Google vice president Sabrina Farmer will receive the 2023 University of New Orleans Homer L. Hitt Distinguished Alumni Award. Additionally, Avril Habetz, managing partner for Northwestern Mutual of Louisiana and Mississippi, has been named the 2023 Norma Jane Sabiston Distinguished Young Alumna of the Year. Both will be celebrated at a gala, sponsored by Entergy and Google, at the National WWII Museum on Nov. 9, 2023.
Farmer is vice president of engineering at Google, where she is responsible for the resilience and performance of Google’s largest consumer and enterprise products, including Ads, Search, Gmail, Android, Maps and YouTube. She also oversees the various product infrastructure systems, including authentication, abuse and data analytics. She supervises a global team of 750 employees. Farmer joined Google in 2005 and has nearly three decades of experience in production engineering. She is the founder of a global conference with USENIX—a nonprofit organization that supports advanced computing systems—focused on site reliability engineering. She has also contributed to two books on the subject.
A native of Marrero, La., Farmer earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of New Orleans. A longtime advocate for women in technology, she has developed programs focused on advancing women's careers and making the high-tech work environment more inclusive and flexible. A year after graduating, she founded the Scholarship for Women in Computer Science at UNO, which currently supports three students in the Department of Computer Science. She also provides mentoring to the scholarship recipients.
Farmer will be the 40th honoree to receive the Homer L. Hitt Distinguished Alumni Award. The honoree is selected by a committee of former award recipients.
Avril Habetz leads Northwestern Mutual’s team of financial professionals in Louisiana and Mississippi. She oversees the market development of eight district offices in the two states. She began her career at Northwestern Mutual in 2007 as an executive assistant. Since then, she has assumed leadership positions including director of training and development, chief development officer, and district director for New Orleans. She was promoted to managing partner of Louisiana and Mississippi in June 2023. Habetz has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and an MBA from the University of New Orleans.
The 2023 Homer L. Hitt Distinguished Alumni Gala will be held on November 9, 2023 from 7-10 p.m. at the National WWII Museum: Boeing Freedom Pavilion. For ticket and sponsorship information, click here.