Leadership Central Louisiana is an innovative program designed to take current or potential leaders to the next level - preparing participants for new challenges and providing the skills and exposure needed to add leadership equity to any business or organization. The program builds leadership skills and provides exposure to community leaders, challenges and opportunities.
Elizabeth Milton Beard is Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at LSUA. A proud central Louisiana native, Liz has been on the English faculty at LSUA since 2005. She graduated from Rapides High School (class of ’92); earned her BA in English, Secondary Education from Spring Hill College; and completed her MA and PhD in English at LSU Baton Rouge. Liz was the founding coordinator of the LSUA Writing Center, a Louisiana Writing Project teacher consultant, and is the current holder of the Richard Bryan Gwartney Endowed Professorship in the Liberal Arts. Her areas of research and teaching include writing pedagogy and regional literature. Liz serves on the Alexandria Museum of Art Board of Directors and the Generals Athletic Association Board.
Liz’s husband Willard is a family practice physician assistant. The Beards and their two sons, Ben (20) and Charles (17), are active in the outdoor fitness community, enjoying cycling and running.
Joel Byram is currently a Human Resources Assistant Manager for RoyOMartin at the Martco Plywood facility in Chopin, La. Joel received a bachelor’s degree in Business Communication with a concentration in Human Resources from Louisiana Tech University in 2009. After graduating from Louisiana Tech, Joel moved back home to the Metro New Orleans Area. Joel started his career with Parking Management Services, Inc. (PMSI) where he oversaw Human Resources and Payroll. After four years with PMSI he and his family relocated to Central Louisiana, and he began working for RoyOMartin, where he has been for the past seven years. All seven years have been in the Human Resources Department. In 2017 Joel obtained the SHRM-CP Certificate in Human Resources.
Joel is married with two kids, a son that is eight years old and a four-year-old daughter. On the weekends they are involved with church and family activities. Hobbies of Joel’s include sporting events, fishing, camping, and attending music festivals.
Robert is currently Vice President of Generation Operations for Cleco. He has over 25 years of experience in the power generating industry and joined Cleco in November 2021. Throughout his career, he has held numerous roles both in plant management and key operational support roles, including strategic planning, training and workforce development, regulatory compliance and engineering services. He is passionate about leadership development, performance management and implementing strategies for organizational performance improvement. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Mississippi State University and a Master of Business Administration from Tulane University.
Robert and his wife, Jan, recently relocated to the Central Louisiana area and currently reside in Deville with their two daughters, Lauren (18) and Allie (15).
Bernetta Y. Bryant is a native of Jackson, Mississippi. She is the third of four daughters to Bernard and Mildred Bryant. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with an emphasis in Accounting and Business Administration from Tougaloo College in 2005. Thereafter, she immediately enrolled in a Master's program and completed her Masters of Accounting degree from The Jackson State University in 2007. After the completion of her Masters, Bernetta began working for a local accounting office and teaching accounting as an adjunct professor at Tougaloo College. After an end of the semester speech, pushing and urging her students to go further in their education, Bernetta was asked "what is your next achievement Ms. Bryant?" The question of what was next reignited her passion for achievement. In 2011, Bernetta applied for and was accepted to law school at Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, LA. After graduating and passing the Louisiana Bar in 2014, Bernetta moved with her son to Alexandria, Louisiana.
Since moving to Alexandria, Bernetta has practiced in various areas of the law. Bernetta is currently an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Alexandria. She is also completing a Master of Law in Taxation degree from The University of Alabama and will graduate in August 2022. Bernetta loves to travel, shop and read novels. She is a huge football fan...college and professional football. When she is not in school or working, you'll find her gardening and pruning her roses or wood working in her backyard.
John is a retired Firefighter-CEP/CET from Arizona and has taught in K-12 and Higher Education since 1991. Though an NAU Lumberjack at heart, John, son of Chief Master Sergeant John Michael Broderick from Elton, LA, has traveled worldwide and spent two years based at England Air Force Base in Alexandria, LA. John has enjoyed a thriving and diverse "first life" as a firefighter, business owner, and adventurer. John currently trains and runs 5k to 100k trail races.
