Lavigne named to Forbes 50 Over 50 Impact List

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, December 29, 2021

CONVENT — Lifelong St. James Parish resident Sharon Lavigne has been named to the Forbes 50 Over 50: Impact list for her dedication to fighting for environmental justice in her community and beyond.

Born in 1950, Lavigne is a special education teacher turned environmental advocate who leads RISE St. James.

Earlier this month in New York City, Lavigne experienced an afternoon of connection, merriment and inspiration featuring an intimate conversation with none other than the First Lady of the United States Jill Biden. The conversation with the First Lady and Mika Brzezinski focused on the importance of mentoring the next generation of women leaders.

Forbes and Mika Brzezinski’s 50 Over 50 Celebration with Know Your Value spotlights women over the age of 50 who are leaving a positive and lasting impact on the world.

As a child growing up in St. James Parish, Lavigne lived off the land’s gardens and livestock. In 2018, she followed in the footsteps of her Civil Rights activist parents by mobilizing a team to halt the construction of a $1.25 billion manufacturing plant in St. James Parish. Her efforts paid off in 2019, when plans for the plant were withdrawn.

Lavigne now manages a staff and 20 volunteers who continue to advocate for environmental justice. Earlier this year, she was named a recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize, which is awarded annually in six geographic regions around the globe.

Other notable individuals on the Forbes 50 Over 50: Impact 50 list include:

  • Taina Bien-Aimé, Executive Director, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women
  • Val Demings, Congresswoman, Florida’s Congressional District
  • Shifra Rubin, Immigration Judge, Justice/Executive Office of Immigration
  • Ala Stanford, Founder, Black Doctors Covid Consortium
  • Beverly Tatum, Author & President Emirita, Spelman College
  • Esther Wojcicki, Co-Founder, Creative Commons Advisory Council