LifeCity CEO Liz Shephard Works to Build Sustainable New Orleans
You won’t find many bigger fans of New Orleans’ entrepreneurial ecosystem than LifeCity CEO Liz Shephard. The Tampa native has lived in New Orleans for 10 years and created LifeCity to make social and environmental impact profitable for businesses. She explains to NOLABA what inspired her to make New Orleans home as an entrepreneur in the water management industry.
NOLABA: What inspired you to get involved in the water management industry in New Orleans?
Shephard: After Hurricane Katrina, I observed many more organizations interested in incorporating green or sustainable principles into their organizations, as well as a renewed interested in collaborating in the water sector. However, I found that organizations were often unknowingly duplicating efforts or didn’t know where to start. I created LifeCity to help build a network of organizations that could share best practices and collaborate with each other to build a more sustainable New Orleans.
NOLABA: What made New Orleans the best place to launch LifeCity?
Shephard: New Orleans was the best place to launch LifeCity for three reasons. First, the entrepreneurial ecosystem is incredible. From New Orleans Entrepreneur Week to the many business accelerators in town, there are plenty of resources available to help anyone start a business. Second, New Orleans is on the front lines of many social and environmental problems that need entrepreneurial solutions. And third, because it is the best place to live!
NOLABA: What are the best assets New Orleans offers entrepreneurs?
Shephard: I would say the entrepreneurial ecosystem is our best asset – there are literally hundreds of organizations in New Orleans that exist to just help entrepreneurs. And if there is someone you want to meet, someone will know someone who will know someone who will know someone that will connect you.
NOLABA: How do you/would you respond when people ask Why NOLA? (i.e. is New Orleans a good place to build a business or career?)
Shephard: I would say there is no place but NOLA to be – there’s no better support network and quality of life that will support you better through the journey of running a business.
NOLABA: What do you love best about New Orleans in general?
Shephard: I love that New Orleans knows who she is – and doesn’t try to be anyone else. The unique architecture, the food, the music, the dancing, the festivals – are all characteristics you just can’t find anywhere else but here. And because the City is so unique, it also encourages all of its residents to be themselves as well – whether that means a tight suit, dressing in drag or costuming – people are welcomed to be their authentic selves which I think is crucial to living a healthy, full-filling life.