NEW ORLEANS – December 19, 2023 – Lacresha Wilkerson, senior regulatory counsel for Entergy and a leading community philanthropist, has been named the American Heart Association New Orleans 2023 Leaders of Impact winner for her work in driving equitable health in the local community.

In Greater New Orleans, life expectancy can vary drastically by neighborhood, which can often be caused by the social determinants of health and the barriers to achieving health equity for all communities -- factors that include structural racism[1] and lacking access to quality healthcare[2].

Over the course of seven weeks, Wilkerson participated in a blind fundraising competition against other notable New Orleans professionals.  She was named the 2023 Leaders of Impact winner after raising the most funds for the American Heart Association by inspiring others to join in the mission of creating a better and more equitable community.  

Beyond the boardroom, Wilkerson is a longtime supporter of the local American Heart Association and is known for her unwavering commitment to driving positive change through her involvement in other charitable initiatives.

“Lacresha is no stranger to making a difference through volunteerism deeply rooted in service. She utilized her professional and personal platform through a focused, concerted effort to make a difference in people's lives in the Greater New Orleans community. I am thankful for Lacresha's commitment, passion, and support as a caring community member and part of the inaugural class of Leaders of Impact,” said Coretta LaGarde, executive director, American Heart Association – Greater New Orleans.

Leaders of Impact launched on Sept. 29, World Heart Day in 150 cities across the nation and culminated on Nov. 15, National Philanthropy Day. Each nominee’s participation focused on opportunities to be a changemaker with a shared purpose to raise the critical awareness, action and fund the mission of the American Heart Association.

Others local nominees included: 

  • Michael McKendall, VP of Operations, East Jefferson General Hospital

Leaders of Impact will be held annually as a part of the Heart of New Orleans Campaign. The New Orleans Heart Ball will be held on June 1, 2024, at the InterContinental New Orleans Hotel. This year’s event will be celebrating the centennial anniversary of the American Heart Association.

The American Heart Association, devoted to a world of healthier lives for all, has invested in community health, innovative research and bold initiatives that save and improve lives. Funds raised through Leaders of Impact will support the Association’s 2024 Impact Goal which aims to advance cardiovascular health for all including identifying and removing barriers to health care access and quality. In New Orleans, the Association is specifically focused on improving blood pressure, eliminating tobacco and vaping, increasing nutrition security and advancing readiness by addressing community need.

For more information about Leaders of Impact and a list of all the 2023 nominees, please visit or follow us on social media for more details @AHALouisiana on Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter).  


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on, Facebook, X or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

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