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Panel Track 2
Sisterhood and Solidarity: Mentorship in the Workplace 1:15 pm - 2:00 pm

The social complexities of the workplace can make our professional environments tenuous. Workplaces come with their own unique cultures, including workers with varying job titles, skill sets, and existing friend groups. Finding a tribe in the workplace is as important as diversifying one’s circle. Maintaining congenial relationships is key to career advancement, yet so is setting boundaries. Identifying and investing in mentorship is vital to professional mobility. We can be mentored while we mentor others. Our panel of experts will tackle mentorship from both angles - how to find and ask for mentoring and how to play a role in mentoring someone else. 

Amanda May Kristin Chandler Jessica Wilson

Amanda May

Corporate Trainer

Varsity Spirit

​​Amanda is the Corporate Trainer for Varsity Spirit in the Training & Education Division. She is in charge of on-boarding all new employees as well as developing and motivating veteran employees on the sales and staffing teams. She loves being able to encourage, support, and cheer on her teammates at Varsity Spirit. 

Amanda spent the first part of her professional career as a college football sideline reporter. She was a face on camera, a voice on radio, and writer for many feature articles on athletes at both Louisiana State University and the University of Louisiana Monroe. At the height of her reporting career, she was 1 of 3 female reporters to ever be a member of a collegiate radio network team. 

In 2007, Amanda was crowned Miss Louisiana, which allowed her to speak to over 100,000 people during her year of service. She fell in love with the University of Louisiana Monroe during her year as Miss Louisiana. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Louisiana State University, but chose to attend the University of Louisiana Monroe to receive her Master’s in Business Administration. While in grad school, she worked in several different capacities at ULM. She was a graduate assistant in athletics, coached the Hawkline, became the Spirit Coordinator and also served as Interim Director of Student Life. 

As the Women’s Ministry Coordinator at her local church, God has uniquely prepared her to use passion, life experience and ministry to lead people to God’s word, which is the The Ultimate Playbook. Her husband, Brent, also serves as the Minister of Worship for their home church and is principal of a local middle school. They live in West Monroe, Louisiana raising their small but mighty team of 3 beautiful children to love Jesus and of course cheer on the ULM Warhawks.

Kristin Chandler

Executive Director 

Career Development & Student Affairs ULM 

Kristin is twice an alumna of ULM earning her degrees in Social Work and Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Kristin began working at ULM in 2010 and has served in many roles across the campus. Her experiences include academic advising, online admissions, recruitment, career services, and now she oversees the Office of Career Development and Student Development as the Executive Director.

Jessica Wilson

Marketing Director.

Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union

Jessica Wilson, a dedicated professional with an impressive 22-year tenure at Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union, where she currently serves as the Marketing Director. Throughout her career, she has been instrumental in crafting and executing innovative marketing strategies that have significantly contributed to the credit union's growth and success. Her expertise lies in developing impactful campaigns and fostering strong relationships with members. She enjoys playing a key role in enhancing the credit union's brand visibility and market presence, contributing to its position as a trusted financial institution in the community. As a Top 20 under 40 recipient, a graduate of Leadership Ouachita, and a partner in various community groups, she prides herself on being a resident of this wonderful community alongside her husband Mike Wilson and their two children, Anslee and Cameron. 



She Means Business: EntrepreHERship and Innovation  2:15 pm - 3:00 pm

Balancing a work life and home life is fraught with hard decisions and well-intended mistakes. Making the choice to start a business is the first step in becoming an entrepreneur. Some people choose to go it alone while others lean on business partners. Some people take out business loans while others put up their own capital. Navigating these decisions is a complex process best informed by learning the experiences of others. Our panel of female entrepreneurs will share their own stories of entrepreneurship, how they handled financial and emotional turmoil in the process, and what they would and would not do again. 

Joy wilson


Angelique Drew

Lisa Govan

Joy Caissie

Owner Bayou Joy, LLC

Joy Caissie, a 46-year-old resident of Monroe, Louisiana, originally hailing from West Monroe, boasts a substantial background in Human Resources, dedicating eight years to Vantage Health Plan. Through a pivotal transition from her corporate role, Joy discovered her genuine passion for hospitality. She currently co-owns Bayou Joy, LLC.

Married to Clay Caissie for six years and a mother of three adult children. Joy, alongside her husband, co-founded the distinctive flagship Airbnb, Bayou Long Beard, in March 2018. Further expanding their ventures, they introduced Monroe Mojave and a part-time rental, Blue Heron on the Bayou. Beyond these, they co-host numerous other short-term rentals and offer comprehensive property management services.


Functioning as a dynamic team, the Caissie’s have wholeheartedly embraced the art of hospitality, providing diverse accommodations for guests seeking solace, relaxation, or celebration. Their primary Airbnb, uniquely attached to their home, enables them to personally welcome and guide each guest, ensuring a comprehensive experience of all offered amenities. With a commitment to connecting with guests, sharing stories, and creating memorable stays, the Caissie’s cater to a broad clientele, including university students and families.


Driven by the belief in engaging all five senses of their guests, the Caissie’s aspire to meet their needs proactively, offering a unique experience at Bayou Joy. Come and experience joy on the bayou with Bayou Joy!

Angelique Drew

OwnerKravins Restaurant

"Angelique Drew, a Monroe, LA native and proud Neville High School alumna, embodies an entrepreneurial drive that ignited during her junior high days. It was during those years that she launched her first business; selling concessions among her classmates.

Despite facing the challenges of single parenthood as a teenager, she defied the odds and refused to succumb to statistics. During her 13-year banking career, beginning at age of 19, she simultaneously founded Southern Heritage tax service, which she continues to personally oversee. Her trusted expertise spans over 15 years, cementing her reputation as a trusted tax professional. Not content with these achievements, she embarked upon another business. In July 2016, Kravins Restaurant opened its doors, fulfilling another dream of offering exceptional customer service and fresh, made-to-order food. This family-owned gem deeply roots itself in the community, actively supporting churches, schools, and nonprofits, while extending special discounts to community protectors and seniors.  

Additionally, as a real estate investor, she purchased her first home at 21 and looks to help first-time home buyers purchase their home.  Her overarching goal remains steadfast—to elevate and fortify the underserved community of northeast Louisiana. Amidst her bustling life as a mother to a special needs child, she passionately invests time and resources into various charitable causes, dedicated to giving back to her community."


Lisa Govan

CEO and OwnerLisa Govan Realty

Lisa Govan has not only established herself as a highly accomplished professional in the real estate industry but has also made history as the first African American to achieve remarkable success. As the CEO and Owner of Lisa Govan Realty, she brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the table.

Lisa Govan's career as a Realtor spans over seven years since June 2016 with three spent with THLT Realty. Lisa Govan is a Multimillion Dollar Real Estate Producer, and her excellence has led to nominations for "Best Realtor" in the prestigious "Best of the Delta" awards. Lisa has also earned a position among the Top 5% of Realtors in Northeast Louisiana.

She is a proud member of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, West Monroe Chamber of Commerce, and The Jr League. Lisa's commitment to education is evident through her role as a Board member of Education for the NELA Realtor Association. Additionally, she serves as a Board of Adjustment member for the City of Monroe, contributing to the local governance.

Adding to her illustrious career, Lisa Govan made history as the first African American to achieve a significant milestone in 2022. She sold an impressive 84 units, amounting to over $16 million in volume. This accomplishment not only solidifies her position as a top-performing Realtor but also establishes her as a trailblazer in the real estate industry. Outside of her professional commitments, Lisa continues to enjoy spending quality time with family and friends and nurturing her passion for traveling, adding a personal touch to her well-rounded and historic success.



Impactful Leaders: The Power of Female Friendship 3:15 pm - 4:00 pm

Cultivating a friend group becomes increasingly harder as we grow older. The newness of social situations does not rise as organically as it did in our youth. As we experience life changes, our needs from friends change as well. Finding new personal relationships can feel like high school all over again. Sunsetting old friendships that no longer serve us can feel like abandoning people. Since friendships are so inherently personal, it’s inevitable that we will let others down or be let down by people we care about. Our panel of friendship experts will explore how to navigate the ebbs and flows of seasonal friendships and lifetime commitments, making the most of our time without spreading ourselves too thin. 


Cyndi Hanks


Temika Loyd-Cooks Taylor Jopling

Cyndi Hanks

Lead Analyst in Marketing Lumen

Cydni graduated from Louisiana State University and is employed by Lumen as a Lead Analyst in Marketing for system integration and product implementation. She has been with the company for 15 years. In 2017 she received the prestigious Top 20 Under 40 Young Professional Award. Cydni is a past president of the Junior League of Monroe and currently sits as advisor to the board. She was awarded the Junior League of Monroe Volunteer of the Year Award in 2021 for above and beyond volunteer service to the community and organization. Cydni is also on the board of directors for West Monroe High School Alumni & Friends as well as the Ben Caldwell Memorial Scholarship. She is a wife and very proud mother of her 7-year-old son, Klein.


Temika Loyd-Cooks

Senior Project Manager-Housing Specialist

Aetna Better Health of Louisiana

Temika Loyd-Cooks, a seasoned professional with a diverse background, currently serves as the Senior Project Manager-Housing Specialist for Aetna Better Health of Louisiana, a Medicaid provider dedicated to enhancing healthcare services across the state. Simultaneously, she is the proud owner of Terrific Travels by Temika, a flourishing travel agency catering to the wanderlust of her clients.

Born and raised in Lake Providence, Louisiana, Temika's educational journey includes graduating from Lake Providence Senior High School in 1993. She pursued higher education at Jackson State University, earning both a bachelor's and master’s degree in education. Additionally, she holds a Master of Social Work degree from Louisiana State University, showcasing her commitment to continuous learning and expertise in multiple disciplines.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Temika is an active and engaged member of the community. She plays a vital role in the Junior League of Monroe, where she chairs the Provisional Membership Committee, contributing to the organization's commitment to community service and leadership development. She is also an active member of the Jackson State University Byram-Terry Alumni Chapter, and the Jackson State University Blue Bengals Athletic Association. Volunteerism is at the hallmark of Temika’s character which she displays by volunteering and serving on the steering committee for the NELA Music Awards and as a hostess for the Miss Louisiana Pageant. Her dedication to community involvement was further recognized through her participation in Leadership Ouachita, graduating in 2014. In 2015, Temika was honored with the NELA Young Professionals’ prestigious Top 20 under 40 award, a testament to her exemplary leadership and impact in her community.

Temika attributes her passion for community service to her deep-rooted faith in God. She is a proud member of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, where she works with the youth department, nurturing the next generation. Her commitment to empowering others extends to her role as a loving wife and dedicated mother to her adult son.



Taylor Jopling

Personal trainer and co-owner

Tribe 31 Training

Taylor Jopling is a personal trainer and co-owner of Tribe 31 Training. She attended ULM for 3 years and found her passion for personal training after helping her college friends in the gym. After finding her passion for women’s personal training and nutrition coaching, she never looked back! Taylor has been training full-time for 6 years now. Taylor is married to her husband, Johnny, and a mom to her son, Shep.  

Taylor and her business partner, Jo Ellen Gilliland, have created a positive space for women to achieve their goals in a group setting. Their mission is to equip women with strength in all seasons of life through physical, mental, and spiritual training. They provide coaching, consistency, & community to women of all ages which has led to more confident & empowered women. 

Taylor believes every woman is on a journey, whether it's in the gym, at work, with family, or pursuing dreams. Just like training requires discipline, achieving goals in life takes dedication. She wants to help women bring the gym mentality into their everyday lives, helping them unleash their inner strength and resilience.