busi­ness Alliance in 2011. As the first ever public-private part­ner­ship for eco­nomic devel­op­ment in the city, the New Orleans Busi­ness Alliance was estab­lished in 2010 by Mayor Mitch Lan­drieu as the offi­cial non-profit orga­ni­za­tion tasked with advanc­ing eco­nomic devel­op­ment ini­tia­tives on behalf of the City of New Orleans.

Mayor Lan­drieu said, “From the begin­ning, the New Orleans Busi­ness Alliance has been a key part of our eco­nomic devel­op­ment strat­egy. Together with the board of direc­tors, Rod has built a strong orga­ni­za­tion focused on job growth, cre­at­ing wealth and build­ing an equi­table and sus­tain­able eco­nomic future for New Orleans. Rod served the city well and we thank him for his years of service.”

Since its for­ma­tion, the New Orleans Busi­ness Alliance has grown from a start-up to an estab­lished engine focused on eco­nomic growth.  In 2013, it launched Pros­per­i­tyNOLA, the City’s first-ever strate­gic plan for eco­nomic devel­op­ment that serves as a roadmap for ensur­ing New Orleans’ eco­nomic growth lead­ing up to 2018.

New Orleans Busi­ness Alliance Board Chair­man Henry Coaxum said, “I thank Rod for his lead­er­ship and vision in build­ing the orga­ni­za­tion and attract­ing a tal­ented team of pro­fes­sion­als. As we look ahead to the city’s 300th anniver­sary in 2018, we are well poised to keep mov­ing for­ward as we imple­mentPros­per­i­tyNOLA - our plan to drive eco­nomic growth for New Orleans.”

It has been a tremen­dous honor to serve the City of New Orleans over the last sev­eral years,” said Mr. Miller. “Mayor Lan­drieu and the New Orleans Busi­ness Alliance Board of Direc­tors have pri­or­i­tized eco­nomic devel­op­ment in the city, open­ing the way for New Orleans to remain on an upward tra­jec­tory for years to come.”

Upon Mr. Miller’s depar­ture, Melissa Ehlinger, who has been with the orga­ni­za­tion since 2012 and cur­rently serves as Senior Vice Pres­i­dent, Strat­egy and Busi­ness Devel­op­ment, will serve as Interim CEO. As senior vice pres­i­dent, Ms. Ehlinger has directed the over­all eco­nomic devel­op­ment strat­egy along with day-to-day man­age­ment of the organization’s busi­ness attrac­tion and reten­tion func­tions. Prior to NOLABA, Ms. Ehlinger served as project man­ager for New Orleans Rede­vel­op­ment Author­ity where she was respon­si­ble for secur­ing and imple­ment­ing a com­pet­i­tive $29 mil­lion fed­eral grant designed to sta­bi­lize neigh­bor­hoods across New Orleans.

A per­ma­nent replace­ment will be selected fol­low­ing a national search.

Read Melissa Ehlinger, Interim CEO’s bio here.

New Orleans Busi­ness Alliance Media Con­tact:
Amy Fer­gu­son — / 504.343.7536

Aug 2014 05

Notice is hereby given that nom­i­na­tions for the New Orleans Busi­ness Alliance’s Board of Direc­tors are cur­rently being accepted.

All nom­i­na­tions must be sub­mit­ted in writ­ing and deliv­ered to the orga­ni­za­tion at 935 Gravier Street, Suite 2020, New Orleans, LA 70112 via US Mail, emailed to or in per­son begin­ning August 5, 2014 at 8:00 am and end­ing Sep­tem­ber 5, 2014 at 5:00pm.

Nom­i­na­tions should include the name, address and phone num­ber of each nom­i­nee, bio and/or resume, along with a com­pleted nom­i­na­tion form. Each nom­i­nee as well as the per­son nom­i­nat­ing him or her must reside in Orleans Parish or have a pri­mary busi­ness address or employer’s busi­ness address in Orleans Parish. Nom­i­nees must be at least 21 years of age.

Please con­tact Claire Sojourner at with any ques­tions. Self-nominations will be accepted but all infor­ma­tion listed above must be included.

Down­load the nom­i­na­tion form here.

