Southwest Senior VP, Award Winners Headlines Jefferson Chamber Annual Meeting

Board Member of the Year - Donna Austin of Peoples Health

Provided/Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Facebook Page

METAIRIE – The Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosted its Annual Meeting, presented by Ochsner Health System, on February 2 at the Crowne Plaza New Orleans Airport Hotel.

The sold-out event featured Linda Rutherford, Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer of Southwest Airlines, who discussed Southwest’s corporate culture and communication strategy, along with their plans for the new airport terminal at the Louis Armstrong International Airport.

Speaking to a room of Chamber members, business owners and community leaders, Rutherford explained Southwest’s processes, policies and tools for serving the airline’s growing and diverse workforce.

Kristina Bennett-Holmes, Deputy Director of Aviation for the Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, spoke about the plans and progress on the airport expansion and terminal opening early 2019.

The Jefferson Chamber also announced the recipients of the 2017 Chamber Awards.

Ambassador of the Year: Peggy Kennedy, Merchants Security Services

Board Member of the Year: Donna Austin, Peoples Health

Chairman’s Award: Chuck Mutz, CenturyLink Communications

President’s Award: Dennis Assaf, Jefferson Performing Arts Society

Community Leadership Award: Ricky Burke, Atmos Energy Louisiana

Emerging Leader Award: Todd Pereira, Xplore Federal Credit Union

The annual meeting serves as the change in chamber leadership for the upcoming year.  The 2017 Chairman, Fred Preis of Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, LLP, passed the gavel to 2018 Chairman, Nick Karl of Peoples Health.

Proceeds from the event support the Jefferson Chamber’s efforts in pro-business advocacy and quality of life initiatives.

For more information about the chamber, visit

Keynote speaker Linda Rutherford

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