40 UNDER FORTY
Brennan Bernard, Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins, Wesley Bange and Marquel Sennet.PRESENTING 2020s TOP YOUNG PROFESSIONALS
Each year, the Greater Shreveport Chamber’s Young Professional Initiative has highlighted 40 of our region’s most dynamic and accomplished young professionals who are engaged in our community as entrepreneurs, executives and managers in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Entering its 15th year, this year will mark more than 500 individuals receiving recognition, with many from previous classes going on to become our local leaders in business, politics and public service. 40 Under Forty is our chance to celebrate our best young leaders by spotlighting those who are excelling in their profession and making an impact on and for our community.
The judges also select a Young Professional of the Year as the individual among the 40 who exemplifies the spirit of 40 Under Forty. The decision is always a tough one, as each class of 40 brings their unique talents, experiences and contributions to our community.
"We are incredibly impressed with the lineup of leaders and professionals that have been chosen as honorees for the Young Professional Initiative's 2020 top 40 Under Forty," 318 Forum publisher Jay Covington said. "We relish the opportunity to present these young representatives of Chamber Members for 14 years. It is the mission of 318 Forum magazine to promote the positive aspects of our community. Our partnership with the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce and YPI are a shining example of what we are all about: Showcasing the best our cities have to offer," Covington said.
Claire Childs is honored to serve as the 2020 40 Under Forty chair. "Although this year has been a challenging one with the pandemic, we feel it is important for us to continue to recognize the emerging leaders in our community," Childs said. "We're excited about the impressive composition of this year's class and are delighted to be able to honor them in a unique way this year."
As the profiles in the following pages will demonstrate, this year’s class continues the tradition of excellence, comprising a group of highly engaged, high-impact individuals. This diverse group includes entrepreneurs, restauranteurs, physicians, lawyers and school leaders, as well as managers, owners and directors from the private and non-profit sectors. Each of them deserves recognition for what they bring to our community. Take a look at the following pages to see the range of talent and breadth of commitment we have in our community. Who would you pick as our Young Professional of the Year? Make your choice and watch live online on Dec. 5, when we'll all find out whom the judges selected! – Timothy J. Magner, President
Janet Attaway, daughter of Shreveport natives Ben and Judy Holland, is a proud graduate of Southwood High School and Louisiana Tech University, where she earned a Master of Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2013. She resides in Bossier City with her husband, Kevin Attaway, and their children, Kyleigh, Ian and Emma. Janet began her career teaching psychology courses at Louisiana Tech and then worked as a response team therapist for the Willis- Knighton Health System. Currently, she serves as a counselor for children of the Bossier Parish School System. Janet is excited to advocate for the mental health of children in our community.
Wesley Bange is a Bossier City native. He is the chief information and technology officer at Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) and graduated from Louisiana Tech with a BS in computer information systems. With over 19 years of IT/IS experience and 14 years in higher education, he strives to keep the college on the cusp of technological advancement. He hopes that this focus on the future will reinforce the college's world-class instruction and better prepare BPCC students for the rigorous demands of employment post-graduation. Wesley's work in the field of cybersecurity at the college helped BPCC to establish the Louisiana Cyber Education Center, the state's first Regional Center for Cybersecurity Education, as designated by Gov. John Bel Edwards. Wesley's wife, Megan, and 12-year-old daughter, Caroline, make sure all of his free time is properly accounted for.
Candice Battiste is the Power Coalition's North Louisiana organizer, where she is committed to building voices and power in traditionally disenfranchised communities. She graduated from Haughton High School, where she was elected the first black woman student body president in its 100- year history. She is an alumna of Louisiana State University and earned her law degree from the Southern University Law Center. Upon graduation, Candice helped form the Family Law Unit of Legal Services of North Louisiana. She was the Shreveport- Bossier field organizer with the Unanimous Jury Coalition/Yes On 2 campaign, worked for Mayor Adrian Perkins' campaign as his public relations and social media strategist, serves on the Citizen She board of directors, and was recently elected to the ACLU of Louisiana board of directors. Candice is the past vice-president of the Women's Democratic Club of Northwest Louisiana, serves on the executive board of the New Leaders Council as the selections co-chair, and was selected as a United Nations Association Delegate. Recently, she was the lead organizer for the historic Smoke-Free Shreveport ordinance passed in June 2020. When Candice is not working to effect positive change, she is with family and friends or can be found traveling to one of Louisiana's many food and music festivals.
Brennan Bernard, PT, DPT, FAFS, is a South Louisiana native, transplanted to North Louisiana after graduating from LSUHSC Shreveport's physical therapy school in 2010. He worked as an outpatient physical therapist at LSUHSC Shreveport for five years and then joined the Shreveport Small Business Association, opening a private practice physical therapy clinic, Core Physical Therapy and Performance, in 2015. Brennan is married to Amanda Sittig Bernard and has three amazing children, twins Parker and Graham (5), and Ella Claire (2). He is passionate about injury prevention, health promotion and wellness within our community through physical therapy. He enjoys being active in his free time, spending time with his family outside, bike riding to local neighborhood businesses, gardening, hunting and playing tennis. He also frequently travels south on I-49 to visit his family in South Louisiana.
Jordan Dieck, Mallory Cooper, Erin Pyles Smith and Shuntay Wilson
NOTE: Social distancing guidelines were observed during this photo shoot.
Parker Brown is a Shreveport native who feels very fortunate to call Shreveport his home. He is 32 years old and the president of Jayhawk Properties Inc., which provides low-income housing to many Shreveport residents. Parker began his career in real estate in 2011 with Trans-Con Services Inc. He enjoys running his own business, helping citizens in our community obtain a better quality of life, and being involved in our community from politics to philanthropic and social activities. A graduate of First Baptist Church School and C. E. Byrd High School, Parker went to Louisiana State University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in mass communications and his master's degree in sports administration. Parker Brown is married to Dr. Lindsey Brown, a local family physician. In his free time, he enjoys playing golf, spending time with friends and family, and being actively engaged in our community.
Damien Rashad Lewis Chapman, culinarily known as “Chapeaux,” developed an early interest in technology, culinary and restaurant operations.
He was born in Shreveport to the late Chef Orlando L. Chapman and Sharon L. Davis. After graduating from Huntington High School, Damien earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering at Southern University A&M College in Baton Rouge, and then worked for Halliburton. Damien owns Orlandeaux’s Café©, part of the lineage of the oldest continuously-operating African- American restaurant in the U.S., Freeman & Harris Café©, founded in 1921.
Damien is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and SU Human Jukebox Alumni, a parishioner of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, and a member of Greenwood Acres Full Gospel Baptist Church. He also serves as a board member of the Shreveport-Bossier African-American Chamber of Commerce and the Huntington High School Alumni Association. Damien loves his family, fishing and listening to zydeco, gospel and country music.
Jessica Tyler Comegys, owner of Caspiana Catering – Glow Alchemy Kitchen. Mother to a fiery redhead. Pastry chef turned health coach. Recovering Ruffle's potato chip addict and lover of fine wine.
Jessica is a holistic health coach by way of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, a culinary professional from Bossier Parish Community College, and writer for LOLA Magazine's “Hostess with the Mostess.”
Jessica believes that through whole food nutrition, we can discover a means of indefinitely prolonging life and have the power to transform our lives into something extraordinary. Helping our community reach vitality through food is an amazing journey to experience. It is the micro-decisions that we make to show up for ourselves every day that clarify our perception of ourselves and the world around us. Awareness helps us navigate the slew of life's daily stimulations and challenges. This awareness is available to everyone, and Jessica can help you find it.
Mallory Cooper teaches at Haughton Middle School in Bossier Parish, her home parish. She is a proud graduate of Airline High School, and she earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from LSU Shreveport in May of 2011. She was recently awarded her Master of Educational Technology Leadership, graduating summa cum laude. Her Haughton Middle School colleagues selected her as Teacher of the Year, and she was then selected as a semifinalist for State Middle School Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Cooper constantly seeks out ways to elevate all areas of her craft by attending local, state and national professional development. She facilitates trainings across the district for both technology and science curriculum. Thousands of students across the parish have benefited from the units that Mrs. Cooper authored and the district subsequently adopted. Mrs. Cooper values all student voices and empowers students with skills that extend beyond the science curriculum.
