CEO Forum Speakers

Michael Hecht
Michael Hecht is President & CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc., the economic development agency for southeast Louisiana. GNO, Inc.'s mission is to create a region with a thriving economy and an excellent quality of life, for everyone. Under Michael's leadership, GNO, Inc. has been named a “Top Economic Development Organization in the United States” by Site Selection magazine.

Before coming to GNO, Inc. Michael led the quarter-billion dollar Katrina Small Business Recovery Program for the State. Previous to coming home to Louisiana, Michael worked for Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City, running the post-9/11 small business program.

Michael's entrepreneurial experience includes co-founding a conglomerate of restaurant ventures, including “Foreign Cinema,” named Restaurant of the Year 2000 in San Francisco. He began his career as a strategic management consultant in the US, Canada, Europe and Australia.

Michael holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, and an undergraduate degree from Yale. Recently, Michael has been recognized as “One of the Ten People Who Made a Difference in the South,” “One of the 20 Business ‘Icons’ of the Tricentennial,” and “2018 CEO of the Year.”

With family roots in Louisiana back to the 1830s, Michael now lives in New Orleans with his wife, Marlene, who is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Tulane, and their two teenaged sons.

Dima Ghawi
Dima Ghawi is the founder of a global talent development company. Her mission is providing guidance to business executives to develop diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies and to implement a multi-year plan for advancing quality leaders from within their organization.

Through keynote speeches, training programs and executive coaching, Dima has empowered thousands of professionals across the globe to expand their leadership potential. For more information, visit and

Darienne Mobley

Darienne Mobley is a certified professional coach who works with individuals, executives and teams to help them intentionally design their life and work.

As an industry trailblazer, Darienne brings a wealth of experience and wisdom to her clients. She helps individuals and executives tap into their personal power, and she guides organizations to develop effective and dynamic teams. Darienne gives her clients the tools and techniques they need to clarify their vision, expand their impact and achieve their goals.   

As a passionate public speaker, Darienne is a true storyteller who connects with her audiences by sharing authentic experiences and real-life solutions. Her presentations inspire, entertain, educate and elevate.

Over the past decade, Darienne has successfully collaborated with more than 100 organizations around the country. She began her career in the tourism industry and has held the distinct honor of serving as the Director of Tourism for both Mississippi and Louisiana.

Darienne lives on the beach in Ocean Springs, MS with her husband.