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Top 20 Under 40

By Meagan Russell
In Center Block
Sep 1st, 2021
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THIS YEAR’S GROUP OF YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IS HELPING TO SHAPE THE FUTURE OF NORTHEAST LOUISIANA  PHOTOGRAPHY BY KELLY MOORE CLARK

The Monroe Chamber of Commerce, the Northeast Louisiana Young Professionals and BayouLife Magazine are pleased to announce the 57 nominations for the 2021 Top 20 Twenty Under 40 Young Professional Awards. The Reception will be held Thursday, August 26th at 5:30 pm at The Hub Music Hall.  The “Top 20” will be announced that evening.  These individuals are advancing in their careers, active in the community and dedicated to making Northeast Louisiana a better place to live and work.  

Those nominated are: Jessica Brady, ULM; Joseph Beard, JPMorgan Chase; Reggie Carroll Jr, Guaranty Bank; Jaela Casey, Casey Academy; Bryan Creekmore, Campbell and House; Randy Diffy, Coast Professional; Marissa Dorris, IBM; Erin Etheridge, Homefinity; Sarah Mouton Floyd, ALSAC/St. Jude’s Research Hospital; DJ Fortenberry, City of Monroe; Taylor Gaines, High Klass Hair; Maggie Generoso, Monroe City Schools; Kelli Green, Centric Federal Credit Union; Chris Hall, Easter Seals Louisiana; K’Shana Hall-Davis, HSA Office of Prevention & Wellness; Kacie Hobson, MedCamps of Louisiana; Gary “Scooter” Howell, Parish Purchase; Dr. Luke Hunter, The Foot & Ankle Clinic; Billy Joiner, Centric Federal Credit Union; Landon Joiner, Cross Keys Bank; Susie Lefebvre, Sit, Stay, Play; Desmund Lighten, Fit4Life; Brittany Liner, Origin Bank; Ryan Lloyd, Gordon McKernan Injury Attorney; David Loyless, Drax; Kristen Mardis, Monroe City Schools; Michelli Martin, City of Monroe; Wade Matthews, Cross Keys Bank; Jon McCartney, 318 Construction; Mary McDaniels, Chase; Alexis McKnight, Alexis McKnight Wellness Spa; Brittany McNamara, KTVE/KARD; Christopher McNeal, JPMorgan Chase; Melanie Moffett, Centric Federal Credit Union; Tyler Neal, Specialty Management Services of Ouachita; Lena Ormond, Summit Financial Wealth Advisors; Janssen Peck, Sleepy Hollow Furniture; Dominique Penton, Law Firm of Eddie Clark; Dr. Laura Petty, The Woman’s Clinic; Hank Pipes, Guaranty Bank; Lincoln Powell, Jr., Center for Children & Families; Gregory Pritchard, Green Qube; Tiffany Rigal, Blooming Potential; Meghan Risinger, City of Monroe; Anna Little Robinson, Small Cakes; Richard Royal, Louisiana National Bank; Anne Marie Sisk, ULM; Dawn Stanfield, Ouachita Parish; Jacob Stephens, City of West Monroe Fire Department; Patience Talley, City of Monroe; Tiffany Terra, Geaux Family Health; Jessica Tico, Goodwill; Desirae Trappey, Desirae Gooding Photography; Nicholas Trappey, Pelican Wealth Management; Lorenzo Treadway, Pelican Wealth Management; Jared Walker, InterMountain Renovations; Matthew Wilson, City of West Monroe.

Presenting sponsors are Origin Bank, Thomas & Farr, Reeves, Coon & Funderburg and BayouLife Magazine. Additional sponsors are City of Monroe, Heard, McElroy and Vestal, NAI Faulk and Foster, KTVE, Stephens Media Group, and The Radio People.

JOSEPH BEARD
Client Support Manager | JPMorgan Chase

Joseph Beard grew up in Vicksburg, MS and moved to Monroe, LA to attend ULM in the fall of 2005. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in the spring of 2009. After college, Beard went to work in the mortgage industry and has been there for the last 12 years. He currently works for JPMorgan Chase as a Client Support Manager in the Correspondent Division and has been with Chase for 4 Years. He enjoys giving back to his community whether it is through sharing his love for Jesus or helping make our Monroe Community a better place. He is currently involved in the ULM Alumni Association as the VP of Membership, ULM Warhawk Club, Pi Kappa Alpha Chapter Advisor and his family attends North Monroe Baptist Church. He is married to Betsy Beard and together they have four children (Bailey – 8, Josie – 7, Lottie -5 and Jack -4). 

BL:  What do you hope to accomplish by 50?

Joseph.:  I always say that if you don’t dream big, then you are not going to accomplish much in life. We have to dream in order to make those dreams come true. A lot of things can change in the next 16 years, but I pray that I will still have my health and my determination to continue to make the world a better place. I would love to be in a very high management job in the Correspondent Industry leading a very successful team. I also hope that I can accomplish more things that make the community better and be remembered for the things that helped the next generation. As Steve Job’s says” The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do!” 

