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Panel Track 3
 In the Sandbox 1:15 pm - 2:00 pm
You may work within a diverse organization, but do you work within an inclusive organization?
An inclusive workplace embraces diverse backgrounds and perspectives, which empowers employees to feel appreciated, welcome, and essential to the company. In an inclusive workplace, all employees have equal access to professional opportunities, such as promotions and discussions with top administrators.
Bias hinders an inclusive workplace. Did you know that unconscious bias—social stereotypes regarding specific groups of people—is significantly more common than conscious bias? These unfair beliefs, conscious or unconscious, can target one's race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, weight, and many more.
How can you make your workplace more inclusive? When you respond to employee surveys, be candid and forthcoming with your opinions regarding your company’s environment. Initiate an employee resource committee that organizes and celebrates diversity. Welcome ideas that differ from yours, and support your colleagues. When you hear inappropriate jokes born from bias, say something. Building a robust and collaborative team means creating an environment in which people can build upon each other’s strengths.
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Dr. Tonya Hawkins Hunter

Owner & M.D.

The Well Woman Center

Born in the small town of Bastrop, LA, Dr. Tonya Hawkins Hunter learned the values of hard work and education from her parents, Clarence and Barbara Hawkins.  Dr. Hunter attended public schools in Morehouse Parish until her sophomore year.  She then matriculated to the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts in Natchitoches, Louisiana where she graduated with honors.  From there, Dr. Hunter moved to New Orleans where she enrolled at Tulane University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering.  Dr. Hunter remained in New Orleans for medical school and residency at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.  She completed her residency in 2002 in obstetrics and gynecology.

Dr. Hunter returned to the Northeast Louisiana area after residency in 2002 and began her practice by joining The Woman’s Clinic of Monroe.  She quickly became a partner of the clinic and remained a part of the large single-specialty group until January  2017.  Dr. Hunter opened her solo practice - The Well Woman Center on July 26, 2017.   She currently has a busy obstetrics and gynecology practice of over 5000 patients serving the Northeast Louisiana  area.  Dr. Hunter is board- certified and a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.  She specializes in group prenatal care, care of pediatric and adolescent women, minimally invasive surgery including robotic surgery and care for women with substance abuse disorders.  

She has served as president of the Ouachita Medical Society.  Dr. Hunter  has also served as a member of the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners.  Dr. Hunter has served on the board of directors of several community and nonprofit organizations including NOVA, The Monroe Symphony Orchestra, The Center for Children and Families (CASA), The Children’s Coalition Board of Governors, and The Louisiana Domestic Abuse and Violence Coalition, and The Northeast Louisiana Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation Advisory Board.   She has been named as one of the “Sweet Sixteen” most influential women of the Delta and was featured in the News Star and Delta Style Magazine.  She has consistently been recognized as one of Louisiana’s “Top Doctors” in several national periodicals and publications.

Dr. Hunter is an active member of the Monroe Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Incorporated, a public service sorority.  She is also a member of the Monroe-Grambling Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and the Place Aux Dames Civic and Social Club of Morehouse Parish.  Dr. Hunter is a life-long member of the St. Mary CME Temple in Bastrop, Louisiana where she serves as a youth and young adult leader, musician and a member of the praise team.

Dr. Hunter is married to Judge Marcus L. Hunter (Louisiana’s Second Circuit Court of Appeal).  They have three lovely children: Faith Victoria, Angel Emmanuel, and Hugh Carmichael.

Dr. Hunter strongly believes in the importance of keeping God as the navigator in all aspects of her life.   She holds close to the old adage, "To whom much is given, much is required."   Dr. Hunter is a perpetual trendsetter with a style all her own. She possesses a servant's heart coupled with the strong desire to make a powerful impact on the lives of others in this chaotic world of today.


Nadia Morris

Associate AIA & Project Manager

Blueboat International

Nadia Morris is a Project Manager for BlueBoat International—an architect-lead finish supplier for multi-family projects across the nation. Prior to her current position, she practiced architecture in a traditional role in the Monroe area. Her involvement in the historic renovation of the Georgia Tucker school building earned the project the AIA Gulf States Honor Award in 2019. 

She received a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies degree from Louisiana Tech University in 2009 and a Master of Architecture from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2011, where she was honored with the Alumni Award for her thesis project, A Common Sense.

Nadia’s love for the arts and community participation led her to become involved with Habitat Humanity as a volunteer from 2014 to 2015, and the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council as a board member from 2017 to 2021. In her free time, Nadia enjoys practicing yoga, reading, traveling, and gardening. 

Nadia and her partner, Bunty, live and raise their two-year-old daughter, Zuri, in Monroe.


Lyla Corkern

Owner & CEO

Finding Solace

Lyla Corkern is the owner and CEO of Finding Solace, a private counseling agency in West Monroe.  Since 2014, she has worked to create an environment where anyone from any walk of life can seek mental health support.  Over the years, other professionals have risen to the call to serve and she now has a staff of 21 who all share the mission to create positive change and be a beacon of support to our community.   Since the beginning of the pandemic, Lyla Corkern has been active in pursuing ways to serve our community’s growing need for mental health support.She recently graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program where she was able to explore new clinical services to provide, how to provide more services at discounted or no cost, and how to maximize her company’s strengths to serve our area well.  With 70% growth in the last year, she now has a 5-year growth plan that will focus on providing personal and professional development for her diverse team, creating more clinical services, and establishing more free resources for our community.



 Communicating Across Boundaries 2:15 pm - 3:00 pm
Are you an introvert? An extrovert? Or somewhere in between? In this interactive workshop, you will take a personality test and learn exactly how you work. You will also learn how to work with—and value—others whose personalities differ from your own.
Learn how your colleagues prefer to operate and how you can adapt accordingly. Maybe one colleague prefers to work in her office with her door closed, while another prefers a standing desk in an open space. When people feel that their preferences are being honored, they are genuinely happier at work. Practicing emotional intelligence, a skill that people can learn, is another critical component to a harmonious workplace. An emotionally intelligent person understands her weaknesses and strengths. She calmly expresses her emotions, is self-motivated, empathizes with others, and possesses strong people skills. Emotional intelligence results in less gossiping and more conflict resolution.
Not surprisingly, workplace conflict happens almost every day. Women, who are socialized to be communal and nurturing, tend to avoid conflict. Conflict doesn’t have to be excruciating. Learn how to view negotiation as an opportunity to gain something instead of taking something from someone. Evaluate perceived barriers and determine if they are real or imagined. Begin each negotiation with the other person’s goals in mind, ask questions during the discussion, listen, and answer accordingly.
As a leader, learn to recognize your weaknesses and hire employees who can contribute to your gaps. Strong leaders hire strong, independent people—they aren’t intimidated by them. Effective leaders do not want complacent employees, but instead, those with different opinions that they are willing to voice. Does your workplace foster a healthy exchange of diverse ideas from different people?
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Stacy Gibson

Inventory Analyst

Choice Brands

She is also founder and president of the Louisiana LunaChicks, established in 2019.  This is a group of 40+ diverse ladies dedicated to serving communities through service projects, donations, volunteerism, etc.  They also perform through dance at various parades, festivals, fundraising events, charities, etc.

Stacy is a mom of one son who is a senior in high school.  Her hobbies are gardening, dancing, and spending time with friends. 



Michelli Martin

Communications Director

City of Monroe

Michelli Martin is a 2009 graduate of the University of Louisiana Monroe where she earned her Master’s degree in Mass Communication. Michelli earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Louisiana Tech University and has extensive experience in research, communications, writing and public speaking. She has also worked as a Health Initiatives Representative for the American Cancer Society.

She currently works as Communications Director for the City of Monroe. Previously, Michelli served as Anchor and Political Reporter for KTVE NBC 10 News. Michelli lives in Ruston with her husband, Brandon and their daughter, Elliott.



 Equality and Power Dynamics in the Workplace 3:15 pm - 4:00 pm
Many of us have experienced sexual harassment, or we know someone who has. There are blatant incidents of sexual harassment, and there are gray areas. Innuendos and inappropriate comments contribute to a hostile workplace. So, what constitutes sexual harassment? A few examples include sexual assault, comments about a person’s physical appearance, suggestive texts and emails, vulgar jokes, unwanted physical contact, requests for sexual favors, conversations about sex, and the suggestion that an employee can advance if she complies with sexual advances.
In this interactive workshop, you will learn how to protect yourself physically and how to combat sexual harassment. Document every detail surrounding your experience, including a timeline of the harassment. Learn how to tell someone you are rejecting their advances. For example, “Do not give me compliments. It makes me uncomfortable.” Depending on where you work, you will have several ways to report the incident. Check with your Human Resources Department to learn your options.
Are you worried about retaliation? Retaliation is a significant reason many women do not report sexual harassment incidents. Remember: retaliation is also illegal. If you report sexual harassment, and the occurrence does not meet the legal definition of sexual harassment, you still have a case for retaliation if you were fired or demoted for filing a report.
Most importantly, remember to take care of yourself, both mentally and physically. Sexual harassment can be traumatic. Lean on your support network, and consult with a professional. A therapist will help you process your experience so that you can heal and avoid long-term emotional consequences such as doubting your abilities even in future jobs.
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Erica Cheung