The summer of 2018 brought John to CLTCC as an adjunct psychology instructor, and he soon rose to Dean of Academics. Focused on exploring the challenges Academic Programs face within Louisiana's Community and Technical College System and the educational issues that confront our community, state, and nation Dr. Broderick works diligently to serve students and help in creating success. Dr. Broderick earned his doctorate from Grand Canyon University in Organizational Psychology and holds a master's degree from Northern Arizona University in Educational Psychology, specializing in human relationships, and several other degrees from Arizona State University and Mesa College. Dr. Broderick's areas of expertise include workplace friendship and relationships, human flourishing, leadership, and positive psychology.
Outside of Higher Education, Dr. Broderick serves in the Education and Workforce Division of the Central Louisiana Regional Chamber of Commerce. A true-blue Sport to the Core, Dr. Broderick is married to Michelle Broderick, RN, a native of Crowley, LA., and enjoys the peace and solitude that only six children and seven grandchildren can bring. Dr. Broderick's latest publication is entitled "The Role of Workplace Friendship in Human Flourishing Among Service Sector Workers." He is currently working on two papers concerning Holistic Leadership and Workplace Diversity, respectively. Dr. Broderick is a dedicated educator, researcher, and adventurer.
Sarah Ceballos is the Administrative Director of Louisiana Central, an Economic Development non-profit located in Alexandria, LA. Louisiana Central is vital to the development of a 10-parish rural population through recruitment of industry, expansion and retention of existing manufacturing economic drivers, workforce development, mid-level agriculture, and entrepreneurship development. Her areas of responsibilities include monitoring 15 grant revenue streams, in the form of federal, state, and private grants; as well as corporate sponsorship. She also oversees human resources, compliance, and office management.
A long-time resident of central Louisiana, formerly from Vernon Parish, she and her family moved to Alexandria in 2020. She earned her AGS, focusing in Business, at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, LA. Sarah then received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, concentrating in Finance from Northwestern State University, and, in December 2021, earned her MBA, concentrating in Human Resources Management from University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Sarah is a member of Society of Human Resources Management, SHRM, and the local chapter, CLSHRM. In 2021, she completed The Rapides Foundation program, BoardBuilders, and is currently investigating local boards, determining where her talents can be best utilized. She is an avid volunteer, giving her time to Girl Scouts and Junior League of Alexandria. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys taking her children camping, hiking local trails, and making jelly from locally sourced fruit.
Jermaine Davis is a 38-year-old resident of Ball, La. He has 2 daughters, and is a graduate of Bolton High School, as well as the University of Phoenix with a degree in Accounting. He works as a Purchasing Coordinator at RoyOMartin where he has been employed for 16-1/2 years. Jermaine is a member of the American Purchasing Society and achieved the Certified Purchasing Professional designation in 2020. In addition, he is a licensed Emergency Medical Responder by the La Bureau of Emergency Services. Currently, he is in the process of becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) through the Children’s Advocacy Network where he will serve in Rapides Parish.
In his leisure time, Jermaine enjoys traveling, attending LSU and Saints games, gardening, mentoring and volunteering with nonprofit organizations in Central Louisiana.
Amanda Wells is the Purchasing Manager at Cleco. She has a native of Avoyelles Parish who currently resides in Pineville. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems from Northwestern State University and Master of Science degree in Applied Science and Technology with a concentration in Computer Systems and Network Technology from Alcorn State University.
Amanda has been with Cleco for 3 years and held various roles including IT Quality Analyst, IT Strategic Vendor Management and Financial Analyst and Manager of IT Planning and Governance. She currently serves as secretary on the Diversity and Inclusion Council at Cleco.
