Dr. Kenya Claiborne- Roberts
YPI’s 2021 40 Under Forty Event Chair
Dr. Kenya Claiborne Roberts is the chairperson for the 15th Annual 40 Under Forty Gala, set for Thursday, Dec. 2, at 6:30 p.m. The awards ceremony is made possible each year through the efforts of the Young Professionals Initiative (YPI), a program of the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce.
The 40 Under Forty Awards profile Northwest Louisiana’s outstanding entrepreneurs, executives, managers and professionals in public, private or nonprofit sectors. Winners are chosen based on such values as achievement, experience and innovation, vision, leadership and community involvement.
Roberts, a member of the 2018 class, began her work with YPI as a board member in 2020. With a strong background in event planning, it was a natural fit for her to chair this year’s event.
“She is definitely the woman for the job,” said YPI Chair Cheradee Williams of Linwood Public Charter School. “Kenya wears many hats; she works hard in the community, serves on multiple boards, is involved with Mardi Gras krewes, and is a principal. She takes to heart everything she does, and she does it with excellence.”
Roberts, along with Co-Chair Elisabeth Crews and five fellow planning committee members, are dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s to ensure this year’s celebration for the 2021 class is one to remember.
“All of the honorees – of course, everyone who applied – deserves to be honored,” said Roberts. “And I’m very proud to see the diversity of career paths in this class.”
Among those to be honored include a Shreveport Fire Department employee and two beauticians, which Roberts said is a first for YPI. Through the variety in chosen career paths, she knows this is an exceptional class to present to the Shreveport-Bossier community come December.
“This class of individuals has already formed a bond,” she said. “They have made great connections with one another and have supported one another in business and community efforts.”
Roberts, the principal at J.S. Clark Elementary School, encourages the class to continue their connections and community involvement after each member receives their award. Through her career in education – including teaching math to middle- through college-aged students, providing educational consulting and leading etiquette workshops across the state – she sees first-hand the impact young professionals can make on students across Northwest Louisiana.
“I’ve challenged this class to think about how they each can continue to impact lives after the awards ceremony,” said Roberts. “I’ve told them, ‘Don’t just do what you’ve done to be honored, and we never see you again. I need you to keep this up; I need you to keep doing what you’re doing in the community so that people know that you’re really here.’” The people – especially students – need to see it, she said.
“These students need to see what’s going on in the world around them. I encourage this class to open their doors to their business, organization or college so that students can learn about different career paths. A lot of our community’s kids know nothing outside of their own community.”
Roberts said she has also encouraged the class members to mentor a student. “Mentoring a student helps the student understand they can be successful no matter where they come from.”
Following her role as 40 Under Forty Chair for 2021, Roberts will be YPI’s professional development chair in 2022.
About Dr. Kenya Claiborne Roberts
A Shreveport native, Roberts is the daughter of Dorothy Claiborne and Sam Claiborne and sister of Ashleigh Claiborne. Kenya is the wife of Marcus Roberts and the mother of a 6-year-old son, Maxwell, and a 3-year-old daughter, Kensleigh. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in secondary mathematics education from Southern University, a master’s degree in education focusing on administration and supervision from Louisiana State University in Shreveport, and a doctorate in teacher leadership from Walden University.
In addition to her being the principal at Dr. Joseph Samuel Clark Elementary School, she is the owner of A&K Tax Services and PACE Educational Consulting. Her experiences have enabled her to see what it takes to close the achievement gap for children.
Kenya is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Phi Delta Kappa Sorority, Jack and Jill of America, and the Krewe of Sobek. She is on the board of directors for the 3L Foundation and is an active member of her church, Greater Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. Kenya has led more than 50 etiquette workshops in Louisiana and continuously speaks, motivates and mentors youth in Shreveport- Bossier.
When Kenya is not teaching teachers, leading workshops or mentoring students, she enjoys playing with her son, going on family trips, shopping and party planning.
The 15th Annual 40 Under Forty Awards Gala is presented by Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport. For ticket or sponsorship information, visit www.ShreveportChamber.org.