2013 SBA Region VI (AR, LA, OK, NM, TX)
Women in Business Champion of the Year
With more than 25 years of experience in public relations, Betsie Gambel is one of the most respected public relations professionals in the Greater New Orleans Area. Betsie has extensive experience in all aspects of PR including media, community and government relations; special events; crisis communication; and issue management. Furthermore, Betsie has played an integral role in helping small businesses throughout Orleans and Jefferson Parish spread their message and attract valued customers.
As a small business owner herself, Betsie has provided young women and men the opportunity to take on responsibility, learn the profession and prepare themselves for successful careers. Since founding her agency in 2009 after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma following Hurricane Katrina, Betsie has hired many of Gambel Communication’s employees as interns. Thanks to hands on mentorship, these young professionals have developed their skills and gone on to earn full time jobs with the agency. Betsie also ensures these women learn every aspect of business—from budgeting and contract negotiation to media relations and project management—so that they may continue their growth and chase their own professional passions.
Throughout her career, Betsie credits mentors and colleagues for providing the motivation and advice to start her own business. A graduate of the all-women’s Sweet Briar College, she has strived to pay forward the support she received through service in the community, especially women’s organizations. Notably, Betsie served as the President of the New Orleans Junior League (JLNO), managing a team of more than 600 volunteers committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the local community. In essence, being JLNO president was like running a 600+ employee company. She also dedicated her time and talent as a board member of the Young Women Christians Association (YWCA), National Council Delegate for the Girl Scout Council of Southeast Louisiana and a board member of the Academy of Sacred Heart, an all-girls Catholic preparatory school.
Her lifelong interest in politics also led her to become a founding member of Jefferson Twenty-Five, a political organization of women in Jefferson Parish that supports legislative action designed to increase business and financial opportunities for women.
The recognition Betsie has received from her peers is a reflection of her leadership and belief in the value of civic engagement. In 2012, Betsie was recognized by New Orleans CityBusiness as a Women of the Year Nominee. This award honors women whose successes in business and contributions to the community have set the pace for the region’s future. Betsie was also named a “Role Model of the Year” by both the YWCA and the Young Leadership Council for the example she has set and her efforts to develop young professionals. Most recently she was named the first-ever queen of the Krewe of Joan of Arc, being recognized for her generosity and commitment to women and the community.
The SBA Awards highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories during National Small Business Week (June 17 – 21, 2013). The Jefferson Chamber will host a special luncheon on June 5 at Metairie Country Club to present awards to the local champions. Over the past five years, Jefferson Chamber-nominated businesses have won a total of 39 state-wide SBA awards in several different categories, including one national winner. For more information about the awards, winners and the special events, visit www.jeffersonchamber.org.