A Lake Charles native, Willie Landry Mount is proud to call Southwest Louisiana home. She is a graduate of McNeese State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. In 2016 she was awarded a Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by McNeese State University.
In 1993, Willie was elected the first female Mayor of Lake Charles. After serving over 6 and a half years as Mayor, Willie became the first woman elected as a Louisiana State Senator from District 27 in 1999.
Willie currently serves on the Library Board of Control for the Calcasieu Parish Public Library, Lakeside Bank Board of Directors, Louisiana Community and Technical College System Board of Supervisors, Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana Board of Directors, Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Board of Directors, McNeese State University Foundation Board of Directors, President of the Boy Scouts of America-Calcasieu Area Council and Chair of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Board of Directors.
Pilar Blanco Eble, Ed.D. is the Vice Chancellor of Advancement and Executive Director of the Baton Rouge Community College Foundation. Dr. Eble has over 20 years of higher education experience. Prior to BRCC, she served as the Senior Director of Donor and External Relations at the University of Louisiana. Dr. Eble previously served as the Associate Director of International Programs at the University of Minnesota, Morris. Her career in advancement includes stints at the University of Mississippi and Tulane University in New Orleans. Dr. Eble’s experience in university advancement has been dynamic, involving comprehensive campaigns, external and donor relations, major gifts, principal gifts, annual giving, and alumni engagement.
Dr. Eble earned her doctorate in higher education administration and bachelor's degree from the University of Louisiana, and her master’s degree from the University of Mississippi. She is married to Michael Eble and has four children, Ben Michael, Eli, Miles, and Oliver. Dr. Eble is an active member of her community and currently serves as Vice Chair for Ellevate Louisiana. She is a member of the Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Parent’s Club. She is also a Board member of the Lafayette Chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
Dr. Markey W. Pierré’s lifetime commitment to professional excellence, community service, and good public policy has led to substantive progress for the State of Louisiana in many areas, including K-12 and higher education, construction, health care, maritime law, and municipal government. During her 20-plus-year career as a successful business owner and executive, author, thought leader, motivational speaker, lobbyist, and adjunct professor, Dr. Pierré’s philosophy of inclusive leadership resulted in pioneering legislation that has had far-reaching positive consequences for generations to come.
As a former lobbyist and governmental affairs professional, Dr. Pierré championed the interest of her clients as the President and Managing partner of Southern Strategy Group of North Louisiana, a full-service governmental consulting firm based in Shreveport, Louisiana. Pierré has been extremely successful in building partnerships across different ideologies, sometimes bridging deep divides to drive public policies that benefit everyone involved. Her client list ran the gambit from Fortune 500 corporations to school boards to gaming and entertainment venues, municipal entities, and professional and trade associations. In this role, Dr. Pierré cemented her reputation as a powerful force and highly effective advocate. As the Vice Chancellor for External Affairs and Chief of Staff for Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Dr. Pierré is the point of contact for critical initiatives and is responsible for the development and implementation of the strategic agenda to represent both organizational and operational initiatives as well as ensure there is diversity and inclusion in recruitment and retention of groups underrepresented in healthcare.
Throughout her professional career, Dr. Pierré has earned numerous honors for her professional excellence and her unwavering commitment to community service. But beyond all of her honors and accomplishments what she says really matters most is in all that you have done, were you able to help someone in the process, did you make a difference. As a 35-year member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, she passionately engages in the international program initiatives and actively works at the local and regional levels. Dr. Pierré funds two annual college scholarships in the amount of $1,000/semester. One in her grandmother’s name, The Essie Mae Winfield “Pursuit of Excellence” scholarship award and one in her deceased husband's name, Louis Tramell Pierre’ Kappa Alpha Psi annual scholarship award. These scholarships allow students from traditionally underserved populations to attend college and pursue their dreams. Pierre received her Bachelor of Science in General Studies with a focus in business and finance from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, LA, a Master of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and a Doctor of Business Administration for Walden University in Minneapolis, MN. She is also certified in diversity, equity and inclusion through Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.
Jackie Farnsworth Shreves is a lifelong resident of New Orleans. In her professional life, she was active in local political campaigns as campaign manager and in a number of volunteer positions. She served as the Development/Capital Campaign Director at the Academy of the Sacred Heart and is a former real estate agent.
