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Makin' It Work
1:15 pm - 2:00 pm
reppond  lafrance  jones

Kathryn Reppond

Chief Operations Officer at Central Oil & Supply Corp

Kathryn Reppond is the Chief Operations Officer at Central Oil & Supply Corp where she oversees the daily business operations for Central Oil, as well as its sister companies. Kathryn directs the business plan of Central Oil by monitoring the finance, sales, operations, marketing, IT and HR departments within the organization.  Central Oil & Supply is one of the largest, fully integrated petroleum and fuel distributors in the five-state area in which it services. It also owns and operates convenience stores under the brand of Central Station across north Louisiana. Central Oil and its sister companies employ over 200 employees between their two bulk plants located in Monroe and Baton Rouge and fourteen retail and gaming located throughout Louisiana.  
Kathryn is a native of Monroe and a graduate of The University of Louisiana at Monroe where she received her degree in Accounting.  Kathryn was recognized as one of the 2018 Northeast Louisiana top 20 under 40 winners. She is an active member of First United Methodist Church in Monroe. Kathryn and her husband, Mitch, live in Monroe and have four children, Gracyn, Kennedy, Carlyle, and Thomas.


Adrienne Lafrance

Downtown Manager of the City of West Monroe, LA

Adrienne LaFrance-Wells, a graduate of ULM, is originally from Monroe. She began her work as Downtown Manager with the City of West Monroe in April of 2019. She strongly believes in the importance of telling a community’s unique story by leveraging local assets and talent.
She has led several projects and downtown activities, including the application process for West Monroe to become the first city in the state to successfully achieve Lagniappe certification under the Louisiana Main Street Program in pursuit of Main Street Certification. 
Prior to her position with West Monroe, she served as Director of the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum, where she developed a passion to help preserve and promote military history on a local, national and international level. She traveled to China and Russia as part of an international cultural exchange to preserve WWII history and promote peace and cultural diplomacy.
Adrienne has been an active volunteer and has been interested in downtown development since childhood. She began her professional career in municipal public service with the City of Monroe at the Monroe Civic Center. She helped launch the Downtown RiverMarket where she successfully organized the market’s first two seasons.

Following her RiverMarket position, she relocated to Colorado and worked in the private sector in marketing and administration at a commercial construction company. While she considered working in Colorado’s bustling corporate world an invaluable learning experience, her true home and passion remained in Louisiana.

Adrienne has always had an appreciation for the arts and currently serves on the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council Executive Board, as well as the Ouachita Live community concert series committee. She has served on the Monroe Symphony Orchestra Board of Governors, KEDM Public Radio’s Community Advisory Board, Monroe’s Downtown River Jam committee, and the Northeast Louisiana Advertising Club. She is also looking forward to her first appearance on the Strauss Theatre stage as an ensemble member in the upcoming musical, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”