Jordan Dieck is a fourth-grade math teacher at Waller Elementary School who works to create a classroom learning environment that promotes growth, respect and a sense of family. Jordan was inspired in kindergarten to pursue a teaching career and strives to create that same spark in her students.
Jordan received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Kennesaw State University in 2010. She has taught various grades in both Atlanta, Ga., and Bossier City, La. In her 10 years of teaching, she has served as a team leader, content leader and a member of the Instructional Leadership Team. She is currently working to become a mentor to prospective educators. She was named Waller Elementary School’s 2020 Teacher of the Year, and on her off time, you can often find her supporting her students at their athletic events and as an assistant cheer coach and tutor.
Brittney Odom Dunn was born and raised in Minden, La. She is the wife of Drayden Dunn, and the mother of Christian Dunn. She received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from LSU Shreveport in 2008. She has over 13 years of professional accounting experience. She gained her experience by working in public accounting for six years, private accounting for two years, and by starting her own accounting business, B&D Tax & Accounting Services, LLC.
Her community involvement includes serving on the following boards: Caddo Council on Aging, African-American Chamber of Commerce, Zoning Board of Appeals and United Way of Northwest Louisiana. She was recently appointed to the Democratic Parish Executive Committee for District 10. Brittney volunteers in educating the community on how to organize their finances, motivating young women to strive toward greatness by developing a vision for their future, and educating entrepreneurs on starting a business.
Dellanee Wade, Badreka Harper, Kim Stephens and Angel Martin
Katrina Farris is the current president of the Shreveport-Bossier African- American Chamber of Commerce and a pharmacist intern at CVS. She is a fourthyear pharmacy student at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. Her volunteer associations/memberships include the American Pharmacists Association-Student Association, Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity (LA Tech Alumni Chapter), Junior League of Shreveport-Bossier and the Student Association of Health System Pharmacists. In her spare time, she loves vacationing at the beach, spending time with her family and volunteering with the various organizations of which she is a member. Katrina’s parents are Anthony and Angela Grant, and she is the proud mother of a son, Kingsley Farris.
Katherine graduated from the University of Tampa with a Bachelor of Science in criminology and from LSU with a Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Civil Law. She began her legal career at the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal before honing her skills at criminal litigation at the Shreveport City Attorney’s Office as an assistant city prosecutor. After four years there, Katherine felt that she could make more of an impact in the community by transitioning to a criminal defense practice. She practiced with Elton Richey & Associates for several years before leaving to form her own practice with her law partner, Sarah Giglio. Katherine holds memberships in the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Shreveport Bar Association, where she served as treasurer and secretary. Katherine also served as a member of the Louisiana Public Defender Board from 2016 through January 2020 as an appointee of Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Julian Gluck is a B-52 pilot and flight commander at Barksdale Air Force Base and is recognized as a global nonprofit leader. After graduating from the Air Force Academy and pilot training, he moved to Shreveport in 2014. Julian deployed in the B-52 for combat operations in the Middle East and was selected by national media as the 2018 Air Force Times™ Airman of the Year for “exemplary military service beyond the call of duty.” He received the Secretary of the Air Force Leadership Award in 2019 as valedictorian of all 3,803 students across the Air Force in Squadron Officer School. The only person in Louisiana in 2020 and the third military member ever selected, Julian was named Forbes™ 30 Under 30 and was a standout honoree for policy in North America. He currently serves as national chairman of the Company Grade Officers' Council and enjoys promoting volunteerism locally and around the world.
Michael Gould, CPA, CITP, CGMA, grew up in Shreveport and obtained his accounting degree from LSUS. After graduation, he and his wife, Carrie, planted roots to make Shreveport home for their children. Michael and Carrie are raising five children: Leah, Jonas, Marlo, Graham and Theo. Michael’s children are his greatest achievement, and he takes pride in how wonderfully unique they are. Theo has Down syndrome, and the Goulds are advocates for individuals with disabilities.