BL:  What is your advice to recent graduates?

Joseph: Do not get discouraged. Once you start your career, even if it is not where you saw yourself at first, work hard and learn from the people that have gone before you. Always remember: you may not know everything in the crowded meeting table, but make sure you are the one that works the hardest. Someone will notice you and appreciate that work.

BL:   What is your motivation?

Joseph: My motivations comes from my family. Every time that I look at my wife and kids… I want to make sure that I am at least trying to give my best self. I want my kids to know the meaning of hard work. I also want them to know that when they are at work they need to show their best selves and need to model Jesus. 


REGGIE CARROLL, JR

Vice-President | Guaranty Bank & Trust

Reggie Carroll, Jr. was born and raised in Delhi, LA. He is the son of Angela and Reggie Carroll. Reggie is a graduate of Delhi Charter School where he served as a member of the Board of Directors for 2 years. He graduated from the University of Louisiana at Monroe with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management. Reggie currently works at Guaranty Bank & Trust as the Real Estate In-House Evaluator. He truly enjoys the opportunities his job provides, especially being able to help people and work directly with properties. During the past year, he began purchasing investment properties to provide better housing opportunities for low-income families.  

BL: What was your first job?

Reggie:  My first job was a summer custodial position. We assisted with cleaning and property repairs in preparation for the upcoming school year. Skills I learned from this job has aided greatly in my renovation investment properties.

BL: What do you do to ensure your growth and development as a leader?

Reggie: To ensure my growth and development as a leader I listen more than I speak! I thoroughly listen to what others have to say and I absorb as much information as possible. Sometimes it is easy for us to believe we know certain information or have the resolutions to problems. There are several paths to obtain information and there are several resolutions to problems, so it is important to be willing to actively listen to others.

BL: What do you do to give back to your community?

Reggie: I give back housing opportunities to my community. I renovate homes in low-income communities in Ouachita and Richland Parish to provide better living accommodations. The renovations are complete renovations consisting of new paint, flooring, roof replacement, and modern appliances. This housing opportunity is even greater, because it offers rent-to-own options for tenants who may have thought home ownership wasn’t impossible.

BL: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

Reggie: The professional accomplishment I am most proud of is becoming Vice-President of Guaranty Bank & Trust at the age of 27.


BRYAN CREEKMORE

Bankruptcy Lawyer | Campbell, House & Company

Bryan Creekmore was born and raised in West Monroe, Louisiana. Bryan attended Cedar Creek High School in Ruston and attended ULM majoring in Psychology.  He was also a member of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, Psi Chi Honors Psychology Fraternity, and 31 Ambassadors. He began working on his alternative teaching certification while getting his Masters of Arts in Teaching from ULM and taught for 4 years. In 2013, Bryan made a career change and went to law school at Southern University. He became a certified NFL agent and helped his father-in-law, Jeff Guerriero, with his sports agency, ProSource Sports, negotiating NFL contracts and marketing opportunities. Bryan graduated from Southern University Law Center with honors in 2016 and moved back to Monroe to begin working as an attorney specializing in Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice law. He recently began working to serve the needs of our citizens by practicing bankruptcy law at Campbell, House & Company. He is married to Lauren Creekmore and they have two beautiful children, a 4-year-old daughter, Emorie and 2-year-old son, Camden. 

BL: How do you balance being a successful young professional and having a family?

Bryan: It can be difficult. To be relatively new in my career and in a place in the community that I have the opportunity to help it grow means burning the candle at both ends sometimes. However,  I always remember that I am doing everything for my family. My wife and children need me but not half as much as I need them. I love what I do and I love serving people but Lauren, Emorie, and Camden are my “why.” They are my joy in life so it isn’t hard to FIND balance so much as it would be hard to operate without it. 

BL: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

Bryan: I have been blessed to work with so many amazing professionals and work with so many amazing people. But I would say passing the Louisiana State Bar Exam is one of my proudest moments. For me, it was more than passing a test. It was confirmation that I had made the right decision when I switched careers. It was a big leap of faith for many people. My wife placed a lot of faith in me and uprooted her career for us to move to Baton Rouge for 3 years. So to pass the exam and be admitted to the practice of law was a confirmation that I had repaid her trust and faith in me. 


SARAH MOUTON FLOYD

Dream Home Specialist | ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Sarah Mouton Floyd was born and raised in Lafayette, LA and moved to the twin cities in 2016. She graduated from LSU with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and has spent her entire career in the nonprofit sector. She currently works for ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a Dream Home Specialist, where she oversees the marketing and construction of 5 homes nationwide which raise $5.3 million annually. Her passion has always been helping others – in her free time, she serves as a Commissioner for Volunteer Louisiana and is a member of the Junior League of Monroe. 

