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Financial Health   1:45 pm - 2:30 pm

Knowing your monetary worth is essential to long term stability and peace of mind. Do you have a strong financial foundation, including: little to no debt and an emergency savings fund? Are you living beneath your means? Our budgets vary, and knowing percentages of where we should be spending for accountability should be commonplace. It’s easy to spend and look for money later; but financial independence only comes with consistent attention to your budget.

Financial fitness means understanding your financial situation and being prepared for monetary changes. It's imperative to know how you're wasting money and how you should be investing it. In a society where so many live paycheck to paycheck, breaking that cycle takes effort. When should you save money and when should you invest? Educational debt is common, but to what extent should you be paying it off? Learn how to best manage student loan debt in this economy.

Financial plans and risks are part of accumulating wealth. When should you begin saving for retirement and how much? Many put it off until retirement age is in view. Avoiding financial stress heavily influences your well being. It's about more than having money for bills; it’s about prioritizing your funds.

"Money does not give us power, but it does give us choices." - Barbara Stanny

 picture of Eugenie Ardoin  picture of Ashley West  picture for Marla Simmons

Dr. Eugenie Ardoin 
Assistant Professor, Finance
University of Louisiana Monroe

Ashley West
Vice President, Private Banking Relationship Manager
Progressive Bank

Marla Simmons
Wealth Advisor
Regions Bank’s Private Wealth Management Division


Overall Health/Self-Care 2:45 pm - 3:30 pm

Are you often stressed, melancholy or uncomfortable? Taking care of yourself both mentally and physically is important to immediate and long term well-being. Mental stability involves avoiding self-criticism, building strong familial and social connections, and seeking treatment when necessary. Are you searching for meaning? Spiritual awareness consists of a desire to change old negative habits, an awakening of sorts. A compassion for suffering and a willingness to act on love instead of fear are sure signs of personal growth.

Self-empowering techniques are: knowing your strengths, making positive choices, setting goals, and knowing your limitations. It also involves reflecting on personal values and enhancing one’s contributions both as an individual and team member. Accepting stress, keeping problems in perspective, and developing healthy coping skills contribute to personal positivity. Some levels of stress are expected and can act as boosts for drive and energy, but learning how to handle stress when it piles on takes practice. Some methods include: frequent breaks, exercise, social support, laughter, meditation or moments of silence.

Improving physical strength plays a part in bone density, activity level, and metabolism. Increasing your nutritional knowledge is synonymous with health. Perhaps instead of focusing on what not to put in our bodies, maybe we should focus on what we should be eating. Learning how best to purchase, prepare and portion-out food within your budgetary constraints is possible.

"Our bodies change our minds...and our minds change our behavior...and our behavior changes our outcomes." - Amy Cuddy

 picture of Caroline Youngblood  picture of Sherry Peveto  picture of Angie Blades

Caroline Youngblood
RYT 200

Dr. Sherry Peveto
Interim Associate Director of Undergraduate programs
Kitty Degree School of Nursing

Angie O’Pry Blades
Fiesta Nutrition Center in Monroe


Shifting the Narrative:
Teaching Bravery, Not Perfection
3:45 pm - 4:30 pm

Not understanding or believing in your abilities stunts your potential. Confidence is as significant as competence. Knowing technical, transferable, and personal skills while using them effectively sets you apart. Getting to know those who intimidate you is important for self-assessment and growth. Overthinking the consequences of failure keeps you from taking risks. You stay in your mind instead of in the present. Signs of overthinking include a need to be in control and always seeking perfection. Trust your gut.

Seeing failure as potential for growth is necessary. Sometimes you need to reset and reassess what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Failure teaches you to avoid mistakes, creates vulnerability through hardship, and, ultimately, makes you more credible. Failure means you tried, shows you were unwilling to give up, and it promotes humility, making you more relatable.

How we speak to children determines how they see themselves. If we hear it enough, we start to believe it. Negative comments affect self-esteem, which affect confidence, bravery, and a willingness to try. Superficial comments like “You’re so pretty” focus on qualities that they have little, to no, control over. It doesn’t create a strong sense of self, but rather starts them on the hamster wheel of improving, and then sustaining what has become an unattainable degree of physical perfection. We should compliment their interests and actions before their appearance: make eye contact, ask questions, and listen to what little girls have to say. Letting them think about their responses allows them to reflect and practice articulating their thoughts, in turn, creating and building self-esteem.

"What would you do if you weren’t afraid?" - Sheryl Sandberg

 picture of Joneal Kirby  picture of Cassie Livingston  picture of Ashley Ellis
Joneal Kirby Cassie Livingston
Publisher & Founder
BayouLife Magazine

Ashley Ellis
Assistant Principal
Neville High School