As a civic activist, she has served on several non-profit boards and been involved in numerous political campaigns and legislative issues both at the state and local level. She served on the Alcohol Beverage Control Board for 10 years and served two years on the Human Relations Commision. She was co-founder of the Parents’ Coalition, an organization founded to lobby on behalf of children’s issues. She is a past board member of the St. Pius X Mother’s Club, Volunteer and Information Agency, the Parents’ Council, the Academy of the Sacred Heart, the Maison Hospitaliere, the Lake Vista Property Association, New Orleans City Park Improvement Association, Co-Founder of NOLA City Bark, and chaired the New Orleans Citizens Advisory Task Force on Dog Parks. She served on the Boards of the Louisiana SPCA, Friends of City Park, the LA-SPCA Foundation, the NOLA City Bark, and Citizens for One, Education Committee. She served as chair of the Impact 100 -Women’s Advisory Committee.
In an effort to reform the Orleans Parish Accessors office post Katrina, she ran as a member of the IQ Team to reduce the number of assessors to One.
She has chaired and served on committees of several major fundraising events throughout the city including chairing the LA-SPCA’s Howling Success and co-chair Lark in the Park, in addition to serving on capital campaigns for several organizations including Son of a Saint.
She currently serves as co-chair of the LA-SPCA Advocacy Council, co-chair of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church DEI committee, board member of Friends of City Park, leadership committee of NOW LOVE, board member of the Maison Hospitaliere Foundation and Impact 100 Advisory Committee. She is a member of EllevateLA , 10,000 Women and other womens’ organizations.
She has been recognized as a 1995 YWCA Role Model, the Phillipine Duchesne Award at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, 2008 New Orleans’ Magazine People to watch and received the President’s Award from New Orleans City Park and the Dorothy Dorset Brown Humanitarian Award from the LA-SPCA.
She is married to H. Bruce Shreves and has three grown children, two grandchildren and one shelter dog, Maui. In her spare time, she plays tennis and occasional golf and a frequent Jazzercize participant.
Jaye Calhoun, is a partner in the New Orleans office of Kean Miller. She provides clients with full-service tax representation covering federal, state, and local tax challenges and business opportunities. She has more than 30 years of experience assisting clients with tax compliance and planning, the use of tax and business incentives, and tax audits and controversies. Jaye represents multistate and global clients on federal, state, and local taxation, business planning and formation, credits and incentives, and federal, state, and local tax collection matters. She regularly represents clients in audits and administrative and judicial appeals before the IRS, the State of Louisiana Department of Revenue, and numerous local taxing authorities. Jaye is board certified by the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization in both Taxation and in Estate Planning.
Jaye has extensive experience representing businesses in industries including energy, oil and natural gas, insurance, health care, gaming, equipment leasing and others. Representative matters include state and local income, franchise and sales tax audits and controversies and advice regarding transfer pricing, interest expense challenges, Louisiana’s labyrinthine state and local rules and and special income and franchise tax rules that apply to companies doing business in the state.
Jaye is also well-respected nationally for her tax expertise and was elected as a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel (ACTC) and then elected to the board of that organization as a regent. As an ACTC member, she is active in that prestigious organization’s amicus committee which files briefs in important tax cases around the country. She is also a former council director and former chair of the American Bar Association Tax Section State and Local Tax Committee, the Tax Section of the Louisiana State Bar Association, and the National Association of State Bar Tax Sections. She currently serves on the Editorial Board for American Bar Association publication, The Tax Lawyer, and is a co-author of both the Bloomberg Corporate Income Tax Navigator, Louisiana, and the Bloomberg Pass-Through Entities Navigator, Louisiana.
Jaye is frequently quoted in tax publications, has a long list of tax publications, and is a sought-after speaker at tax conferences. She is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Tulane University Law School, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, and Northeastern University D’Amore-McKim School of Business in Boston (online program) and serves on Georgetown Law’s SALT Institute Advisory Board. Further, she has been listed for many years in Louisiana Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America, is AV-rated preeminent by Martindale-Hubble, and has been recognized in 1999 as a YWCA Role Model and by New Orleans City Business as a 2005 Woman of the Year and as a 2014 recipient of a Leadership in Law award.
Jaye is a Louisiana native, a member of the Krewe of Muses and a Sustainer in the Junior League of New Orleans. She is married, with four children and teaches Jazzercise in New Orleans and Metairie.