Amanda is married to her husband of 18 years, Alvin and has two children, Joshua and Madison. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends. She is a member of Zion Hill Church in Pineville where she serves on the Planning Committee and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
Olivia Helmer was born in Havana, Cuba, grew up in Miami and has been living in Alexandria for 3 years. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from the University of Florida and a Master’s Degree in World Art Studies and Museology from the University of East Anglia. Since graduating, she’s worked within the arts and culture field in a variety of roles including contemporary art sales and consulting, art and antique appraising, auction planning, and project management.
She is currently the Director of Development and Community Relations at the Alexandria Museum of Art. She’s an active member of the Junior League of Alexandria and sits on the board for the Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Group. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking with her husband and son and making ceramics.
Curtis Hilton has been a resident of Central Louisiana his entire life. Curtis received his Associate Degree in Respiratory Therapy in August of 2008 from Louisiana State University of Eunice as he went on to practice as a Respiratory Therapist. He went back to school to acquire his Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Louisiana State University of Alexandria in 2016. Curtis has been an employee of Rapides Regional Medical Center for nearly 10 years where he has served in multiple roles from bedside care to leadership. He has recently graduate with his Master of Business Administration degree and currently serves as the Director of Critical Care/Acute Care at Rapides Regional Medical Center.
Curtis is married to his wife, Mariia, and has two beautiful Ukrainian-American boys, Jackson and Gabriel. Current hobbies include chasing those two boys around and enjoying family time.
Oscar Donta Howard, Jr was born and raised in Alexandria, Louisiana and a graduate of Peabody Magnet High School. He received a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies from Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2017. In 2019, he also received a Master of Public Administration from Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Oscar has been employed with the City of Alexandria for over 16 years. He is the Assistant Director of Public Works for the City of Alexandria where he assists the Interim Director of Public Works with planning and prioritizing the Public Works maintenance and construction projects including assessing operational challenges.
Oscar is a member of the Rapides Chapter of Southern University Alumni Federation where he helps support the goals and objectives of Southern University through recruitment, community outreach and financial support. In his free time, Oscar enjoys working on DIY projects, reading and traveling.
Dr. Max Lakes was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and spent his childhood living in the Cincinnati and central Kentucky region. He spent much of his time as a youth at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens and always dreamed of working in a zoo.
Life had other plans for the first part of his life. Following the death of his father, Max dropped out of high school after his ninth-grade year and went to find his own way in the world. He spent many years in restaurant management and almost a decade in higher education administration at the University of Kentucky. When the great recession happened and he was laid off from his job at the University of Kentucky, Dr. Lakes decided to go after his dream of working with animals and in zoos.
He finished his B.S. degree at the University of Kentucky and then went on to obtain his M.S. in Recreation and Park Administration concentrating on the Human Dimensions of Wildlife Management. Dr. Lakes studied the Public Perceptions of Black Bear Re-introduction to the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. While working on his master’s thesis, he enrolled in the Doctorate of Education program where he studied the impact zoo behind the scenes tours have on pro-conservation behavior change at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio.
While working on data collection at the Columbus Zoo, Dr. Lakes began working as a part time education interpreter. Soon after graduating, he obtained his first full time zoo position at the Sedgwick County Zoo as an Education Specialist. Soon thereafter, Dr. Lakes accepted the position of Curator of Education at the Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City, Kansas. After 9 months as the Curator of Education, he was promoted to Deputy Director where he served for another year and a half before accepting the position as Director of the Alexandria Zoo.
Dr. Lakes is an active member in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and participates in conservation efforts that align with the Alexandria Zoo’s mission. He sits on the Social Science Research and Evaluation Scientific Advisory Group executive committee and the Zoo Conservation Outreach Group executive board. Dr. Lakes also sits on the board of the New Opportunity School for Women located in Banner Elk, North Carolina. He is very grateful to be in Alexandria as the director as only 251 people have the honor of being a director at an AZA institution.
Dr. Lakes moved to Alexandria with his two pit bulls, Winter and Bailey, and rescued a St. Bernard, Jameson, soon after arriving. He and his dogs enjoy taking hikes in Kisatchie National Forest on the Wild Azalea Trail that is a short distance from his home.
