Women’s History Month: Esprit de Femme Awards Sunrise Celebration Event Set for March 27

02/04/2014 02:41 PM

BATON ROUGE – Every March, LSU recognizes Women’s History Month by honoring and celebrating women from all walks of life.  Part of the month-long celebration is the LSU Women’s Center’s annual Esprit de Femme Awards Sunrise Celebration, where the LSU Women’s Center will honor the 2014 recipients of the Esprit de Femme and Men Who Champion Women awards on Thursday, March 27, at the Renaissance Hotel Baton Rouge. The event will kick off at 8 a.m. with registration and a networking coffee.

Established in 2009, the Esprit de Femme award is an annual acknowledgement of a person who has made exceptional efforts toward the advancement of women in Louisiana. This award honors individuals who elevate the status of women in the community through their contributions to the arts, education, healthcare, business and industry, charity and civic engagement. This is the second year that the award will be presented at the Sunrise Celebration.  

The 2014 Esprit de Femme awards will be presented to eight deserving recipients. These recipients are Sylvia Duke, Elain Ellerbe, Donna Fraiche, Rose Hudson, Laura Lindsay, Annette Mire, Terri Sterling and Lauren Thom.

Sylvia S. Duke is a community activist, currently serving on the board of the Iris Domestic Violence Center. The Iris Center offers services to survivors of relationship violence and their children in the seven-parish Capital area. Duke is also on the LSU Bengal Belle board, an organization that provides academic support for all student athletes. She has also served on The Foundation for Historical Louisiana, Magnolia Cemetery and the Eye Bank Auxiliary boards. Duke retired in 1996 from the State Senate after more than 30 years of service.

Elain Ellerbe serves as the CEO of Refined By Fire Ministries Inc., a non-profit she and her family founded in 1995. She has dedicated her life to developing and implementing unique and award-winning life skills programs for incarcerated populations and families impacted by the criminal justice system. In May 2013, Ellerbe’s husband of 36 years, Michael, who was director of Reentry at Dixon Correctional Institute, passed away. To honor his memory, Ellerbe remains committed to continuing the work the two of them did side by side for more than 30 years.


Donna D. Fraiche is a shareholder and member of the health care and public policy departments in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge offices of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, one of the 100 largest law firms in the U.S.  She serves on the firm’s nominating committee and chairs its Women’s Initiative. Fraiche was appointed the Honorary Consul-General of Japan for New Orleans in 2008 and re-appointed in 2013. She is chair of the Louisiana Health Care Commission and first woman president of the American Health Lawyers Association. Fraiche is one of two Louisiana delegates to Vision 2020.  

Rose J. Hudson has been the CEO and president of the Louisiana Lottery for the past seven years. Through her leadership, the company has ranked among the most successful in the Louisiana Lottery’s 22-year history. An industry leader with strong community service roots, Hudson serves on boards ranging from the Baton Rouge Area Foundation to the Multi-State Lottery Association that oversees the billion-dollar Powerball brand.

Laura F. Lindsay, professor emerita, Manship School of Mass Communication, retired from LSU in June 2013 after 35 years of service. She has worked in academia for 43 years, including interim provost from 2002-2003, as well as both vice provost and associate vice chancellor in the Office of Academic Affairs from 1989-1999. From 2003-2007, she was executive assistant to the chancellor and executive director of the LSU Museum of Art. Lindsay represented LSU during the construction of the Shaw Center for the Arts and the move of the LSU Museum of Art to its downtown location.

Annette Mire is the associate superintendent of human resources and staff development for the West Baton Rouge Parish School System. She also served as the former director of human resources for the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. Mire founded, directed, and led the systems’ Leadership Training Program, and was responsible for training 270 administrators who have become leaders at the state level, superintendents of school systems, principals, assistant principals and leaders at school systems around the entire state.

Terrie Sterling is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. Sterling is responsible for day-to-day operations at the 801 bed regional medical center, Children’s Hospital and Heart & Vascular Institute, with a medical staff of more than 1,000 members and more than 3,500 employees. She serves on the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, New Orleans Branch, Capital Area United Way, Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area, and American Heart Association Greater Southeast Region Affiliate. She is the 2014 American Heart Association Chairman for the Heart Walk.  

Lauren Thom is the founder of the New Orleans brand, Fleurty Girl. Her personal story and “you-can-do-it spirit” have continued to motivate and inspire people. In May 2009, this single mother of three took her income tax refund check and invested all of it into her own idea, Fleurty Girl, a unique New Orleans collection of tees and apparel. Thom opened her first shop six months later and today has five locations around New Orleans.

Established in 2011, the Men Who Champion Women award recognizes the contributions of men to advancing women in Louisiana. Bradie James is the 2014 recipient of the Men Who Champion Women award.

Bradie James founded Foundation 56 in 2007 to help stamp out breast cancer following the death of his mother. To date, Foundation 56 has donated more than half a million dollars for breast cancer prevention, screenings and treatment. Foundation 56 has contributed to funding mobile mammogram units to serve communities in South Louisiana and North Texas. James was named the 2012 LSU Young Alumnus of the Year. While at LSU, James was an outstanding member of the football team. He went on to be a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for the Esprit de Femme Awards Sunrise Celebration. Packages range from $500 for a table sponsorship to $5,000 for the title sponsorship. The packages include recognition in the event program, recognition on the LSU Women’s Center website, tickets to the event and more.

In addition to sponsorship packages, those wishing to attend can purchase individual tickets to the event for $50 or a table of 10 for $500. The first 300 people to purchase tickets will receive Dior gift bags at the event.

Sponsorships, tickets, tables and honoree recognition donations for the 2014 Esprit de Femme Awards Sunrise Celebration can be purchased by visiting www.lsufoundation.org/EDF. Online registration will be available beginning Friday, Feb. 14, and will remain open until Monday, March 24.

Proceeds from the Esprit de Femme Awards Sunrise Celebration will support the mission and goals of the Women’s Center. The LSU Women’s Center provides support, programs, referral and information to students, faculty and staff on issues and concerns related to women. The center also promotes the advancement of women’s issues and well-being through its services, educational programs and advocacy efforts.

In addition to the Esprit de Femme Awards Sunrise Celebration, the LSU Women’s Center is also involved in several signature programs and initiatives, including the annual Take Back the Night candlelight vigil and march, Women’s History Month programming and the Healthy Masculinity Initiative.

LSU’s Women’s History Month Celebration is coordinated by the LSU Women’s Center. For information about the Esprit de Femme Awards Sunrise Celebration or the LSU Women’s Center, please contact Summer Steib, director of the LSU Women’s Center, at summers@lsu.edu or 225-578-7563, or visit www.lsu.edu/wc.

Ernie  Ballard 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014