Founder + President at Shoreline Strategies LLC | Managing Partner at #Amplified
Mary Caswell “Cassie” Alsfeld is an award-winning copywriter, digital marketing strategist, and online fundraising specialist. She founded Shoreline Strategies LLC—a digital marketing, messaging, and fundraising firm—in 2015 after spending over a decade working in national politics.
Through Shoreline Strategies, Cassie has worked with presidential, senate, gubernatorial, and congressional campaigns; international political parties; leading non-profits, advocacy groups, and issue organizations; small businesses; and tech start-ups and companies venturing into new markets.
She works with several women’s organizations, including several dedicated to getting more women in office, and is passionate about advocating for issues affecting all women. She won an AAPC Pollie Award for her advocacy work to protect independent contractors, and helped get price transparency in healthcare.
Cassie is also the Managing Partner of #Amplified, an AI-powered, people-driven digital agency that specializes in influencer marketing strategies, combating dis- and misinformation campaigns, identifying and cultivating prospective supporters and advocates, and building education and advocacy campaigns to strengthen democracy and restore civility to politics. She has an exclusive suite of top AI technologies.
Through #Amplified, she is building a partner network of top industry experts and thought leaders, and bringing unique technologies and holistic strategies to the political, political-adjacent, government, association, and corporate spaces to maximize efficiencies and effectiveness. #Amplified works with campaigns, government agencies, political and advocacy organizations, think tanks, trade associations, lobbying and government relations firms, PR and public affairs firms, civic engagement and democracy orgs, startups, and more.
She is also an Advisor for top AI technology startups, including Soar and CitizenPortal.ai, built by the founder of Ancestry.com, and Upstart Factory. Through these businesses, Cassie advises and delivers go-to-market strategies, digital marketing, branding, storytelling, copywriting and editing, market research, business development, public affairs, etc. She identifies and pitches thought leadership opportunities, develops revenue generating models, researches prospective funding sources, builds lists and outreach strategies, creates crowdfunding campaigns, establishes partnership opportunities, and consults on social media, marketing, and list-building campaigns.
Known as "the door opener, a "walking LinkedIn," or a "unicorn" in the world of civic-tech and digital-politics, Cassie connects principals with key influencers, investors, industry leaders, thought leaders, partners, and more.
Through Shoreline Strategies, Cassie specializes in copywriting and editing; strategic planning; message development; email marketing; digital marketing, engagement, and advocacy campaigns; political communication; and online fundraising. She also provides coaching services to organizations and businesses looking to train or support their staff in any of the above.
A copywriter by trade, Cassie believes in the power of words to drive actions and deliver results. She has led dozens of workshops, training sessions, seminars, and webinars, as well as served on and moderated panels at leading industry events and college classes.
Cassie was the first digital copywriter and one of the first digital hires in Republican politics. She helped build the digital fundraising, email marketing, and copywriting programs for the Romney presidential campaign, Republican National Committee, and National Republican Congressional Committee from scratch. Cassie also served as the speechwriter for the NRCC Chairman and directed all of the messaging for the largest fundraiser of the year.
She has a proven track record of setting and smashing fundraising records, crafting award-winning copy, transforming how organizations operate and communicate, increasing engagement and enthusiasm among supporters, and putting organizations on the map. She has a unique approach to communications, fundraising, and marketing, given her background and experiences.
Prior to working in national politics, Cassie spent time on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer for Congressman Cao of New Orleans, handling everything from Hurricane Katrina and BP oil spill recovery to healthcare issues. She got postal services restored in Gentilly after they sat idle for several years post-Katrina. She also worked as a lobbyist and consultant with Carmen Group, most notably getting Congress to forgive loans for hurricane-affected HBCUs. Cassie got her start in DC working for a top fundraiser, where she fundraised for the Republican National Convention, Gov. Haley Barbour, and others. Prior to DC, she interned with Congressman Steve Scalise and worked in N.O. City Hall before, during, and after Katrina.
Cassie is a Co-Founder and Board of Directors member of Ellevate Louisiana, International Women’s Forum-Louisiana Chapter Member, Co-Founder and Past President of the St. Mary's Dominican High School Alumnae Association in DC, Board Member of Boy Scouts of Southeast Louisiana, Founder + Member of the Spirit of Scouting Fundraising Committee, Member of the Pillars of Scouting Fundraising Committee, and Alumni Advisory Board member of Louisiana Youth Seminar.
