Women's Leadership Academy

Subscribe to the Professional and Continuing Studies newsletter for updates about the Women's Leadership Academy.

LaToya Cantrell and President Tania Tetlow

We are excited to announce that the Women's Leadership Academy, Cohort 2 at Loyola University New Orleans will begin on March 26, 2020. 

Applications are now being accepted for Cohort 2! Please continue to monitor this webpage and follow the Office of Professional and Continuing Studies (PACS) on Facebook,  Instagram, and LinkedIn for updates on WLA Cohort 2 and to follow WLA Cohort 1. We hope to have you in our next WLA class!


Women's Leadership Academy - Cohort 2

The Women's Leadership Academy (WLA) at Loyola University New Orleans is designed to enable women in the region to achieve their greatest professional potential through leadership training, personal development, and one-on-one mentorships. The inaugural Women's Leadership Academy launched April 16, 2019.

WLA consists of ten (10) on-campus class sessions; including guest speakers, microlearning seminars conducted by expert Loyola University New Orleans faculty and staff, case studies, and an individual development plan. Each participant has the opportunity to grow and network with thought leaders in the region.

WLA participants who successfully complete the program will be provided with a Loyola University New Orleans Certificate of Completion and earn 6.0 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). 

Growth Topics Include:

  • Project Management 
  • Public Speaking
  • Critical Thinking 
  • Emotional Intelligence 
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Negotiation
  • Strategic Planning 
  • Networking

Keynote speakers from WLA Cohort 1

Phelps Dunbar LLP Partner Kim Boyle, President and CEO of Corporate Playbook Deborah Elam, Chair of the Department of Surgery at the Tulane University School of Medicine Dr. Mary Killackey, President of JCH Properties+ Tara Hernandez, President and Chief Executive Officer of Children's Hospital New Orleans John Nickens IV, Emmy-winning journalist and TV news executive Betsy Fisher-Martin, Loyola Professor of Management Dr. Michelle K. Johnston, Director of Communications for Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans, Susan Langenhennig, Dean of Loyola Law School Madeleine Landrieu, Career Marine Corps officer and combat veteran Jeannette Haynie, City Attorney Sunni LeBeouf, Republican member of the LA House of Representives Julie Stokes, CEO of The Ganon Group Bill Ganon, author and communications leader Sally Forman, President of Gambel Communications Betsie Gambel, Vice President of Gambel Communications Amy Boyle Collins, and former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu.  


An online application must be submitted to be considered for the Women's Leadership Academy. Partial scholarships will be awarded to applicants who work for a non-profit organization. In order to be considered for a WLA scholarship, you must submit both applications below. Please click on the following application(s) that you would like to submit:

Women's Leadership Academy Application

Women's Leadership Academy Scholarship Application

More information about the Women's Leadership Academy can be found below.

Coming Soon! Featured Speakers - Class of 2020 (Cohort 2)

Please continue to follow this webpage, as well as the Professional and Continuing Studies (PACS) FacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn pages for announcements on upcoming featured speakers for WLA Cohort 2.

 Tania Tetlow

Tania Tetlow is the President of Loyola University New Orleans. She is the first woman and first layperson to lead the university since its founding in 1912.

Current WLA Participants - Class of 2020 (Cohort 1) 

Mary Garvey Algero, JD
Loyola University New Orleans
Associate Dean, Faculty Development & Academic Affairs; Professor of Law

October Ambrose, MA
Ochsner Health System
Clinic Operations Manager

Alexandra “Sashi” Band, DO, FACOG
Ochsner Baptist
Staff Physician, Obstetrics & Gynecology

Stephanie Barksdale
Tulane University
Director, University Partnerships and Social Innovation; Adjunct Lecturer

Mandy Barton
LCMC Health
Social Media Specialist

Jody Braunig, LMSW
Girls on the Run New Orleans
Executive Director

Heidi Colwell
Resident Dining Manager

Stephanie Comardelle
Lucid LLC
Vice President, Customer Success & Solutions

Carmen H. Cummings
Jefferson Community Health Center, Inc.
Corporate Executive Manager

Lauren DeFrates, MSHCM
Ochsner Health System
Vice President, Emergency Services

Lorey Flick, PE
Flick Engineering Professionals

Renata A. Granger, MBA, MSW
Early Headstart Director

Alejandra Guzman
The New Orleans Business Alliance
Vice President, Performance Management & Strategy

Avril Habetz
Northwestern Mutual
Chief Development Officer

Emily Hartnett
InspireNOLA Charter Schools
Deputy Chief of Strategy & Advancement

Josephine “Jo” Heller, JD
St. Bernard District Attorney’s Office
Assistant District Attorney

Lauren Hickman

Allison Hjortsberg
Tulane University
Assistant Director of Marketing

Michelle Huck
Lucid LLC
Vice President, Finance; Controller

Hannah Huppi
IMOTO photo
Senior Vice President
COO & Co-Founder

Shirley Kakousky
Director, Resident Dining

Riley Kennedy
Woodward Design+Build
Director, Organizational Development

Suma Sangisetty Maddox
Louisiana State University
LSU Plastic Surgery Fellow

Meaghan McCormack
World Trade Center New Orleans
Vice President, Marketing & Communications

Krista D. Mincey, MPH, DrPH
Xavier University of Louisiana
Assistant Professor, Public Health Services

LaShaunda Pickett-Rene, MPA
TruFund Financial Services, Inc.
Assistant Vice President; Manager, Business Services & Program Development

Samantha Pollard
Loyola University New Orleans
Accessibility Counselor

Nicole Powell
New Orleans Police Department
Police Sergeant

Zozette "Zoey" Reed
Collegiate Academies
Director of Communications

Karla Rivera
Greater New Orleans Foundation
Special Assistant to the President & CEO

