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Hear the latest from the WRKF/WWNO Newsroom.

Thurs 6/13 5pm: WRKF's FM/HD broadcast is operating normally following tower maintenance.
Out To Lunch
Thursdays at 1pm; Sundays at 5pm

Out to Lunch finds Baton Rouge Business Report Editor Stephanie Riegel combining her hard news journalist skills and food background: conducting business over lunch. Baton Rouge has long had a storied history of politics being conducted over meals, now the Capital Region has an equivalent culinary home for business: Mansur’s. Each week Stephanie holds court over lunch at Mansur’s and invites members of the Baton Rouge business community to join her.

Find episodes of Out to Lunch here.

  • Louisiana ranks last in a lot of lists but one area where the state is pretty close to the top is in the number of lawyers per capita. That’s right, Louisiana is 11th among the 50 states in terms of the number of attorneys in the state. While that means you won’t have trouble finding someone should you need to file a lawsuit or negotiate a contract or divorce your spouse – it’s probably a safe bet that they’re not necessarily all good lawyers or happy lawyers because, let’s face it – it’s a difficult, stressful and challenging profession that requires a lot of expertise. And in matters where expertise is required, more is not necessarily better. Lexlee Overton is a Baton Rouge attorney who has found a way to help her colleagues be better, perform better for their clients and feel happier in their profession. Lexlee is a seasoned lawyer, executive leadership expert and peak performance specialist. And melding all this together, Lexlee has created a coaching method, for lack of a better term, that she calls Mind Over Law. Mind Over Law offers team building workshops, one-on-one counseling and training sessions, coaches legal teams, and leads a national leadership program for women. Lexlee developed this method after spending more than two decades in the legal profession and experiencing the kind of burnout she now tries to help her clients overcome. While Lexlee is coaching lawyers, Lauren Temple is coaching people on how to maximize their fitness and physical performance – which brings mental well-being along with it – through her two boutique fitness clubs. Lauren's two fitness clubs, which are both on Perkins, are called Tone BR. The two clubs are a merger of what used to be Tread BR and Pilates Plus. Lauren is a native of Baton Rouge and single mom, raising two daughters, who experienced a terrible injury and had to learn how to walk again. After overcoming those challenges, Lauren was determined to run her own fitness studios. In the years since, she has grown the clubs into successful and growing businesses in a market that is notoriously competitive for gyms and fitness club operators. Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at Mansurs On the Boulevard. You can find photos from this show at itsbatonrouge.la.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
  • Baton Rouge often gets a bad rap for being a belt and suspenders kind of town, where people eat in chain restaurants and go to movie theaters and don’t do the kind of interesting, unique things – be they related to food, music or festivals – that are so characteristic of some fo sthe state’s other big cities. But its’ simply not true! And bright young entrepreenuers are taking risks to dispel those misconceptions. Bread Steven Gottfried is owner of the St. Bruno Bread Company, a commercial artisan bread bakery in Baton Rouge that delivers fresh bread daily to local restaurants and more than a dozen grocery stores. St Bruno is a wholesaler and doesn’t have a storefront. And that's intentional, in furtherance of Stephen’s mission to raise the standard of daily bread and elevate the experience of eating everyday foods. Steven is a native of Baton Rouge who learned the craft from chef Gary Darling in Covington before spending several years honing his skills first in San Francisco and then at Bellgarde Bakery in New Orleans. He went out on his own in 2017, originally in New Orleans, but the COVID pandemic changed those plans, and since late 2021, St. Bruno has been based in Baton Rouge. The upside of Covid is that we in Baton Rouge can now get a variety of St Bruno breads including sourdough, French baguette and po-boy loafs. And now, the Circus! Laura Siu Nguyen is an event planner and communications professional who is also the founder of Night Market BTR, a new annual event that celebrates Asian American history in the style of a Lunar New Year festival. Laura created Nigh Market BTR to celebrate culture, community and creativity in Baton Rouge and brings people of Asian American heritage together. Laura is a native of Honduras, who came to Baton Rouge more than 15 years ago to attend graduate school and never left. In the years since, she has been involved in helping launch and promote a variety of events and activities – including her own. Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at Mansurs On the Boulevard. You can find photos from this show on itsbatonrouge.la.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
  • Safety in the workplace may not be the kind of thing most people think about, but if you work for a company with more than a handful of employees -- and particularly an industrial or construction company that involves heavy machinery or dangerous chemicals -- safety is paramount to what you do every day and is top of mind of important people in your organization. In fact, it's so important, there are whole categories of employees who do nothing but safety-related stuff and finding them and hiring them has spawned a cottage industry that is proving lucrative for one local entrepreneur. Safety John Cambre is president of ResponsAble Safety Staffing, a Baton Rouge Company that provides trained safety staff on a contract, temporary or permanent basis to clients in the oil and gas, construction and general industrial sectors. The company was founded by John’s father, Darryl Cambre originally as a safety consulting company in 2007. John, then fresh out of college, joined the firm and quickly realized that the greatest need their clients had was to find qualified employees in the safety field so he built out their expertise and changed the company’s brand in 2010. In the years since, he has grown ResponsAble Safety Solutions into a national company with clients across the country. Skills While safety is important in an organization so is performance, especially if you’re talking about a team or competitive organization. But a lot of people get caught up in the pressure of performing, or may not be maximizing their potential, which is where Aaron Pearson came in. Aaron is the owner of iDeveloped Skills Academy, a training program that that works with athletes to help them identify areas where they can improve and develop their skills and potential. Aaron founded the company in 2010 and has since developed several spinoff ventures -- Elite by ECW, an athletic clothing brand that makes custom-jerseys for local sports teams; and, EazyTicks, a digital ticketing and operating platform for area schools. Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at Mansurs On the Boulevard. You can find photos from this show at itsbatonrouge.la.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
  • 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.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
  • Much as we love to tout our fun loving lifestyle in south Louisiana, we have some of the worst health outcomes in the country – including the highest rates of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and infant mortality. On this edition of Out to Lunch, Jim Engster sits in for Stephanie and is joined by two lunch guests who both head up institutions in Baton Rouge’s growing Health District. Beyond providing reactive medical care to these already existing health issues, John Kirwan, Rene Ragas and their respective institutions are focused on what causes these diseases in the first place and how to proactively keep our population healthier long term. John Kirwan is Executive Director of Pennington Biomedical Research Center here in Baton Rouge, which is renowned the world over for its focus on diabetes and obesity. John himself is internationally renowned as an expert in diabetes and nutrition science with more than 30 years of research and teaching and a specialty in type 2 diabetes and how to potenitally cure it. John came to the center in 2018 from the famed Cleveland Clinic, and in the years since has generated more than $50M in research funding and spearheaded the opening of Pennington’s obesity treatment center. John was a guest on Out to Lunch back in the pandemic era, when we were meeting on zoom. A lot has happened since then and it is great to see John in person. Rene Ragas is President and CEO of Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, the largest birthing hospital in the state. Since opening in 1968, Woman’s has delivered nearly 400,000 babies and is reocngized for its Level 3 neonatal intensive care unit, expertise in mammography and breast and cancer care. What’s perhaps less well known is the hospital’s research capabilities, especially in cervical cancer, where Woman’s has been a pioneer since the implementation of pap screening test used to detect this type of cancer. Rene joined the hospital in 2022. He has more than two decades of experience as a healthcare executive, most recently as north shore market president for the FMOL health system. Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at Mansurs On the Boulevard. During the recording of this show the power went out in parts of Baton Rouge but the medics and Jim soldiered on! You can find photos from this show at itsbatonrouge.la.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.