She is an active member of American Association of Political Consultants, Kappa Delta Sorority, LSU Alumni Association, PAC PALS, and Association of Past Presidents of the LSU Student Body. Cassie built the networking, professional development, and alumnae programs for The Madison of DC. And she recently helped craft the strategic plan for St. Mary’s Dominican High School, serving as the Chair of the Advancement and Marketing Committee on the School Strategic Planning Committee.
An active alumna and supporter of St. Mary’s Dominican High School, LSU, and the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication, Cassie spent 13 years in DC before moving home to New Orleans. She is a former Student Body President of LSU and elected Student Board Member of the LSU Board of Supervisors. She also served on the Louisiana Tuition and Trust Authority.
Cassie just moved to Old Metairie, where she resides with her rescue dog Flora. For more information or to connect with Cassie, visit: www.shorelinestrategies.co.
Charmaine serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the United Way of Southeast Louisiana and oversees United Way’s Governmental Relations department. She is responsible for the development and implementation of the government relations strategies related to United Way’s three goal areas, including education, income and health, through the development of relationships with key internal and external constituents.
From 2005 to 2013, Mrs. Caccioppi served as the first President of the Louisiana Association of United Ways (LAUW). During her tenure as President of LAUW, she partnered with the Louisiana Association of Non-Profits to publish “Community Solutions” which provided evidence-based policy research on how to combat long-term systemic poverty. She established a relationship with The George Rodrigue Foundation allowing $1 million in funding to be secured for United Ways statewide. She also assisted with securing funding for The George RodrigueFoundation of the Arts (GRFA), an Art Emerging Therapy for Children A+ School Education Curriculum to help children in trauma after Hurricane Isaac. Her many other accomplishments, include, but are not limited to, securing a $90,000 United Way Worldwide grant for the purpose of establishing a United Ways of the Gulf Coast and championing state legislation that ensured High Quality Childcare Standards, School Readiness Tax Credits, the establishment of the Child Poverty Prevention Council and the first refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in the South.
In 2014, Charmaine advocated for the successful historical passage of Domestic Violence bills signed into Louisiana law aimed at stopping domestic abuse and in 2016 is featured in the award winning Five Awake –Domestic Violence documentary film. Historical passage of domestic violence bills was made again in 2017 and in 2018 including gun divesture!
Charmaine was inducted into the Louisiana Center for Women in Government and Business Hall of Fame in 2014. She received the Libby Milton Champion for Children Award in 2016 and Crimestoppers’ George Loker Community Service Award in 2017. She was a founding member of the Ready Louisiana Coalition in 2018. Charmaine established the Nancy M. Marsiglia Institute of Justice in 2018, between United Way of Southeast Louisiana and Loyola University College of Law. In 2020, she was recognized as one of CityBusiness Women of the Year. She is currently serving a second term as Chair of the Louisiana Women’s Policy & Research Commission, and serves as a board member for the New Orleans Family Justice Center, and Ellevate Louisiana.
In 2022, Charmaine was instrumental in the successful passage of a New Orleans Early Childhood proposition, YES for NOLA Kids. The revenue from this tax, which will begin on January 1, 2023, will go towards providing funding for an additional 1,000 seats for New Orleans students through the City Seats program, which serves economically disadvantaged children ages 0 to 3. In this same year, as a founding member of the Ready Louisiana Coalition, she also helped secure $84 million for early care and education during the Louisiana Regular Legislative session. These funds will help low-income families afford quality child care, provide a match on local early childhood education investments, and more.
During her 20 years of service with the United States Senate, Mrs. Caccioppi served Senators J. Bennett Johnston then Mary Landrieu, working on major economic development projects throughout Louisiana and Nationwide, including: transportation infrastructure development for ports, airport, highways and railroads; defense and university research projects; flood control and hurricane protection projects; natural resources research; major federal procurement for several federal agencies.
Amanda Spain Wells
Ms. Wells focuses her practice primarily on real estate financing and affordable housing. She has extensive experience in structuring all types of real estate financing transactions for borrowers, lenders and investors, focusing on all forms of state and federal tax credits (LIHTC, NMTC, HRTC), CDBG, HOME and other federal funding programs. Following the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, she worked closely with a diverse group of private and public entities to create and implement the now HUD recommended program for the use of public funds for affordable housing projects. Ms. Wells successfully closed more than three-quarters of a billion dollars in publicly funded loans for more than 100 projects in devastated areas of Louisiana.
