Press Releases

JEDCO, Jefferson Chamber to host virtual Women in Leadership Panel

March is Women’s History Month. What better way to celebrate the many contributions that women make to the economy and the community than to host a panel of female industry leaders to share their stories, perspectives and advice?

JEDCO and the Jefferson Chamber have teamed up to bring you this the Prosper Jefferson Women in Leadership Panel. Join us Wednesday, March 31st, at 10:00 am to hear from three female leaders across a diverse range of industries and backgrounds to share their personal experiences in leadership roles, how they got there, and how they continue to grow their businesses and organizations. Moderated by Gambel Communications CEO Amy Boyle Collins, this panel will offer frank discussions on work/life balance, the challenges women have faced in the workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic, being a female leader in male-dominated industries, and so much more.


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. This seminar is free and open to the public. It will be recorded and shared on the JEDCO and Jefferson Chamber websites following the event.


Phala Mire
Women’s Business Enterprise Council South President & CEO

Phala Kimbrough Mire is the President & CEO of the Women’s Business Enterprise Council South (WBEC South), a regional partner organization of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). A non-profit Executive for over 20 years, Mire currently orchestrates business growth and certification programs for women owned businesses in the five state region covering Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and the Florida Panhandle. Representing over 800 certified suppliers, Mire is a renowned advocate and thought leader on entrepreneurship, diversity and inclusion and women’s business issues.

Prior to her work at WBEC South, she led both the Louisiana and Southern Region Minority Supplier Development Councils of NMSDC. Her accomplishments there included raising the Council’s network rating from 34th to the Top Ten and tripling revenues within her first three years. She simultaneously operated an MBDA Center for eight years, oversaw the recovery of Council operations in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and led the successful merger of the Louisiana, Arkansas-Mississippi and Alabama affiliate councils to form the new Southern Region MSDC in 2015.

Mire has served on numerous boards and commissions, most recently as a Mayor’s appointee to the New Orleans Library Commission (Chair 2018-19) and a Governor’s appointee to the Louisiana Economic Development Small Business Task Force (Chair, 2016-17). She also currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Leadership Council of WBENC Regional Partner Organizations. A graduate of Tulane University and a mother of three, Mire is co-founder and principal strategist of the Bigger Discussion Panel Series, collectively the most watched Supplier Diversity related videos with over 100,000 collective views to date.

Courtney Richard
Anchor 36 Trucking & Logistics CEO

Courtney Richard is the President of Anchor36 Trucking & Logistics. In 2010, the company began with one truck and a vision. For the past 11 years, Courtney has grown a heavy haul trucking and logistics company in a tough market with a tough crowd. Under Courtney’s leadership the Anchor36 companies have grown into a multi-million dollar trucking conglomerate. She has developed relationships with and won the business of some of the world’s biggest companies including DHL, Shell, GE, Kiewit, and many global freight forwarders. Most recently Anchor36 delivered 9 super structures to the World War II Museum for their newest project called the Canopy of Peace.

Courtney is a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and past president of the American Business Women’s Association where she was honored as Business Woman of the Year.
Courtney received Business Reports “20 Young Leaders to Watch” Award in 2018 and Construction Equipment Magazine’s “Under 40 in Construction Equipment” Award.

Dr. Shondra Williams
InclusivCare CEO

Dr. Shondra Williams became Chief Executive Officer of Jefferson Community Health Care Centers, Inc. in September 2012. Dr. Williams has committed over two decades of services in caring for the most indigent and vulnerable populations in the Greater New Orleans area. Most of her career has been in Public Health addressing social issues such as promoting Reproductive Health. As the CEO of InclusivCare, she is leading the organization to address the following priorities…Accountability, Transparency, and Commitment.

Dr. Williams has intensified the organizations’ efforts by building a strong infrastructure capable of meeting the challenges in the new complex health care delivery system, applying robust business principles, and fostering an environment of accountability throughout the organization.

Dr. Williams is an avid public speaker on health, wellness and fertility/family planning and she has published articles and received recognition for her work in reproductive health. She is a graduate of Leadership Jefferson (2016), the UCLA Healthcare Executives Program (2013), South Central Public Health Institute (2010-2011), Effective Management Course by UNO (2009) and many others. She was also a mentor for the Women’s Leadership Academy at Loyola University. Dr. Williams is highly engaged in the community. She is the past president of Louisiana Primary Care Association and has served on a number of national and local boards aimed at mobilizing economic development for minorities. She currently serves on the following boards/committees: 504Healthnet, Louisiana Primary Care Accountable Care Organization, Rise Charter School, the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Health Care Committee and more. Dr. Williams is a recipient of the Eric B. Taylor Leadership Award.

MODERATOR: Amy Boyle Collins
Gambel Communications CEO

Amy is an accomplished communications expert with deep roots in the Gulf South region. As chief executive officer, Amy leads a multi-talented team at Gambel Communications to provide integrated marketing and public relations services to clients across a myriad of industries. Amy graduated from Loyola University New Orleans with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and from Louisiana State University’s Manship School with a Master in Mass Communication. She is certified in crisis communications by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and she has served as adjunct faculty at Loyola and Tulane University.

In addition to her role at Gambel, Amy and her husband, Sherwood Collins, created the Tres Doux Foundation and Beignet Fest in 2016. Through their journey with their son, Liam, who is on the autism spectrum, the couple recognized a need to create awareness and funding for programs to serve children with developmental differences in Greater New Orleans. As a result of Amy and Sherwood’s efforts, Beignet Fest has become a signature festival in the South, raising tens of thousands of dollars to support local advocacy, education and enrichment programs serving special needs children.

Amy has been honored as a YLC Role Model and CityBusiness Woman of the Year, plus she’s been included on the People to Watch and Top Female Achiever lists by New Orleans Magazine. She was an inaugural fellow of the Norman C. Francis Leadership Institute at Xavier University. She’s also been through the Institute of Politics, New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute (NORLI) and New Orleans Business Alliance’s Economic Development Ambassadors programs.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Amy has been active in the community since high school, serving on boards and committees for various organizations. She is a past president of the Women’s Professional Council and currently chairs the Tres Doux Foundation’s board of directors. She has also been a board member of Arts Council of New Orleans, Lafitte Greenway, the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), Dress for Success, Association of Fundraising Professionals, International Association of Business Communicators and Young Leadership Council.