And Her FestiGal Colors: Orange, Pink and Aqua
Diane Lyons loves the FestiGals colors – orange, pink and aqua. “I love the colors because they make me feel bodacious,” she says with a gleam in her eyes, and then she adds, “The trio of strong colors certainly fits well with the unique festival that empowers women wrapped in a fun weekend.” The event will take place this year from June 11 to 14 at the JW Marriot Hotel on Canal Street.
FestiGals was founded in 2011 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting, educating and inspiring women through seminars and events that empower, showcase the culture of New Orleans, and raise awareness and resources for targeted women’s causes. Diane already knew a thing or two about being a powerful woman before she took on the duties of creating FestiGals. She has been the president and CEO of ACCENT on Arrangements, a destination and meeting management company, for 25 years and she also owns ACCENT on Children’s Arrangements, a national company that provides on-site children’s programs for meetings and events.
During her long career, Diane has been featured in notable business publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Smart Meetings, and Executive Traveler, and was named one of the Top Female Achievers of 2012 by New Orleans Magazine and a Woman of the Year by City Business in both 2004 and 2012.
Why would such a busy executive want to create a festival just for women? “I looked around and saw festivals and events celebrating tomatoes, music, and even decadence, but nothing focusing on women who are the backbone of many local businesses, leaders of our communities, and the cohesive strength of our families,” she answers. “I loved the idea of bringing women together to be empowered, share experiences and have fun.”
Diane definitely didn’t want FestiGals to end up being a business meeting of women dressed in the usual costume of a tailored suit and carrying a briefcase. “I wanted FestiGals to be a celebration that combined fun with the dead-on seriousness of women’s issues and offering networking opportunities for everybody who attends.
“I have spent a lot of time studying what makes women happy,” she continues. “I am convinced along with the usual shopping list of things you usually hear and read about, successful women love vibrant colors like the ones women wear when they attend FestiGals. I also think that most women look good in orange, pink and aqua and you will definitely see these colors at FestiGals events.”
“Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Journeys,” will be the theme of FestiGals this year. Christine Clifford, author of You, Inc.: the Art of Selling Yourself, will be the keynote speaker. “The talk will be featured at the FestiGals premier fundraising event, Bodacious Bras for a Cause that will be presented by Paris Parker Salons & Spas on Saturday, June 13. “It is a fun event with 100 percent of all funds generated going directly to Breastoration and the Cancer Associates of Greater New Orleans,” Diane says. “For lagniappe there will also be a Stein Mart fashion show. To date FestiGals has generated over $55,000, and the colorful annual event features amazing, imaginative bras of every description made by attendees and auctioned to the public.”
A 10th-generation Louisiana native, Diane enjoys the fact that her husband, Jack, who retired as a successful banker to become CFO of her company, bought her a pink bike to celebrate her love of color. Along the way Diane and Jack had two sons – John and Thomas. Today John and London, his wife, are both surgeons, and Thomas and Stephanie, his wife, are both attorneys. Diane will proudly tell you that she has six grandchildren. “I do believe women can have it all,” she says with a smile. “And it is more fun it you embrace color to make success even more bodacious in your life.”