Ms. Wells is also engaged in drafting land use restrictions and creating blueprints for new mixed-use, residential and commercial developments throughout Louisiana, including traditional neighborhood developments (TNDs). Furthermore, she focuses on negotiating loan documents, bank financing and refinancing transactions as both lender and borrower counsel.
As part of the Firm's Cruise Industry Practice, Ms. Wells works with vessel owners to obtain docking rights along the Mississippi River, negotiating leases and license rights with private and public entities, as well as providing title services. Her work with governmental entities ranges from small towns to state economic development offices, and she is familiar with many incentives available to vessel owners and operators seeking to develop riverfront docking areas along the Mississippi.
As the leader of DDA and DLU, Anita works with Downtown stakeholders, developers, government representatives, and community leaders to create a stronger and more dynamic Downtown for Lafayette. Before joining Downtown Lafayette, Anita worked as the Senior Vice President of Communications and Governmental Affairs with One Acadiana, and she has been actively involved in Lafayette leadership organizations like Leadership Institute of Acadiana and the 705. She currently serves as a board member of South Louisiana Community College Foundation and CASA of SoLA. Anita understands the regional importance of a vibrant urban core and she works to provide a strategic vision for leaders in Lafayette to utilize and grow Downtown as a flagship district for culture and commerce in Acadiana.
Fun fact: Anita is originally from Church Point, Louisiana and has lived her entire life within a 20 mile radius of the heart of our city. As Herman Fuselier likes to say, “It takes a girl from Church Point to run Downtown Lafayette!”
Growing up “inside the Capitol,” and with more than a decade of experience in governmental relations, Ginny brings her unique knowledge of Louisiana’s political process to the table. As a consultant to numerous political campaigns, including that of a former Louisiana governor, as well as her experience working in the communications office for a U.S. Senator, Ginny is able to effectively communicate a “beyond the headlines” perspective to both clients and lawmakers. Although Ginny has worked on numerous political and communications campaigns for industrial manufacturing and transportation sector clients, she has also played an active role on behalf of clients in the ever-increasingly important health sector. Ginny graduated with honors from the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University.
Jessica Starns is a founding Partner at Starns Kenny & Easterling, LLC, where she maintains a niche practice providing governmental affairs (lobbying), business formation and licensing, regulatory compliance, and legal services to breweries, distilleries, CBD producers, wholesalers, e-commerce platforms, hotels, special event organizers, and alcohol, tobacco, CBD, and vape retailers. Jessica’s clients enjoy the benefit of her expertise in navigating state and local legislative processes, and federal, state, and local regulatory processes. She is an active member of the Louisiana State Bar Association and numerous industry organizations including, the National Association of State Liquor Administrators, the National Association of Licensing and Compliance Professionals, and the Association of Louisiana Lobbyists. She is a member of the board of directors for Ellevate Louisiana.
Jessica served as the managing partner of Jessica Starns Attorney at Law, LLC, a boutique governmental affairs and law firm, for six years prior to forming Starns Kenny & Easterling, LLC. She has also previously served as the executive counsel for the Louisiana Office of Alcohol & Tobacco Control, special counsel to the commissioner of the Louisiana Division of Administration, and special counsel to the governor of Louisiana on budget, tax, commerce, and alcoholic beverage legislation. Jessica frequently speaks on alcohol and tobacco policy at national industry association conferences and has drafted and played an instrumental role in the passage of numerous legislative instruments.
During her time of government service, Jessica played a vital role in converting a $500,000 agency deficit to over a $1.2M surplus by developing and implementing solutions to increase productivity and initiating technological advancements. She also successfully developed and implemented methods to enhance customer service and maximize resources by establishing sound policies and training programs, simplifying bureaucratic processes, eliminating wasteful practices, and leading initiatives to work with various state and local departments to combine duplicative regulatory procedures. She was honored as "Division Star" out of hundreds of employees for demonstrating exceptional personal performance standards.
Jessica is obtained her Juris Doctorate from Chapman University, Dale E. Fowler School of Law where she was appointed to the Honor Council, was a research assistant in the area of administrative law and was a member of the Tax Law Society and Public Interest Law Foundation. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from Tulane University with a double major in sociology and mass communications. Jessica resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with her husband Brian, a firefighter, and their son Dax.
Julie Schwam Harris
Julie Schwam Harris is a New Orleans native, educated in New Orleans Public Schools and a Summa Cum Laude graduate from Newcomb College of Tulane University. She worked in City Government for 16 years, including the first five post Katrina recovery years, and has led and participated in numerous political campaigns. She does part-time consulting and is a volunteer advocate on women’s and human rights issues.
