EmpowerHer Privateers Brunch returns on May 12, 2023, with Christine Van Loo, alumna, Olympic gymnastics champion, as the keynote speaker

NEW ORLEANS – University of New Orleans Athletics announces 2nd Yearly Empowered Buccaneers Brunch on Friday, May 12, 2023 at the InterContinental New Orleans. The EmpowHer Privateers initiative serves the University of New Orleans’ first-year female athletes by providing additional scholarships, mentorship programs, and educational experiences through domestic and international travel.

Last year’s brunch raised just over $100,000 for the mission, and an audience of over 300 parishioners enjoyed a “fireside chat” with Mrs. Gayle Benson. This year’s keynote speaker will be university graduate Christine Van Loo ’91. Van Loo is a Olympic Athlete of the Year, Author, International Speaker and Aerialist.

“I was honored when the university invited me to speak because my story and message as a gymnast aligns very well with EmpowerHer Privateers’ mission – to help women become the best versions of themselves through sport,” said Van loo.

“As a mentor at the newly formed EmpowHer LeadHership Academy, I see firsthand the impact that an initiative like EmpowHer Privateers is having on the development of women leaders for the New Orleans community,” said Dr. Stacy Nicklow, Committee Chair. “To see this program grow from a vision to making a real difference in the lives of our student athletes has been remarkable.” The EmpowHer LeadHership Academy is the mentoring element of the initiative, led by Associate Athletics Director Kim Gallow.

“It’s been incredible to see the response from our city to supporting our student athletes through this initiative,” said Tim Duncan, vice president of the University of Athletics and Recreation. “It shows how the New Orleans community values ​​women in leadership, and I’m proud to be at a university that makes diversity, equity and inclusion a real priority.”

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For the second year in a row, the brunch event is presented by Wange law firm, a female-owned Louisiana mesothelioma law firm. April Dupre, WWL-TV traffic presenter and founder of Footprints to Fitness, will once again host the event. That Empowered Buccaneers The brunch is in classic New Orleans style and includes mimosas, Bloody Mary’s, great local food, a jazz trio and more. To secure a table or sponsorship, visit UNOPrivateers.com/EmpowHer.

More information about Empowered Buccaneers Contact Randi Böhler, Assistant Sports Director, below [email protected] or (504) 280-6418 or visit: www.UNOPrivateers.com/EmpowHer.

Empowered Buccaneers Committee members include Dr. Stacy Nicklow, committee chair; Kim Boyle, Partner, Phelps Dunbar and Board Member, Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation; Liz Broekman, Director of POWER, Fidelity Bank; Jamila Brown, Founder, Investor, FHL Investments; Lindsey Cheek, founding attorney, The Cheek Law Firm; Allie Shapiro Dandry, PR director, Krispy Krunchy Chicken; dr Michelle Douglas, Founding CEO, Hynes Charter School; Cheryl Forschler, Asst. Events Director, UNO; Jennifer Hyde, Financial Advisor, Northwestern Mutual; dr Kathy KeeneDeputy Commissioner, Sun Belt Conference; Rachel MasseyAVP for external engagement and university events; Chantelle Pierre, Development Consultant, Chantelle Pierre Consulting; Ashley PrestonHead Coach, Privateers Volleyball; Ty Salvant, author and speaker.


The mission of New Orleans Athletics is to produce leaders who achieve academic excellence, win championships, and serve the university and the greater New Orleans community with pride and humility. Its values ​​include integrity, accountability, teamwork, transparency, courage and diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice. The department is headed by Tim Duncan, University Vice President of Athletics and Recreation.

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