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Executives

John D. Georges

Owner and Chief Executive Officer

John Georges

Married to Dathel Coleman Georges, and full of passion, John Dennis Georges has cultivated achievements in both the public and private business sectors. Georges has strived to maintain marked integrity in the local, regional, statewide and national communities. Through successful business developments, faith based initiatives and philanthropic efforts, Georges remains a driving force.

After graduating from Tulane University where he majored in management with an emphasis on accounting, Georges worked for his family business, Imperial Trading Co., which was started by his immigrant grandfather. He took the family's company to a billion dollar corporation. Georges serves as Chief Executive Officer for Georges Enterprises, a Louisiana conglomerate which includes Imperial Trading Co., a national food distribution for convenience stores headquartered in New Orleans and regional offices in twelve states and several other businesses. In 2013 together with his wife, Dathel, he purchased “The Advocate,” which he grew into Louisiana’s largest daily newspaper, including The New Orleans Advocate and The Acadiana Advocate.

In the past 30 years, Georges has served on several state, national and international boards. He served for seven years on the State of Louisiana Board of Regents. He supported the establishment of Baton Rouge Community College, and facilitated collaboration between LSU and Tulane Medical Schools in areas such as gene therapy. He ran for Louisiana Governor in 2007 and Mayor of New Orleans in 2010.

Georges is a Trustee for the National World War II Museum, Member of the Board of St. Augustine High School, Past President of the Young Presidents Organization of Louisiana, past member of the Tulane University President’s Council, the University of New Orleans Foundation, the LSU Medical Foundation Board, Jefferson and New Orleans Business Councils, New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, World Trade Center and the Chamber of Commerce.

A firm believer in education and entrepreneurship, Georges founded Lemonade Day in Louisiana. An annual community event that gives children an opportunity to learn the inner workings of running a business, Lemonade Day has helped more than 50,000 children become entrepreneurs. Georges established the Galatoire's Foundation, named after the restaurant he owns, to expand local cultural programs. Galatoire's has made over $1 million in contributions to local charities.

Georges’ Greek heritage and Christian religion is a foundation for him in business and everyday life. He is a member of the Order of St. Andrew, Leadership 100 and AHEPA. During Hurricane Katrina, Georges was president of the Greek Orthodox Community in New Orleans, following the tradition of his father and grandfather, and was instrumental in the $4 million rebuild of the Greek Orthodox Church and Hellenic Cultural Center within four months of the storm. He also chaired the Katrina Relief Fund at Metairie Park Country Day School, raising more than $5 million to re-​open the school.

John and Dathel live in New Orleans with their children Zana, Liza and John Jr. (Nike).

 

 

Dathel Coleman Georges

Owner and Community Advisory Board

Portrait of Dathel Coleman Georges

Dathel Coleman Georges graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1990 with a bachelor's degree in Art History. She is a 1986 graduate of Metairie Park Country Day School. From 1990 to 2004, Georges served as Vice President of Operations at St. Rose Nursery, St. Rose, Louisiana.

In May, 2013 Dathel and John Georges purchased The Advocate and expanded the newspaper's reach by launching The New Orleans Advocate, partly by hiring several Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists from The Times-Picayune. They also publish The Acadiana Advocate.

Dathel sits on advisory boards for The Advocate and The New Orleans Advocate, which are groups of community leaders who counsel the owners and management on ways to improve the newspaper and tailor it to the needs and tastes of each unique community.

Dathel currently serves as a trustee of Metairie Park Country Day School, is on the board of Dillard University, is a trustee of Galatoire's Foundation and Crimestoppers, and is a board member of St. Rose Nursery.

Past community involvement includes the 2013 fundraising chair for Ogden Museum of Southern Art 'O What a Night Gala' and the 2011 chair for the Museum of Art's 'Art in Bloom' event. She is also a past board member for the Contemporary Art Center.

Her hobbies include hiking, biking, golf, tennis, travel, and art collecting. John and Dathel live in New Orleans with their children Alexandra (Zana), Eliza (Liza) and John Jr. (Nike).

 

 

Dan Shea

President and Publisher

Portrait of Dan Shea

Dan Shea is the President and Publisher of The Advocate. In this role, he leads all departments of the newspaper and theadvocate.com website.

Prior to joining The Advocate, Shea served as the managing editor/news for The Times-Picayune for 19 years. He supervised newsroom operations, technology, copyediting, presentation and photography. During his tenure, his team won scores of awards for photography, graphics and design from the Society for News Design and the National Press Photographers Association.

Shea played a key role in continuing publication of the paper in print and online in the harrowing days after Katrina. He led a small team to Houma when rising floodwaters forced the paper to evacuate its newsroom and kept the operation going while a larger news operation was being assembled in Baton Rouge. For its efforts, the TP won the Gold Medal for Public Service and the Breaking News Award of the 2006 Pulitzer Prizes. The paper also won two more Pulitzer Prizes during his tenure.

Shea was the liaison with nola.com for many years when it was a separately run company. He also created The TP Store, an online source for TP photos, books and page reproductions. He directed the publication of six books from the TP staff.

Prior to coming to New Orleans, Shea worked at The Record of Bergen County, New Jersey, first as the business editor, later as publishing technology manager, where he supervised the purchasing and installation of millions of dollars of new computer technology.

He also was a financial reporter at a trade paper covering Wall Street and reported on local government and business for the Journal Inquirer and Hartford Advocate newspapers in Connecticut.

A native of Massachusetts, Shea is a graduate of Clark University in Worcester, Mass. and also studied in England and Canada. He is married to Stephanie Stokes, the former editor of the Inside Out section of The Times-Picayune. They reside in Metairie with their teenage children, DJ and Catie.

 

Sheila Runnels

General Manager & Chief Revenue Officer

Portrait of Sheila Runnels

A Louisiana native, Runnels began her newspaper career in the 1980’s in Monroe at The News-Star, and worked her way up with the Gannett Company for 13 years, from administrative to sales to supervisor to manager, and leaving as Advertising Director in Muskogee, Oklahoma at The Daily Phoenix. From there, she went to Alexandria, Louisiana as Classified Director to work for Central Newspapers, who owned The Town Talk at the time. Advance publications recruited her in 1999 to become Classified Advertising Manager at The Huntsville Times in Huntsville, Alabama. She became Retail Advertising Manager in 2006 and was named Advertising Director in 2008.

Runnels returned to her home state of Louisiana, being named Advertising Director at The Advocate in Baton Rouge in June of 2010. Today she holds the title of General Manager/Chief Revenue Officer.

Runnels has always been involved in the advertising end of the newspaper business, appreciates that no two days are alike, and enjoys building lasting relationships with colleagues and customers.

Runnels has served as President of Georgia/Alabama Newspaper Group, Society for Classified Advertising Managers’ Association, Multimedia Newspaper Advertising Executives’ Association,  and is currently a member of Baton Rouge Area Chamber Board of Directors and Baton Rouge Rotary.

Runnels has been married to Richey Runnels for 31 years, and has two sons, Joey, 28, and Joshua, 24, along with a German Shorthaired Pointer named Deacon.

 

Peter Kovacs

Editor

Portrait of Peter Kovacs

Kovacs has been a newspaper editor in Louisiana for more than three decades at The Times-Picayune and The Advocate. He moved to Baton Rouge, joined The Advocate in 2013, and helped expand its reach in Louisiana by launching separate newspapers serving New Orleans and Acadiana, as well as more than a dozen weekly titles covering the Baton Rouge and New Orleans markets. From 1983 to 2012 he held a variety of positions at The Times-Picayune, including managing editor/news. During his time there, the newspaper won four Pulitzer Prizes, including two for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina. He came to New Orleans from Alabama, where he was an editor and reporter for The Birmingham News. He is a graduate of Brown University and has served on various boards, including the Associated Press Managing Editors and the Manship School. He is a member of the Baton Rouge Rotary.

 

 

Fred Kalmbach

Managing Editor

Portrait of Fred Kalmbach

Kalmbach has been involved in covering news in the Baton Rouge area for more than 25 years, first as a reporter covering crime, courts and the environment, and later as an editor. He started his career in journalism in 1988 as an intern reporter with the State-Times, the city's afternoon newspaper at the time. He later joined Baton Rouge’s morning paper, The Advocate. In 2004 he left the paper to become managing editor at the Baton Rouge Business Report. In mid-2005 he returned to The Advocate as Metro editor, just in time to help lead the news coverage of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and has been managing editor since 2011. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

 

 

Martha Carr

Managing Editor, New Orleans

Portrait of Martha Carr

Martha Carr, managing editor of The New Orleans Advocate, has worked as a reporter and editor in her hometown for almost two decades. After spending 16 years at the Times-Picayune, she joined The Advocate in 2013 to lead the effort to bring back a strong, civic-minded, daily newspaper to the New Orleans area.

She was part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial team that reported on the tragedy unleashed by Hurricane Katrina, and was integral in directing the coverage of the recovery, including every anniversary for the past 10 years.

Carr received her bachelor's in communications from Loyola University and her master’s in journalism from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in Chicago. While at the Times-Picayune, she worked as a political reporter, deputy city editor and online news editor. Her job is now focused on helping The New Orleans Advocate's award-winning staff of journalists unearth the stories that are important to readers and hold the powerful to account.

 

 

Gordon Russell

Managing Editor, Investigations

Portrait of Gordon Russell

Russell has worked in daily newspapers since 1995, including stints at the Morgantown, West Virginia Dominion Post and the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune. He worked at The Times-Picayune from 1999 until 2013, and was part of a team that won two Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of Hurricane Katrina. He was the paper's last city editor, a position he held for four years. He has been managing editor for investigations at The Advocate since 2013. He is a graduate of Columbia University and earned a master’s in journalism from New York University. He lives in New Orleans.

 

Lee Saunier

Vice President - Information Technology

Portrait of Lee Saunier

Saunier joined The Advocate’s leadership team as Vice President of Information Technology in 2013, after a 13-year career at The Times-Picayune. His expertise includes technology management, systems architecture, project management, strategic planning, and customer service. Before joining the publishing industry, he served in the Louisiana Air National Guard for 12 years where he received multiple acknowledgements for his service, including being recognized by the United States Air Force as 'Best Seen to Date' for managing IT related fixed assets. In addition to being Microsoft certified, he graduated with a Business Administration degree from the University of New Orleans. Saunier has lived in south Louisiana his entire life. He lives in Prairieville with his wife Regina and daughter Ava. Saunier loves spending time with his family, and is a huge sports fan.

 

 

Sterling Rabalais

Vice President - Production

Portrait of Sterling Rabalais

Rabalais started at The Advocate in 1972 working in the Classified department while a senior at Istrouma High School, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She moved to Quality Control on the production side of the business in the late 1980's. She was named Production Director in 2013 and Vice President of Production in 2014. The Advocate’s printing plant is one of the most modern in the industry, and under Rabalais’ leadership the mission of the facility has expanded to produce separate daily newspapers for Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Acadiana, as well as more than a dozen weekly titles.