More than 170 people turned out to honor the five 2016 Annie Award winners during a recent luncheon in Hammond.
The winners were selected by the Greater Hammond Chamber of Commerce and Tangi Lifestyles Magazine for “their excellence in their respective fields and for their true servant’s heart for the community,” a news release said.
Winners were Susan T. Courtney, Courtney Christian School; Tamara Danel, Ginger Ford Northshore Fuller Center for Housing; Alexis Ducorbier, Alexis Ducorbier State Farm; Bernadette Kemp, First Guaranty Bank; and Kim Howes Zabbia, The Art Station.
Fleurty Girl founder Lauren LeBlanc, the luncheon’s guest speaker, talked about how she used a $2,000 income tax refund to start her business. She said it is never too late to be a success if you’re ready to work for it.
“I hope it inspires people to take a chance,” LeBlanc said of her story.
In May 2009, LeBlanc, a single mother of three, took her income tax refund check and invested all of it into her own idea, Fleurty Girl, a New Orleans collection of T-shirts and apparel.
Within a month, she sold out of her initial inventory and continued to do so every time she came out with more items. She opened her first shop six months later and today has five locations around New Orleans.
In addition to the current Annie Award winners, the chamber and Tangi Lifestyles also honored two past Annie Award winners with the Legacy Award — recognizing them for the many more lives they have touched since they were originally honored. The two Legacy Award winners were Kathy Pittman, recently retired from the Southeastern Louisiana University Alumni Association, and Rosa Dunn, of KSLU.
“The Annie Awards are not received as a culmination of all the good you have done but rather an honor on the journey,” chamber president and CEO Melissa Bordelon said. “All of our Annie Award winners carry on a legacy of excellence and service that honors the memory of Dr. Anne Ferguson and inspires our community.”