Michael is a partner at Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC, a Top 25 CPA firm. He has over 15 years of public accounting and auditing experience. He provides services to health-care companies, not-for-profit organizations, local governments and construction companies throughout Louisiana. Michael serves as the board president for the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (CADA), treasurer of Families Helping Families Region 7, and a board member of the Arc of Caddo-Bossier and the LSUS Alumni Association.
Julian Gluck, Candice Battiste, Brittany Strickland and Brittany Pike
Born and raised in Plain Dealing, Jenni moved to Shreveport to begin her nursing career after graduating from Northwestern State University with a bachelor’s degree in 2008. Over the past 12 years, Jenni has cared for ICU patients throughout the Willis- Knighton and Ochsner health-care systems, including serving in the COVID ICU unit at Ochsner LSU. In May 2020, Jenni graduated from Northwestern State University with her master’s degree and has begun working as a family nurse practitioner with Tri-State Medical Clinic in the Willis-Knighton Hospital System.
Jenni is passionate about mentoring and serving with youth and young adults. For the past 15 years, Jenni has been volunteering with Clear Ministries. She has served in many roles from bible study leader to camp nurse and even serving as team director for many years. Jenni is also involved in the children’s ministry of Church at Red River in Shreveport.
Badreka Harper is the newsroom manager at KTBS 3 News. The Shreveport native is one of the youngest to serve in management at the television station. Her position, which she created, places her at the helm of daily news operations. Harper’s career in media spans more than a decade dating back to 2007 at KTAL-TV.
She was named the 2019 Shreveport Chamber’s Minority Business Opportunity Awards Top Business Professional of the Year based on her commitment to the community and efforts to address issues plaguing Northwest Louisiana. Harper was also Ms. Black Shreveport 2019.
She studied mass communications at Louisiana State University Shreveport, where she was active with Student Government Association (SGA) and served consecutively on spirit teams.
Harper is a member of Sunflower Missionary Baptist Church in Bossier City, where she serves as the announcement clerk.
She enjoys spending free time with her family and traveling with longtime partner Randall.
John Hawkins is lead minister of ClearView Church, a thriving faith community in Shreveport-Bossier. At 22 years old, John was invited to Shreveport as preaching minister for a local church. After six years in ministry, he had the opportunity to launch ClearView with a team of friends. In its first decade, ClearView has grown to hundreds of members, mostly 40 and under, many new to faith.
ClearView prioritizes serving neighbors and nonprofits, giving over $100,000 to specific relief and restoration efforts. John serves with local nonprofits including Common Ground and The Hub. He is a past board chair of the Center for Families.
John earned a master’s degree in ministry and a bachelor’s in oral communication. He is married to Jessica, a graphic designer, professor at Centenary College, and 2019 honoree. They have two daughters, Emma and Kate.
Kirkikis Canna Hill is the daughter of Christo (Clarence) Lancaster and Roosevelt (Junear) Canna Jr. She was raised in Columbus, Ohio, and then returned to Mansfield, La., graduating from MHS in 1998. She obtained her phlebotomy certificate from Southern University in 1999, and she earned an AS in medical laboratory science in 2002. In 2003, she obtained a BS in clinical laboratory science from University of Louisiana-Monroe.
In 2013, Kirkikis became a chemist at Halliburton. She is presently employed with Omni Specialty Packaging, LLC as a quality specialist. With a heart dedicated to serving, she volunteers in the community and motivates friends, family and coworkers to do the same. Kirkikis is Omni’s team captain for Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure. Omni has been the highest fundraising company/corporate team in Shreveport- Bossier since 2015.
Kirkikis attends Life United Church. She enjoys traveling with Corey, her husband of 15 years, and their children, Kyon, Coren and Carrington.
John Hawkins, Janet Attaway, Katy Larsen, Kirkikis Hill and Jennifer Norris Soto
Charles Edward Johnson (Pastor CeJay) is driven, accomplished and in the business of impacting people.
His passion to help others is rooted in his thought of “to help people reach their destiny, you have to meet people where they are in life.” He has always been "all about people." Through this approach, he's been able to reach thousands from all socioeconomic backgrounds, denominations, races, ages and creeds.
The pulpit, radio and digital media, among others, have helped Pastor CeJay meet the needs of people within his community and various places throughout America.
He is a proud graduate of C. E. Byrd High School. Charles received his Associate Degree from Southern University at Shreveport, bachelor's degree from the University of Phoenix, and Master of Arts from East Texas Baptist University. Recently, Pastor CeJay was accepted into United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, to earn his Doctorate of Ministry.
Halena Jones is the director of networks for Step Forward, a community partnership based in Shreveport. Focusing on improving educational outcomes and preparing youth for a globally competitive workforce, Halena oversees operations to ensure success for every child in NWLA.
Halena attended high school at Evangel Christian Academy. She received her Bachelor of Science in psychology at Louisiana State University in Shreveport and a Master of Science in communications at Walden University.
During her undergraduate career, she developed a passion to uplift youth in the community. Having experience in marketing, education and recruiting, she found her niche in the nonprofit sector.
As an advocate and believer in higher education and workforce development, Halena supports many diverse community organizations to improve the lives of young adults in North Louisiana.
When Halena is not working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends and creating memories with her godson, Jefferson.
Candice Ratliff, Jessica Comegys, Brittany Pier, Wesley Lazarus and Damien Chapman
Katy Larsen is the owner of the Agora Borealis, an artist marketplace in downtown Shreveport. She is from the Dallas metroplex and received her BFA from Louisiana Tech University in interior design.
Larsen is the first person to graduate with three minors that include architecture, cultural resources and preservation, and 2D/3D art.
She currently manages her store, volunteers her time to specific projects and collaborates on multiple events. Larsen enjoys spending time with her daughter and husband attending local events, restaurants and shops.
She has produced six fashion shows including Fashion Project and Fashion Prize, eight festivals including Cirque du Lake, and was Captain 22 for the Krewe of Highland.
Larsen is a board member to many non-profits and committees. She is a set producer, event planner/manager, mentor/ leader, actress/extra/model, public speaker and curates art in six local locations.
Wesley Lazarus was born and raised in Shreveport, La., and attended Louisiana Tech University and is a proud Bulldog. He is an assistant vice president at Progressive Bank serving in various roles for almost seven years. Lazaruz has a deep-rooted connection and love for the Shreveport/ Bossier community. He considers it a privilege to serve in various leadership positions for numerous area non-profits. When not working or volunteering, you can find him at a local restaurant, spending time with friends and family, watching Texas Rangers Baseball, or working with his better half, Alaina, on their South Highlands home.
Dr. Teresa Manley is a Nevada native who moved to Shreveport/Bossier in 2011 with her husband, who is stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base. She attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and obtained a bachelor's and master's degree in hospitality administration. Teresa graduated in February of 2020 with a doctorate in education with an emphasis in globalization and training development.
In her spare time, she enjoys going on adventures with her son, Josef, and designing and crafting projects. She is also a dog mom of two huskies, a lab and a longhaired dachshund, and they keep her busy. Teresa serves as a Key Spouse for the 2AMXS Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base. She recently joined the Social Committee for the Barksdale Spouses Club, and is a volunteer for Boy Scout Pack 170.
Angel Martin is the director of student activities and recreational sports at LSU Shreveport. She received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern State with summa cum laude honors in health and exercise science and her graduate degree in sport administration. Angel was also a pole-vaulter for NSU Track and Field and earned Southland Conference All- Academic Team honors.
At LSUS, Angel focuses on student wellness, leadership and service learning. Angel advises both the Student Government Association and Student Activities Board, and oversees the Food Pantry. She holds certifications for ACSM Personal Trainer and Exercise Physiologist and enjoys working with students in a personal, impactful way.
Outside of her profession, Angel is a master’s swim coach at the YMCA, a USAT All-American triathlete, an Ironman finisher, and is active with local triathlon and running groups. Angel is married to Loren Martin and is a proud mom to their son, Lenox.
