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Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022

Dr. Joslin Mar-Dai Pickens


The Greater Shreveport Chamber names 2022 ATHENA International Leadership Award recipient

“We are delighted to recognize Dr. Pickens as the 2022 recipient of the ATHENA International Leadership Award,” said Dr. Timothy Magner, president of the Greater Shreveport Chamber. “In addition to her work in higher education, Dr. Pickens has dedicated herself to transforming the perception and availability of vegan cuisine in our community as the owner and chef of her restaurant Vegans on the Run.”

The 32nd Annual Leadership Award Luncheon was held on Nov. 9 and presented by Willis-Knighton Health System.

Dr. Joslin Mar-Dai Pickens serves as department chair of humanities, communication and general studies; and is a tenured associate professor of communication at Southern University at Shreveport. In addition, she serves as lecturer of leadership studies at Saint Peter’s University.

Dr. Pickens is committed to fulfilling her passion for improving the health of her community as owner/chef at Vegans on the Run. Her restaurant serves vegan comfort food daily and has provided over 1,000 free healthy meals to the community. She has partnered with local schools to provide children’s cooking classes, cultivating her vision of changing the face and taste of vegan food.

Dr. Pickens is the recipient of two National Excellence in Teaching Awards for Colleges and Universities, is a YPI 40 Under 40 honoree, and is a Minority Business Opportunity Award Owner of the Year honoree.

She is also the managing partner of Jalynn’s Jeans for Teens, an organization founded by her daughter that has donated over 3,000 pairs of jeans to local teens and children experiencing homelessness.

Dr. Pickens was selected from among 16 incredibly accomplished honorees, including: Kae Bell with Brentwood Hospital; Rebecca Bonnevier with Brookshire Grocery Arena; Leigh Anne Chambers with LSU Shreveport; Emerie Eck Gentry with Lagniappe PRIME, LLC; April Heaberlin with Career Adventures; Dr. Elise Morgan Trahant Lang with Lang Orthodontics; Judy A. Madison with Red River Bank; Diane Renee’ McCuller with Willis-Knighton Health System; Megann Hayes McDaniel with Nationwide Marketing Group; Jessica Milan Miller with Gingerbread House Children’s Advocacy Center; Brandi Pickett with Ingalls Information Security; Sacha Purciful with KSLA News 12; Arien Ragster with Louisiana Public Health Institute; Katrina Sproles with Bossier Parish Community College; and Audrey Tarr with Goodwill Industries of North Louisiana Inc.

For more than 30 years, the Greater Shreveport Chamber has awarded the ATHENA International Leadership Award to an individual to honor their attainment of the highest level of professional excellence by showing creativity and initiative in their business or profession; to showcase their devotion, time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community in a meaningful way; and to demonstrate how they have opened doors for other women to achieve their full potential. In total, over 450 people from Shreveport-Bossier have been ATHENA honorees, and Dr. Pickens is the 54th ATHENA International Leadership Award recipient from our area. Her name will be added to the long list of outstanding professionals from across the globe who have been honored for their dedication to community service, professionalism and female empowerment.

Since the program’s inception in 1982, more than 8,000 exemplary leaders in over 500 communities have received the prestigious ATHENA Leadership Award in the United States, Bermuda, Canada, China, Greece, India, Russia, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom. By honoring exceptional leaders, the ATHENA Leadership Award Program seeks to inspire others to achieve excellence in their professional and personal lives.

Since its founding in 1910, the mission of the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce (GSCC) has been to promote economic prosperity, serve as a business advocate, and celebrate the achievements of the Shreveport- Bossier region. With over 1,300 members, the GSCC is designated as a 5-Star Accredited Chamber by the US Chamber of Commerce, one of less than 2% of Chambers across the country honored with this distinction.


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