October 26-27, 2023
11th Annual Women In Business Conference, She Did It Her Way

2023 Conference Agenda

Conference Locations

Thursday, Opening Reception


Alexandria Museum of Art

Friday, Conference


Community Center at England Airpark


2023 Women In Business Conference Featured Speakers

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Keynote Speaker; Lauren LeBlanc Haydel, Founder +
Chief Treasure Hunter, Fleurty Girl

Fleurty Girl Story

Fleurty Girl was born out of a vision of New Orleans-native, Lauren LeBlanc Haydel in 2009. Using just $2,000, this single mother of three put everything she had into printing t-shirts for women that celebrated New Orleans. Just six months after launching her online store, she opened her first retail store on historic Oak Street and moved herself and her family into the back of the old shotgun house. "We all crammed in the back of that house in order to see if this would work. We went from 2,000 square feet to just under 1,000. My kids went from each having their own rooms to having to all share one room together. People said I was crazy, but I believed in this."

Today, Lauren now has eight Fleurty Girl retail stores and has gotten her kids back to having their own rooms again. In fact, they're all headed to college now. "I'm glad I was able to show them what it takes to believe in something, make sacrifices and succeed, and to do it all in the most amazing city in the world."

Fleurty Girl has over 60 employees and has become one of the most beloved brands in the city of New Orleans. "People put us up there with stopping at Cafe du Monde for beignets," adds Lauren, "this was never a part of the plan but I am so glad people embraced and enjoy what we've built."

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Jessica Thacker, Department Chair, Communication, Languages & Arts

Jessica Marsh Thacker is a Louisiana native who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from East Texas Baptist University.  She then moved to Waco, Texas, where she was employed by Baylor University prior to receiving her Master of Arts degree in Journalism from Baylor.  Jessica is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Louisiana State University of Alexandria, and she currently serves as Department Chair for Communication, Languages and Arts in the College of Liberal Arts.  She is the recipient of two Endowed Professorships, an Excellence in Teaching award from the National Society of Leadership and Success, and a Bolton Award nominee.  Jessica is married to Chris Thacker, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Alexandria, and they have three sons, Jack, Henry and Simon.


Samantha B. Zeringue, MD, Trauma Surgeon

Samantha Zeringue, M.D., is a trauma, critical care, and general surgeon at Rapides Regional Medical Center, and the first and only female trauma surgeon in Central Louisiana.

Dr. Zeringue is a Grant Parish native who received a bachelor’s degree from Newcomb College at Tulane University and completed her medical degree from Tulane University Medical Center. She also completed her internship and residency at Tulane. She is board certified by the American Board of Surgery.

Dr. Zeringue serves on the Rapides Regional Medical Executive Committee, as well as, the Rapides Regional Board of Trustees. She is also the assistant Medical Director of the Rapides Trauma program.

Married to her husband Ryan, together they are raising three, beautiful boys. She is a member of New Prospect First Baptist Church and enjoys being active in the community.

Recently, Dr. Zeringue became a business owner and is a partner at Advanced Metabolic Solutions to provide weight loss alternatives to Central Louisiana.

She Did It Her Way… Empowering others to do the same!

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Jamilla Bynog, Assistant United States Attorney Western District of Louisiana

Jamilla A. Bynog joined the United States Attorney’s Office in 2014, as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division. She has handled a wide variety of criminal matters since joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including wire fraud, federal firearms offenses, Indian country matters, immigration offenses, narcotics, federal program fraud, Hobbs Act robberies, criminal civil rights offenses, explosives and child pornography and exploitation cases.

Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, she worked as an Assistant District Attorney at the Rapides Parish District Attorney’s Office. While there, she successfully litigated major felony cases, which included successful trials in domestic violence, crimes against persons, crimes against property, sexual immorality, burglaries, child sex crimes and homicides.

Jamilla is a graduate of Southern University and received her Juris Doctorate from the Southern University Law Center in 2009. While at SULC, Jamilla was a member of the Moot Court Board and was awarded “Best Oralist”.  In 2013, she received her Master of Laws in Trial Advocacy from the Temple University Beasley School of Law.  She and her husband Cooper have three sons, Cooper, II, Christian and Colin.


Senator Beth Mizell, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Cattle Rancher

Senator Beth Mizell is the elected State Senator for District 12 in Louisiana. In 2020 she was elected to Senate Pro Tempore by her Senate Peers. She is a mother, grandmother, businesswoman and cattle rancher who lives in Franklinton. A lifelong resident of the Northshore, her background as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children (CASA) and a business owner have been major influences.

