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New Orleans Airport Celebrates International Women’s Day by Recognizing Female Executive Leadership


NEW ORLEANS – In recognition of International Women’s Day, the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) celebrates the women in executive leadership roles and all the women who work at MSY and provide outstanding service to the residents and visitors of this region.


MSY offers special recognition to the women on the executive leadership team who boast years of experience in their roles, which are traditionally held by men. These leaders were instrumental in delivering the new $1 billion terminal to New Orleans through expertise in various areas of focus. Today, these women continue to lead MSY into a new era. They have effectively responded to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and contributed to MSY’s highly-coveted ranking as the number one large airport in North America for customer satisfaction based on J.D. Power’s 2021 North America Airport Satisfaction Study.


Michele Allen-Hart, General Counsel and Deputy Director of Aviation – Legal Affairs

Michele Allen-Hart is the Airport’s General Counsel and Deputy Director of Legal Affairs. She is responsible for all legal, risk management, ethics, and document retention matters for the New Orleans Aviation Board. She is a business and property attorney, and experienced litigator. She has served as lead trial attorney and coordinated hundreds of cases prior to bringing her experience in the private sector to the Aviation Board. She started representation of the Aviation Board in 2008 as outside counsel, and came in-house as General Counsel in 2014. She has negotiated, drafted, and amended hundreds of service agreements, construction contracts, and solicitation documents for procurements. Allen-Hart received her Bachelor’s Degree from University of Miami and her Juris Doctorate from St. Thomas University School of Law. Allen-Hart is licensed to practice in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Florida.


Kristi Bennett-Holmes, Deputy Director of Aviation – Commercial Development

Kristi Bennett-Holmes is the Deputy Director of Aviation – Commercial Development for Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) where she oversees all air service development initiatives for passenger and cargo airline recruitment, business development of airport real estate, and management of airport facilities outside of the passenger terminal, including tenant relations. She has served various roles in the aviation industry for the past 17 years. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Business Administration. She is a Certified Member of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and was recently elected to serve as Chair of the U.S. International Air Service Program for Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA).


Henrietta Brown, Deputy Director of Aviation – Finance & Administration

As MSY’s Deputy Director of Finance & Administration, Brown is responsible for the finance, accounting, concessions and other administrative divisions of the Airport. She participated on the bond transaction teams for the one of the new parking garages as well as two cost-savings bond refunding transactions. Brown has more than twenty years of finance and administration experience, with 12 of those years at mid-sized airports like MSY in progressively responsible management roles. In 2021, she earned the distinction of being named an Accredited Airport Executive (A.A.E.) by the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) after a rigorous accreditation process. She currently serves on the Steering Group of the ACI-NA Finance Committee and the AAAE Finance and Administration Committee where she works to improve airport finance and administration management through interaction with other airport executives and partners in the aviation industry.


Michelle Wilcut, Deputy Director of Aviation – Customer Service

Michelle Wilcut is the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport Deputy Director of Customer Service and a 30-year employee. Ms. Wilcut began her career at MSY in the Operations Department and moved to the Training Department where she instituted several airport-wide training programs for all airport employees. She was then promoted to the position of Public Relations Manager where she served as the media liaison, spokesperson and Board Liaison before moving into her current role. Ms. Wilcut oversees all aspects of the customer experience including, customer service, airport-wide training, and janitorial services. Wilcut served on the Jefferson Convention and Visitors Bureau Board for 8 years, including two years as its Chairperson. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.


Erin Burns, Director of Communications

Capitalizing on her 13 years of media and marketing experience, Erin Burns has served as the Director of Communications at MSY since January 2018, with direct responsibility for the Airport’s media relations, social media, marketing, website, branding, external and governmental relations. Erin led marketing initiatives for the historic opening of MSY’s new, $1 billion airport terminal in November 2019, and through her leadership, MSY was awarded the 2020 Best Overall Public Relations Program recognition for Medium Airports at ACI-NA’s Excellence in Airport Marketing, Communications, and Customer Experience (MarComCX) Awards. She was also elected to the Steering Group of ACI-NA’s MarComCX Committee in 2021. Burns has a bachelor’s degree from Clark Atlanta University in Mass Media Arts and a master’s degree from Clemson University in Graphic Communications.


Philistine Ferrand, Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) Program Manager

Philistine Ferrand is the DBE Program Manager and Title VI Coordinator for Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, and has 36 years of service in that department. In her present role, she oversees the management, implementation and compliance of the DBE and Title VI programs as it applies to the federal regulations and the local small-business program as it applies to the City Ordinance. She has worked with governmental agencies and small businesses to help create a level playing field on which small and minority-owned businesses can compete fairly on contracts. She also helps foster the development of firms to successfully compete in the marketplace outside DBE programs by providing business development, sharing of information, active outreach, and building relationships. Ms. Ferrand is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in providing access to public services, programs and activities.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Southern University; Contract Compliance Administrator and Master Contract Administrator Certifications from the American Contract Compliance Association Training Institute; and is currently a member of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA).