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Vicki Cansler Panel Track 1
Makin' It Work
2:00 pm - 2:45 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.
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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.”

Kelsey Bohl, Ed.D.

Executive Director of Marketing and University Communications at ULM

Dr. Kelsey Bohl is the Executive Director of Marketing and University Communications at the University of Louisiana Monroe. Prior to leading marketing and communications, Kelsey was the International Student Adviser, then Executive Director of University Planning and Analysis.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University in 2011, an MBA from ULM in 2013, and Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of Alabama.

Bohl is very involved in the Monroe/West Monroe community. She serves on the Junior League of Monroe Board of Directors as the Community VP, and board member for the Louisiana Delta Ballet, Northeast Louisiana Ad Club, Public Relations Assocation of Louisiana. - Northwest Chapter, and the ULM Women’s Symposium.

Kelsey is a graduate of Leadership Ouachita class of 2018 and a 2019 recipient of Northeast Louisiana’s Young Professionals Top 20 under 40. Kelsey is married to Alex Bohl, and they have a two-year old daughter Lydia.

Kelsey is also a 200-hour registered yoga teacher, avid reader, and vintage enthusiast.



Treat Yo' Self
3:00 pm - 3:45 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

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.

Vanelis Rivera

ULM English faculty, freelance writer, editor, and yoga instructor


VANELIS “VAN” RIVERA is an English instructor, freelance writer, and editor, and certified yoga teacher born in Puerto Rico and raised in the US Virgin Islands, currently based in Monroe, Louisiana. She’s a deeply engaged storyteller who dabbles in screenwriting. Though she is a culture and lifestyle freelance writer, she’s intensely growing her music focus, publishing articles in BayouLife Magazine and She Shreds Magazine.


As an educator at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, she is active on and off-campus, joining students and the community in service, development, and influential projects such as organizing performances of The Vagina Monologues, offering writing workshops, and recently presenting a Ted Talk.

Laura Devasier

MSW, LCSW at Family Solutions

Laura DeVasier is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker having a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Psychology and minor in Sociology. She earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, with additional course work in Marriage and Family Studies. Her career, of over 15 years, has been focused on individual, group, and family therapy.

Her career has given her the opportunity to work with a diverse range of clients and their needs. Laura’s primary focus is on providing quality treatment through these professional therapeutic relationships. She is experienced in working with depression, mood swings, anxiety, relationship issues, grief, anger, trauma, addictions, eating disorders, phase of life changes, and personal growth.

Laura’s approach is eclectic in nature and is informed by the client’s needs, strengths, hidden strengths, and individuality. Finding what motivates an individual and identifying the unconscious barriers to doing so, are cornerstones to her work.

She currently works at Family Solutions Counseling Center as an independent contractor.




Taking a Step Back to Move Forward
4:00 pm - 4:45 pm
Sometimes life throws curveballs in the form of finances, sickness, or hiccups during and in our careers. This may be a time to reflect. 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.
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Cindy Foust

Development Officer at ULM, Children's Book Author

Overcoming adversity has become somewhat a way of life for Cindy Foust. Early in her adulthood, her younger sister, Angel, was tragically killed in a car wreck. Angel’s death proved the precariousness of life and that tragedy continues to manifest in her everyday life. In pursuit of a possible career as an attorney, Cindy went to work as a paralegal, a career that would last nearly 25 years. During this time, she reconnected with a high school classmate and they married and started their family. Two years after the birth of her second son, Samuel, he would die unexpectedly from strep pneumonia. Always a writer, she began writing again as a coping mechanism, which resulted in her starting a publishing company: Alpha-kidZ. Within 3 years the company gained traction and began to grow though the help of industry giants like Wal-Mart, and the company found themselves in 187 stores. However, tragedy struck again, and the company office flooded in 2011. In 2012, Cindy found out she had breast cancer and the company would be forced to take a backseat during the recovery process. Years later, the dream continues, as Cindy has relaunched the business with a blog and plans to finish the alphabet-based series. She is currently a Development Officer with the ULM Foundation, a busy mother to two children, as she was able to have another child after Samuel, and has a passion for cooking.

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.