Julie believes that grass roots action and advocacy matter, and that individuals should not only work to elect candidates who support their issues but also communicate with elected officials after they take office. She helped organize the Legislative Agenda for Women (LAW) coalition, which advocates on issues related to women and families predominantly at the state Legislature. Issues include access to health care; economic security policies regarding equal pay for women, raising the minimum wage, affordable quality child care, paid sick and family leave and sexual harassment; comprehensive sex education and solutions to violence against women.
Governor John Bel Edwards appointed Julie to the Louisiana Women’s Policy and Research Commission in 2016.Julie is a member and supporter of numerous local, state and national civic, rights and advocacy organizations.
In honor of her work in government and with organizations that seek to ensure equal rights and opportunities for all, Julie was named the 2015 recipient of the National Council of Jewish Women’s Hannah G. Solomon Award and the 2016 recipient of the ACLU Ben Smith Civil Liberties Award. She has also received the Newcomb Alumnae Association Community Service Award and was an honoree of the New Orleans Family Justice Center and the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. – Epsilon Sigma Chapter.
Kristen is President and majority owner of Brown Builders, Inc., a Louisiana general contractor and design builder with more than fifty years of fulfilling client dreams of a place to do their work using a painless construction process. She has a passion for her home community and the communities she is privileged to provide places to live, work and play.
She has worn many Brown Builders hats throughout her career. Today, her responsibilities include overall strategic planning and business development as well as oversight of construction of a variety of projects which include hospitality, retail, multi-family residential, healthcare, and commercial and residential land development.
- BA/BS Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia
- JD, Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- Louisiana State Licensing Board For Contractors
- Board of Directors, Ellevate Louisiana
- Chair of Economic Development Subcommittee, Committee of One Hundred Shreveport
- Louisiana Associated General Contractors, first female President of AGC Shreveport
- AGC America
- Board Member, General Contractors Insurance Captive
- Rotary Club of Shreveport, Paul Harris Fellow
- First Baptist Church, Shreveport
Laci Sherman is a business professional and community market leader in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her career background entails professional leadership training and strategic planning through community development and programming.
Laci is also a huge advocate for supporting women and young girls' futures through education, empowerment and positive exposure and experiences -- currently serving as the Program Director of Girls on the Run South Louisiana, where she supports the mission of reaching your limitless potential!
In her spare time, Laci also volunteers with organizations such as Young Entrepreneur Academy (YEA)- LSU, Fidelity POWER Advisor, Ellevate Louisiana Board Member, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and North Baton Rouge Chamber (NBRCC) as the standing President.
Laci, a Baton Rouge native, earned her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from Southeastern Louisiana University before earning her Masters of Healthcare Administration degree at the University of North Texas Health Science Center.
Dr. Larissa Littleton-Steib has served as Chancellor of Delgado Community College since July 2019. She served previously as Delgado’s Vice Chancellor for Workforce Development and Technical Education, Executive Dean of the Delgado West Bank Campus, and other leadership roles. Dr. Steib shares a vision to advance the college with a laser focus on student access and student success. She seeks to ensure all programs meet the needs of business and industry and the community while also increasing graduation and retention rates. Dr. Steib is a highly regarded leader and has an extensive background in program development, grant writing, and workforce training. She has developed vital, cutting-edge academic curricula, and she has a keen forte of working collaboratively with multiple business partners and stakeholders. Over the course of her career she has secured and managed millions in grants, donations, and external funding. Her higher education experience spans over two decades.
Prior to becoming Chancellor of Delgado Community College, Dr. Steib served as Chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College, where she helped to increase student enrollment, increase business and educational partnerships, and increase transfer opportunities for students.
Dr. Steib is working to build and enhance relationships with regional business, industry, and government organizations. She is making certain that the curriculum at Delgado, on both the academic and workforce development sides of the college, is aligned properly with regional economic development and workforce needs. Partnerships expanding under Dr. Steib’s leadership include Ochsner Health, LCMC Health, Apple, Amazon, PepsiCo, and Mercedes Benz. In 2021 she developed a partnership with Ochsner Health to provide health care education in a new state-of-the-art facility that opened at Delgado in 2023—funded with a $20 million investment from Ochsner. She is also raising Delgado’s profile across the spectrum of activity in the New Orleans region as a top-quality post-secondary educational resource with tremendous economic impact—calculated in 2021 to be more than $550 million annually in directly related economic activity.
