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Panel Track 2

How to Create a Work Culture Supportive of Women 1:15 pm - 2:00 pm

A company’s work culture is a culmination of employee attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs- not to be confused with the core values of an organization that rarely change. Work culture dictates an employee’s experience on the job, including overall morale and individual satisfaction within the workplace. Improving work culture means making sure everyone feels seen and respected. Those in leadership positions should exhibit support and avoid toxic or unethical behavior. Listening and hearing co-workers and subordinates is paramount to promoting a positive work environment. 

Over the past few years, we’ve seen efforts toward creating work cultures supportive of women. Some ramifications include CEOs being fired for sexual harassment and/or sexual misconduct, minimizing the pay gap between men and women, and promoting women to leadership positions while respecting their voices and contributions in those leadership roles. Follow-through is essential to improving a work culture. Dialogue about equity and inclusion must be buttressed with intentional and continuous actions on behalf of those goals. As we work to better work cultures for women, we can’t stop after defining what we deem “bad.” We must actualize a vision for the future of women in the workplace and what it will take for them to thrive in those spaces. 

Work culture improvements must extend to concerns outside of the work environment. We’ve all heard the saying about not bringing home concerns to the workplace, but what about when the reality of our personal lives can’t be ignored. How can we create work cultures that honor, respect, and acknowledge our lives outside the workplace in a more holistic approach to overall job satisfaction?




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Cindy Stone



Cindy Stone is from West Monroe, La. She graduated from West Monroe High School and furthered her education at Northeast Louisiana University (NLU).
Her two sons, daughters-in-law’s and two grandchildren are her pride and joy! Another passion of hers is “fashion” which is summed up in one-word HERRINGSTONE’S. Her sister Debbie and her have been partners for 33 years and have grown their store to five locations and an e-commerce web store. She says “Making people feel beautiful and confident is a joy”.


Dr. Mary Kathryn Criggler

Owner & Dentist

District Dental

Dr. Mary Kathryn Crigler is the dentist and owner of District Dental, a general and cosmetic dental practice in downtown West Monroe. Her expertise ranges from complex restorative treatment planning to comprehensive preventative, cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry. Dr. Crigler’s true passion in dentistry is cosmetics and facial aesthetics, merging her love for science, art, innovative technology and patient care all into one, helping patients to feel more confident about themselves every day. She is also experienced in Laser dentistry and has treated thousands of babies and children in the area and beyond for tongue and lip ties. 

Committed to excellence for her patients, Dr. Crigler, a graduate of LSU School of Dentistry in New Orleans, believes that the most formative parts of her education have occurred since she graduated from dental school. She has far surpassed the state requirement of 30 hours of continuing education every two years by completing nearly 500 hours in the last five. She is a graduate of the Kois Center, the prestigious post-graduate continuing education and research center focused on interdisciplinary cases and complex treatment based in Seattle, Washington, and led by Dr. John Kois, a world-renowned dentist and educator. Today, she is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, Academy of General Dentistry, American Dental Association and the Academy of Laser Dentistry.

Dr. Crigler has an all-female powerhouse team of 15 women at District Dental. She feels that celebrating their strengths, empowering them to reach their full-potential in their roles and allowing them to bring their unique perspectives to the table regularly is a huge part of District Dental’s success. Recently adding District Spa within the walls of District Dental and with more plans of growth in the near future, she feels grateful to have all of these amazing women by her side and on this journey with her. 

Above all else, Dr. Crigler is a mom, her most cherished and important role of all. Her motivation and inspiration in everything she does comes from her three daughters, Camille, Jules and Caroline. She hopes to instill in them the belief that they, as females, have unlimited potential and can do absolutely anything in this world, not in spite of being female, but because of it. 



Debbie Herrington



Debbie Herrington is married to Blake Herrington for 36 years. She has two daughters, a son in law and two grandchildren. 

She is co-owner of HerringStones, with her sister Cindy. She has a women's boutique with five locations and an e-commerce warehouse and have been in business for 33 years. She is a graduate from West Monroe High School and ULM with a degree in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing.

She is honored to acknowledge that she has donated and sponsored many charities through the years.


Friday Ellis


City of Monroe

Mayor Friday Ellis was born in rural Rayville, Louisiana. Friday decided to settle in Monroe and that’s where he met his wife, Ashley. They married in 2001 and like many Americans, their lives were greatly impacted by the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Just two months later, Friday enlisted in the United States Marine Corps to serve his country in its time of need.

After his service, he stepped out on faith and pursued his passion for cigars, opening Governors Cigar and Pipe, a brick-and-mortar retail establishment. But Friday did not stop there; he traveled to Nicaragua, partnered with a well-respected cigar factory, and produced his own line of cigars-the highly sought-after Governor and First Lady. His cigars have been sold to customers around the world.

Mayor Ellis is an advocate of entrepreneurship and business growth. He encourages community and civic development and involvement at local and state levels. In 2019, he was named Free Enterprise Champion by the Louisiana Business and Industry.