Dr. Lakes is happy to be living in Alexandria, Louisiana and looks forward to becoming more involved in the amazing community that has so openly welcomed him.
Jeff Langston was born and raised in Central Louisiana. After graduating from Forest Hill Academy, he attended the University of Louisiana Monroe in Radiologic Technology and Chattanooga State in Nuclear Medicine. After working in patient care for 10 years, he pursued his MBA and MHA at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. He is currently employed as the Vice President of Support Services at Rapides Regional Medical Center. He serves on various committees within the organization and maintains national certifications within the radiology field.
He and his wife, Kim, reside in Woodworth with their three kids. The family enjoys many outdoor activities common to the area such as camping, fishing, hunting, and traveling.
Krissy McCrea is a lifelong resident of Central Louisiana. She is a graduate of Tioga High School, Class of ’96 and earned her college degree from Louisiana State University at Alexandria. Krissy spent 20 years working in the medical field before moving into Postsecondary Education. She is the Campus Director at Unitech Training Academy in Alexandria. Prior to her current role she taught the Medical Assistant Program, was the Clinical Coordinator, and the Director of Education. Krissy is passionate about providing quality graduates to be employed in Central Louisiana and the surrounding Parishes. She is a Notary Public, a member of the International Society of Female Professionals, and a committee member of the American Medical Certification Association. In her spare time, Krissy enjoys traveling and camping with her husband, Jeremy, and their 4 children.
Kimberly McGee is a Reentry Affairs and Volunteer Coordinator at FCC Pollock, one of two Federal Correctional Complexes in Louisiana. She has 20 years of work experience in the Federal Government. She began her career as a student clerk for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) at the age of 16. She worked her way up to a full-time legal assistant position with EOIR and obtained a Bachelors of Liberal Studies in Communication Studies from LSUA simultaneously.
Kimberly was assigned to the Federal Bureau of Prisons in 2010 and has held various positions of increasing responsibility since her initial appointment. Today, she is a member of the Correctional Support Team (formerly known as the Crisis Support Team).
In her free time, Kimberly volunteers in the community through the Junior League of Alexandria where she sits on the Public Relations and Marketing committee. In addition, she volunteers at her church, Sanctuary of Praise, where she is a member of the Media and Creative Team.
Kimberly is married to Skip McGee and together they have two children, Caroline (5) and Hudson (10). She loves spending time with her family and traveling as often as possible!
Roseline was born and raised in Kaduna state, the northern part of Nigeria. She relocated to Lagos, the western side of the country after her bachelor’s in pharmacy degree in 2005. She worked in the hospital pharmacy sector for 2 years and moved to the manufacturing sector in 2007 when she joined Procter and gamble Nigeria as a production pharmacist and qualify control manager. While she worked as a quality control manager, she led several work process improvements and won the P&G CEO award for productivity improvements in the quality assurance laboratories. The passion for work-place and business improvement led her to the site quality assurance manager role leading quality program in 4 Business Units in the P&G Nigeria plant. After 8 years in the quality assurance and control roles, her passion for people development led her to the Human resource department where she took on the site HR leader role and also stewardship/internal controls leader. She moved to the central Louisiana 1st March 2022, after being assigned an assignment at the P&G Alexandria site. She is currently a member of the International Management Institute and pursuing an MBA.
When Roseline is not working, she loves to cook, speak for conferences and spends time indoor and outdoor with Jemimah her 3 year old and Gbenga, her husband of 15 years. She looks forward to bigger networks and contribution to Cenla.
Kellie Peyton is owner and creative lead at Queen Bee Marketing, a local digital & social media marketing agency that focus on growth strategies for small to medium sized businesses. She has over a decade of human resources, project management, recruiting and staffing experience ah has provided hundreds of employees for local industries including Procter & Gamble 3PL, Eclectic Products, Plastipak, Pollock Federal Prison construction and various projects on and off Ft. Polk.