Dr. Ashanti Jones


Born with a heart to serve, Dr. Ashanti Marie Jones strives every day to improve the quality of life of others. The actions of her service heart started at a very young age as a child in her church. She was able to observe many of the most inspirational women in her life work diligently to serve others.  Her passion to help others expanded as she grew older and influenced her interest in becoming a Physical Therapist as well as an active volunteer in her community. She has been able to fulfill this desire by working in her field of physical therapy as well as her church and other community service driven organizations such the Junior League, Children’s Coalition of Monroe, LA and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 
Ashanti has been a member of the Junior League of Monroe for 7 years and served as a member of the tools and literacy for children and education task force committees. She served as chair over education and training in 2017 and a board member in 2018. She has been a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc. for 18 years and currently serves on the executive board and chair of sisterly relations. Using these organizations as a platform, Ashanti has served countless hours of volunteer time to improve her community. 
Dr. Jones is a native of Lake Charles, LA and graduated with honors from Dillard University of New Orleans, LA with a Bachelor of Science in 2003. After graduating from Dillard University, she attended the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX where she obtained a Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy.  Ashanti went on to further her education and obtained a Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy from the University of the Incarnate Word of San Antonio, TX. Upon graduation, Ashanti worked in the rehabilitation acute setting where she was hands on with helping individuals regain neurological and functional mobility which was deemed lost and/or damaged. Her greatest joy in this setting was working with patient who suffered acute cerebral vascular accidents resulting in severe damage to their ability to communicate, walk and function as they once did. The joy of seeing these patients regain their functional mobility and having a hand in obtaining this goal, was her biggest reward! Ashanti currently practices physical therapy in Monroe, LA and is the Area Rehab Director for Kindred Healthcare managing specialty rehabilitation programs and providing educational training to rehab clinicians in branches across the states of Louisiana and Arkansas. Ashanti is honored to play a major role in ensuring exceptional quality care is provided to all communities served. Dr. Jones was recently recognized by the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, the Northeast Louisiana Young Professionals and Bayou Life Magazine as a top 20 under 40 Young Professionals award recipient.   
Ashanti married LA State Representative, Frederick D. Jones, Esq. in 2008. They have two daughters- Sydney Marie (10) and Sophie Marie (7) and one son- Frederick Jones, II (3). 
Words that have influenced Ashanti’s drive to serve and strive to be the best that she can be derive from Mark 10:45 For even the son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve others, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Treat Yo' Self
2:15 pm - 3:00 pm



Shayla Shaw

Co-Owner, Her Eminence and Mental Wellness Advocate

Shayla Shaw is a Mental Wellness Advocate striving to end the stigma related to motherhood and mental health. She is also an attempted suicide survivor. She is a dedicated wife, proud mother of four, and an endearing grandmother. Shayla created The Mom Empowerment because she is devoted to helping mothers struggling with depressive behaviors or impaired abilities to be mentally and emotionally available to enjoy their families. Shayla is an Empowerment Coach for moms looking to achieve goals related to family, career, purpose, and mental wellness at Shayla Shaw Empowerment. She designs strategies, aligns resources, and creates accountability to ensure moms attain the goals they have set forth. Shayla is, also, the producer and host of the podcast, “Navigating My Crazy,” that can be heard on many platforms, including Apple Podcast, Spotify, YouTube, Soundcloud, Google Podcast. The purpose of Navigating My Crazy is to inspire moms to end the stigma related to mental health and to generate conversation to the unrealistic societal expectations of being a mom. The goal is to build a community so that no mom feels alone as we all navigate this crazy thing called life together. You can find resources, updates, and apply to become a sponsor at NavigatingMyCrazy.com Shayla has blog posts featured at ShaylaShaw.com and The Mighty Site (themighty.com). She is also a member of The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), The Project Management Institute, PMI Northern Louisiana Chapter, and the International Association of Women. Shayla is an entrepreneur. She is the co-owner of Her Eminence, a feminine care and beauty enhancement company(HerEminence.com). She and her family are in the process of launching programs for their nonprofit organization called The Urban Youth Financial Literacy Foundation, UrFly.org. The goal of UrFly is to empower disadvantaged youth with the skills and knowledge necessary to understand and manage financial resources with an aim to end the cycle of poverty. You can keep up with all of Shayla’s current events, purchase products, send questions, episode requests, book speaking engagements, and/or schedule a consultation for services at ShaylaShaw.com or email Shayla@shaylashaw.com. 

