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Monday, June 4, 2018

Bettering North Louisiana’s Economy

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Liz Pierre honored as Southern University Law Center distinguished alumna

Out of 4,000 alumni from Southern University Law Center (SULC), seven were chosen. Liz Pierre, senior vice president of legal and research for North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP), was one of those seven recipients to be honored as a distinguished alumna. Her career accomplishments have earned her this outstanding recognition.

“It was definitely an honor … people who are distinguished persons themselves are recognizing that, out of all these people coming through the law center, you are worthy of honor and distinction,” Pierre said. “To me,

it’s an honor just to be nominated and to think that other people think that much of you and what you’ve done.”

Today, Pierre works fulltime at NLEP and part-time at the law practice in Monroe that she and her husband opened together. NLEP is an accredited regional economic development organization that serves 14 parishes in North Louisiana. In her role with NLEP, Pierre works with companies that are looking to relocate to North Louisiana. She assists them with all aspects of the move, including finding a new site, navigating incentives and meeting local officials. In addition to these duties, Pierre also does the research needed for these companies to relocate.

“I enjoy working with companies and bringing new companies to this area,” Pierre said. “It means new jobs and investments for this area. What we’re doing is making sure this region is heard. If we can convince companies that they need to be here, then we can move them here to benefit our region.”

In 1994, Pierre obtained her Juris Doctorate with honors from SULC. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Okla.

Growing up in Palmetto, a small village in St. Landry Parish, Pierre was raised in a very rural area.

“It was really a rural life. It’s a very poor area … it’s rich in culture and those kinds of things … I grew up poor, but rich with all those great things like family.”

She remembers that her school had a basketball team and track, but they didn’t have football, band or foreign language classes.

“I didn’t realize I was missing those things or that if I went to a larger school, then I would’ve been able to take advantage of those things. But the teachers there really cared about you being successful, so with the things they did offer, they put forth their best effort.”

The only experience Pierre had with a lawyer growing up was her interactions with her father’s lawyer. Pierre’s father didn’t have a formal education and he didn’t read, so he was very careful about signing anything. He would consult his lawyer before signing any paperwork.

“That was my only experience of seeing a lawyer, and of course, that was a gentleman so I never really thought of a female being a lawyer.”

It wasn’t until college that Pierre could really see a future for herself as a lawyer. Now she has found her career as a lawyer and an economic developer to be rewarding.

“Both the legal job and my job of being an economic developer have been fulfilling. They both involve working with people. You are getting people to a better place. If you’re working as a lawyer, somebody is depending on you.”

In January 2017, Pierre was appointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards to the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors for a six-year term. The board of supervisors is the management body that oversees nine universities in the University of Louisiana System. The system represents over 90,000 students, awarding more than 16,500 degrees annually. In addition to representing North Louisiana on the board, she has served on two presidential search committees for McNeese State University and Nichols State University during her first year. Pierre has also served on various other boards including the Area 81 Workforce Investment Board, the United Way of Northeast Louisiana and the NOVA Workforce Institute Board of Directors.

When Pierre isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their three children and two grandchildren. While some husband and wife pairs couldn’t see themselves working together in the same office, Pierre says she and her husband are a great team.

“I heard lots of comments like, ‘Oh, I could never work with my husband or I could never work with my wife.’ Actually, it’s been great. We are very compatible people. We like doing things together. Working in an office together has never been a problem.”

Moving forward, Pierre hopes to continue to better the economy for those living in North Louisiana.

“Hopefully, we can continue to bring great companies here who can improve the economy of North Louisiana.”

– Jessica Carr


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