Sarah enjoys golfing with her husband, Jarod Floyd. She is a proud stepmother and is the daughter of Marc & Mona Mouton of Lafayette, LA.

BL:  Tell us something about you most people don’t know.

Sarah: I’m a first generation college graduate and my parents are incredibly proud of that. I graduated from LSU with honors and had a full time job so that I could graduate without any student debt. 

BL: What is your advice to recent graduates? 

Sarah:  Network any time you can! Put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to be told no. 

BL: What was your first job?  

Sarah: I was a party hostess at Chuck-E-Cheese, and yes I had to dress up as the mouse a time or two! 

BL: What advice would you give someone in a new leadership position?

Sarah: Listen to others, but create a space where innovation is not only allowed but encouraged. Be true to who you are and others will want to follow. 

BL: What can Northeast Louisiana do to retain young talent?

Sarah: Northeast Louisiana can continue to celebrate the diverse talent and culture that resides here now. I’m a firm believer that you can lead from any seat and staying open to new ideas is key.

BL: What do you hope to accomplish by age 50?

Sarah: My main goal in life is to make a difference in the world. By the age of 50 I hope to have helped raise $50 million for various nonprofits, including ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  


MAGGIE SIMS GENEROSO

Educator for Monroe City Schools

Maggie Sims Generoso is kicking off her 13th year as an educator for Monroe City Schools. She graduated from ULM in 2009 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education and in 2013 with a Master’s in Educational Leadership. She currently serves as a Math Content Leader for Monroe City Schools, as well as a Teacher Mentor for the state of Louisiana. Maggie and her family attend First Methodist Monroe, and she is currently serving a 2nd term as the President of the Louisiana Purchase Zoological Society. Maggie is participating in  Leadership Ouachita 2021 and will graduate in November.  She has been married to her husband, Ken, for 11 years and they have 2 boys- Max (8) and Reed (4).  They also have a Boston Terrier named Lola Bunny!

BL: How do you balance being a successful young professional and having a family?

Maggie: Balance can be very difficult. I have an amazing support system in my husband, family, and friends that has allowed me to be successful in every role that I play a part in.  Having the right people on the LPZS Board has helped with this balance as well, allowing all to be involved in the growth and reducing my personal weight load. 

BL: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

Maggie: I am most proud of being named Teacher of the Year for the 2021-2022 school year at Cypress Point Elementary.  Being nominated and chosen for Top 20 Under 40 runs a close tie to Teacher of the Year!

BL: What do you do to ensure your growth and development as a leader?

Maggie: I am constantly looking for opportunities to be better than I was yesterday! Both in my professional and personal life, I’m always finding ways to be the best version of myself. I love to read books, attend trainings, and speak with like-minded individuals with similar goals.  I never want to stop learning!

BL: What can Northeast Louisiana do to retain young talent?

Maggie: NELA has so much to offer!  Monroe has that “big city” feel but is small enough that commuting isn’t a serious issue.  Monroe is on the cusp of something HUGE with our new local government, as well as plans for growth and expansion!  There is a place for everyone to plug-in and job opportunities are available all over NELA.


KELLI GREEN

VP Marketing & Engagement at Centric Federal Credit Union

Kelli Green is a Mississippi native, graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and a fun-loving wife and mom of two little girls. She loves all things outdoors, especially camping! You can almost always find her with either a book in her hand, dancing with her daughters or kayaking in a lake! Kelli is inspired by doing the little things in life that make a huge impact in the lives of others. Celebrating and serving others is what makes her the happiest. She is a faithful follower of Christ who lives with this in mind ‘today is a gift or it wouldn’t be called the present!’

BL: What do you do to give back to your community?

Kelli: My community means the world to me. In fact, I’m a transplant to North Louisiana and consider this place my home. In finance, it’s my desire to offer financial wellness services and access to financial products and service to people, all people regardless of economical status, background, etc. Everyone deserves a fair shot at becoming a homeowner, owning their own transportation and to earn a living wage to provide for their family. At Centric, I’m afforded the opportunity to educate the community and members alike through a program, Live Better. I had the privilege to establish and grow the program into our everyday culture at Centric. Additionally, I serve as PTO Vice President of my children’s school and I am an avid volunteer at Christ Church in both women and connect ministries.

BL: What was your first job?

Kelli: My first job was working for my aunt at her fruit stand in Laurel, Mississippi. The little 8-year old girl learned more valuable lessons in that summer than ever imagined. I especially developed a love for serving others. Among the other skillsets learned were the value of a dollar and managing time.

BL: What is your motivation?

Kelli: My motivation is the little feet I hear running down our hallway; it’s the man I call my husband; it’s my Savior who created a life for me to never take for granted. After all, today is a gift or it wouldn’t be called the present. 

BL: How do you balance being a successful young professional and having a family?

Kelli: The age old saying of ‘it takes a village’ is a true testament to making The Green House thrive daily! I owe all I am to my husband who shares every role under the sun with me. 


K’SHANA HALL-DAVIS

Social Service Counselor for the Louisiana Delta Human Services Authority

K’Shana Hall-Davis is a social service counselor for the Louisiana Delta Human Services Authority, a professional artist and photographer and vice president of the non-profit Black Creatives Circle of North Louisiana. BCCNL was this year’s recipient of the artist of the year award for their public art work. Prior to her arrival at LDHSA, she spent several years at a social service counselor for the Office of Juvenile Justice. K’Shana is an ULM alumni and originally from Chicago.

BL: What do you hope to accomplish by age 50?

K’Shana: My hope is to make a positive impact by continuing to provide effective services for my community. I hope to combine my passions for the arts and mental health to make a significant progress in breaking down the stigma of mental health care. My overall goal is just to be happy and healthy.

BL: What do you do to give back to your community?

K’Shana: The sole purpose of every title I hold is to give back to the community in some way. As service counselor for the Louisiana Delta Human Services Authority, I am the manager of three coalitions within Ouachita and Franklin Parish. The mission of these coalitions is to fight to prevent underage drinking by changing social norms, providing positive alternative activities in form of hosting/creating community events and in school programs, educate community members and implement evidence based programs within the community. This position has blessed me to be able to directly work with youth through our student ambassador program and Students Against Destructive Decisions program.  As VP of BCCNL, I work alongside our board members to carve out a space for black creatives (painters, writers, dancers, photographer musicians, scultpters ect.) in north Louisiana. We work together to help create opportunities for their work to be seen, recognized and valued. We also host free virtual workshops and provide free art kits to our local youth. I am also on the board of the Twin City Arts Foundation which works to keep art in our community by working with the Masur Museum to host art shows, workshops and other art related community events.


SUSIE SPARKS LEFEBVRE

Owner of Sit, Stay and Play

Susie Sparks Lefebvre is the daughter of the late Susan and Tommy Sparks. She is a lifelong resident of Monroe and a graduate of Saint Fredrick High School and the University of Louisiana Monroe.  

Susie, along with her husband Richard, now own and operate Sit, Stay and Play a local doggie daycare, grooming and boarding facility.  Sit, Stay and Play is a luxury, one of a kind facility located in Monroe. It is a one stop shop for pups!

The most important thing to Susie is her family, friends (who are also family) and her village that motivates and is there for her daily. Susie is married to best friend and soul mate, Richard Lefebvre, Jr. and they have a son, Tommy who is six. 

BL: How do you balance being a successful young professional and having a family?

Susie:  Family to me is everything so balancing owning your own business and family, at times can get tricky.  Without my parents and my sisters Elizabeth McQueen and Jennifer Sparks, this business would have never been possible.  I’m forever thankful for their support and encouragement.   I feel that no matter what career path one chooses, their family should always come first.  I try daily to not bring work home and to make the most of the hours that I spend at my office.   My goal is to finish everything during working hours so that I do not miss any event of my son Tommy’s or my nieces, Sarah and Meme. 

BL: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

Susie:  I would say I am most proud of being able to actually open the doors to our new business during the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic.  We were not eligible for any kind of financial assistance because we had not been open for a year.  Originally, Sit, Stay and Play was supposed to open March of 2020 but with the shutdown we were not able to open until June 16, 2020.  It was probably the scariest thing I have done, but the community and their PUPS truly rallied around Sit, Stay and we are extremely grateful for their support. 

BL: What advice would you give someone in a new leadership position?

Susie:  You are only as good and as strong as your team.  No matter what you do, make sure to surround yourself by a great team and together you all will accomplish amazing things. 


DESMUND LIGHTEN

Co-owner of Fit4Life Nutrition

Desmund Lighten is the co-owner of Fit4Life Nutrition. He graduated from Ouachita High School earning both football and academic scholarships to attend McNeese State University. There he went on to graduate while breaking multiple school records and was voted an AP All American along the way. This is also where he met his wife and business partnerm, Tea Tvrtkovic. 

After a brief stint playing professional football in the CFL, Desmund and Tea went into business together as Herbalife Nutrition Distributors. What started as a part time business grew to become Fit4Life Nutrition. Desmund has served as a mentor for many families in his organization providing a template allowing them to go into business for themselves serving a healthy alternative to fast food and energy drinks in their communities spread across multiple states. 

Desmund’s passions include helping people lead a healthier lifestyle, doing the Ouachita football radio broadcast and working on his private pilots license.

BL: Tell me something about you most people don’t know?

Desmund: I’m naturally introverted, I actually joined a fraternity to get me out of my dorm room as I am happy just being at home to myself, but once I’m forced into a social environment I can relate and learn from any and everyone iI come into contact with. It’s an oxymoron I don’t like going to social gatherings but i have a blast and make friends at social gatherings. 