Delgado Community College is the oldest and largest community college in Louisiana, a renowned center for personal and social growth that prepares more than 23,500 students each year for successful careers and additional higher education. During Delgado’s Centennial celebration in 2021-2022, Dr. Steib guided renovation and improvement of the College’s century-old landmark building, Isaac Delgado Hall, as well as launching an awareness and advancement campaign to generate additional community support for the institution from all of its stakeholders.
Under Dr. Steib’s leadership, Intelligent.com researchers placed Delgado in the Top Five status in the categories of Best Louisiana Community College and Best Online Colleges in the United States, and spotlighted 10 different Delgado programs in rankings that place them alongside the nation’s best in online education. This accolade was reinforced by Newsweek magazine, which included Delgado in its annual list of the Top Online Colleges in America. New Orleans CityBusiness readers ranked Delgado Community College as the Top Winner In the category of Best Two-Year College. The performance of Delgado Community College under Dr. Steib’s leadership has also resulted in her being named twice by Biz New Orleans magazine as one of the 500 most influential, involved, and inspiring business leaders in the New Orleans area. Biz New Orleans honored her in 2022 as Executive of the Year in Education. She also was selected as one of the 20 most effective leaders in the regional education sector and as a 2023 Icon Award recipient by the publication New Orleans CityBusiness.
Dr. Steib is a native of Louisiana and earned a doctorate in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Xavier University of Louisiana. She is married to Kyle Steib Sr. and they have three children, Kyle, Blake, and Victoria.
Libbie Sonnier, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children where she leverages 20 years of professional experience supporting young children and their families. Recognized for her tenacity and deep commitment to children, Dr. Sonnier has led teams in system-wide initiatives for the betterment of children, families, caregivers, and practitioners. In her first two years with the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, she helped secure $18M in new early care and education funding in the Louisiana budget, three new sources of recurring state revenue to expand access to quality early care and education, and guided the use of more than $300M in federal COVID relief dollars to stabilize child care. She also has doubled the organization’s research and media engagement outputs and grown its staff while securing the organization’s first seven figure grant, and nearly doubling its annual revenues.
Prior to taking on leadership of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children in 2019, she served as a state director of two federal programs, where she managed multi-million-dollar budgets. She developed and implemented pilot programs for children, birth to age five, in four states across multiple agencies and community partners to improve the efficiency and efficacy of direct services for children and their families. Dr. Sonnier’s experiences conducting longitudinal and experimental research allow her to translate scientific findings into meaningful and practical policies that support better life outcomes for children. She is coauthor of multiple publications and technical reports, training curricula, and, with Drs. Sharon and Craig Ramey, The Four Diamonds Checklist and The Quality System to Achieve Results for Young Children in all Settings (Q-STAR).
Dr. Sonnier is the recipient of the Hulick Serving Spirit Fellowship Award for her commitment to individuals with disabilities across the life course, the Rotary Club’s Extraordinary Woman “Rising Star” Award, a New Orleans City Business 2020 Women of the Year honoree, a 2020 Leadership Louisiana participant, and was named one of 16 Women Paving the Way for Louisiana’s Future by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana in 2021. Dr. Sonnier received a Doctor of Philosophy in human development from Virginia Tech, a Master of Education in early childhood intervention and family support services from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Bachelor of Science in special education with an emphasis in early childhood intervention from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Missy Hopson (formerly Sparks), PhD serves as Vice President of Talent & Learning at Ochsner Health. She leads her team in developing a diverse talent pipeline to support top quality patient care across the Gulf South. She has established an effective workforce development platform to grow the pipeline of healthcare professionals through Ochsner-sponsored training programs for internal and external candidates with a focus on opening career pathways for the unemployed/underemployed. Additionally, she partners with her team to develop strategies to advance learning and professional development, college and post-graduate internships and fellowships, orientation & onboarding, coaching & mentoring, and performance development.
She serves on the Workforce Development Boards of Orleans (Vice-Chair) and Jefferson Parishes, YouthForce NOLA, Dress for Success New Orleans, the New Orleans Career Center, Morris Jeff Community School and co-leads the workforce and education committee of Ellevate Louisiana.
