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Schedule at a Glance

Breakout Sessions

7 Rules for Manifesting Abundance
Thursday, March 21 - 09:00AM to 10:00AM

Maureen Dugas Foster

In this session, participants will gain step-by-step instructions for achieving success by leveraging your own unique qualities. The speaker will share the core values that make up the 7 rules for manifesting abundance. Through a simple, yet visually stimulating presentation, the speaker will describe each rule and how it relates to her own journey of empowerment. The interactive presentation will encourage participants to consider whether they are truly in control of their own lives and how they too might utilize the 7 rules to manifest abundance.

Financial Empowerment for Women Through Negotiation
Thursday, March 21 - 09:00AM to 10:00AM

Allison Jones, Jan Risher, Matt Jones

Have you ever felt at a disadvantage when it comes time to negotiate? This session is an opportunity to learn new negotiating skills and refine existing ones. Emerge with a toolkit of techniques to practice improving your negotiating prowess. This sister-brother dynamic duo will teach and demonstrate techniques and strategies to equip you in negotiating better deals on behalf of others, for your organization, and for yourself! No matter where you are in your career, this session will prepare you to advance more rapidly and achieve greater success through the art of negotiation.

The Synthesis of Advocacy and Vocation: When Women Answer the Call to Serve Their Community
Thursday, March 21 - 09:00AM to 10:00AM

Alsie Dunbar, Cyndi Nguyen, Kathleen Schott Espinoza, Melanie Oubre, Mildred E. "Mimi" Methvin, Nanette Cook, Rhonda Kim Gleason, Vivian Guillory

In this session, participants will learn from the narratives of various perspectives and experiences of women who have answered the call to serve their community. These women are stewards of technology, community leadership, communication, education and family. The session will set a framework for understanding how academia lends itself to community connections, impart concrete strategies for moving from student/citizen to engaged and active member of the community, and inspire participants through the lens of mentorship.

Legal Issues Facing Women
Thursday, March 21 - 09:00AM to 10:00AM

Holly Lamarche

Despite significant gains in gender equality, women are still victims of harassment, assault, and discrimination in the workplace and at home. Women often do not have the resources or knowledge to know where to turn for legal issues, and knowledge is power. There are an assortment of legal issues that women face, such as divorce and family law issues, employment discrimination and unequal pay, discrimination in healthcare, domestic violence, sexual assault, financial planning, business planning, and estate planning. In this session, learn how to protect yourself and other women in these legal areas and where to turn if help is ever needed. As Gloria Steinem sums it up, "The story of women's struggle of equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization, but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights."

Build Your Brand: Be Who You Want to Be
Thursday, March 21 - 10:15AM to 11:15AM

Mechelle Roberthon

This session is for the ambitious woman who needs guidance on building and becoming the woman they want to be -- whether that woman is a phenomenal mom, career woman, entrepreneur or overall go-getter. We will explore and strategize what behaviors and attitudes need to become habitual to be the brand that pleases us most. Once we are clear on what it takes to be a brand, we will discuss how to build a digital footprint that matches the brand we are striving to be. This session will allow attendees time to map out their goals for building their personal and professional brands.

Fueling Well to Lead Better
Thursday, March 21 - 10:15AM to 11:15AM

Yvette Perrier Quantz

Whether you are leading an organization, a start-up, or a household (or all three), the way you fuel your mind and body impacts your work. The food you eat plays a key role in optimizing your performance, whether you are leading your team, creating and implementing new ideas, helping with homework, facing daily household chores, or finding the energy for a run or yoga class. In this session, we will identify key barriers today's modern women face when trying to fuel well. Practical solutions for real-life nutrition and food issues will be addressed, including 1) why it's important to first fuel the leader, 2) addressing barriers to fueling yourself well, 3) how the right fuel will lead to stronger and more productive teams and families, 4) practical ways the busy leader can fuel well, 5) finding the time to fuel well, 6) real life food solutions, 7) identifying and removing energy drainers, and 8) beyond food -- what else fuels you?

