NOLABA CEO Quentin Messer’s Call to Action For “Why NOLA” Campaign
The New Orleans Business Alliance’s “#Why NOLA” campaign publicly launched Nov. 1, calling on local business people to share their stories of why they choose New Orleans to do business.
Biz New Orleans talked with President & CEO Quentin Messer about why businesses should investigate New Orleans as a city to work and thrive. Read more about the “#Why NOLA” campaign and how you can get involved here.
We Need SWAG!
He’s not a native New Orleanian, and he has no former ties to our fair city, but don’t hold that against him. Quentin Messer Jr.’s passion to see New Orleans succeed globally runs deep in his veins.
“As people give New Orleans a chance, they’ll find themselves richly rewarded,” says a fervent Messer.
The 48-year-old president and CEO of New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), holds a wealth of insight that only an outsider with keen business savvy can see through a different lens, and from a vantage point that is without preconception.
Messer, who is known as an economic ambassador for New Orleans, shares the pros and cons of our great city in hopes that we, too, will climb aboard to bring her to new economic heights.
Biz New Orleans: Can you give us a glimpse into your vast background?
Quentin Messer Jr: “I am a non-native from Jacksonville, Florida, who has positively fallen in love with south Louisiana and New Orleans particularly, and it’s been a long, strange trip that got me here.
I lived in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Dayton and Akron, Ohio, prior to coming to Baton Rouge, and then ultimately New Orleans.
Biz: What do you believe is the city’s biggest strength?
QM: Without question, it’s the people. You are not going to find more passionate, creative, authentic and resilient folks than New Orleanians.
Biz: What do you believe is the city’s biggest weakness?
QM: I think New Orleanians tend to be pretty humble about our city. What I mean by that is, when you are in an economic development space, and you are competing globally, you have to be your biggest cheerleader; I think sometimes New Orleanians don’t toot their own horn, and I think that sometimes this can be a weakness when competing. It goes back to this thing I always say: If you ever sat next to a Texan on a flight, you are going to hear about how wonderful their little part of Texas is. There’s something for us to learn about that.
Biz: How is NOLABA capitalizing on the city’s biggest strength?
QM: I think one we are working to build out the world’s view of who we are. You know, we are not a city still under water, and we did not get flooded in those tragic Louisiana floods of earlier this summer. We are a city of passionate business folks, creative folks, people who enjoy our unique culture, but can also get down to business and compete with anybody globally.
Secondly, New Orleans is really an unrecognized college town, a brain magnet. There are over 80,000 young people engaged in higher education in any day during the academic year. We are one of 15 U.S. cities with two medical schools; there are two law schools, and three business schools. I think we have to tell that message more clearly and get people to see us beyond this sort of one-dimensional image.