Jenny Pennington always knew she wanted to own her own business. At the age of 25, in Slidell, she plunged in and ran with the idea of an affordably priced, on-trend, niche jewelry store, which she affectionately named, Mira Mia.
When Saint Scholastica Academy senior and teenaged trailblazer, Mary-Brent Brown ruminates over how she spent her adolescence, it will likely be with a sense of satisfaction that only a successful and storied philanthropist/entrepreneur could possibly know.
For the Stumm sisters—Courtney, Celie and Sibyl—their collective passion since as far back as they can remember consists of three things; family, friends and food. “We have always had fun together as a family,” Courtney says.
She celebrates her birthdays for an entire month, sometimes even a year at a time. On any given day, you may see her canine charge, Boudreaux Pete Siberski, padding around the office—affectionately referred to as her “time-share dog” as he belongs to dear friends. For Mandeville attorney Julia Deal, she celebrates the way she lives her life—to the best of her abilities and to the fullest capacity.
It is easy to love your profession when day after day you watch people achieve the dream of owning their own home. For loan officer Carrie Sanders and her colleague, Melissa Brackley, licensed loan originator, every day at GMFS Lending is quite a pleasure. “It is always a thrill for me to see someone move into their first home,” Carries says. “But the process to get to that point can be confusing, both for first-time homeowners as well as people who have purchased a home in the past. This is where we come into the picture. We also handle refinancing of current home loans, so we can help clients with every aspect of their home financing.”
Sherrí Hansen’s fondest memory of her childhood is squashing French bread in the kitchen sink for her mother’s turkey stuffing, while Grandma tended to every minute detail of the dirty rice. “I learned from them what I hope I’m teaching my children today—the value of friendships and family relationships, and how to connect over memorable meals.” For Sherrí, these life lessons carry beyond her personal life as the wife of an EMS helicopter pilot and an expectant mother already raising three young boys, into her professional life as Owner/Director of Culinary Kids, an interactive, educational establishment designed to create bonds among people of all ages and across all walks of life. “Food is a centerpiece in our culture,” she notes. “Down here, we give driving directions based on landmark restaurants and while we eat dinner together, we talk about what we ate last week.” In a society where family recipes are priceless treasures passed down for generations, she recognizes how much young people enjoy being part of the tradition that keeps memories alive.
Like life itself, matters that involve family law are rarely confined to workday hours. Attorneys Frank Tranchina and Mark Mansfield, of Tranchina & Mansfield, LLC will tell you that such matters often arise on a Saturday morning. That is why it is vital to have a team of legal professionals who understand the needs of such a case. Both Frank and Mark are board-certified in family law with Mark being one of the youngest family law specialists in the state. “We are a full-service firm,” Frank says. “We are there for our clients, whether it is myself, Mark, or a member of our close-knit, highly competent staff. We conduct every case as though we are advocating for members of our own families.” Tranchina & Mansfield, LLC deals with all matters of family law. “This is what we do exclusively,” Mark says. “We have worked on cases that run the gamut in this field involving everything from grandparent visitation, to adoption, to support and custody situations.”
Her love of everything scientific coupled with her fondness for visual stimulation, has proven to be an excellent marriage for Dr. Elizabeth Dimitri, DO of Dimitri Dermatology. “I was always the girl who wanted to make everyone more beautiful. This is what drew me to dermatology,” she says. “With dermatology, I can utilize my scientific brain, and I can literally see the pathology—what I am diagnosing.” Locations of Dimitri Dermatology on both the Northshore and Southshore, have served the medical and cosmetic dermatologic needs of this region for the past decade.
There is no question that the Northshore is known for its picturesque outdoor spaces and scenic beauty. For Ti Canipe, owner of Budget Blinds in Mandeville, there is no question she has the inspired gift of guiding homeowners as they frame those luscious views with everything from window coverings, to outdoor draperies, to motorized specialty products. “We can help you make every inch of your home usable space,” she says. “We are surrounded by so much natural brilliance, but we all know that the sun needs to be tempered at times to prevent glare, control the temperature and protect furniture and floors from fading. That is our specialty.”
Allyson McMahon is unafraid when it comes to just about everything. She exudes fortitude and clear-headed focus, and she will tell you her strength in business is in her ability to diplomatically delegate. As co-owner of Three Rivers Services, LLC, an expectant mother of two young children, and wife to her business partner and high school sweetheart, Calvin, Allyson is a tremendous example of a woman whose plate is both full and fruitful. “Work is very important,” she notes, “but what is more important is to make sure that our children and family are taken care of.”
Her ebullience is overflowing and her thoughtfulness, unmatched. Marta Bragg, wife, mother, grandmother and owner and operator of The Villa, was raised in the South, and her convivial, yet spirited manner reflects that. As she enters into the beginning of her second decade at The Villa, she does so in the spirit of renewal. “You have to embrace the New Year. And I like change, I think change is good,” she says. “The changes in the store reflect the changes I have embraced this year. I have picked up some new lines and I have decided to try some new things,” she notes. “It was never my intention to do shoes, but I stumbled upon a designer right here in Louisiana—Dee Keller. She is based in Baton Rouge, but travels to Italy where she hand selects the leather and has the shoes made exclusively for her line. They complement everything I have in the store.”
Though each has traveled a different path, ultimately, both Becky Gustafson Budd and Grace Comeaux-Piro, financial representatives of Northwestern Mutual in Covington, reached the same destination. Both bring to their clients extensive training, distinctive backgrounds, and the unparalleled reputation of Northwestern Mutual, founded in 1857. “Our company has unsurpassed financial ratings from all four rating services: Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s, Fitch Ratings and A.M. Best,” Becky notes. “In this economy, our strong financial ratings are a magnet for clients who appreciate safety and stability.”