13th annual Women's Leadership Conference at UL Lafayette

Women's Leadership Conference UL Lafayette.jpg
Posted at 12:28 PM, Feb 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-26 12:02:19-05

Registration is still open for the 13th annual Women's Leadership Conference sponsored by UL Lafayette on March 5.

Fumy Rita joined GMA to share more about this year's conference which is designed to empower women, and to recognize several who have long track records of success.

The conference is being hosted by the University’s Office for Campus Diversity from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 5, at the Student Union.

Held in conjunction with Women’s History Month, the university says this year’s conference theme is “Valiant Women of the Vote."

A panel discussion featuring Kelly Garrett, Sandra Thompson Herman and Ji’Carla Martínez will cover issues such as the history of women’s suffrage and voter representation

Associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Dr. Pearson Cross will moderate.

A profile of this year's three panelists can be read below.

Kelly Garrett

Garrett is an advocate for Louisiana criminal justice reform and social justice.

She has been a longtime regional advocate for Louisianans for Prison Alternatives. Garrett is policy council for Voice of the Experienced, or VOTE. The focus of the grassroots organization is civic engagement and policy reform.

Sandra Thompson Herman

Herman was twice department head in the office of the Louisiana Secretary of State, where she helped create the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism and served as its first cabinet-level secretary. Herman was the first woman to run for secretary of state.

She later led the Atchafalaya Basin Program, a multimillion-dollar project to enhance and promote the basin.

Ji’Carla Martinez

Martinez is a senior at UL Lafayette majoring in international relations.

She is the volunteer mobilization and special projects manager at United Way of Acadiana. Martinez is vice president of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and has been a SOUL Camp Mentor and a member of the Student Leadership Council.


Workshops featured during the conference will cover topics like career negotiation strategies, balancing family and work, successful leadership characteristics, professional development, community involvement, and health and wellness in the workplace.

There will also be opportunities for attendees to engage in small mentorship sessions with community leaders.

UL Lafayette says that two leaders will be recognized for achievement and contributions to their communities and professions during the conference.

Della Bonnette, ’59, ’71, will receive the Sarah Brabant Trailblazer Award. It was established in 2016 to honor Brabant’s service to the community and commitment to advancing women’s equity. Brabant is professor emeritus of sociology at UL Lafayette.

Bonnette was the first female vice president in University history. She became vice president for Information Technology in 1996. Bonnette was responsible for administering technical service areas on campus.

Ashley Mudd, ’13, will receive the inaugural Emerging Leader Award. Mallery said the award has been established to recognize “accomplished leaders who are making a difference, but have yet to rise to the level of lifetime achievement.”

Mudd is executive director of the nonprofit Leadership Institute of Acadiana. She previously worked at United Way of Acadiana, where she led the Adopt-a-School program connecting resources from private businesses to public schools.

The conference is open to the public. Cost is $75 until Feb. 27. After that date, it will be $85 until the day of the conference. Students can attend for $35. Cost to attend only the luncheon is $35.

Learn more or register: