University of New Orleans Announces EmpowHer Privateers, “Fireside Chat” with Gayle Benson

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Gayle Benson

NEW ORLEANS – University of New Orleans Athletics will launch its EmpowHer Privateers initiative this year to support its women student-athletes with a focus on leadership development through scholarships, mentorship, and educational experiences. Attendees will be treated to a “Fireside Chat” with New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner and philanthropist, Mrs. Gayle Benson for the inaugural brunch event that will raise support and awareness for the new mission of Privateer Athletics.

“As a woman leader in the male dominated industry, it delights me to no end to be a part the inaugural EmpowHer Privateers event,” stated Mrs. Benson. “I look forward to seeing this initiative at the University of New Orleans launch and support women in sports as they work to take their place as leaders in our community.”

The event is being held on Friday, April 8, 2022 at the InterContinental New Orleans Hotel and will be presented by The Cheek Law Firm, a female owned Louisiana Mesothelioma Law Firm.  April Dupre, WWL-TV Traffic Anchor and founder of Footprints to Fitness, will be this year’s event emcee. Other speakers include Dr. Stacy Nicklow, EmpowHer Chairperson and the wife of university president, Dr. John Nicklow, and Tim Duncan, University Vice President of Athletics and Recreation.

EmpowHer Privateers is an initiative that I’m immensely excited about,” said Tim Duncan “Our Athletics staff and outstanding volunteer committee have developed a masterful plan to literally EmpowHer our talented and well-deserved women student-athletes. The April brunch event will publicly kickoff the initiative, and its reach will be felt year-round through each of its three critical phases: fully funding women student-athlete scholarships, establishing intentional mentorships to positively impact leadership skills, and creating dynamic educational experiences as they travel throughout our country and abroad.”

“As a former student-athlete, I know firsthand how important sports can be to a young person’s development in all facets of their lives,” Dr. Stacy Nicklow stated. “To have Mrs. Benson speak at the inaugural EmpowHer Privateers brunch is simply incredible. We are very fortunate to have Mrs. Benson, the iconic leader of the city’s most beloved professional teams, take an active role in promoting our women’s sports programs, coaches and student-athletes. We would like to publicly thank Mrs. Benson and The Cheek Law Firm for supporting our Privateer women and look forward to their support on April 8 and beyond!”

The EmpowHer Privateers Brunch will be in classic New Orleans style, featuring mimosas, great local food, a jazz trio and more. To secure a table or sponsorship visit UNOPrivateers.com/EmpowHer.

EmpowHer Privateers Committee members include Dr. Stacy Nicklow, Committee Chair and wife of University President, Dr. John Nicklow; Kim Boyle, Partner, Phelps Dunbar and Board Member, Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation; Jamila Brown, Founder, Investor, FHL Investments; Lindsey Cheek, Founding Attorney, Cheek Law Firm; Dr. Michelle Douglas, Founding CEO, Hynes Charter School; Jennifer Hyde, Financial Advisor, Northwestern Mutual; Valerie M. Grubb, Executive Coach and Trainer, Val  Grubb & Assoc.; Dr. Kathy Keene, Deputy Commissioner, Sun Belt Conference; Rachel Massey, AVP for External Engagement and University Events; Cyndi Nguyen, former Council Member District E, City of New Orleans; and Pearlina Thomas, CAO, Capital Area Transit.

The mission of New Orleans Athletics is to produce leaders who Achieve Academic Excellence, Win Championships and Serve the University and the Greater New Orleans community with pride and humility. Its values include integrity, accountability, teamwork, transparency, grit, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. The department is led by Tim Duncan, University Vice President of Athletics and Recreation.

For more information on EmpowHer Privateers contact Rene Ronquillo, Assistant Athletics Director, at rmronqui@uno.edu or (504) 280-6418 or visit: www.UNOPrivateers.com/EmpowHer.

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