It's Baton Rouge: Out to LunchIt's Baton Rouge: Out to Lunch

Creating Community

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In March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic reached alarming levels of spread - more than our health care system was able to handle - so public health officials ordered state and local governments to shut things down. Aand our lives were forever changed.

It's strange now to think back on those weeks; how we adapted and coped, and what we learned about ourselves, our businesses and institutions and our communities. It was difficult and stressful, tragic for many, exciting for others, and creative entrepreneur’s took advantage of the opportunity to rethink the way we do things and find new ways of bringing people together and creating community

Jenn Ocken, a Baton Rouge photographer, business consultant, podcast host and writer, made a name for herself in a big way during the pandemic with her Front Porch Photos—portraits she took of families and couples and people with their pets on their front porches at a time when we were all living on our porches and in our yards.

The Front Porch Photos, shared widely on social media, helped unite the community and reminded us that we were all sharing the moment together.

Outside of photography, Jenn’s career has been thriving with workshops and consulting that helps clients live a more empowered, fulfilled, harmonious life. Her latest tool is called ThrivFOCUS- - an innovative journal that integrates goal setting, self reflection and organization. 

Sherin Dawud co-founded and co-owns the Nura Company, a local firm that specializes in consulting, marketing and event-planning with a focus on helping nonprofits and mission-driven clients in healthcare, education, advocacy and entertainment that want to make the community a better place to live, work and play. 

Sherin co-founded and co-owns the firm with Raina Vallot. Like Jenn, Raina and Sherin were inspired by the events of the pandemic to create the firm. Companies were looking for new ways to connect with people. They saw it as an opportunity to reimagine impact through marketing.  In the years since, they have worked with such clients as the Baton Rouge Youth Voice Initiative, the Baton Rouge Alliance for students, the National Fried Chicken Festival, which is held in New Orleans each fall, and Peace Over Everything.

Sherin originally teamed up with Raina to co-found Power Pump Girls in 2017, a social impact club whose mission is to empower women to connect and serve.

Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at Mansurs On the Boulevard. You can find photos from this show at itsbatonrouge.la.

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It's Baton Rouge: Out to Lunch

OUT TO LUNCH finds The Advocate business reporter Stephanie Riegel combining her hard news journalis 
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