Laverne Toombs, is a native of a small rural community in the great State of Louisiana who has in the political and nonprofit sectors for the past 20+ years as a Senior Staffer for a United States Senator and currently the VP of Development for the American Heart Association (AHA).
Laverne was a woman of low self-esteem who went from disliking herself up until the age of 39, to becoming a Chief Admin Officer and a top aide working for Senators such as Cory Booker and in the offices of President Obama and Senator Biden.
Laverne is also a walking billboard and loves sharing fashions of African American entrepreneurs, including Martha Morgan, owner of Morgan’s of Delaware in Wilmington. She has had an opportunity to wear a gown created by New Orleans designer, Harold Clarke who designs gowns for Vanna White on the Wheel of Fortune; has worn an outfit designed by an African American in which she posed with Joan Rivers that garnered interest and support and has worked with JET Magazine Photographers and Kim Kardashian in a “Dress for Success” program.
Laverne’s challenges in her early years of life, including the discovery of being adopted at the age of 14, made it so that she didn’t really discover who she was until late in life. Looking at herself in the mirror she began to see herself differently because for so many years she always thought she was ugly and was even labeled by others as one, “least likely to succeed! “ However, it was during that time that she also discovered the world of volunteerism. It was that opportunity of grant writing and fundraising that opened doors for her to learn more about non-profits and work with women like Kathy Hayward family of Camellia Brand Beans.
She was appointed by George W. Bush’s administration to work with faith based organizations across the country and building capacity in the non-profit sector on how to operate a 501(c)3 as an Executive Director where she learned more about giving as well as receiving.
A friend asked her to work on a campaign for Mary Landrieu in 1997, as it was her 1st time running for United States Senate and it lasted for 13 years. Laverne remembers thinking in the back of her mind that she didn’t have the experience working for an elected official, especially statewide which has 64 parishes or counties. She didn’t think that she belonged as there were many others who were better educated, well traveled and more connected as she came from a rural community but always believe that the greatest gift that God has given us is the gift of serving.
In 2020, the New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce named LaVerne Toombs its new executive director. Toombs has more than 20 years of experience in local and federal government, nonprofit, PR/marketing, fundraising, grant writing and business development.
Laverne wants to write a book for other women, to pour into them to help them understand the struggles they face and know that they are not alone. She wants to address issues such as adoption, rape, violences, anger, low self esteem, motherhood, being on subsidies, not being on subsidies, life after divorce, suicide and rejection, bad decisions and choices in life, because she’s been through it all.
Laverne was nervous about being chosen a TEDx Speaker, however, she no longer wants to hide her light under a bushel and her TEDxWilmington video had more than 700 views in less than 24hours. Although she doesn’t embrace the notoriety she knows that the give back are gifts from God and was recently contacted by Crown Me, a non-profit who asked her to be this year’s MC and recognized her with a “Crown Me” Image Award.
VP of Development for American Heart Association is also a way to give back by raising funds and educating others about heart health and the importance of eating right, smoking/vaping prevention and the importance for heart health especially for women and those in African American Communities.
Laverne also volunteers for Kingsley House which helps early childhood programs as well as adult care and understands that our gift from God is the Gift of Serving. To learn more about Laverne, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or check out her LinkedIn profile page.
WOW (Words of Wisdom)
“people should focus on their purpose because when you understand your purpose then you begin to understand you and you begin to understand what God has given you.”