More than the Sum of our Parts: Dynamic Public, Private, Non-Profit Partnership
Thursday, March 21 - 10:15AM to 11:15AM

Anne Swanson, Erica Williams, Mandy Migues, Traci Aucoin

This session focuses on a dynamic public/private/non-profit partnership that utilizes project-based learning to advance participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) for those who are part of groups currently underrepresented in the industry -- specifically women, minorities and the economically disadvantaged. The strength of this partnership is that all parties involved have complementary goals that include enriching the lives of students. Each party has different yet mutually beneficial strategies for doing so, and each partner brings a different niche of resources. Pooling our resources while clearly understanding each other's roles enabled us to empower local youth to both build an app and participate in a national prestigious STEM competition. One of our four competition teams won the Congressional App Challenge for Louisiana's 3rd Congressional District. The team then went on to Washington, DC, to showcase their app and network with other budding computer scientists. The partnership is growing exponentially in the number of students it serves, thanks to openness and knowledge sharing. This partnership also introduces students to computer building and programming through camps and provides resources to the students to share their knowledge of technology with other generations for the benefit of society.

Overcoming: Women, Leadership and Power
Thursday, March 21 - 10:15AM to 11:15AM

Darica Simon, Marquia Whitehead, Nicole Morrison, Toni Myer

One word that defines the term overcome is to prevail. In the memoir Becoming, Michelle Obama stated a very inspiring quote about women in leadership, "If there's one thing I've learned in life, it's the power of using your voice." In today's world, more women are finding their voices, and they are using those voices in leadership roles across all career sectors. This year, more than 100 women were elected in the U.S. House of Representatives, proving that women are no longer afraid to face leadership positions. More women are leading colleges and universities. Women are leading households. However, once women are in leadership, there are other obstacles to overcome. Several questions arise, including: How do I deal with the hatred and lack of support from other women? How do I deal with the "crabs in a barrel" epidemic? How do I lead as a woman in a male-dominated field, and how do I actually gain respect from others? How do I fully represent in fields such as STEM? How can I become the voice and image for younger female professionals? There are endless questions from women who have become leaders but now must overcome the obstacles, inequities, and setbacks presented due to their gender. This presentation is the first component of a two-part series.

The second component is entitled, "Promoting Balance for Women in Leadership Roles."
Keynote Panel & Awards Luncheon
Thursday, March 21 - 11:30AM to 01:00PM

Darla Montgomery, Jazmin Thibodeaux, Marcelle Fontenot

Join us for the Keynote Panel and Awards Luncheon, featuring a panel of three dynamic media personalities -- Marcelle Fontenot, Darla Montgomery and Jazmin Thibodeaux. The panel discussion will be moderated by David D'Aquin, Public Affairs Manager at Cox Communications. Dr. Mary Ann Willson, the recipient of the Sarah Brabant Trailblazer Award, will also be recognized. Lunch will be served.

I'm Not Bossy, I'm the Boss: Leadership Lessons from Beyonce
Thursday, March 21 - 01:15PM to 02:15PM

Claire Carriere, Jakia Steele, Ji'Carla Martinez, Rachel Lautigar, Vickie Jacquet

Beyonce Knowles-Carter is a record-breaking entertainer that has dismantled barriers in music, fashion, and social standards. The powerhouse entertainer has redefined what it is to be a successful entertainer. Regardless of your profession, there is a lot to learn from the leadership qualities that Beyonce possesses. The purpose of this interactive workshop is to highlight five of Beyonce's exemplary leadership qualities through conversations and examples that will empower women to become successful leaders.

Own Your ISH: How to Attain Workplace Harmony with Other Women
Thursday, March 21 - 01:15PM to 02:15PM

Michelby Whitehead

This session focuses on personal development that starts from the inside. How we feel about ourselves is a reflection of the way we treat others at home and in the workplace. As women, we are naturally wired to be emotional, and if those emotions aren't checked at the door, daily communication on the job can get explosive. This session will help women identify how harboring insecurities, self-sabotage, and hostility shape their workplace personality and the way they are perceived by colleagues.