Assistant Athletic Director of NCAA Compliance & Senior Woman Administrator for ULM Athletics

University of Louisiana at Monroe

Erika Cheung is the Assistant Athletic Director of NCAA Compliance and Senior Woman Administrator for ULM Athletics. She oversees all of compliance, student-athlete development, SAAC, and is sports supervisor over Beach Volleyball, Indoor Volleyball, Tennis, and Women’s Golf. She is also the conference administrator for baseball. In her role, she works to ensure the compliance with all NCAA bylaws and waivers, runs our student-athlete advisory committee, and is working towards building a program of student-athlete development to focus on life-skills and post-graduate work for the athletes. As sports supervisor she works closely with the coaches on planning their seasons, and is alongside the athletes to support them with whatever they need. She currently resides in Monroe with her dog, Bella. 

Prior to her arrival at ULM, Cheung was the Associate Director of NCAA Compliance at Tulane University in New Orleans. There she was tasked with administering all parts of compliance related to recruiting and playing and practice seasons, as well as helping with SAAC, eligibility, and rules education. During her tenure at Tulane, she was also one of the Area Directors for Special Olympics New Orleans. In that role she coached Special Olympics softball in Jefferson Parish, hosted the Tulane/LSU Rivalry Basketball Game, started the Special Olympics club at Tulane that created Unified Leagues for basketball, football, swimming, tennis, and track in Orleans Parish, and started the Annual Special Olympics Prom. She also worked with the state governing board on expanding the program in New Orleans, and helped plan events and sports teams within the program. 

Cheung is a graduate of Tulane Law School, where she earned her Sports Law Certificate, after graduating from the University of Texas with her Bachelors in Political Communication and a Business Foundations Certificate. Cheung is a former softball player and is originally from Mission Viejo, California.


Keri King

Assistant to the Provost

Louisiana Tech Unviersity

King has more than 15 years combined experience in the fields of healthcare, higher education, and in the hospitality industries. She is a proud undergraduate from Louisiana Tech University, and graduate from the University of Louisiana of Monroe. King was a first generation graduate and wanted to make a difference for students who shared this same experience with her. 

King makes a difference by contributing daily to a culture that is committed to cultivate learners, leaders, and mentors for academic and professional development. She achieves this goal by providing administrative support to senior leadership in her day-to-day work. Her commitment to cultivate learners, leaders and mentors continues at the dining tables of Louisiana Tech University.

In 2019, King received her Business and Social Etiquette Instructor certification from The Etiquette Institute. During her presentations, she emphasizes the importance of seeking a mentor and the value that these relationships can provide for their professional future. King firmly believes that every student in Louisiana should attend a dining etiquette experience. King is thankful to work with like-minded individuals who desire to invest in our future workforce. 

King was born and raised in Chalmette, Louisiana. She is proud to call Ruston, Louisiana her forever home. She is wife to Lane and mother to Kennady (12). In their spare time, the Kings enjoy camping, fishing, and playing cards with their friends. King also enjoys volunteering with nonprofit organizations and community events. 



Rebecca Mixon

Manager of Tabacco Cessation & Community Benefit Programs

St. Francis Medical Center

Rebecca Mixon manages St. Francis Medical Center’s Community Benefits and Tobacco Cessation Program. SFMC’s parent company, the Baton Rouge-based Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, also recently appointed her to the role of FMOLHS Community Benefit Coordinator. In this role, she works with FMOLHS hospitals Ministry-wide to align initiatives that address social determinants of health for vulnerable populations. These initiatives are driven by significant needs identified every three years as part of the Community Health Needs Assessment process as defined by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

A two-time Louisiana Tech graduate (BA, M.Ed.) who also has a degree from the University of Texas at Tyler (MA), Rebecca grew up in Crossett, Ark., and never planned to live in the area again after leaving. She lived in Texas and Georgia but temporarily moved back to Ouachita Parish in 2002 to be near family. Fast forward to 2022, and you can find her most days trying to figure out how 20 years passed. There are three girls following her around a mortgaged home calling her “Mama,” and life looks happily settled for someone who was only going to be here for a while.

Life has changed, and so has she. And that’s okay.