Shannon Dahlum

Owner, Octane Training   Nutrition & Weight Loss Coach

Shannon Dahlum is a nutrition and weight loss coach, and owner of Octane Training in Sterlington.   She specializes in helping women learn to diminish the stress they place on their bodies so they can achieve balance and find happiness in their own skin.
Shannon grew up in the Washington, DC area, and like many girls, she struggled with her own self image and got stuck in the cycle of beating herself up to try to force her body to look a certain way.  She got stuck in the dangerous cycle of self loathing, disordered eating, and excessive working out. Over time, she learned that the key to a body that both looks and feels it’s best is to nurture and care for it, rather than beat it into submission.  Positive physical progress can’t come from a place of negativity, and this is what she now focuses on helping other women realize. She has created an online course, called “Reset Your Stress” that walks women through optimizing the five main areas of their lifestyles that can either tear their bodies down and trigger excess fat storage, or build their bodies up and lead to a healthy hormone balance and body composition.
Shannon is a certified nutrition coach through Precision Nutrition, and certified kettlebell instructor through StrongFirst. She received her personal training certification at the Cooper Institute in Dallas, TX, and is also holds a 200 hour yoga teacher certification. She writes a monthly wellness column for Bayou Life Magazine and is passionate about continuing to learn how to optimize Women’s wellness in our modern environment that’s plagued with stress. 

Laura Devasier

MSW, LCSW at Family Solutions

Taking a Step Back to Move Forward
3:15 pm - 4:00 pm



Cindy Faust

Development Officer at ULM, Children's Book Autho

LT. Candice Johnson


LT Candice A. Johnson, PT, DPT is a commissioned officer of the United States Public Health Service. 
She earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University in May 2018, where she proudly served as the President of her class. Prior to that, she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology (2014) and Master of Science in Exercise Physiology (2015) from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. She also holds a Spanish minor degree, and has used her bilingual abilities to co-author the book entitled Terminología de Relación, a translation of the original text Relationship Terminology by Dr. Anthony L. Johnson, PhD. During her time at ULM, she participated in various campus activities, including ULM Pom Line, Captain of the ULM Hawkline, ULM PREP Staff, Homecoming Court Senior Maid, and the Lambda Rho chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 
With a mission to protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of our Nation, she joins a team of healthcare professionals serving underserved and vulnerable populations through national assignments and deployments. She is privileged to work across the full spectrum of care, ranging from acute care & inpatient rehab to orthopedics & wound care. LT Johnson continues her postgraduate career working in the Rehabilitation Department of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and is currently stationed in Fort Worth, Texas.

Donna Ponder

Owner, Blue Sky Yoga

In 2002 Donna Ponder was introduced to the practice of yoga.  A friend, Julie Smith, was pursuing a yoga teacher certification and invited a few people to join her for weekly 5:45am classes.  The practice was challenging, not competitive, and the effects of breathing techniques used reduced anxiety and increased the feeling of relaxation.  Donna quickly became immersed in learning the physical aspects of the practice.  
In 2004 opportunity to teach yoga presented itself and continued to grow in the years to come.  The teaching style of Baron Baptiste resonated most powerfully, and she committed to a 200 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher Training with him.  Level one training 2007 at the Menla Retreat Center, NY, Level two training 2009 at Feathered Pipe Ranch, MT. During the 2007 training, Donna began writing about the vision of the studio that would be.  The trainings pointed Donna to another area of study, the psychology of yoga, the benefits of meditation, the science behind why this practice has such a profound positive effect on mental wellbeing. Many more trainings were attended from Certified Life Coaching in Bali with Deborah Williamson, to Weaving Spirituality into Teaching in Rhode Island with Philip Urso, to Yoga Anatomy in Texas with Stacy Dockins, and many more.  
In May of 2012 the vision of the studio became reality and Blue Sky Yoga opened in Monroe, Louisiana.  The community grew and a second location in Ruston, Louisiana opened in December of 2013. Donna fulfilled requirements with the National Yoga Alliance and Blue Sky Yoga School began in September 2013.  Yearly, 200 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher trainings now occur at Blue Sky Yoga. Donna continues to observe with open eyes those who practice at Blue Sky Yoga. Students of all ages and abilities attend BSY,  the evolution of class offerings is based upon the community. Her mission is to offer classes and services that will bring optimum mental and physical wellbeing to the community, and to empower and support the teachers of Blue Sky Yoga.  The studio is, because of the community of many and the dedication of the teachers to continue learning, striving, and teaching from love.
Donna lives in Ruston, Louisiana with a most supportive and loving man, Chad Wood, and their cats.