An accomplished visionary with a focus on results and a stellar track record for leading companywide optimization, Monique Robinson Clark has been helping healthcare companies enhance their operational development and progression for more than 15 years. As Director of Clinical Operations, she leverages her excellent strategic planning and implementation, program development and change management skills to ensure successful outcomes for both patients and team members at LSU Healthcare Network.
Prior to joining LSU Healthcare Network, Monique was an Associate Consultant for Corcoran Consulting Group and the Director of Operations for SEECA Inc. In both capacities, Monique’s stewardship of improved workflows, processes, procedures, quality control and marketing initiatives precipitated increased client and patient satisfaction as well as a significant boost in revenue generation.
Monique is as dedicated to building better community as she is to her work in the healthcare industry. Among several organizations to which she contributes her time and resources, she is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Inc. and a member of the Board of Directors for Bayou Community Academy Charter School in Thibodaux. Most recently, Monique participated in the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute Class of 2018 and Leadership Louisiana Class of 2020.
Possessing a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and an MBA in Healthcare Management, Monique is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2015-2016 Rotary Club of Houma-Terrebonne Rookie of the Year Award and the 2017 Dillard University 40 Under 40 Award. Monique is also a published author, a much sought-after public speaker and a course presenter and panelist for the 2019 ASCRS/ASOA Annual International Conference. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, Zumba, and spending time with her husband.
Polly Prince Johnson
Polly joined the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters in January 2010, when her predecessor retired in February of 2013 she was promoted to President/CEO.
Ms. Johnson is the past President for the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations she is also Past President of the Louisiana Society of Association Executives. She also serves on the Louisiana Commission on Civic Education. Polly is also on the Louisiana Legislators task force for Public Records Law.
Polly and her husband David live in Baton Rouge and they have two son’s that also reside in Baton Rouge.
Rachael Averett joined Advantous as a Senior Manager in the Sales and Use Tax practice in 2021. Rachael has practiced in Indirect Tax for the last 22 years in Texas and Louisiana. Rachael previously served as an Associate at a public accounting firm and within industry for a multi-state manufacturer. She also served as Director at an international tax consulting firm for the last eleven years. Rachael specializes in multi-state sales and use tax audit defense and reverse audits, with expansive experience in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Georgia. Rachael received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance from Louisiana State University. She serves as a member of Council on State Taxation (COST), Southeastern Association of Tax Administrators (SEATA), and Certified Member of Institute for Professionals in Taxation (IPT). She has also presented for IPT, Tax Executives Institute, Inc. (TEI), and Lorman Education Services.
Valerie Grubb is an innovative, visionary, operations leader with an exceptional ability to zero in on the systems, processes and human capital issues that can hamper a company’s success — and a strong history of solving those problems with maximum buy-in and minimal disruption.
She is particularly adept at helping people acquire the skills they need in areas such as developing existing employees, recruiting new talent, and forming cohesive teams — all critical for long-term organizational growth.
Immediately prior to founding Val Grubb & Associates in 2008, Valerie served as the Vice President of Strategic Operations & Initiatives at NBC Universal, where she oversaw activities from business development to quality initiatives in preparation for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.
Earlier, Valerie was a key figure in the start-up of Oxygen Media. As Vice President of Operations, Val’s responsibilities encompassed all areas of back-office operations including human resources, risk management, training, facilities, security, travel, purchasing and real estate operations for all U.S. Oxygen offices. She was also a key part of the sale and transition process when Oxygen was ultimately purchased by NBC Universal. Val also served as Corporate Director of Operations for Barry Diller during the inception of InterActive, Corp. While with IAC, she was a significant contributor to the company’s aggressive acquisitions strategy, managing the integration of newly acquired companies into the IAC corporate umbrella.
Valerie started her career in engineering, first at Allison Engine Company, an aircraft engine manufacturer and division of General Motors which was later sold to Rolls-Royce, plc. (Val played an instrumental role in the transition.) She spent 11 years in an engineering capacity and ultimately became Director of Public Affairs, traveling the world promoting Rolls Royce products and services.
A sought-after Speaker, Coach and Training Expert, Valerie regularly presents at conferences and company off-site meetings to motivate and engage employees and senior leaders alike. Her expertise and vibrant approach are also in constant demand for corporate training initiatives.
Valerie graduated with a mechanical engineering degree from Kettering University and obtained her MBA from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. She remains highly involved with the Kelley School as an active member of the Dean’s Advisory Council and the Women’s Philanthropy organization at the IU Foundation. She is also the President of the NY-Chapter of Women in Cable Telecommunications