BL: What do I hope to accomplish by age 50? 

Desmund: Well I honestly hadn’t thought that far ahead. Normally when I think that far into the future I’m thinking and envisioning what activities will I still be able to do, so I’d say securing my health and the health of my family. I consider being healthy and active a major accomplishment and of course it’s a lot easier to be healthy if you are not worried about keeping the lights on so securing financial freedom by providing value to the community is wrapped into that goal. 

BL:  What is your motivation?

Desmund: My motivation comes from a desire to be of service and value to others, to do this I must evolve into the best human I can be while being able to enjoy my time on this earth with the people I love most. 


DAVID LOYLESS

Large Capital Project Manager at Drax Biomass

David Loyless is a a large capital project manager at Drax Biomass. He is currently managing an approximately $30 million plant expansion at the LaSalle BioEnergy facility in Urania, Louisiana. David is married to his wife (Emma) and they have three kids (Adelaide – 6, Henry – 4, and Levi – 1).  He grew up in Beekman, Louisiana, attended Bastrop High School, and graduated from ULM with a bachelor’s in Psychology and from LA Tech with a bachelor’s in Construction Engineering Technology.

BL: What can Northeast Louisiana do to retain young talent?

David: Development of local industry is key, but we also need to make strides in retail and entertainment offerings. We cannot offer a lot of the attractions of major metropolitan areas; therefore, it is important for us to foster positive attitudes about our area, play to our strengths, and promote a strong sense of community.

BL: What do you hope to accomplish by age 50?

David: I plan to continue to grow along with Drax Biomass, a leader in renewable energy, as we continue to work toward a carbon-neutral energy future.  I have plans to pursue some local real estate developments.  I also hope to establish an educational trust to provide need-based assistance to local families for K-12 education costs.

BL: What is your advice to recent graduates?

David: Start investing on day one. Even if it’s just a little bit, it adds up over time.  Grow where you are planted and if you see something that needs doing, don’t wait for someone else to step up. It’s a perfect opportunity for you to make a mark.

BL: What advice would you give someone in a new leadership position?

David: Remember that every single person you meet can teach you something you didn’t know, even those you might least expect. Don’t ever stop learning. If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room. And don’t ever sacrifice relationships for the sake of your career.

BL: What was your first job?

David: Throughout high school, I worked as a mechanic’s helper at Larco, Inc. in Crossett, Arkansas.


JON MCCARTNEY

General Manager at 318 Construction

Jon McCartney has lived his entire life 1 mile south of I-20 off Cheniere Exit.  He went to Drew School, West Monroe Junior High, graduated from West Monroe High School in 2000, ULM in 2005, and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 2015.

For 16 years, Jon’s vocation was full-time ministry. In 2016, he became a contractor and began Vertical Builders. In 2019, Jon closed that chapter, and helped start 318 Construction, an insurance reconstruction company. 

Jon has been married for close to 20 years to Erica and they have three amazing teenagers Hunter, Abby, and Maggie. They love their family at North Hills Church in West Monroe where Jon serves as one of the pastors.  

BL: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

Jon: It has been most exciting to grow and develop a highly competent team who has propelled 318 Construction to become the premiere insurance reconstruction company in our community. Since our inception in 2019 we have grown in employees, volume and service in leaps and bounds. 318 Construction exists to serve others in their time of need. I am proud to be a part of that.

BL: If you could go back in time, what would you tell your college self?

Jon: After I convinced myself to find a way to invest in Bitcoin, I would tell myself not to look for and take the easy way out of things. Do the hard work, slow down and enjoy the journey.

BL: What do you do to ensure your growth and development as a leader?

Jon: There are numerous ways in which I strive to grow and develop as a leader. There have been a handful of books that have helped me grow in business and leadership. Early on it was Jim Collins’ “Good to Great.” Most recently I am learning a lot from “Traction” by Gino Wickman. This year I joined a business coaching cohort of like minded key business men. I work for a successful and growing company which is full of leaders worth emulating. I have also failed miserably in business. Failure taught me more than I could have imagined. However, I owe who I am as a leader to being a student of the Bible. Jesus, the greatest leader to ever walk the Earth, says that He did not come to be served but to serve. This is the fundamental job of any leader…to serve others.


MARY MCDANIELS

Branch Manager at Chase Bank

An alumna of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Mary McDaniels is proud to call Monroe home. She and her husband, Raymond, have three children- Arayna, Christian, and Kennedy McDaniels. She is a member of Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church where she serves as a youth advisor. Serving has always been a passion of hers. It was instilled in her at an early age that true joy is found in how we help others. Her role as a Branch Manager at Chase Bank allows her to do just that. She’s worked in the Banking/Financial Industry for over 17 years and she is passionate about promoting financial literacy.  As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Mary is afforded the opportunity to partner with various community organizations and participate in sorority initiatives that engage the community. 

