Blog

Member Spotlight: Gail Varuso

Gail Varuso has been in the hospitality industry since the early l980’s when she joined the Administrative team of the Louisiana World Exposition which launched her career in hospitality. After the close of the World’s Fair, she became employed by the Sheraton Hotel in New Orleans, in a position in Human Resources. That ended more than 11 years later in the overseeing of their Catering and Convention Services Team and then led to a catering position at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers.

Gail left Sheraton in 1998 to join Freeman Decorating as an Account Manager. After a 2-year short tenure, a new opportunity was offered to her as Director of Sales at House of Blues. Her 12 years in that position offered her insight and experience in the music and talent world as well as booking memorable special events including MTV, NFL and Super Bowl parties. She was able to work with well-known clients and managers of celebrities such as Drew Brees, Kevin Costner, Harry Connick, Jr, and President Barack Obama. In 2012, she became the General Manager of the Civic Theater. Then moving on in 2014 she joined the Ralph Brennan Catering and Events team as Director of Sales, also overseeing private bookings at Heritage Grill in Metairie. Her position has recently expanded to represent Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group’s restaurant portfolio. Gail currently serves on the board of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience and is a member of Meeting Professionals International and ABWA. She is from the New Orleans area, has 2 daughters, and currently resides in Lakeview.


Ralph Brennan Catering & Events & Heritage Grill, Director of Sales

504-539-5515 / gvaruso@neworleans-food.com

July Luncheon – Desiree Young

The next American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) luncheon will be held on July 14, 2016  from 11:00 -1:00 at Ralph Brennan’s Heritage Grill (111 Veterans Blvd), and our guest speaker will be Desiree Young of VentureWalk Business Partners. Desiree helps small businesses gain clarity and grown clients. In her July talk, she will present, “Your Fortune is in Your Follow-Up: Simple Steps to Cure Follow-Up Failure and Close More Sales.”

As a business owner or professional, you’ve learned how to respond to hot leads, the problem is that only 3-5% of the people that contact you is ready to buy, today. In this seminar Desiree H. Young of VentureWalk discusses what to do after you pitch, how to stop interested prospects from falling through the cracks and when to approach them again without feeling like a pest.

Desiree has advised businesses in over 27 different industries, helped to raise over $5.9M in funding and trained thousands of business owners, professionals and organization leaders on how to develop profitable enterprises that honor their values and serve their community. Desiree is passionate about education and has created proprietary programs like her Business GPS Action Circle and Pitch-to-Win System. She’s also developed and delivered programs for Capital One Bank’s Getting Down to Business and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programs to enable businesses to get clarity, grow clients and gain control while becoming the best marketer and manager of their messages. She earned her engineering degree from Boston University and an MBA in entrepreneurship and marketing from Southern Methodist University and ESADE in Barcelona, Spain. Desiree believes that entrepreneurship is the path that leads to personal and financial freedom and is on a mission to empower people, worldwide, to improve their quality of life and work through profitable entrepreneurship both on the job and off.

The event is open to all professional women. All attendees are encouraged to pre-register through the following form. 

Register Online:

Fill out the form and click Submit. You will be redirected to Paypal to complete payment.

Your Full Name*

Your ABWA Membership Status*

Your Email*

Phone Number*

Menu Choice*

Comments or Questions? Enter them here:

June Luncheon – Monica Pierre

The June American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) luncheon will feature Monica Pierre, Producer and Performer, Award – winning journalist and Motivational Speaker. She will speak on “How to Embrace Your Passion” and it will be both motivational and informative. The networking luncheon will be held on June 09, 2016 from 11:00 -1:00 at Ralph Brennan’s Heritage Grill (111 Veterans Blvd.) The event is open to all professional women. All attendees are encouraged to pre-register through our website.

Monica Pierre, will give a motivational talk on “How To Embrace Your Passion” to the ABWA June Luncheon attendees. Pierre,is an Emmy Award winning journalist, radio personality, author and actor. She is a veteran news media professional with expertise in broadcast journalism, radio and television talk show hosting, communications consulting, focus group facilitation and community engagement strategy. She is an inductee in the Greater New Orleans Broadcasters “Master Awards” Hall of Fame, and recipient of various Press Club of New Orleans news awards.
Pierre is a motivational speaker and author of the personal development books, Found My Soul in a Sweet Potato Patch: Living a Life of Victory and No Permanent Scars: It’s Never Too Late to Live The Life You Want.
From Monica’s Motivational Moments, “ It takes courage to rise up after a setback, or get up after a knockdown, or stand strong as the winds of adversity whirl around us.
Our dreams are worth everything — our sacrifice, persistence, commitment and courage.”

May Luncheon – Dr. Gerry Citanovich

The May American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) luncheon will feature Dr. Gerry Citanovich,MD, Jefferson Parish Coroner. He will speak on “The Real NCIS of Jefferson Parish and What It Means to You as a Businesswoman.” The networking luncheon will be held on May 12, 2016 from 11:00 -1:00 at Ralph Brennan’s Heritage Grill (111 Veterans Blvd.) The event is open to all professional women. All attendees are encouraged to pre-register through the form below.

In 1992, Dr. Cvitanovich joined the Emergency Department staff at East Jefferson General Hospital. In addition to working in the ER, he served as Medical Director of East Jefferson General Hospital’s Wound Center from 2002 to 2007, as well as three terms on the Medical Executive Committee at East Jefferson General Hospital. In 2002, Cvitanovich founded East Jefferson After Hours Urgent Care Centers and in 2005 he co-founded Millennium Healthcare. In 2010, Dr. Cvitanovich served on the Physician’s Advisory Board of the Joint Commission (JCAHO). Dr. Cvitanovich also served three terms on the Board of Directors of the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau. After four years as Deputy Coroner, Dr. Cvitanovich was elected coroner of Jefferson Parish without opposition for the term beginning March 2012.

The National Association of Medical Examiners has reaccredited the Jefferson Parish coroner’s office, a distinction held by only six of the country’s 1,600 coroner’s offices. The association approved the office’s accreditation on June 1 after a flawless inspection. Dr. Citanovich will speak on how important it is that our community has access to such an important agency and how it can be used to help attract business to our community.

Register Online:

Fill out the form and click Submit. You will be redirected to Paypal to complete payment.

Your Full Name*

Your ABWA Membership Status*

Your Email*

Phone Number*

Menu Choice*

Comments or Questions? Enter them here:

Christi Felder & Carol Newman – March President’s Certificate of Merit

The President’s Certificate of Merit  for March was awarded to Christi Felder and Carol Newman. These two women were integral in forming the Crescent City Connections Chapter of ABWA and worked together to host the first annual ABWA Awards Ceremony.