While disasters often spawn opportunity in their wake, Katrina’s devastation was so profound that it reshaped the psyche of New Orleans residents, including its entrepreneurs.
|Suzanne Mestayer of ThirtyNorth|
After the big storm, one Louisiana native, Suzanne Mestayer, who had lived in New Orleans for 38 years, changed professional course. After racking up an impressive corporate career, as the ninth woman partner in Arthur Andersen, president for four markets in Louisiana for Regions Bank, (formerly Am South), and executive vice president for wealth management of First NBC/First Commerce, she decided to become an entrepreneur. The storm, she says, “changed my perspective on what I wanted to do. I just wanted to get back to being closer to clients than my corporate responsibilities allowed.” So in 2010, she acquired a majority ownership and the CEO title for ThirtyNorth Investments, an investment advisory firm, founded and based only in Baton Rouge. Suzanne moved headquarters to New Orleans, but now has clients in 12 states. For this year alone, she has increased assets under management by 20%.