In the Senate, Senator Mizell serves on the Senate Executive Committee, Senate Committee on Education, Senate Committee on Retirement, Senate Committee on Health & Welfare, Senate Committee Judiciary C, Senate Select Committee on Women and Children, and Chairwoman of the Women’s Caucus from 2018 to present.

In 2012 Beth lost her husband, Bob, to cancer. She has two children and eight grandchildren in Mississippi and Texas that she wants back in Louisiana. She is a member of First Baptist Church in Franklinton, La.


Shelley Jinks Johnson

Shelley Jinks Johnson is a poet/writer, entrepreneur, and performer from Alexandria, Louisiana. With a background in business start-ups and brand building, her entrepreneurial pursuits have ranged from retail to food wholesale, property management, finance, and marketing. In 2022 she founded Poetry AEX and was a contributor at the prestigious Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference in Vermont.

Writing became her main passion when she discovered its therapeutic value while learning to navigate grief after the traumatic loss of her husband to brain cancer. Her work grapples with themes of death, acceptance, self-discovery, and how to find meaning in life after loss. She has discovered that living a life of creativity is the best way of building a life of value rooted in joy and gratitude. That discovery emboldens her to help others tap into their own creative wells, thereby enriching their lives and the broader community in which they live and thrive.

Shelley published her first collection of poetry “Pretty Little Widow” in May of this year.

Panel Discussion, Women who Inspire, Women who Lead


Discussion lead by Dr. Abbey Bain,
LSU-A, Vice-Chancellor for Student Engagement


Valencia Sarpy Jones,
Chair of the LSU Board of Supervisors, New York Life Insurance
Company & NYLIFE Securities


Mary Leach Werner,
LSU Board of Supervisors, Director and Vice President of The North American Land Company, LLC &The Sweet Lake Land & Oil Company, LLC.


2023 WIB Conference

The Chamber’s Women In Business Conference is one of the most dynamic, engaging, and exciting events in the central Louisiana region. This is the 11th year of bringing together regional executives and young professionals to convene for two days of informative presentations from influential speakers, encouragement, and celebration. The Chamber is partnering with the City of Alexandria to host the 11th Annual Women in Business Conference. The Conference is presented by RoyOMartin. The Pre-Conference Reception, hosted by Louisiana Central, kicks off the Conference on Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Alexandria Museum of Art. The Conference will resume the next morning at the Community Center at England Airpark.

Attendees Will Gain...

Powerful new perspectives to stay resilient and relevant in today’s changing times

Opportunities to gain knowledge on how to start, improve, or expand your business

Ways to highlight the value that women bring to the workplace, government, and culture

Methods to enhance professional and personal growth

“I think the truth of the matter is, people who end up as ‘first’ don’t actually set out to be first.They set out to do something they love and it just so happens that they are the first to do it.” 

– Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

It is the ultimate luxury to combine passion and contribution. It's also a very clear path to happiness.

– Sheryl Sandberg

“Some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference. That is just not true. Often, the best thing we can do is turn down the volume. When the sound is quieter, you can actually hear what someone else is saying. And that can make a world of difference.”

– Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley

“If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.”

– Former United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

WIB Sponsorship Levels

Platinum Sponsor / $3000

  • Opportunity to address the audience during the event (2 minutes)
  • Reserved table of 8 seats in all conference activities
  • Prominent placement on all promotional materials
  • Mention in the social media campaign
  • Includes conference attendee contact list
  • Single space exhibitor booth (one 8’ table) for the duration of the conference

Gold Sponsor / $2000

  • Signage at the sponsored event
  • Recognition on promotional materials
  • Mentioned in the social media campaign
  • Includes conference attendee contact list
  • Reserved table of 8 seats, including lunch

Silver Sponsor / $1500

  • Recognition on promotional materials
  • Mentioned in the social media campaign
  • Opportunity to give door prize at the event
  • Reserved table of 8 seats, including lunch

Table Sponsor / $1000

  • Reserved table for 8 seats, including lunch
  • Company name listed on the website and promotional materials

Please email Cindy Cespiva at ccespiva@cenlachamber.org and she will invoice you.

Presented By

Reception Sponsor


Co - Hosted By

COA logo

Diamond Sponsor


Platinum Sponsors


Gold Sponsors

2018 Logos_0000s_0003_P&G

Silver Sponsors

christus surgical hospital logo

Table Sponsors

Alexandria Emergency Hospital

YPG of Cenla

Crest Industries

MedExpress Ambulance Service

Junior League of Alexandria