Both raised in the culturally-vibrant city of Miami, Laura Hoenemeyer and James Barrett met under the glittering lights of Las Vegas a decade ago. While Laura is the youngest of seven and Jay is the oldest of 10, the couple shares a deep commitment to creating change in the community.
Jay moved to the Valley in the early ‘80s as founder and managing partner of his own CPA firm. He then was the senior financial executive with Marnell Companies, LLC for over 25 years, helping to grow the company which built many significant hotel-casinos, including the Rio All-suites Hotel and the M Resort. He now heads up his own financial advisory firm and serves on several commercial and non-profit boards. He is the 2013 Chairman of the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the St. Rose Hospitals Community Board.
He is a strong advocate for reworking the state’s education funding formula to send more dollars to southern Nevada. Already traction has been made with approximately $13 million more going towards southern Nevada higher education campuses as of June 2013. “A solid education system for K through 12 and higher is essential to increasing our community’s standard of living. It is not only money, of course, but we do need to have a higher investment than we presently have,” Jay said.
Laura began her career working for large hotel conglomerates in sales and then became a stay-at-home mom for 12 years, raising three daughters. She is now a vice president for Custom Benefit Consultants Inc., a leading brokerage/consulting firm specializing in health benefits and HR administration.
Laura’s memories of volunteering date back to serving as a ‘candy striper’ at a local hospital in Miami. “My parents instilled in us that we need to give back and contribute to society,” Laura said. It’s this contribution that Laura finds time to mentor teens in the “Reclaim Your Future” program helping them to graduate high school. As a mentor, Laura plays the role of a big sister, guide and advocate.
Laura is also passionate about the work of the United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council in creating Family Engagement Resource Centers at five high-risk area high schools, helping to support 35,000 high school students since the program was first implemented in 2010. The strength of the program is its focus on family involvement, helping caregivers to team up with schools, students and the FERC staff for academic success. In addition to being a member of WLC, she Co-chairs Tocqueville Society and serves on the United Way Board.
The couple stepped up as United Way Tocqueville members to make a difference in the Valley through their financial support of United Way’s work in health, education and financial stability.
“There is power in numbers,” said Laura. “The way to make a difference is for ALL of us to Live United!”