In 2020 Mayor Ellis was appointed to the Louisiana Legislative Task Force on Economic Recovery, charged with developing comprehensive policy, legislative, and regulatory recommendations to immediately re-start the Louisiana economy in response to the COVID-19 crisis. He also serves as the Board Director to the Louisiana Local Government Environmental Facilities and Community Development Authority.

Mayor Ellis is a 2019 graduate of Louisiana Leadership, a 2022 graduate of the Delta Leadership Institute, and locally, he was recognized as Monroe’s Professionals Top 20 Under 40.

Mayor Ellis was awarded the Vanguard Award for his efforts toward the empowerment of women and inclusion in northeast Louisiana.

In June of 2022, Mayor Ellis was selected to participate in the Authentic Leadership Executive Education Course at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. This is an exclusive opportunity extended to Mayor Ellis through his participation in the 2022 class of the Delta Leadership Institute.

In October of 2022, Mayor Ellis was awarded the Leadership Award by the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation. The Leadership Award recognizes an individual who is making or has made a significant contribution to the advocacy and/or promotion of historic preservation, or the development of his or her cultural discipline in a community, region, or state.

Mayor Ellis and First Lady Ashley have three children: Friday III, Asher, and Aurie. All three children attend Monroe City Schools. First Lady Ellis was elected to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, representing 19 parishes in District 5.



What’s Your Business Strategy: Ideas to Execution 2:15 pm - 3:00 pm

Venturing into the unknown world of entrepreneurship takes guts, particularly in a post-Covid economy. In the news we see that women-owned and minority-owned businesses are on the rise. Entrepreneurship, while still intimidating, appears more viable and tempting in a world where we all are rethinking the structures of our lives and prioritizing what matters most. Perhaps you are thinking of going out on your own and starting your own business. Perhaps the grind of the corporate world is no longer fulfilling and you desire a significant change. But most people stop there, fantasizing about shifting the trajectory of their lives while never taking that leap. 

Input from entrepreneurs who have traversed the path is essential to a first-time business owner’s success. You might ask how viable is that creative dream and will it financially sustain during and after the transition. 

In this interactive dialogue panel, we will explore a step-by-step approach to making your entrepreneurial dream a reality. We will hear from and interact with women entrepreneurs, at various levels of business development, who have successfully navigated the process of starting and sustaining their own businesses. Successful entrepreneurship is not a seamless process. Failures inevitably accumulate before success manifests. Anticipating those hiccups and learning when to pivot and when to wait is a delicate balance best-advised by those who have leapt before us. Our panelists will answer your questions about branching out on your own and/or whether to consider a partnership. Risks are the spice of life- a sign of a life well lived. While financial concerns and well-being are vital to this conversation, they should not necessarily be a hindrance.



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Jackie Daily


The Connective Brand

Jackie Daily is a creative entrepreneur with 15 years under her belt.  She started her entrepreneurial journey as a wedding photographer who shifted into brand photography and now brand and web design with her business, The Connective Brand.  She has worked with several of our local business owners to create their websites, which helps them to foster a digital connection with their community.

Hartley Waldrop


The Good Daze

Hartley Waldrop is the owner of The Good Daze, a vintage clothing and local goods store located in the heart of Downtown Monroe. Hartley started her business HARTFORSTYLE at the age of sixteen selling vintage clothing on Instagram and at local events. As her business continued to grow, she decided to rebrand and open a storefront in a growing area. As an Ouachita Parish native, she knew the need for having a fun space like The Good Daze, something that was lacking in her community. Along with selling vintage clothing, Hartley’s shop also hosts a large number of local artists and makers who have a chance to sell their goods. Her shop is also a frequent spot for small businesses to host pop-ups and workshops. Hartley has served as a Downtown Gallery Crawl member since May of 2022 and continues to be an active voice in the Downtown Arts Community. Along with owning her business, Hartley also hosts a podcast called “HARTFORBIZ”, a sub-part of HARTFORSTYLE which is now a platform that helps Gen-Z Entrepreneurs start businesses and learn useful tips from Hartley and other small business owners. Her goal with her business and her podcast is ultimately to create a sense of community and to help others reach their goals.




Anahy Meja


Vence & Co.

Anahy Mejia-Saterfiel has lived in West Monroe, Louisiana, for fifteen years and has been married to Carter Saterfiel, an RN at St. Francis Hospital, for two and a half. Anahy was born and raised in Mexico, moving to the United States with her family at the age of 11. She was born in Tampico, Tamaulipas, a port city with a renowned, vibrant history. Anahy, or “Mrs. Mejia” as her students call her, currently serves as an English instructor at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. She received her Bachelor’s in English from Louisiana Tech and her Master’s degree from ULM.

As a graduate student, Anahy founded an online shop with hopes of helping other women in professional fields find cute clothes that they would be excited to wear at work. Vence & Co. made its online debut in October of 2017 and has grown to amass a strong social media following, as well as worldwide contracting for design exclusives. Vence & Co.’s first storefront officially opened in August of 2022, marking the stepping stone from an online operation to a brick-and-mortar location that has exponentially grown in its opening months. As an educator and entrepreneur, Anahy considers herself a professional “dreamer” who hopes to help others explore their potential both in the classroom and through fashion.