Dr. Teresa Manley, Kevin Nolten and Onega Ulanova
Kevin Nolten serves as director of academic outreach for the Cyber Innovation Center and its academic outreach initiative, CYBER.ORG. With over a decade of education management experience, Kevin is responsible for a multi-million-dollar federal grant charged with developing cybersecurity curricula, professional development and other resources for K-12 educators, school districts and state departments of education across the country. Kevin’s visionary passion and philosophy has led to the expansion of CYBER.ORG’s workforce programs to communities across the county – educating the next generation cyber-literate workforce. Kevin has been appointed to the Louisiana Rural Economic Recovery Commission; the Education and Workforce Development Committee of the Louisiana Cyber Commission; the PK-12 Education and Teacher Training Committee of the LaSTEM Advisory Council; as well as the Louisiana Education and Technology Strategy Task Force. Kevin is a graduate of LSU Shreveport with a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Business Administration.
Adrian Perkins is the mayor of Shreveport, La. He was born in the Cedar Grove neighborhood of Shreveport, attending Arthur Circle, Youree Drive Middle School and Captain Shreve High School.
In the wake of 9/11, Adrian Perkins accepted a nomination to the United States Military Academy. There, he was the captain of the track team and the first African- American cadet elected class president in West Point's history. Perkins deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan after graduating from West Point. He achieved the rank of captain and company commander in the United States Army and was awarded the Bronze Star for his service. After three tours of duty, the Tillman Foundation accepted Perkins into their Tillman Scholar Program, enabling him to attend Harvard Law School, where he was again elected student body president.
On April 26, 2018, he announced his candidacy for mayor of Shreveport, and on Dec. 29, 2018, Adrian Perkins was installed as the 56th mayor of Shreveport.
A native of Shreveport, La., he graduated from Caddo Magnet High School in 2000. After receiving his BS in psychology from the University of Mary Washington, he worked in the public-school system until deciding to receive his International MBA from the University of South Carolina. He was fortunate to have an internship working for Michelin Tire Company at their corporate headquarters in Clermont-Ferrand, France. After working for Edward Jones Investments for five years in Virginia, he decided to join the family insurance business back home. Connor has a beautiful wife and two wonderful children. While he can’t go whitewater kayaking as much as he would like, he still gets to make the odd trip up to Arkansas when the water is up. Fortunately, there are enough mountain biking trails in Shreveport and the outlying areas to keep him busy when he feels a little stir crazy.
Brittany Pureese Pier is a native of Shreveport, La., middle school dance instructor, mentor, performer and founder of BE Dance Studio by B. Pureese. After training for 17 years, she is proficient in the styles of ballet, pointe, jazz, hip hop and lyrical. Brittany was a member of Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet Junior and Senior Company, Shreveport Dance Academy's Jazz Ensemble and Captain Shreve’s Gator High Line. Continuing her education, Brittany attended Louisiana Tech University, where she was a member of the Regal Blues dance team. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree, she has enjoyed running her own dance studio. Since founding the Black Ice Dance Company, it has become one of the highlighted programs recognized in the Shreveport area, serving ages 4-18. In 2019, she had the pleasure of choreographing for the National B2K Millennium Tour. After reaching so many great achievements, her love for dance continues to flourish.
Brittney Dunn, Katrina Farris, Parker Brown, Halena Jones and Jenni Grisham
Brittany Pike is a curriculum development specialist for CYBER.ORG, the academic initiative of the Cyber Innovation Center in Bossier City. With 10+ years in the classroom teaching second and third grades, K-5 Technology Enrichment and English classes abroad, Brittany enjoys introducing teachers and students to phenomenon-based learning, hands-on engineering projects and cyber fundamentals. Leading professional development for teachers around the U.S., Brittany shares science curriculum and cyber lessons that she has designed in hopes that more educators will have the resources to inspire future scientists and engineers. She is passionate about traveling and exploring how people around the world teach and learn, and she is pursuing her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with a focus on science education at LSU. When Brittany is not perfecting a new recipe, she is planning her next trip, running or training for a triathlon, gardening, hosting a book club or exploring new adventures downtown.
Franchesca Posey is on a mission to help girls become entrepreneurs and learn skills to succeed in the business field. With a 20-year background in communication, strategic planning, business development and project management, she serves in the role of director of sales for the Girl Scouts of Louisiana-Pines to the Gulf. She is responsible for overseeing the council’s product programs and retail stores within their 42-parish area.