BL: What do you do to give back to your community?

Mary: I believe that financial literacy is a subject that should be taught in school. For many adults, what they know about money and how they manage money, they learned from what they saw or didn’t see growing up. My career at Chase enables me to give back through financial literacy seminars and presentations to students and adults in an effort to increase their awareness so that more families can live comfortably and have enough saved to withstand an emergency. 

BL: What was your first job?

Mary: I started working as a photographer at JCPenney Portrait Studios my senior year in high school.

BL: What do you do to ensure your growth and development as a leader?

Mary: As leaders, it’s easy to forget about ourselves and our growth and to focus on company goals and developing our teams. While that is important, it’s also equally important to set goals and to challenge ourselves so that we don’t become complacent. I love to read articles that challenge me to step out of my comfort zone and challenge my way of thinking. 

BL: What do you hope to accomplish by age 50?

Mary: By age 50, I hope to still be on my journey of arming families and communities with the tools to achieve financial independence and wealth. It is my aspiration to be a catalyst in integrating financial literacy as a part of the core curriculum in middle and high schools. 


BRITTANY MCNAMARA

Digital Marketing Strategist for KTVE/KARD

rittany McNamara is the Digital Marketing Strategist for KTVE/KARD, in West Monroe, LA. After working in various roles in the advertising industry, Brittany decided to return to the University of Louisiana Monroe in 2018, taking online classes to earn her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing, and is expecting to graduate in spring, 2022. 

Brittany serves on the Board of Directors for SOS Pets of Ouachita as the Marketing Director and is a committed United Way of NELA volunteer, serving as a mentor to children through Read. Learn. Succeed. She is a proud member of the Louisiana LunaChicks, an all-women’s dance team that is dedicated to giving back to the community through dance and volunteer efforts. In the past, she has served on the Board of Directors for the Advertising Club of Northeast Louisiana and the Downtown Monroe Alliance. Her passions are local community, volunteering and promoting the good things that happen here!

BL: What do you do to ensure your growth and development as a leader?

Brittany: I stay actively involved and try new things when opportunities arise. I love to network and meet new people, as well as embrace the opportunity to learn from them. 

BL: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

Brittany: In addition to my career, I’m also enrolled in ULM Online to get my degree in Marketing and this year I was named the 2021 Women’s Symposium Empowering Student Leader scholarship recipient. This meant so much because it is a challenge to juggle both a professional career and college courses!

BL: What do you do to give back to your community?

Brittany:  I have a passion for volunteering and feel that in addition to donations, volunteer activism helps make a real difference in the lives of our community members. 

BL: What is your motivation?

Brittany:  My daughter—every choice I make is with her in mind and to set an example for her to know that women can do anything they put their minds to. 


WILLIAM TYLER NEAL

Human Resources at St. Francis Medical Center

William Tyler Neal was born and raised in Rayville, LA, and attended college at ULM where he majored in Healthcare Management and Marketing. During his last semester of college, he was able to intern at P&S Surgical Hospital/Specialty Management Services of Ouachita, LLC (SMSO). After graduating college, Tyler began working at P&S Surgical Hospital in 2017. In 2018, he transitioned over into HR at SMSO. Tyler has recently accepted a position at St Francis Medical Center in Human Resources as a Business Partner. His hobbies include: spending time with family and friends, watching LSU Sports, hunting, reading, and going to church.

BL:  Tell us something about you most people don’t know.

Tyler: I’m a huge Star Wars fan (the original trilogy is my favorite). I also have a fraternal twin sister who is older than me by 7 minutes.

BL:  What is your motivation?

Tyler: The fear of failure. “ I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustrations were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.” – Tony Robbins

BL:  What advice would you give someone in a new leadership position?

Tyler: Never ask for someone to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself.

BL: What do you do to give back to your community?

Tyler: I’ve been blessed and fortunate to be able to teach bible study at Delhi Church of Christ on Wednesday/Sunday evenings.

BL: What was your first job?

Tyler: My first job was working at Wendy’s in Rayville, LA. I was 15-years old. It was a great experience that taught me the value of a dollar as well as being held accountable at a young age. 

BL: What do you hope to accomplish by age 50?

Tyler: I hope that I am married with children and that I am Vice President of HR.


LAURA PETTY, MD

Physician at The Woman’s Clinic

Laura Petty has been a physician at The Woman’s Clinic for almost 7 years. She is a board certified OB/GYN who grew up in Oakdale, LA. She received her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from LSU. After college, Laura attended medical school at LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport. Upon finishing medical school, she moved to Jackson, MS and completed her OB/GYN residency at UMMC. She then moved to Monroe and started private practice. Laura is married to Dr. Paul Michael Petty.  They have two daughters Caroline and Christine and an angel baby, Chapman. In her spare time, Laura enjoys spending quality time with her friends and family as well as reading, gardening, snow skiing and traveling.  

