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LSU to Host Third Annual Louisiana Women's Summit

In 2009, almost 60 percent of women in the United States were part of the labor force, including 51 percent of all people employed in management, professional and related occupations, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, at the same time and across every industry and occupation, women who worked full-time in wage and salaried positions earned only 80 percent of the salaries of their male counterparts. Despite this discrepancy, LSU is attempting to empower the women of Louisiana to address and overcome this workplace challenge and other struggles they face by hosting the third annual Louisiana Women's Summit.

Titled "Power & Possibilities," the 2011 Louisiana Women's Summit will take place at the Lod Cook Alumni Conference Center on LSU's campus on Friday, Oct. 14. This statewide conference is being hosted by the LSU Women's Center and sponsored by LSU and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana.

Only 40 years ago, the number of women enrolled in college was only 70 percent of that of their male counterparts according to the National Center for Education Statistics. By 1980 women had surpassed men, and today women have nearly reversed the trend, as the number of men enrolled in college is only 75 percent of that of women. Despite this increased level of education, and a significant drop in the high school drop-out rate from 34 percent in 1970 to seven percent in 2009, women now face a different set of broad-ranging concerns.

"LSU is proud to host the third annual Louisiana Women's Summit," said Catherine Hopkins, director of the LSU Women's Center. "As the flagship institution in the state, we strongly strive to be a leader in addressing gender inequities and supporting women."

The Louisiana Women's Summit, a premier conference for women, focuses on addressing social, cultural, economic and political challenges that women experience through an engaging and interactive agenda. It serves as a statewide dialogue for women in Louisiana with the vision to strengthen the advancement of women by providing an interactive forum that provides advocacy, education and networking opportunities.

"LSU recognizes the importance of networking, personal branding, career mapping and mentoring in the professional development process," said Katrice Albert, LSU vice provost for Equity, Diversity and Community Outreach. "We are delighted to join Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana for our third annual Louisiana Women's Summit. The outstanding speakers, sponsors and exhibitors will certainly illustrate this year's theme 'Power and Possibilities.' Without question, we know that our day-long conference will assist in expanding the pipeline of tomorrow's talented women leaders."

During the Louisiana Women's Summit, LSU will honor 16 amazing women with the Pathfinder Award. The Pathfinder Award is presented annually to women who demonstrate excellence in business, leadership and community engagement, while creating new paths that promote the development and recognition of other women.

"The women receiving the 2011 Louisiana Pathfinder Award are inspirational," said Hopkins. "They are leaders in their respective industries, give service to their communities and serve as mentors for women around the state. LSU is proud to honor them."

The 2011 recipients of the Pathfinder Award are:

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Elaine Abell

Elaine Abell
Elaine Abell, a native of Baton Rouge who grew up in New Orleans, is currently an attorney in Lafayette. Abell is a graduate of LSU and the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center. In addition, she is a former member of the LSU Board of Supervisors, has served on the executive committee of the Commission on Colleges for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is on the Board of Directors for Iberia Bank.

 

 

 

 

 

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Claudia Adley

Claudia Adley
Claudia Adley, a native of DeQuincy who currently lives in Benton, is the vice president of Pelican Gas Management Inc., a company she founded with her husband, state Sen. Robert Adley. An LSU alumna, Adley ran the largest political action committee in the United States in 1979, and was later appointed by President Ronald Reagan's administration as special assistant to the Secretary of Energy.

 

 

 

 

 

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Simone Bruni

Simone Bruni
Simone Bruni, a native of New Orleans, is the president and owner of Demo Diva Demolition. Founding Demo Diva Demolition after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the company and its fleet of hot pink equipment is still growing. Bruni is also involved with the Louisiana Teen Challenge, which uses faith-based solutions to combat drug and alcohol issues.

 

 

 

 

 

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Lucy Chun

Lucy Chun
Lucy Chun of New Orleans is a broker with ReMax Realty and chairperson of the Asian Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana. Chun has served on the boards of directors of the New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network, the Arts Council of New Orleans, Louisiana Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce, the Asian American Women's Caucus and the Girl Scouts of Southeast Louisiana.

 

 

 

 

 

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Karen Freese

Karen Freese
Karen Freese is the assistant general counsel for Entergy Services Inc., where she leads the practice group that is responsible for the regulatory legal work for Entergy Gulf States Louisiana L.L.C. and Entergy Louisiana LLC. A graduate of LSU and the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Freese is also a past member of the Board of Trustees of the Paul M. Hebert Law Center.

 

 

 

 

 

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Cynthia Hightower-Jenkins

Cynthia Hightower-Jenkins
Cynthia Hightower-Jenkins, a native of Shreveport, is the owner of Hightower-Jenkins & Associates, a public relations, marketing, image consulting, public information management and productions firm. She has served as president of the Minority Business Council and on the board for the Committee of 100, the Minority Business Opportunity Expo, the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce and Christian Services.

 

 

 

 

 

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Rose Hudson

Rose Hudson
Rose Hudson is the president and chief executive officer at the Louisiana Lottery, where she has overseen the most successful years in the lottery's history. Earning her master's degree from LSU in public administration, Hudson was named one of the 2007 Influential Women in Business by the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report and was honored as the 2007 LSU Masters of Public Administration Alumnus of the Year.

 

 

 

 

 

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Jennifer Jackson

Jennifer Jackson
Jennifer Jackson, a native of Lafayette, is assistant to the president for Campus Diversity and Community Outreach at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She is a member of numerous organizations including the University/President's Council, Black Faculty and Staff Association, Athletic Committee, Ernest Gaines Center and the Christiana Smith African American Alumni Chapter of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Alumni Association.

 

 

 

 

 

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Terri Landy

Terri Landy
Terri Landy is an independent filmmaker in New Orleans. An employee of New Orleans Public Television WYES-TV in the 1980s, Landry has continued her close association with WYES, heading up nine national public television cooking series for the station, including five featuring Chef Paul Prudhomme. Her most recent project, "Chef John Besh's New Orleans," is currently running on public television stations across the country.

 

 

 

 

 

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Laura Leach

Laura Leach
Laura Leach is chairman of the Sweet Lake Land & Oil Company L.L.C. and the North American Land Co. L.L.C. As a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors, she chairs the flagship committee and serves as vice chair of the Media Relations Task Force. A graduate of LSU from Lake Charles, Leach is also on the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine Dean's Leadership Council and on the Cadets of the Ole War Skule Board of Directors. In 2011, she was honored as a Louisiana Legend by Louisiana Public Broadcasting.

 

 

 

 

 

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Shelly Mockler

Shelly Mockler
Shelly Mockler is the training & development manager at Mockler Beverage. A native of Baton Rouge and graduate of LSU, Mockler has served on Anheuser-Busch's National Wholesaler Training Advisory Panel for six years. In 2007, she was appointed by Gov. Bobby Jindal to serve on the Louisiana Commission on Addictive Disorders.

 

 

 

 

 

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Dr. Patricia Molina

Dr. Patricia Molina
Dr. Patricia Molina is a physician at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. She currently serves as the chair of the National Hispanic Science Network, an organization dedicated to improving the health of Hispanics by increasing interdisciplinary translational research and fostering the development of scientists in Hispanic drug abuse research.

 

 

 

 

 

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Cyndi Nguyen

Cyndi Nguyen
Cyndi Nguyen is the executive director of the Vietnamese Initiatives in Economic Training, a non-profit organization that was created to help implement educational and economic training programs and act as a resource center for minority residents in Louisiana. A resident of New Orleans, Nguyen is also a board member for the New Orleans East Charter Academies and the Ruby Ridges Foundation.

 

 

 

 

 

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Toni Rice

Toni Rice
Toni Rice is the president of the New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network, a non-profit organization that was formed to promote New Orleans as a multicultural destination and provide economic opportunities for small and emerging businesses in the tourism industry. A resident of Destrehan and an alumna of LSU, Rice is a commissioner on the Louisiana Tourism Promotion District and the City of New Orleans Customer Service Committee.