Franchesca believes her position provides a unique way to shape future leaders and make significant impacts to the local community.
By making a leap from the private sector to nonprofit, Franchesca discovered the impact your work has on others and how immensely rewarding it is!
Franchesca holds several corporate training certificates and previously served a two-year term on the YWCA Northwest Louisiana Board.
Franchesca holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in mass communication specializing in public relations from Louisiana State University Shreveport.
Shreveport native Candice Ratliff earned a Bachelor of Science in business from Northwestern State University of Louisiana and a Master of Arts in industrial organizational psychology from Louisiana Tech University. She joined General Dynamics Information Technology in 2018, where she currently works in procurement.
Candice believes in the power of art to change lives; she has been a professional musician for Marshall Symphony, participated in Community Theater, has been a member of the music committee for the Red River Revel for over five years, and served on the Revel’s board of directors from 2017 to 2019. She has raised funds for Norwela Council of Boy Scouts, Dress For Success and Lumpy Grits Artistry.
She has served the community by organizing the feeding of the homeless and serving as a food pantry coordinator of Northwest Louisiana Food Bank early in her career.
Passionate about helping small business, Candice’s company, Grunt Work Pros, helps businesses build customer service best practices.
Anchor/reporter Marquel Sennet moved to Shreveport in 2010 to continue her journalism career at KTAL/KMSS.
Prior to moving to Louisiana, Marquel had the opportunity to interview President George H.W. Bush about his philanthropic efforts to help with the recovery along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Ike.
Her most memorable interviews were with NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal and Academy Award winner Spike Lee.
Marquel was awarded an academic scholarship to Jarvis Christian College and initiated into the Zeta Chi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Marquel graduated from the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism.
Marquel earned her master’s degree in history at Grambling State University. She’s currently an assistant professor of history at Southern University Shreveport.
Marquel is also a member of the Sigma Rho Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Benson & Paine. Sorority Inc. and the Shreveport Chapter of The Links Incorporated.
Erin Pyles Smith
Erin Pyles Smith is the co-owner and strategy director of Maltshop Marketing, a local full-service advertising design agency specializing in fresh, bold, custom ideas.
She is a mother to Gavyn, stepmom to Tristyn and human mom to three fur babies and two fish. She is married to her real-life Superman, Robert Smith, and cares for her live-in grandparents, James and Janette Johnson.
Hailing from Mansfield, La., Erin is a graduate of Central High School, Bossier Parish Community College and Louisiana State University in Shreveport.
She is also a self-proclaimed superhero nerd, showing an affinity for “Star Wars” and both the Marvel and DC franchises. Her Hogwarts house is Hufflepuff.
Jennifer Norris Soto
Jennifer is a 2004 graduate of Louisiana Tech University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in political science with a minor in English. Thereafter, she continued her education at Mississippi College School of Law, where she earned a dual Master of Business Administration and Juris Doctorate in 2009. She has spent the last 10 years representing both debtors and creditors in the United States Bankruptcy Court. She now represents large regional creditors and works for the firm Ayres, Shelton, Williams, Jennifer lives in Bossier City with her husband, Tom, and their 5-year-old daughter, Emlyn. You can usually find her in the kitchen perfecting recipes for the best gluten- and dairy-free desserts. Jennifer is an active member of Cypress Baptist Church, where she regularly volunteers her time.
When not working, Jennifer enjoys traveling with her family and exploring restaurants and other local venues and events.
Creativity is Kim's true passion. Inspiring action through storytelling is her calling.
Seeing both play out gives her the utmost satisfaction.
Luckily, she lives all that out every day. As a party of one in her department, she heads marketing for a large, local company. Thanks to this energizing role and her longtime experience, the digital world has become her playground of choice.
As if marketing wasn’t enough, Kim founded a mobile bakery, Basic Batches Bakery, in the midst of the pandemic to combat the woes of public eating. The result: access to local treats in a safe, refreshing way. The bakery’s personalized way of delivering cookies quickly blew up the internet and has managed to turn the sourness of 2020 into something quite sweet.
