FestiGals FestiTalks’ 5 Minute Phenomenas

         Women are multitaskers.

         We can juggle jobs, kids, groceries, housework, bankbooks, social media and shoe closets often in the same afternoon.

         That’s why FestiGals, the first and only New Orleans festival that inspires, connects and celebrates women while supporting causes important to their well-being, produces FestiTalks, a series of rapid-fire, dynamic presentations on a variety of topics, which are delivered in five minute segments.

         Inspired by the genius of Ignite, TED Talks and Disrupt HR, FestiTalks attendees will get access to enviable and empowering information about health and wellness, fashion, communication strategies and business savvy delivered in a very short amount of time.

         FestiGals introduced FestiTalks last year during its Women’s Leadership Conference as part of its three-day festival, and I’m honored to host this event for the second year in a row Friday, June 23, at the JW Marriott, 614 Canal St., from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

         The extraordinary eight women I’ll introduce include:


 Aimée Gowland

“How To Not Look Like A Hot Mess”

         Gowland’s mission is to teach men and women to “dress their best self.” Clothing is an extension of your personality, she said, and when you look good, you consequentially feel good, and that projects and enhances a confident self-image.

         Gowland is a fashion writer and stylist for ALG Style. Her interests in the fashion industry and her strong connections with the retail and fashion communities have led to professional relationships with large-scale retailers and styling for local print publications. Additionally, Gowland continues to contribute to several local publications and blogs discussing the subject of fashion and style.


 Karol Brandt

“The Struggle Is Real: My Transformational Weight Loss Journey On Winning The Mental Battle Of Weight Loss, Finding Your Why And Becoming The Best Version Of You”

         Brandt grew up in New Orleans where she said “people live to eat and celebrate with food.” She said she is an average, everyday American that struggled with weight gain and loss for most of her adult life until she had a paradigm shift and decided she needed to change.

         Recognizing that changing her mental thoughts was the way to fix her body, Brandt set out to learn health and fitness from the ground up. She said she has become a very healthy, active person who wants to inspire others through a simple set of guidelines, ridding the mind of negativity and transforming thought processes to overcome struggles with diet, food choices and exercise.

         You will hear about her transformational weight loss journey and what she “gained” along the way, such as knowledge of why emotional eating is unhealthy for our bodies, how to gain self-control and how to E.V.O.L.V.E. into the person you have always dreamt of being.

         Her story will encourage you to face your personal struggles, motivate you to create a plan and inspire you to become the healthiest version of yourself.


 Dr. Michelle Clay

“Calming The Chaos: The Super Woman’s Tool Belt For Living The Life Of Her Dreams, Stress Free”

         Dr. Clay, a speaker, author and holistic physician who specializes in the release and management of stress and associated symptoms simply and naturally, will offer a refreshing perspective on ways to release stress and recharge health to live a life of purpose with passion.

         Through her company FREELIFE7, Dr. Clay enhances lives by harmonizing all dimensions of wellness through wellness coaching programs to help stressed out and burned out professionals, leaders and exhausted executives discover their sense of calm, clarity and confidence.

         She is a sought-after speaker at national, regional and local conferences, community organizations and colleges contributing insights and strategies for releasing stress and tension using an holistic approach.

         She shares her knowledge via her YouTube Channel with “Mindset Monday” and “Wednesday’s Wellness Wisdom Pearls.” These video segments highlight how to shift mindsets to ensure wellness success.

         Dr. Clay holds a bachelor of science in biology from Xavier University, a doctor of osteopathic medicine from Ohio University and certifications in holistic health counseling and clinical nutrition from the Academy of Natural Health Sciences in Woodbridge, New Jersey.

         Her favorite quote? “At all times and under all circumstances, we have the power to transform the quality of our lives.” – Werner Erhard


• Wendy Dolan

“An iPhone Tour Of The Self-Doubt Induced By Motherhood And Business Ownership”

         Dolan is the president and founder of Get Online NOLA, a community-minded company dedicated to helping small businesses take control of their online presence through reasonably priced marketing services and resources. She has been building websites since 2008 and teaches workshops to help business owners make the most of the internet.

         Dolan is the president of New Orleans Women in Technology (WIT), and a founding member of the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA). She was chosen as a “Woman of the Year in Tech” in 2016 and was named one of Silicon Bayou’s 100 Top People in Tech and Entrepreneurship in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

         When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two kids and the family dog Bisou.


• Courtney Elmer

“Do It On Purpose!”

         Did you know there is a way for you to put your head on your pillow each and every night and feel happy, joyful and energized for the day ahead? Do you want to harness that power within you to control how you feel and create the happy and fulfilling life you deeply desire? If so, find out how to “Do It On Purpose!” with Courtney Elmer.

         Elmer is a success coach and transformational speaker known for her ability to help business owners, entrepreneurs and leaders pinpoint and eliminate the underlying causes of stress in their life and business.

         Elmer’s life came to a screeching halt after being diagnosed with cancer at the age of 25. During her treatment and recovery, she realized that she had unknowingly fallen into the trap of believing that stress, exhaustion and burnout was simply a “normal” way of life for any leader who desired success.

         This awakening stirred something deep within Elmer’s heart and influenced her to drop everything and walk away from her more than eight years of success in the network marketing industry and create the coaching company she now runs, where she helps others learn how to #StressLESS and #LiveMORE.

         In just five minutes, during her FestiTalks presentation, she’ll help you to harness that power within to control how you feel and create the happy and fulfilling life you deeply desire.


• Amy Kirk Duvoisin

“Walking With Joanie On The Pony: How I Started A New Parade”

         Duvoisin moved to New Orleans in 2004 and has never looked back. The city has embraced all of her crazy ideas, she said, and given her the freedom to work, love and live like no other place has. Her work in New Orleans has spanned from publishing and talk radio to marketing and event planning.

         Duvoisin is currently the Louisiana Children’s Museum’s education director. She founded the Joan of Arc Parade in 2008 and is the president of Joan of Arc Project, LLC, overseeing the annual Jan. 6 Joan of Arc Parade.

         She believes big and bold ideas aren’t always the best ideas. She said, despite the odds, sometimes it’s a small, simple and sincere idea that works out the best. Lower your expectations, Duvoisin said, and keep your heart, mind and ears open, and like Joan of Arc you can both innocently and fiercely go into battle and succeed… and not get burnt at the stake!






• Havilah Malone

“The Power of Enthusiasm – Transforming Dreams Into Reality!”

         If you are ready to intensify your thinking ability and creative imagination leading to new levels of success, and learn how to activate the immense power lying dormant within you to generate self-confidence, eliminate fatigue and influence the actions of others around you, don’t miss FestiTalks speaker Havilah Malone.

         Malone is a best selling author, inspirational speaker and visionary leader of Proof of What’s Possible, Inc., specializing in personal and business development for entrepreneurs and business professionals.

         After graduating from college at the age of 19 with degrees in arts, communications and psychology, Malone went on to manage a $160 million dollar technology business by the age of 21.

         She is the award-winning author of “How to Become a Publicity Magnet in any Market via TV, Radio & Print” and “The Amazing Adventures of Oliver Hill” based on the 17 principles of success from Napoleon Hill’s “Think & Grow Rich.”


• Val Grubb

“Grow Your Personal Brand, Grow Your Career”

         Grubb founded Val Grubb & Associates Ltd. after holding a succession of leadership roles within major corporations including NBC Universal, Oxygen Media, InterActiveCorp (IAC) and Rolls-Royce, plc.

         She said one of the most critical activities you can do for your career is create a personal brand that defines “who you are” and “what you stand for.” The very success of your initiatives as well as your career hang in the balance. But what is a personal brand and how do you define it in a way that matters? And once you’ve defined your personal brand, what do you do with it? Grubb will answers these questions and more during her interactive session focused on the “Brand of You.”

         An author and speaker, Grubb is an innovative and visionary operations leader with an exceptional ability to zero in on the systems, processes and human capital issues that can hamper a company’s growth. Grubb regularly consults for startups wishing to expand and mid-range companies seeking efficiencies in back office operations. Her expertise and vibrant style are also in constant demand for executive coaching and corporate training.



         The seventh annual FestiGals weekend starts today, Thursday, June 22, and runs through Saturday, June 24.

         FestiGals, a nonprofit organization, produces this largest and longest running women’s business and social networking weekend event along the Gulf Coast and raises tens of thousands of dollars for causes close to the hearts of women such as Breastoration, the Cancer Association of Greater New Orleans and the New Orleans Family Justice Center – organizations that help women whose lives are affected by cancer and domestic violence.

         Highlights of the weekend include Friday’s New Orleans Women’s Leadership Conference and Saturday’s Bodacious Bras for a Cause Brunch. Also on Saturday is the Stiletto Stroll Second Line Parade to be led through the French Quarter by Grand DIVA Robin Barnes. A FestiGals After Party marks the culmination of the big weekend celebration.


         To buy an entire FestiGals weekend package or individual tickets to any of the more than a dozen separate events, including FestiTalks, click here



Categories: Leslie’s List