BL:  Tell us something about you most people don’t know.

Laura: My husband and I lost our son at birth in 2018. It was a heartbreaking experience and I didn’t know if I would be able to go back to work again. My patients have played a big role in helping me through this difficult time. After his death, I wanted to do something to keep his memory alive. I decided to give a book to each baby I deliver. The book changes each year and is a wonderful way to remember him. Through my experience, I hope I am able to help other women who experience a similar unexpected loss. 

BL: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

Laura: I get to be a part of bringing new life into the world almost daily. A safe, healthy delivery is an important accomplishment. Seeing a baby take his/her first breath is amazing and something I will never take for granted. 

BL: What was your first job?

Laura: I was a substitute teacher at the elementary school in my hometown. I have so much respect for teachers because those kids ruled me. 

BL: What is your advice to recent graduates?

Laura: The medical profession is a difficult place to work right now. It is demanding and the challenges we face today with COVID are like none that we have seen. I would tell recent graduates that even though your job may be tough, it will be rewarding. You are important, and we need your help to get through this time.


LINCOLN POWELL, JR

Family Therapist at Center for Children and Families and Owner of Preppy Poindexter

Lincoln Powell, Jr is a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Monroe. He has a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. Lincoln is currently employed as a Family Therapist at the Center for Children and Families, providing therapy services to at risk youth in rural areas. He has worked at the Center for Children and Families for five years. 

In 2012, Lincoln started a clothing brand named Preppy Poindexter. Preppy Poindexter is a premium brand motivated to inspire self-love and spread positivity through the production of timeless pieces of clothing and goods. 

BL:  What do you hope to accomplish by age 50?

Lincoln: By the age of f50 I hope to have built a successful brand (Preppy Poindexter) that sustains itself financially and is well known all over the globe. It is also a goal of mine to have a non-profit organization that provides therapeutic services for young males that are at risk or without strong male figures.  

BL:  What was your first job?

Lincoln: I worked as a barista at a local coffee shop in my hometown. It was named Jehovah Java.

BL:  What is your motivation?

Lincoln: I am driven by the motivation to be a good human. I like to think of it as my way of doing my part to restore faith in humanity that good people do exist. 

BL:  What do you do to give back to your community?

Lincoln: I donate clothing from Preppy Poindexter, purchase school uniforms for children in the community, and donate school supplies. I also volunteer at different events in the community. 

BL:  Tell us something about you most people don’t know.

Lincoln: I am highly motivated to help other’s improve the quality of their lives and reach their full potential, whatever it may be. Therapy, for me, is more than just a career.

BL:  What can Northeast Louisiana do to retain young talent?

Lincoln: I think that making the youth aware of the different opportunities locally would be a great place to start. They aren’t aware of the opportunities or projects that they could potentially spearhead to further assist with improving Northeast Louisiana and retaining talent. 


RICHARD ROYAL

Senior Portfolio Review Specialist at
Business Alliance Financial Services

Richard Royal is a lifelong resident of Union Parish, Louisiana. He grew up in Farmerville and went to Farmerville High School. Richard attended Louisiana Tech University and studied economics and finance and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Business Economics and a Master’s in Business Administration. Richard started banking as a part-time teller to work his way through college. He is currently a Senior Portfolio Review Specialist at Business Alliance Financial Services in Monroe.

BL:  Tell us something about you most people don’t know

Richard: One of my favorite pastimes is studying history. The reason for this is that history reminds us of how far we have come. Future generations are built on the foundations of the past. Sometimes the foundations are good and sometimes the foundations are bad. However, it is our responsibility to learn from the past so that we can make the future a better place.

BL:  What do you hope to accomplish by age 50?

Richard: I want to have influenced the lives of other young professionals the way that I was influenced and mentored. I am here today because others invested their time and energy into me. Without them, I would not be here. I want to have an influence on others, even if I never see the end result.

BL: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

Richard: I am proud of becoming a Notary Public. While it may not appear to be a large accomplishment to some, it took a lot of time and effort to prepare for and pass the State Notary Exam. I am proud of this accomplishment because I learned much about Louisiana law. While it may appear to be a burden to have a document notarized, it is done to protect people and their property. 

BL:  What is your motivation?

Richard: My motivation is improvement. There are many obstacles and tough situations in life that cannot be made perfect. However, you can always make them better. My motivation is to make situations better for those that I work with and those that come behind me.