Kellie is also heavily involved in the non-profit sector, serving on the board of The Central Louisiana Homeless Coalition, the board of Fostering Community Fostering Community, was a Power in Purple Ambassador in 2021 for the American Cancer Society Cenla Relay for Life, serves on the Tom Peyton Memorial Arts Festival Committee and was a former festival co-chair with Husband, Jonathan. Kellie is also in her tenth year of membership with The Junior League of Alexandria, where she has served as Fund Development Vice President, A Very Merry Market Chairman and most recently serving on the leagues newly formed Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Workgroup. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her two sons, her family and friends. Kellie and her husband Jonathan, reside in Alexandria.
Vern is the Program Director of the Behavioral Health at Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital. He finds it to be an honor to serve the community through helping those in need of mental health treatment. In the past Vern has worked with the Alexandria Police Department where he was involved with the Crisis Intervention Team. There he learned to deescalate a person in a mental crisis. Vern served the United States Army as a Scout Sniper until he was wounded in combat in Baghdad, Iraq on May 4, 2005. He was later awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with a “V” device for his actions that day. Vern takes his service to his country and to his community as a driving force to help others in need.
A graduate of LSU with a Bachelor’s and ULL with a Master’s of Business Administration, Brian is a part of the Schmolke Investment Team. He holds a Certified Financial Planner™ designation and as such holds himself out to his clients and the general public as a financial fiduciary. His knowledge of finances and financial markets is highly sought after among the public and his clients.
Mr. Schmolke is the current president of Kiwanis of Alexandria, a leading service organization that is “dedicated to improving the world, one child and one community at a time”. He also volunteers his time with the Gracie United Brazilian Jiu Jitsu organization by coaching the youth class at Genesis Martial Arts in Alexandria.
Brian and his wife, Amy, have three children, and live in Woodworth. He is a member of the CENLA LSU Alumni Chapter, the CENLA Young Professionals Group, and Mensa International. He holds a black belt in Judo and is currently a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
No bio submitted.
Nina Wagner is a Marketing Support Specialist who spends her workdays on the “Frontlines” of the insurance world at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana’s Alexandria District office. Nina thrives on helping others with a strong belief in paying it forward and never doing the bare minimum; instead, she cheerfully goes above and beyond with each and every task.
With over 12 years combined in experience working different insurance/coding and billing-based positions at both the providers and facility levels; Nina knows firsthand just how intimidating and confusing the sheer volume of information can be, not to mention the fact that it is written in a largely unfamiliar lingo. Even for the ones who work in the field this is a never-ending hurdle to leap; so, she dedicates her days to not just answering questions, but also providing easy to understand explanations so that everyone she assists leaves not just with an answer, but an understanding.
Just recently Nina successfully obtained her Accident and Health or Sickness, and Life licenses from the Louisiana Department of Insurance. In her 4 years with BCBSLA, she has established herself as one known for always getting the job done while smiling, laughing and even some random dance moves along the way!
Caitlyn Watkins is a communications strategist at Cleco. She grew up in Bunkie and today resides in the Deville area. Caitlyn attended college at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and obtained a bachelor's degree in communication with a public relations concentration. She has spent nearly five years in her role at Cleco working on internal and external communication projects related to social media, employee engagement, customer experience, events, and executive and crisis communication.
While at Cleco, she has led internal communication and social media efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, four major hurricanes, two winter storms and one tropical storm. In addition, Caitlyn has developed and implemented robust communication plans for various organizational changes.
Caitlyn is active in the community through the Junior League of Alexandria where she currently serves as the Public Relations and Marketing Committee Chair.
When not working, Caitlyn enjoys being outdoors, cooking, and spending time with her husband, Caleb, as they train their two chocolate labs to compete in hunt tests.
Continuing Education and Community Outreach
8100 Hwy 71 South
Alexandria, La 71301
Phone: (318) 427-4441 or 318-599-9779