Acadiana Business

Centanni replaces Thierry at Chamber SWLA

by Leslie Turk

An incredible opportunity to move up the chamber ladder has one Acadiana native off to Dallas, but her old job is keeping another local talent close to home.

Lafayette native Monique Thierry has joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as executive director of its Southwest/South Central Regional Office, located in Dallas. Thierry previously was vice president of public policy for the Chamber Southwest Louisiana based in Lake Charles. Her replacement there, announced Monday, is Abbeville native Marie DesOrmeaux Centanni, who is moving to Lafayette for the new gig.

Marie Centanni

Centanni will split most of her time between Baton Rouge and Washington, D.C, as an advocate for public policy issues benefiting the economic development interests of southwest Louisiana.

"Marie brings with her an expertise in local issue advocacy and strong contacts stemming from her years working in and around our state Capitol, picking up where Monique leaves off," says George Swift, CEO of the Chamber SWLA. "Monique played an integral part in successfully establishing the Chamber SWLA as a key player for our region's business issue advocacy on the state and federal level. We are excited for her to build upon her success and to play an even larger role in her new position with the U.S. Chamber."

Centanni will also participate in the planning of the 2011 Legis-Gator Luncheon to be held on Aug. 19, 2011, at L'Auberge du Lac Casino Resort. She has worked in journalism and media relations, including a stint as a reporter and anchor for KLFY TV. She then moved to D.C., where she was communications director for U.S. Rep. Mike Ross and the USA Rice Federation while pursuing a master's degree in legislative affairs at the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. She returned to the state as capital correspondent for WAFB TV and then joined Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco's administration as press secretary. She now owns Centanni Communications, a legislative and media relations company.

In her new role, Thierry will build upon the U.S. Chamber's legislative, political and grassroots efforts in Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, formulating chamber policy for the business community in the region and communicating those policies to local chambers, associations and businesses.

"We will rely on Monique to enhance chamber grassroots efforts and our ability to represent our members in the region," said Douglas Loon, vice president for the U.S. Chamber's Congressional and Public Affairs regional offices. "With her roots strongly planted in the regional business community, we are confident our members will have their voices heard loud and clear in the halls of Washington."

Monique Thierry

Thierry, who led the Chamber SWLA's government affairs efforts from 2005 through 2011, has already relocated to Dallas. A graduate of Leadership Louisiana and the Institute for a Competitive Workforce, she served on the U.S. Chamber's Small Business and Energy and Environment committees, overseeing and developing strategies for environment issues, offshore oil revenue sharing, hurricane recovery efforts, infrastructure, redistricting, coastal protection/restoration, education and energy.

Thierry previously held various leadership roles in Louisiana state and federal politics and served in several administrations, including those of former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial and then Lt. Gov. Blanco.

Chamber SWLA, a U.S. Chamber accredited member organization, is a member of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.