PATIENCE TALLEY

Director of Community Centers and
Programs for the City of Monroe

Patience was born and raised in Monroe, Louisiana, and is the daughter of Foster and Dr. Martha Phillips. She graduated from Ouachita Parish High School, where she found her love for cheerleading. Patience received her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from Louisiana State University, where she also had the amazing opportunity to cheer on the LSU Tigers. She is a recent graduate of the Master’s of Science program from the University of Louisiana Monroe. Patience is the proud wife of Pastor DeRon L. Talley and enjoys serving at the St. Joseph Missionary Baptist Church of West Monroe through ministry and song. She also teaches Sunday School and leads the Young Empowered Servants (YES) Ministry at their church. She is the mother of Demi Lee and loves serving her community. She and her husband are the co-owners of Key Marketing Solutions, a digital marketing company. Together they serve on the Children’s Coalition board, where they are dedicated to creating communities where children and families thrive. Patience is currently a part of the 2021 Leadership Ouachita Class and serves as the Chair of the Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals. Patience is also very passionate about empowering women and minorities to reach their full potential and seek leadership in their communities. She serves as Chair of the Education and Training Committee for the Junior League of Monroe, she is on the Board for the Women’s Symposium, serves as a Louisiana Delegate for the Vision 2020 – Women’s 100 Organization, and is the advisor for ULM’s Rotaract Club. 

BL: Tell us something about you most people don’t know.

Patience: Most people don’t know that I traveled on a 15-hour flight to Shanghai, China, on behalf of the Universal Cheerleading Association with the LSU Cheerleading Team. While in China, we taught cheer clinics, met some amazing people, and made unforgettable memories.

BL: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

Patience: Professionally, I am most proud of being able to create awareness, initiatives, and programs that I feel very passionate about. Whether it’s bringing free swim lessons and art classes to our local youth, leading health initiatives, or teaching the community about the importance of preserving and protecting our planet, being able to provide those resources has been the highlight of my career.


TIFFANY TERRA

Owner of Geaux Family Health and Spa Terra

Tiffany Terra was born and raised in Monroe, LA.  She is married to Bryan Terra and they have 2 children, Brayden (18) and Briley (11). Tffany attended St. Frederick High School and graduated in 2000. She attended  the University of Louisiana at Monroe and majored in nursing. She completed her BSN in Nursing in 2009 and Masters in Nursing from Northwestern State Louisiana in 2013.  Upon graduation, Tiffany opened Geaux Family Health in July of 2013. The most recent addition to her career is the opening of a new medispa, Spa Terra. Tiffany says she loves her job and patients and truly can’t imagine doing anything else with her life.

BL:  What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

Tiffany:  As a young nurse practitioner just out of school, I have an immense ambition to run my own clinic.  I knew it would entail risks and would involve many hurdles, however, I stuck to those goals and went on to open my own clinic.

BL:  What do you hope to accomplish by age 50?

Tiffany:  I hope to accomplish full achievement in owning my own private facility.  I would like to build my own facility from the ground up, allowing for the best possible care for my patients.

BL:  What is your motivation?

Tiffany:  My main motivation is my family.  Their love and support makes me want to work even harder to ensure a successful future.  My second motivation  is our community and patients.  I came to work eager to help our patients feel comfortable by assisting with their health needs.

BL:  What was your first job?

Tiffany:  My first job was in a family owned small business, similar to Geaux Family Health .  When I was younger, I loved the feel of a privately owned mom and pop shop.  The owner truly loved what he did and inspired me to achieve my goal of owning my own business like he did.  He gave me the advice, “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”  My employees and patients feel like family.  I truly love what I do.


JARED WALKER

President of InterMountain Renovations

BL: What do you hope to accomplish by age 50?

Jared: Professionally, InterMountain has been in this community longer than most people probably realize, and our goal is to continue growing our newer platforms. My teams are responsible for interior design, procurement and renovation project management. Those three teams evolved and grew over the last ten years or so, and we want to see the current foundation allow us to continue serving more clients as well as provide more opportunities and exposure for existing and new associates. 

  Personally, our third daughter arrived a few weeks ago, and I want to continue investing in my family as well. Other than a relationship with Jesus, my family is next most important thing in the world, and investing in our kids and my wife is priority number one. By the time I’m 50, I hope my girls and wife will say, “As great as our business is, and even with all the growth we’ve seen, our dad was even better at home than he ever was at the office.”   

BL: What was your first job?

Jared: Working in flower beds and lawns were the first thing I did to earn money, but my first ‘job’ was working for Pat and Dick Ethridge at Village Sports.

BL: What is your advice to recent graduates?

Jared: Get to work. Graduating is likely the first major transition period in your life, and I would say to jump on something and start working… hard. Going the extra mile is an old parable I learned early on, and if you apply that concept your gifts and talents make a place for you.

BL: What do you do to ensure your growth and development as a leader?

Jared: I may be a little old school, but I enjoy reading. From there, I try to listen and learn from the people around me both those I report to, and the team that reports to me.

BL: What advice would you give someone in a new leadership position?

Jared: Lead your team so they will go farther than you ever did. I tell my team I want to impart everything I learned through the years so my ceiling is their floor. I don’t say that to say I arrived, but I want them to stand on my shoulders and be better than I ever was and go farther than I did. If they start where I finished, it’s a lot easier for them to take us to better places.

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