 

 

 

 

 

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Peggy Scott

Peggy Scott
Peggy Scott is the executive vice president and chief operating officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. In 2007, she became the first Louisianian to be named to the American Institute of CPAs' Business and Industry Hall of Fame and, in April 2008, she was inducted into the LSU E.J. Ourso College of Business Hall of Distinction. She was named one of the 2010 Influential Women in Business by the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

 

 

 

 

 

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Dr. Tasha Shamlin

Dr. Tasha Shamlin
Dr. Tasha Shamlin practices internal medicine and pediatrics at the Baton Rouge Family Medical Center and co-owns the Medical Spa of Baton Rouge. A native of Baton Rouge and graduate of LSU, Shamlin has been named one of Louisiana's Top 100 Physicians for the past three years. She is also a board member of the Baton Rough High Alumni Association.

 

 

 

 

 

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Rolfe McCollister

 

In addition to the Pathfinder Awards, the Men who Champion Women Award will also be presented to Rolfe McCollister, president and founder of Louisiana Business Inc., which publishes the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, 225 magazine, 10/12 magazine, inRegister magazine, Daily Report online news, Louisiana NEXT, Welcome magazine, Baton Rouge Region Guide and other specialty publications. A Baton Rouge native and graduate of LSU, McCollister has previously served as chair of the LSU Board of Supervisors. The Men Who Champion Women Award is given to an individual who has taken a leadership role to ensure that women are included at all levels of their organization.

"The Men who Champion Women Award is a unique honor bestowed upon a man who has demonstrated a commitment to raising the status of women," said Hopkins. "It is important to recognize men that are allies in the fight against gender inequities."

Conference attendees will have the ability to participate in a variety of break-out sessions covering a broad range of topics that affect women. Break-out session topics during the conference include "Working in a Global Village"; "Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: The Keys to Successful Risk-Taking"; "Harnessing the Human Potential Within Your Organization"; "She Who Can, Does: Influencing Public Policy"; "What Got You Here, Won't Get You There"; "What Every Woman Must Know About Breast Cancer and Early Detection!"; "Financial Readiness: Will You Have Enough to be Happy at 70?"; "The Social Media Revolution and Your Business"; "Your World: Inspiring Dialogue on Women's Issues through Diverse Perspectives"; "Communication DISCovery"; and "Motherhood vs. Career: Balancing Work and Family Life."

Keynote speakers for the Louisiana Women's Summit will be retired women's basketball superstar Lisa Leslie and Simone Bruni, a 2011 Pathfinder Award winner. One of the greatest women's basketball players in history, Leslie is a three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player and a four-time Olympic gold medalist. After a standout career at the University of Southern California, Leslie was a seven-time WNBA All-Star and led the Los Angeles Sparks to two WNBA championships before retiring in 2009. The first player to dunk in a WNBA game, Leslie was voted one of the top 15 players in WNBA history in 2011. In addition to her outstanding athletic ability, Leslie is also a fashion model, having signed with the prestigious Wilhelmina Agency in 1996, and has been featured in many publications, including Vogue.

A resident of Lakeview in New Orleans, Bruni was a corporate meeting planner prior to Hurricane Katrina. After the hurricane devastated New Orleans and particularly the Lakeview area, Bruni chose to stay in New Orleans and founded Demo Diva Demolition. From humble beginnings, her company, now in business for four years, initially specialized in residential demolition in Louisiana. But, Demo Diva Demolition has now expanded into commercial and selective interior demolition throughout the Mississippi Gulf Coast region.

Registration will begin at 8 a.m. and the conference will conclude at 4 p.m. For a complete schedule of events and to register for the Louisiana Women's Summit, visit www.lsu.edu/louisianawomenssummit. Full registration is $75, while students can register for $35.

For more information regarding the conference or the LSU Women's Center, contact Catherine Hopkins at wc@lsu.edu or 225-578-1714.

The Women's Center is located on the campus of LSU and promotes the advancement of women's issues and gender equity through its services, advocacy efforts and educational programs. The Women's Center is a reporting unit in the LSU Office of Equity, Diversity & Community Outreach.

 

Cover photo by Kevin Duffy, LSU ITS. This sculpture, "In Unity Ascending" by artist Frank Hayden, is part of the LSU Union art collection.