Growing a Small Business: Where to Start and What is Key? 3:15 pm - 4:00 pm

You’ve taken the leap and started your own business. The hard part is over - right? Not so fast, owning a business is akin to having a significant other. That relationship with your budding business takes time and attention, and often more time and attention than might feel comfortable or sustainable. Businesses ebb and flow, meaning inevitable highs and lows. Navigating those tenuous waters when your financial future and emotional well-being are on the line comes with immense pressure. Taking on additional staff and managing others' livelihoods is a tremendous responsibility and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Taking the initial leap seems small in comparison to encouraging others to jump after you. Yet, the continued success of businesses all around us prove that the reward is often worth the additional risk and continued sacrifice. Every business began with an initial idea; growing that idea is another challenge. 

Business growth is the next step after launching a new enterprise. Do you have additional ideas, avenues, and ventures to grow your business? Are you familiar with marketing, including the bevy of platforms from which people can become interested in your business? Do you know your market? Who is your customer/consumer? Has your relatively short business experience produced a solid profile? Can you expand that demographic without compromising the business? These valid questions should be addressed by those who know the market, particularly those who know yours. This interactive dialogue with our panelists can help you learn what to do next, including when and how.




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Onna Gallagher


Inside Eyes

Onna Gallagher is s 1980 graduate of Winnsboro High School, Onna came to ULM (NLU) as a 17 year old education major, PR minor, and participated in vocal and theater performance. She was also a 1983 ULM prep staff and the first VP of NLU 31 under the leadership of Don Weems and Patsy Rials.  Her on campus jobs included the Natatorium and “school services,” which is now the recruitment and admissions office. After graduation she worked in Caddo parish schools, then went to work for IBM in Human Resources in training. She later worked as Senior Corporate Recruiter and Trainer for CenturyLink (now LUMEN) These opportunities exposed her to a varied number of career paths that are available in the education arena,  small businesses, and corporate world, and as well as the vast number of individuals who are less than content with their career choices. Onna decided to try to remedy this and started her own consulting company in 2002, Inside Eyes, with the hopes of  testing both students and adults to help find fulfilling career paths, based on methodology she developed. People learn what makes them tick and what ticks them OFF!!! Another component of her practice is interview prep and many days, you will find her consulting with applicants for hospitals, corporations, and also, Medical school applicants,  PT, PA, law school, speech path, and young women competing in the Miss America system. She has clients as young as 15 and as old as 58. This is a people development company which invests in helping others “find your fit in a career” and in LIFE. She’s also presented modules for making your marriage thrive at her church, North Monroe.  She is married to Alan and they have four grown kids. More importantly, she is a grandmother or “Sassy” to two little girls, Landry and Marienne and is already analyzing what personality and interaction styles they exhibit.  So, if you have an upcoming interview, call her and allow her to guide you, prepare you, and be your “Inside Eyes.”


Kelsey Hankins

Director of Gymnastics

Bayou Gymnastics

Kelsey Hankins is a native of Vicksburg, MS and has 20+ years of coaching experience in gymnastics, cheerleading, and tumbling. In addition to coaching, she had 9 years of competitive gymnastics experience, as well as cheerleading at both high school and college level. As a graduate of Mississippi State University, she had the honor of cheering on both Co-Ed and All Girl cheerleading squads during her time in Starkville, MS.

She attributes my love of gymnastics to the Lord and look forward to sharing her knowledge and experience with this beautiful community! Kelsey lives in Sterlington with her husband, Zack, and her two daughters, Riley and Aly.


Natalie Gregg


LA Chaos

Born and raised in Sterlington, Louisiana, Natalie Gregg graduated from Sterlington High School and then ULM with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing. Natalie has been coaching and doing cheer and dance choreography for the last 20 years. While working for the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA), Natalie coached in the U.S. and internationally. She spent one year with UCA in Gaungzhou, China. While abroad Natalie developed an appreciation for different cultures and learned how to communicate with people of diverse backgrounds. The experience helped Natalie grow as a coach and learn the fundamentals to open her own gym. After a brief tenure with Enterprise and various tumbling gyms across town, Natalie took the leap and opened LA Chaos Athletics in 2016. Since then, LA Chaos has expanded to include an AllStar program. She coaches 175 athletes and trains 52 AllStar competition athletes. Natalie loves bringing her BIG personality to the cheer mat every day. Natalie and her husband Jamarr have a 22-month-old son named Prince and three dogs - Penny, Sheldon, and Winston.

Sade Johnson

CEO & Owner

Jubilant Soapsétion

Sadé Johnson is a Monroe native. In 2013, she became a part of Richwood High School alumni. As a child, she always knew that the idea of working for someone else was not on her to-do list. However, she has always aspired to be a veterinarian. She graduated from Louisiana Delta Community College with an Associate’s in Business Technology in 2017. Throughout various job positions, including delivery driver, cashier, and assistant manager, prior to owning her own business, one thing remained the same - customer service. She is now the full time business owner of Jubilant Soapsétions which is a natural bath and body company that specializes in scented bar soaps. Her slogan is to “Make Your Skin Smile,” and she ensures quality with each and every product. She resides in West Monroe, LA, and is also a single parent to an amazing daughter.