ULM logo

Makin' it Work
1:15 pm - 2:00 pm
Women have often taken only a portion of their full maternity leave (allowed by the law) for fear of losing ground in the workplace. Women have also been passed over for promotions and new opportunities because supervisors have assumed a pregnant woman or a new mother simply could not handle the same workload she once did. 
Statistics back these fears. For example, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission observed a 50 percent increase in pregnancy bias charges over 14 years. In addition to pregnancy discrimination, the wage gap between men and women continues to be a significant challenge. Women tend to believe their hard work and dedication will inevitably be recognized, allowing them to avoid awkward negotiations or confrontations. This simply isn’t true.
So, how can professional women address the wage gap and the motherhood discrimination? Plan a discussion with your supervisor. What do you want out of this discussion? Before your meeting, prioritize ideal outcomes, acknowledge deal-breakers, and research your market worth. This practice will empower you with a greater sense of control during the actual discussion.
In a recent study, nearly 75 percent of surveyed women adjusted their professional lives to accommodate motherhood. The most successful women made conscious sacrifices; they did not attempt to conquer everything because they understood they could not. These women learned to expect the best from themselves without needing to be perfect. They chose their sacrifices and made creative adjustments, allowing them to feel more content. They envisioned what they wanted their lives to look like, and they tried not to make decisions based on fear or guilt.

Kathryn Reppond

Chief Operations Officer at Central Oil & Supply Corp

Adrienne Lafrance

Downtown Manager of the City of West Monroe, LA

Dr. Ashanti Jones



Treat Yo' Self
2:15 pm - 3:00 pm
Does your mental health and physical well-being appear at the top of your ever-growing to-do list? Women often manage the needs of others before tending to their own. The irony? We can’t be nearly as helpful or productive in our personal and professional lives if we are running on half-empty. Mental health and physical health are equally important. If you had diabetes, you would seek medical intervention, right? If you are experiencing anxiety, depression, or feeling overwhelmed, you need to contact a therapist.
Therapy is only one facet of self-care. Part of self-care is saying “no” without guilt. When someone asks you to help with a time-consuming project, it’s difficult to say “no.” However, if you are already stressed, saying “yes,” can lead to exhaustion and anxiety. Consistently saying “yes” means eliminating time spent on self-care. Self-care can involve spending time outside, meditating, practicing a new hobby, enjoying a massage, or laughing with friends. Self-care also consists of the absence of things, such as 24/7 technology. Studies have proven that too much screen time at night causes depression, prevents restful sleep, and creates anxiety.
Get organized. A planner or calendar can help you understand the magnitude of your work and personal demands. A visual representation can also allow you to eliminate less essential duties and, most importantly, schedule your self-care. Set a weekly self-care goal for yourself and reward yourself for achieving that goal. After all, you cannot be valuable to others if you deplete your energy. Most importantly, you cannot be useful to yourself.

Shayla Shaw

Co-Owner, Her Eminence and Mental Wellness Advocate

Shannon Dahlum

Owner, Octane Training   Nutrition & Weight Loss Coach

Laura Devasier

MSW, LCSW at Family Solutions


Taking a Step Back to Move Forward
3:15 pm - 4:00 pm
The “Sunday Dread” is normal; most of us relish our weekends and begin the workweek a little begrudgingly. But, do you experience severe anxiety and/or depression as you travel to work each day? Are you so unhappy at your job that your misery is spilling into your personal life? It may be a time to reflect, and yes, quit. Learn how to evaluate your situation, and if necessary, change your career. Changing careers does not mean you failed. Reframe this concept as an opportunity to grow. As humans, we are growing every day, and what appealed to us as a fresh college graduate may not appeal to us 10-15 years later.
Before you make a move, brainstorm a bit. For the sake of this exercise, forget about job titles and salaries. What kind of work excites you? Do you sincerely dislike your current job, or are you simply needing more work-life balance? If you desire work-life balance, you can negotiate that with your supervisor. Or, are you seeking to move into an entirely different industry? Really consider what all of that means. Are you ok with starting as an entry-level professional in a new industry if it means you will find purpose and passion in your work? 
Create a financial contingency plan.You may not be able to quit your job right away, but you can begin freelance work—related to your dream job—and start saving for your ultimate departure.

Cindy Faust

Development Officer at ULM, Children's Book Author

LT. Candice Johnson


Donna Ponder

Owner, Blue Sky Yoga