Insights > Sandra Diggs-Miller headlines 10th Women Making Waves leadership conference

Sandra Diggs-Miller headlines 10th Women Making Waves leadership conference

01/29/2024

Falling on International Women’s Day this March 7-8, the Women Making Waves leadership conference at Tulane University is widely recognized in the alumnae community for its impact. And as the annual women’s leadership conference celebrates the decade mark, it is welcoming Sandra Diggs-Miller as its powerful keynote speaker.

Diggs-Miller, who is vice president of external affairs for Entergy, has built a sterling legal career, first as an associate at Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann and then through a series of prominent roles at Entergy including as vice president of customer service for Entergy New Orleans and as assistant general counsel.

"As women, we know each other’s needs the best. ... And so, I think that it is imperative for us to support and help each other, to be able to get to be the best versions of ourselves.” — Sandra Diggs-Miller, vice president of external affairs for Entergy.

But when she tells the story of those achievements, she unfailingly tells the story of the women who helped her along the way. Mrs. Woolworth, her mother’s employer, who saw to it that she could afford books as a student. Sandra Whitaker, the first African American woman serving in the Ninth District Court Services Unit in Williamsburg, Virginia, who insisted she take the leap and go to law school. Her mother-in-law, Momma Merita, who took care of her newborn daughter so she could take the bar exam (pumping during all the breaks). Countless colleagues, friends and mentors in the legal community, in the New Orleans community, at Entergy.

“As women, we know each other’s needs the best. Generally, we all face the same forms of biases against us. And so, I think that it is imperative for us to support and help each other, to be able to get to be the best versions of ourselves.

“We have to make sure that we’re showing up as women, and we can’t do it by ourselves. We have to have the support, and I recognize that I received that support from other women,” says Diggs-Miller.

The theme of this year’s Women Making Waves, “Leading through the Lens of Inclusivity,” is one that Diggs-Miller is passionate about. She served as the diversity and inclusion chairperson for the Entergy Legal Department and is a member of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, Corporate Counsel Women of Color, and the Louisiana Women’s Leadership Forum.

An African American woman who grew up with limited resources in a rural community, Diggs-Miller knows firsthand the impact of bias and the importance of opportunity. She recalls moments in her career when opposing counsel assumed she was there as a court reporter rather than as the corporate lawyer of a Fortune 500 company.

"I think we have to keep elevating ourselves as women. We have to keep reinventing ourselves, and we have to make sure that we are putting ourselves in the position to keep learning, keep reading and always show that you’re willing to learn something new.” — Sandra Diggs-Miller, vice president of external affairs for Entergy

“The whole premise of inclusivity is all about respecting others and respecting their differences. The key to us really moving this country back in the direction of positivity and inclusivity is us females taking the mantle, leading our families and being intentional about demanding that we respect one another.

“Let’s lead with kindness, making sure everybody understands that respecting differences is not optional — it’s required,” says Diggs-Miller.

She’s put in long hours to attain her current role, and she is committed to lifelong learning — in addition to her BA, MA and JD degrees, she earned her executive MBA at Tulane less than two years ago. “I think we have to keep elevating ourselves as women. We have to keep reinventing ourselves, and we have to make sure that we are putting ourselves in the position to keep learning, keep reading and always show that you’re willing to learn something new.”

Alumni Career & Professional Development recommends recognizing this year’s theme of Women Making Waves, “Leading through the Lens of Inclusivity", via the hashtag #inspireinclusion.

Returning this year is Women Making Waves signature “Herstories” panel where alumnae share the full story of their prominent careers – ups and downs, achievements unlocked and challenges overcome as well as the lessons they learned along the way.

Attendees will also enjoy panel discussions where alumnae share personal and professional success and ample opportunities for networking both individually and in small group discussions.

Diggs-Miller is excited about the opportunity to join together with members of the alumnae community to celebrate accomplishments and chart new paths to success.

“I hope that women come away from the conference with the power to look for the good first in themselves and next always look for the good in others. … I hope they take away a sense of urgency about their responsibility. They are important roles, no matter where they are, their station in life to change the trajectory of this nation.

“If my message is clear, if it lands the way that I hope it lands, [attendees will] believe in the power to be a different version of themselves than the version that arrived at the conference.”


New Orleans Editorial Team