Laura Valenti is an accomplished professor, business woman, entrepreneur, philanthropic volunteer, wife of a professional firefighter and the reigning Mrs. Louisiana International 2013. She placed fourth runner-up this past July at Mrs. International where she competed with 70 women from across the world!
As a marketing professor with Nicholls State University, Laura enjoys enriching lives, building dreams and securing the futures of her soon-to-be graduates. She has been a full time faculty member of the Management, Marketing and Business Administration Department in the College of Business since Fall 2010 and is the recipient of the John C. Daigle Endowed Professorship. She has been acknowledged each semester for contributing to students’ success, nominated for teaching awards in the College of Business (2011, 2012, 2013), is the Chair of the Internal Relations Committee (hosting the college's biannual Business Career Seminar), Director of the university’s free enterprise program, LEAD, an Associate Graduate Faculty member, and was nominated in 2013 for a university Apple Award in mentorship.
Her academic accomplishments include earning a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master’s degree in Business, both from the University of New Orleans. She earned the 2012 McGraw Hill Distinguished Paper Award in the Association for Business Communication - Southwest Division, was elected the Board’s Proceeding's Editor then Historian, and is a doctoral student at the University of Liverpool where she researches franchise marketing applications.
Laura has over fifteen years of corporate and executive experience. To name a few highlights, she was the Franchise Marketing Manager and Website Director for Planet Beach Franchising Corporation, the Director of Recruitment for Northwestern Mutual of Louisiana - a Fortune-115 company, and owned a women’s clothing boutique, Briosa. Her nonprofit corporation, SHE-Selling: Selling Her Everyday, holds workshops around the community that focus on personal selling capabilities of women who are beginning their career, and is part of the university’s continuing education curriculum. Laura also serves as guest speakers for several organizations around the state, including: American Business Women's Association, Louisiana Councils on Aging, Women's Business Alliance, Kiwanis, Rotary, BOSS, Terrebonne Economic Development Authority's Entrepreneurship Fest, Houma Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau, and the Next Level Training Series through Baton Rouge Mayor Kipp Holden, and several production companies, to name a few. Her topics include branding, marketing, personal selling and community advocacy. Laura also writes a monthly personal selling column for WHAT NOW Magazine.
Being philanthropically involved is additionally important for Laura. As Mrs. Louisiana United States 2011 and Mrs. Louisiana International 2013, Laura traveled the state promoting her nonprofit organization, SHE-Selling, which teaches personal selling and marketing skills to career-starting women. She raises money for organizations that relate to business and health: Kiva and Heifer International support third world countries in need of business funding for entrepreneurs and reducing poverty, respectively; the Louisiana Chapter of Cystic Fibrosis, and the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign. Laura serves as the Board President for The Young Professionals of South Louisiana, where her focus is to develop opportunities for leadership in the bayou region through networking, engagement and advocacy.
Laura has been married to Richard Valenti, Jr. for five years. The couple met on match.com and wed at an engagement party turned surprise wedding at a family-savvy golf course on New Year’s Day. (Laura says it’s the best $59.99 she has ever spent!) Laura and Ricky have a daughter, Vieira Anna, born April 2014 and are expecting another baby in May 2015.
Traveling and checking off items from her bucket list are most fun to Laura, though she sincerely enjoys lazy couch time watching Lifetime movies, the color yellow, and wedding cake-flavored snowballs.