Thirty participants graduated from the Monroe Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Council’s Leadership Ouachita program at a celebration reception held last week at Bayou DeSiard Country Club.

This was the Leadership program’s 30th graduating class.

The purpose of Leadership Ouachita is to develop and empower the emerging leaders of Northeast Louisiana to transform the region into a place recognized as one of the best places to live and do business. Class members engage in a series of sessions focused on education and workforce development, economic development and infrastructure.

The program also provides insight on public decision making, practical and in-depth discussions on public issues pertinent to Ouachita Parish, an expanded knowledge and understanding of the community in which we live, and the opportunity to develop lasting relationships with growing and established leaders in a neutral environment. Since the class inception twenty-eight years ago, over 770 people have graduated from the program.

The 2018 Leadership Ouachita graduates are: Jorgen Aaen, Lakeshore Ace Hardware; Lynda Alderman, CenturyLink; Quandrea Allen, Origin Bank; Darian Atkins, Louisiana Delta Community College ; Jamie Bass, Origin Bank; Liz Beinkemper, Origin Bank; Jared Benjamin, MGB Properties; Jerrica Bennett, Monroe-West Convention and Visitors Bureau; Kelsey Bohl, University of Louisiana at Monroe; Katie Burke; Morgan Buxton, JP Morgan Chase; Amber Deutsch, Louisiana Delta Community College; Justin Downs, Louisiana Small Business Development Center; Mitchell Gill, University Health Conway; Roshonda Gospel, City of Monroe ; Kelli Green, Centric Federal Credit Union; Adam Greene, Newcomer Morris, & Young; Heath Heisler, Homeland Federal Savings Bank; Hailey Hill, St Francis Medical Center; Amy Keifenheim, Monroe West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau; Hagan Lawrence, Lazenby & Associates; Morgan Livingston, Paul Hurd Attorney at Law; Justin Mailhes, Argent Advisors; Shauna Bradley, Diversity One/People Source; Ronnie Scott, The Stage Coach; Dawn Stewart, Specialty Management Services of Ouachita; Jeff Stockstill, Heard, McElroy & Vestal; Amanda Thompson, First National Bank; Nichole Wallace, MoeBiz and Matthew Williams, MKM Enterprise.

During the Ceremony, Alberta Green was named the 27th Annual James M. Shipp, Jr. Memorial Young Business Leader of the Year. This award is presented annually to a young man or woman in Ouachita Parish who has displayed outstanding leadership and service. The award was named in honor of James M. Shipp, Jr. Jim was the IMC general manager that was tragically killed during the explosion at the IMC plant in Sterlington in 1991. He was a Monroe Chamber board member and an active leader in the community.

Past recipients of this prestigious award include: Brent Henley, Tom Nicholson, David Cattar, George Cummings, Harvey Hales, Ed Major, Debbie Sawyer, Mike Ryan, Bruce Hanks, Dr. David Uth, Terry Baugh, Jerry Daigle, Taylor Cagle, Jim Crotwell, Judge Wendell Manning, LJ Holland, Aimee Kane, Christian Creed, Stephen Harrison, Kevin Woods, Stewart Keyes, Michael Echols, Laura Kilpatrick Marchelos, Ashley West, Jeff Laudenheimer, James Moore, III and Matt West.

Kelli Green, with Centric Federal Credit Union was given the Charlie Mac “Twice as Much” Award. Kelli was selected by fellow classmates as the participant who displayed twice as much caring, giving and respect throughout the year. Previous winners were Stephanie Rivers, Staci Albritton, Christie Messinger, Andrew Osakue, Terry Blakeney, Jake Wilson, Donald Johnson and DeRon Talley.

2019 Leadership Ouachita class nominations are being accepted now and are encouraged from all segments of the community.

Individuals may apply or nominate those they feel best exemplify the philosophy of Leadership Ouachita. The application deadline for the 2019 class is December 28, 2018. Applications may be picked up at the Monroe Chamber or interested parties may contact Daphne Garrett at 807-4018 or


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