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Meet Rachel DiResto, an influential woman in business

Rachel DiResto Director, Emergent Method (Collin Richie)

One of Louisiana’s most challenging moments led to a formative period in Rachel DiResto’s career.

It was the mid-2000s and DiResto was working as vice president of Plan Baton Rouge, helping implement Baton Rouge’s downtown plan and then expanding those planning efforts to Old South Baton Rouge.

Then Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the state.

And so Plan Baton Rouge became the Center for Planning Excellence, and DiResto – a Hammond native who earned a master’s degree in urban, community and regional planning while working – suddenly found herself meeting with renowned architects and urban planners from around the world . world she only knew through books.

Today, DiResto is a force in community transformation, in Baton Rouge and throughout Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, and she is one of the Business reports nine 2024 Influential Women in Business awards.

She led the creation of the Connect Coalition, a regional transportation and housing coalition advocating for greater transportation connectivity between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and led to the passage of the Complete Streets Policy, the inclusion of transit projects in regional and state plans, and the formation of a rail authority charged with implementing passenger service between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

Read the full storyAnd view the features of this year’s other WIB awards.