Cherry Fisher May

Cherry Fisher May receiving a surprise Trailblazer Award at Wednesday night's Women Who Mean Business Awards.

The United Way of Acadiana held its annual Women Who Mean Business Awards Wednesday night to honor the life and accomplishments of nine women for their work and perseverance.

Each woman was nominated by others and each had their own story to tell. Their unique experiences ranged from overcoming sexism and hardships in order to break through the glass ceiling to charitable work and service that has taken them all over the world to dedication to education of the next generation or helping the sick and needy.

"(The Women Who Mean Business Awards) celebrates the great work women do across the spectrum of the professions they represent," said Cherry Fisher May, former co-publisher of The Independent and founder of the Women Who Mean Business Awards. "It represents their strengths, our strengths as women and it leverages their stories to empower us all."

Honorees included

  • Maegan Sonnier, owner of Travel Machine.
  • Kimberly Boudreaux, Catholic Charities of Acadiana.
  • Raula Cutrer, teacher at Ross Elementary School in Crowley.
  • Maureen Dugas Foster, founder of Designing Women of Acadiana.
  • Dr. Deiadra Garret, pediatric general surgeon at Kid's Specialty Center and Women's & Children's Hospital.
  • Natalie Harder, chancellor of South Louisiana Community College.
  • Theresa LeBouef, first woman manager, director and president and CEO of Abbeville Building and Loan
  • Anna Olivier, co-owner of Jim Olivier Home Companies

May was given a Trailblazer Award for her years of work and service to the community. United Way of Acadiana President and CEO Margaret Trahan said her involvement in a range of issues and organizations like UL Lafayette, economic development, media and helping found Festival International are just a few of her numerous achievements.

"She challenged herself and others in the business world to focus not just on doing well but on doing good," Trahan said. "She's made time to mentor all women she's encountered along the way into future leaders and always mentoring them with compassion, genuineness and honesty. She exemplifies what it means to be a woman who means business."

Acadiana business today: Nine honored at Women Who Mean Business awards; October has been hot in Acadiana

Follow Dan Boudreaux on Twitter, @dan_boudreaux

Business Reporter