It is with great pride and great sadness that today we announce the resignation of Kelly Schulz as Vice President of Communications and Public Relations. Kelly has been offered and has accepted an extraordinary opportunity to serve as Vice President of Communications for the National Executive Office of St. Jude/ALSAC, the second largest healthcare charity in the United States. The mission of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as you all know is to find cures for children with cancer and other deadly diseases. St. Jude is quite simply one of the most prominent and important health care institutions in the world.

This is an amazing opportunity for Kelly to go to work for a billion-dollar plus corporation with a mission that is truly among the world's finest.

In her new role, she will report to the Chief Marketing Officer (who is a former colleague from Edelman Dallas), work closely with the CEO, and oversee a team of 20 professionals, covering PR, corporate communications, entertainment marketing, publications, crisis management and patient relations.  The job will help foster the St. Jude brand and create multi-layered strategies in fundraising.

St. Jude has the world's best survival rates for the most aggressive forms of childhood cancers, so it is the place where doctors send their toughest cases.  Its founder, Danny Thomas, believed "no child should die in the dawn of life."  Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since they opened in 1962. The doctors and scientists are working to push that survival rate to 90 percent and beyond.

Kelly has told us that although this new phase in her career will require that she move to Memphis, her heart always will be in her hometown, New Orleans. Please join me in congratulating Kelly and wishing her the very best. Her email is

Her last day with the CVB will be April 15, 2014. We all are going to be in great hands with our talented PR team - Lauren Cason, MBA, Tara Letort, CMP, Arrie Kain, Vicki Bristol, Christine DeCuir, Sarah Forman, Carlyn Worthy - as well as our student interns and partners at Deveney, FSC and NOTMC. 

Lauren Cason will have interim day-to-day supervisory responsibilities on the ground here in New Orleans. Executive Vice President Brad Weaber will play a special role in overseeing this department and in closely monitoring and working with our PR/Communications efforts across all platforms as we transition to a new era. After 30 years of fabulous service by Beverly Gianna as our VP of Public Relations, the recruitment of and transition to Kelly eight years ago was one of our shining moments........Kelly played a phenomenal role during some of the most stressful years in our industry's history and has literally been the "best in class" in the United States in our business. Now we have an opportunity to do the same kind of team-building again as we recruit a new senior executive to join Cara Banasch, MBA, Brad Weaber, and Kim Priez as our CVB senior leadership team.

I will be in touch again soon to brief you on the specifics of our transition and search plans. The past eight years have been a period of great accomplishment in public relations and communications and the next decade will be the same.


Stephen Perry
New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau