Baton Rouge Area Leadership Announces Class of 2017

Baton Rouge Area Leadership Announces Class of 2017
Diverse group continues tradition of preparing region’s next cohort of leaders

Baton Rouge, LA (August 4, 2016) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today announced the members of the Baton Rouge Area Leadership Class of 2017. The selected participants represent a cross section of the Capital Region’s business, civic and non-profit communities.

Members of the 2017 class include:

Brian Adams
Director, District and School Partnerships
Teach for America

Sarah Olcott Allen
Regional Director, External and Legislative Affairs

Leslie Austin
Director of Human Resources
HR Solutions

Johnnay Benjamin
Director, Early Detection and Education
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center

Susan Blackburn
Nursing Director, MedSurg Oncology
Ochsner Medical Center

Chelsey Blankenship
Co-Founder and Owner
SoSis/A Women’s Boutique

J. Ashley Mitchell Carter
Louisiana State Senate

Chad Cathey
Administrator, Pediatric Service Line
Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center

Donald Chube, Jr.
Community Relations
Louisiana Lottery

Kevin Colomb
Engineering Services Manager

Danielle Dawson
Business Lender
Campus Federal Credit Union

Lillian Derouen
Director of Sales Operation
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana

Carroll Devillier, Jr.
Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson

Elizabeth Eaton
Senior Individual Giving Manager
City Year Baton Rouge

Stephen Feazell
SSA Consultants

Melony Fields
Senior Vice President and Partner
CI Group

Zelma Frederick
Senior Associate
McGlinchey Stafford

Jessica Tate Gagliano
President Elect
Junior League of Baton Rouge

Hunter Geisman
Assistant Business Manager
LSU Athletics

Tameka Hartzog
Small Business Manager
Cox Business

Terrance Hinton
Assistant Operator
ExxonMobil Refinery

Courtney Holbrook
Neuroscience Account Manager, District Sales Trainer
Otsuka America Pharmaceutical

Lauren Crapanzano Jumonville
Project Manager
Baton Rouge Area Foundation

Mathew Laborde
Commercial Real Estate Agent
Beau Box Commercial Real Estate

Phillip LaFargue
Vice President
Emergent Method

Blythe Lamonica
External Communications Manager

Alex Mahon
Vice President, Senior Business Banker
Capital One Bank

Sherry McBeath
Executive Director
Rotary Club of Baton Rouge

Meghan Parrish
Director of Marketing and Communication
Baton Rouge General

Brian Rodriguez
Founder and President

Lynnel Ruckert
Former Chief of Staff
The Honorable Steve Scalise, U.S. House of Representatives

Wendy Singleton
Director of Nursing Administration
Woman’s Hospital

Todd Sterling
Alpha Media and Public Relations

Melissa Terito
Partner and CPA
Faulk & Winkler

Angelle Lavergne Terry
Project Manager
WHLC Architecture

Laura Thomas
Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Antares Technology Solutions

Kelli Bondy Troutman
Director of Communications
LUBA Workers’ Comp

Miles Vaughn
Director of Development
Baton Rouge Soccer Club

AJ Walker
Senior Manager, Member Services
Louisiana Municipal Association

Trevor Wilson
Jones Walker LLP

Rob Wise
President and CEO

Karen Zito
Senior Vice President of Investor Development
Baton Rouge Area Chamber

The Baton Rouge Area Leadership Program was founded in 1985 to prepare a diverse group of professionals for leadership positions in the community. The program’s goals are:

  • to seek out, train, and promote high achievers for positions of voluntary responsibility in the community;
  • to provide these developing leaders with practical information concerning community issues and problems;
  • to establish a communication network among the existing and emerging leaders of the community; and
  • to challenge these leaders to increase their involvement in community affairs.

The program focuses on topic areas such as education, diversity, city and state government, health care and social issues, economic development, the arts and media, and the criminal justice system. Graduates leave the program with first-hand knowledge of the issues facing our region and the potential for a positive community experience through volunteerism.

The program commences nine months of training with a two-day retreat in August.  From September to April, the class devotes an entire day each month for lectures, discussions, field trips and practical exercises pertinent to community issues. To conclude the program, a two-day retreat is held in May, followed by a graduation ceremony in June. The program is led by Emily Stich.

About the Baton Rogue Area Leadership Program

The Baton Rouge Area Leadership Program was founded as a program of BRAC to prepare a diverse group of professionals for leadership positions in the community. There are now more than 1,000 graduates of the program, many of whom serve in leadership positions on boards, commissions, and hold local, state, or federal elected offices. More information is available at

About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) leads economic development in the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area, working to grow jobs and wealth and to improve the business climate and competitiveness in the region. Today, BRAC investors include more than 1,500 small businesses, mid-sized firms, large industry and entrepreneurial startups, as well as individuals and organizations that support business and economic development. In this capacity, BRAC serves as the voice of the business community, providing knowledge, access, services and advocacy. More information is available at at

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