In her spare time, Kim serves on the YPI and Independence Bowl boards, organizations she believes are changing the fabric of the Shreveport- Bossier City community.
Connor Peterson, Franchesca Posey, Katherine Gilmer, Elizabeth Wong and Charles Johnson
Born in Shreveport, La., Brittany Strickland is owner, photographer and storyteller of Britt Elizabeth Photography. Brittany's love for her job shines through, mixing art and storytelling. She tells not only the beautiful moments but the real ones. The stories about things people don't want to talk about and aims to be the voice of the abused, broken and bullied. In only eight years, she has built a thriving business capturing moments and giving them back to her clients. Brittany's work is published in over 100 publications and in 2017 Britt Elizabeth Photography received the award for Best Photographer in Shreveport. She was the photographer for The Miss Universe Pageant in 2018 and is the ongoing lead photographer for Lola Magazine.
Brittany recently received the award titled Accredited Photographer from Sue Bryce Education and is developing a leadership class for young photographers.
Brittany has a studio in downtown Shreveport and two miracle children, Brody (16) and Brilynne (12).
Born in Kazakhstan, Onega Ulanova earned her bachelor's degree in standardization, metrology and certification. She began her career as a quality manager at an IT company. After moving to the U.S., Onega found herself building anew as she spent time learning English and advancing her business knowledge. She graduated with her master's degree in engineering and technology management and Executive MBA at Louisiana Tech University.
After graduation, Onega joined the American Petroleum Institute as a lead auditor. In the history of API, she was the youngest international lead auditor.
In search of an entrepreneurial environment, she co-founded LA New Product Development Team and Tech to Market. The first company turns product ideas into reality, while the second one is an event that brings together inventors, entrepreneurs and product companies.
Onega is passionate about youth education and career growth. She is an Ironman in the making and finds relaxation in running, biking and swimming.
Dellanee Wade is a graphic designer and instructor based in Louisiana. Along with her business partner, Wade launched her creative agency, Maltshop Marketing, in 2019. In addition to her business, she is an adjunct instructor at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Wade earned her Master of Fine Arts in graphic design from Louisiana Tech University and a BA in communication with a concentration in new media design from Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport. Inspired by the design world, Dellanee’s work allows her to explore visual material qualities through image-making techniques to improve the communities in which we live and work.
In 2019, Dellanee held two solo exhibitions entitled “A Designer's Reception” and “Diversity in Design: Shaping a Creative Community.” She has received 11 ADDY Awards, including 2018 Student Best of Show for a campaign focusing on building a local food network for Ruston, La., entitled (31ATE).
Shuntay Wilson is an assistant principal at Stockwell Place Elementary of Bossier Parish Schools. Shuntay earned her Bachelor of Science in elementary education degree from University of Louisiana Monroe, master’s degree in educational leadership from Grambling State University, and her plus 30 in graduate hours. In 2013, she earned the distinction of being named a National Board Certified Teacher in the area of literacy-reading-language arts. Prior to starting her position as an assistant principal, Shuntay spent eight years as a classroom teacher, five years at Northside Elementary in Caddo Parish, three years at Kerr Elementary in Bossier Parish, and a year and half as an instructional coach. Throughout her career, Shuntay has been awarded over $70,000 in educational grants that has had a direct impact on the students and teachers of Caddo and Bossier Parish. Shuntay empowers students and teachers to reach their maximum potential by striving, persevering and excelling.
Serving the Shreveport-Bossier area since she arrived, Elizabeth Wong is no stranger to giving back. From the volleyball court to the pageant stage to the courtroom and beyond, Elizabeth is a leader who thrives under pressure and believes that anything is possible. She believes with a dream, imagination, the right team and a plan, anything is possible. Although Elizabeth is fairly new to the Shreveport-Bossier area, that hasn’t scared her from stepping up to the plate in several organizations and serving in leadership roles. She appreciates everyone who has had faith in her abilities to lead and is excited to continue to serve the Shreveport-Bossier area. When she's not working or volunteering, you can find Elizabeth baking, crafting, reading or spending time with her husband, Alex Williams, and their dog, Rudy.