Who are the Most Powerful Women in Shreveport/Bossier?
When you think of a powerful woman from our area, who do you think of? Dak Prescott was honored as a member of the Northwest Louisiana Walk of Stars yesterday. Because of Dak's inclusion, we decided to look up who he was keeping company with.
Out of the 30 inductees that I counted, only two of them were women. Don't get me wrong, everyone on the list most assuredly deserves to be there, but why weren't there more women? So, I got to thinking... who are Shreveport/Bossier's most powerful and influential women? Here's the list I came up with.
Margaret Shehee - Margaret Shehee is truly powerful and influential, just like her mother, Virginia Shehee. In addition to her work with Kilpatrick's Rose-Neath Funeral Homes and Kilpatrick Life Insurance, she's served with organizations like the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana, the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, and the Shreveport Air Authority Board, which she recently made news for by refusing to leave the board at the insistence of Mayor Perkins. Way to stand up for yourself sister!
Arlena Acree - I don't think anyone can argue how instrumental Arlena has been in building the film industry in our area and the state. Not only does she own Career Adventures, but she's also served as the Shreveport Director of Economic Development and Film and as the Film Commissioner. She also implemented Shreveport's “Don’t Be Trashy. Keep it Classy... Shreveport is Home” campaign.
Dodie Horton - Dodie is the Louisiana State Rep. for District 9 and in Baton Rouge, she’s a member of the Health and Welfare Committee, Ways and Means, Labor and Industrial Relations and the Joint Legislative Committee on Capital Outlay. Horton is a Haughton girl and she was with Henry Burns before taking office herself where she's making sure Louisiana residents have more money in their pockets by opposing new tax bills and suggesting better ways to use our state's money.
Ginger Paul - I’ve had the pleasure of serving on the Philadelphia Center Board with Ginger and her husband, Father Kenneth Paul, from Church of the Holy Cross Episcopal Church. In addition to her tireless efforts for the Philadelphia Center, Ginger is also well known as an integral part of the Krewe of Barkus and Meoux, is the President of the Elm Grove Plantation, has served as the president of the ECW and more. She’s also a generous benefactor to our community and is always the epitome of a southern lady.
Jane Smith - I knew Jane Smith as 'General Jane' during my time at Haughton High School. I can tell you personally, that she knew every student's name and was invested in their success. Case in point, she personally helped my brother get into Louisiana Scholars College. Smith was the first woman in Bossier Parish to have been appointed as a high-school principal of Haughton High School and served from 1988–1995. She was also the superintendent of the public schools (1994–1999). Additionally, she is also the first female ever to have been elected as a state legislator from Bossier Parish. In 2012, Governor Bobby Jindal appointed Smith as Deputy Secretary of the Louisiana Revenue Department and was then named to one of the three appointed seats on the eleven-member Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Liz Swain - If there's a function supporting a nonprofit in our area, chances are, you're going to see Liz Swain. Liz was a well known and respected anchor at KTBS before she resigned in order to become the executive assistant to former Shreveport Mayor Keith Hightower in 1998. After running for office unsuccessfully, she became the Communications Director for Calumet, podcasted and was a free-lance journalist. Later, in 2010, she became the Director of the Downtown Shreveport Development Authority and in all of her non-existent free time, she handles PR duties for area nonprofit organizations.
I'm sure there are plenty of women I've missed and I want to hear from you regarding who they are. It's time we celebrate women, especially women supporting women. Let's brag on our sisters getting it done. I'd love to see your additions to my list in the comments section below.