Jul 2014 23

By Rodrick T. Miller, Pres­i­dent & CEO


New Orleans’ eco­nomic growth is real and con­tin­ues. Recently released data by the U.S. Depart­ment of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics (BLS) shows that New Orleans net­ted 4,585 new pri­vate sec­tor jobs in 2013, bring­ing the annual aver­age for pri­vate sec­tor employ­ment in Orleans Parish to 151,371 jobs. This means the city has now regained 92 per­cent of its pre-Katrina employ­ment. This also means our employ­ment growth rate (at 3.12 per­cent) con­tin­ues to out­pace the state (2.01 per­cent) and the nation (2.08 percent).

[Continue Reading...]
Jul 2014 08

PowerMoves.NOLA, the new national ini­tia­tive focused on pro­vid­ing access to cap­i­tal, con­nec­tions and guid­ance to increase the num­ber of America’s venture-backed minor­ity entre­pre­neurs, has announced the results of its three $25,000 pitch com­pe­ti­tions that were held July 4–5 in New Orleans. The initiative’s orga­niz­ers also announced the results of the July 5 Ris­ingstars Demo Day com­pe­ti­tions, which included a $50,000 PowerMoves.NOLA fel­low­ship, and a $25,000 cash award to a sec­ond company.

Chevron Power Moves Power Pitch at ESSENCE Festival 

  • Olubunmi ‘Boomie’ Odu­made, Co-Founder & VP of Engi­neer­ing - Nex­er­cise: A free app mak­ing healthy liv­ing a winnable game. Nexercise’s founders cre­ated the busi­ness based on the premise that exer­cise doesn’t have to be bor­ing, and that peo­ple don’t have to dras­ti­cally change their lifestyles to be healthy. Nex­er­cise offers a new way to stay moti­vated, lose weight, and stay in shape by allow­ing con­sumers to play with friends, earn rewards, defeat chal­lenges, and track their progress on the largest fit­ness mobile inter­ac­tive game of its kind.
  • $5,000 ESSENCE Fes­ti­val Audi­ence Favorite: Delali Kpodzo - We Are Onyx: The all-in-one online beauty plat­form ded­i­cated to Black Women.


Lib­erty Bank “Angel” Power Pitch

  • Can­dace Mitchell, Founder/CEOTech­tur­ized Inc.: Was founded by hair enthu­si­asts who want to trans­form the hair care indus­try for women of color through sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy. Their first solu­tion is a mobile app called Mya­vana, a female social net­work which allows col­lab­o­ra­tion on hair care and styling issues through photo shar­ing, hair prod­ucts, and pro­files of stylists.


Entergy “Series A” Power Pitch

  • Kellee James, Founder/CEOMer­caris: Addresses the lack of basic mar­ket data avail­able to par­tic­i­pants in the $7 bil­lion organic and non-GMO agri­cul­tural sec­tor. Its trad­ing plat­form pro­vides up-to-date, accu­rate infor­ma­tion on com­mod­ity mar­ket con­di­tions, and allows buy­ers and sell­ers to meet on-line and trade.


PowerMoves.NOLA $50,000 Fel­low­ship Recipient

  • Luke Cooper, Founder — Asurvet: A tech­nol­ogy enabled Insur­ance & Finan­cial Ser­vices Com­pany, focused on aver­age incom­ers. The com­pany man­ages risk through insight­ful, data dri­ven tech­nol­ogy that meets con­sumers at key deci­sion points. They inte­grate their prod­uct line with other fund­ing and e-commerce sites through a sin­gle user inter­face. Cooper, who grew up in poverty and whose father was incar­cer­ated for most of his life, ulti­mately used entre­pre­neur­ship as a tool for over­com­ing life’s biggest challenges.


PowerMoves.NOLA Ris­ingstars Demo Day $25,000 Award

  • Bea Arthur, Founder — Pret­ty­padde­d­room: Trans­forms tra­di­tional ther­apy into a stream­lined, HIPAA-compliant expe­ri­ence that is afford­able and anony­mous. Using the Dig­i­tal Diary™—an inter­ac­tive jour­nal that facil­i­tates writ­ten con­sul­ta­tions with a poten­tial client’s ther­a­pist of choice—clients can con­nect with an all-female team of licensed ther­a­pists any­time and anywhere.


Access the com­plete press release here.

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