Power Hour
Thursday, March 21 - 01:15PM to 02:15PM

Alix Walker, April Courville, Skyra Rideaux, Whitney Storey

The Power Hour session is a unique new format, consisting of four 10-minute presentations. "Increase Your Confidence Through the Power of Photography" by April Courville "The Courage to Be Unapologetically Black AND Christian" by Skyra Rideaux "State of Incarceration: Incarcerated Women in Louisiana" by Whitney Storey "Effective Branding & Social Media" by Alix Walker

Self Defense in the Workplace from a Woman's Perspective
Thursday, March 21 - 01:15PM to 02:15PM

Stacey Knight Mejia

This session includes a discussion about women's self defense in the workplace, as well as general safety tips involving verbal conflict resolution, situational awareness and simple strategies on how not to be a target for predators. The presenter will also demonstrate simple physical self defense releases from different scenarios regardless of a person's fitness or strength level. In this interactive presentation, participants may interact with each other by learning releases from grabs and chokes as well as practicing verbal boundary strategies.

Imposter Syndrome: Am I a VIctim?
Thursday, March 21 - 02:30PM to 03:30PM

Melissa Llewellyn

During this session, participants will explore what it means to be victimized by imposter syndrome through an interactive presentation that includes real-time audience polling. Participants will explore the meaning and history of imposter syndrome as well as strategies to help women professionals combat and overcome it.

Internalized Sexism: Conquering the Enemy Within
Thursday, March 21 - 02:30PM to 03:30PM

Emilia J. Bellone

Internalized sexism is the involuntary belief by women in a sexist society's lies, stereotypes, and myths about girls and women. It serves to indoctrinate us into the role of being second class citizens willing to settle for less, personally and professionally, at great cost to ourselves. Unwittingly, women pass on these beliefs to the next generation. Internalized sexism can also cause us to project hostility towards our natural allies -- other women. This workshop encourages participants to recognize and frankly evaluate the harm of a lifetime of sexist messages on our own self images and attitudes toward other women. It will include exercises to affirm our identities and introduce skills for challenging internalized sexism in our own lives.

Plug In, Power Up
Thursday, March 21 - 02:30PM to 03:30PM

Dylan Norris, Holly Howat, Kabrina Small, Lynley Jones, Rae Logan

This session will focus on ways to connect with your community. Community engagement is applying your knowledge, skills and experiences to actively improve your community, resulting in empowerment and well-being for individuals and the community. Acadiana has an abundance of civic and philanthropic organizations in which to engage. Participants will leave with a personal action plan that identifies interests, leverages personal attributes and quantifies opportunities to investigate. Participants will also learn standard steps to take for community connection. This session will use a highly interactive method to allow for direct collaboration with our panelists. The World Cafe Method ( allows for facilitators to engage in collaborative dialogue around specific questions. Small group discussions will allow for a unique building of knowledge that is meaningful for each member of the small group. Panelists will provide direction and feedback to assist participants in completing their Personal Action Plan.

Promoting Balance for Women in Leadership Roles
Thursday, March 21 - 02:30PM to 03:30PM

Brittney Williams, Harmony Rochon, Shontell Blake, Terrilyn Singleton

Work/life balance has been defined as the act of managing paid work responsibilities and all other life obligations with regard to family, friends, community, and personal recreation. In recent research, women reported working longer hours (more than 48 hours a week), being unhappy with their work/family balance, and being unable to cope with the pressure and stress of their jobs (Ryan & Peters, 2005). Additionally, women experience more negative health outcomes due to work-related stress. This presentation will introduce the concepts and theoretical foundations of work/life balance as experienced by women in leadership. The session will focus on two prominent theories -- the Four Burners Theory and the Family-Work Border Theory. Participants will engage in an interactive activity to determine which takes priority in their lives and will reflect on their own work/life balance issues. In addition to defining the problem, this presentation will inform participants of the theoretical foundations of self-care as it applies to women leaders. The presentation will discuss research-based self-care strategies that can assist in achieving successful work/life integration, thus promoting women's health and wellness during career advancement. Professional and personal experiences will be shared among presenters and participants. This presentation is the second component of a two-part series. The first component is entitled, "Overcoming: Women, Leadership and Power."