New leadership class has 39, chamber says

The Ascension Chamber of Commerce announced its 19th Leadership Ascension Class during an Aug. 15 reception at Parc 73 in Prairieville.

This year’s class has 39 members, one of the largest classes to date.

Leadership Ascension, like similar programs nationwide, is designed to develop responsible and informed community leaders, a chamber representative said in a news release. Community residents are selected to represent the diverse demographic of the Ascension Parish community based on an application outlining each candidate’s work experience, education and community involvement.

The 10-month leadership program strives to develop practical leadership skills while promoting personal growth, the release says.

Sessions are held each month and cover topics including diversity, education, social concerns, health care, law enforcement and government. The program begins with a teambuilding opening retreat and ends with a two-day closing retreat where the students review the sessions, share thoughts on Ascension Parish and present class projects that are developed throughout the year.

Nearly 500 people ranging from business owners to government officials have completed Leadership since its inception.

The 2014 class includes Kathy Achee, St. Elizabeth Hospital; Jacob Balfantz, St. Elizabeth Physicians; Crystal Boudloche, RE/MAX Professional; Jennifer Boudreau, BASF; Beth Broadway, Ochsner Health System; Tracy Browning, Ascension Parish Tourism Commission; Mollie Burke, Domain Design Architecture; Dawn Caballero, Ascension Parish government; Kesslie Carbo, Ascension Parish clerk of court; Meredith Conger, InfiniEDGE Software Inc; and Taren Daigle, BASF.

The class also includes Kim Decoteau, Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office; Jenn deFrances, The Ascension Fund; Beau Diez, Pelican Point Realtors, LLC; Alsie Dunbar, Motiva Enterprises, LLC; Donna Duplessis, city of Gonzales; Lindsey Duplessis, Red River Bank; Nate Gautreau, Professional Archive Solutions; Kim Gautreau, Waguespack Insurance; Chris Geraci, United Community Bank; Melissa Harris, Tanger Outlet; Amy Hathorn-Lambert, Impala Warehousing, LLC; Michelle Hyatt, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center; Lisa Laws, Ascension Economic Development Corporation; Lisa Le, St. Elizabeth Physicians; Chad Lynch, Ascension Parish School Board; Chris McDowell, Skid Marks Tires & Auto Service; John McGee, BASF; Matt Percy, Percy, Lanoux & Mumphrey; Tina Prejean, Prejean Computer Consultants; Keith Robert, Roland J. Robert Distributors Inc; Layne Salvant, The Bug Man; Larry Schexnaydre; Center Stage Performing Arts Academy; Shane Sedotal, Cox Communications; Darryl Smith, Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office; Ray Stonemark, Don’s Seafood; Melissa Tullier, Eatel Corp.; Jason Verdigets, 23rd Judicial District Attorney’s Office; and Chris Wilson, Cabela’s .

To learn more about Leadership Ascension, visit or call (225) 647-7487.