Elizabeth “Leigh-Ann” Sallis
Tulane University
Budget and Administrative Coordinator, Hayward Genetics Center

Rachel Strassel
Gambel Communications
Communications Strategist

Jennifer Sutton
Gulf Coast Veterinary Services
Partner; Veterinarian

Kelli Towers
American Lung Association
Executive Director

Elizabeth “Liz” Marcel Williams, Ed.D.
Center for Resilience
Founder and CEO

Amy Winchester, CFP®, CRPS™
Gulf Coast Wealth Management
Certified Financial Planner Practitioner

Heide Winston
Tulane University
Director of Communications and Civic Engagement, Office of the President Emeritus

Kate Witry
Witry Collective
Broker Owner, Realtor®

Tania Zachari
Techniques International Corporation

Coming Soon! Mentors - Class of 2020 (Cohort 2) 

Mentors will be assigned prior to the start of Women's Leadership Academy - Cohort 2.

Session Themes and Dates - Class of 2020 (Cohort 2)
  1. Opening Session - March 26, 2020
  2. Your Work Style - April 16, 2020
  3. Your Leadership Style - May 7, 2020
  4. Your Team Style - June 11, 2020
  5. Your Decision Making Style - July 16, 2020
  6. Your Conflict Style - August 13, 2020
  7. How Stress Impacts You - September 10, 2020
  8. Your Communication Style - October 8, 2020
  9. Individual Development Plans (IDP) Presentations - November 5, 2020 
  10. Your Approach to Change - December 3, 2020

Make-up date - October 22, 2020 (In case of campus closures for earlier session dates due to weather or other emergencies.)

Graduation Ceremony - Thursday, December 10, 2020; 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

  • All sessions are held at Loyola University New Orleans, 6363 St. Charles Avenue, in New Orleans.
  • All sessions are held from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
  • All sessions are held on Thursdays.
Program Requirements

To successfully complete the Women’s Leadership Academy at Loyola University New Orleans, a participant is expected to attend all sessions and complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP) including monthly one-hour mentorship meetings.

Individual Development Plans (IDPs)

Each participant will create an Individual Development Plan (IDP) throughout the Academy. Preparation of the IDP will be guided by the class sessions, one-on-one mentorship meetings, facilitated online discussions, and voluntary growth group meetings.


Each participant will be assigned a mentor that is a business, community, and/or government leader within the region. Participants and mentors will meet once per month for a one-hour conversation, guided by a questionnaire prepared by Loyola. These conversations will aid participants in the creation of their IDPs. The participant and mentor will schedule their one-on-one meetings directly to find a time and location that works best for both parties. Ideally, these meetings will be in-person, but due to busy schedules, they might sometimes be via telephone, video conference, etc.

Attendance Policy

Participants with more than two (2) excused absences may not be eligible to receive a certificate of completion. Please review the schedule thoroughly and make plans accordingly. If you anticipate that you will miss one of the scheduled dates, please let us know in advance.

The full list of session dates can be found near the top of this page. Monthly mentorship meetings will be scheduled individually once a participant is accepted into the program.

Who Should Apply?

Mid- to senior-level leaders who are:

  • Motivated to reflect upon and improve upon their personal leadership skills to become more effective and impactful.
  • Committed to driving innovation and transformation within their organizations and the region.
  • Dedicated to achieving top performance without sacrificing the well-being of themselves, their teams, or their families.


Non-Discrimination Policy

Loyola University New Orleans has fully supported and fostered in its educational programs, admissions, employment practices, and in the activities it operates the policy of not discriminating on the basis of age, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex/gender, or sexual orientation. This policy is in compliance with all applicable federal regulations and guidelines.

How to Apply

Important Dates

Applications Open: October 22, 2019

January 16, 2020 - Priority application deadline

March 2, 2020 - Final application deadline

March 6, 2020 - Tuition due


Application Requirements

To apply for the Women's Leadership Academy, an applicant must submit the following:

1. A completed online application which should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. You can view a PDF of the application beforehand to prepare your responses by clicking here or access the required online application here.

2. Access to your resume via LinkedIn and/or a copy of your resume (PDF only).

3. One letter of reference (PDF only): The letter should be from either a current or previous supervisor or coworker. The reference letter should highlight your strengths, achievements, and reasons why you would be a good candidate for the Women's Leadership Academy.

Please include "WLA documents" and your first and last name on the subject line when submitting your documents to PACS@loyno.edu.


Upon Acceptance to the Academy

Upon acceptance to the Women's Leadership Academy, participants will be required to submit additional information, including the following:

  1. A commitment form signed by you and, if applicable, your employer.
  2. A signed liability waiver and photo release form.
  3. A brief professional bio and photo of yourself (professional photo is not required).
  4. Your favorite quote about leadership.
  5. A valid driver's license and vehicle insurance (to park on campus).


A limited number of partial scholarships will be offered to applicants who work for a non-profit organization. If eligible, you must complete the Women's Leadership Academy general online application, in addition to the WLA scholarship online application. Please click here to view a PDF version of the application for reference and click here to fill out the required scholarship online application.

Tuition and Fees

Women's Leadership Academy tuition: $2,995

Tuition includes lunch and a light breakfast for all full-day, on-campus sessions. Light refreshments will be provided for half-day, on-campus sessions. Parking passes for on-campus sessions are also included in your tuition. Any activities and/or events held outside of the WLA scheduled dates listed, will be optional, and are not included in tuition.

Tuition must be paid in full by the deadline of Friday, March 6, 2020 by credit card or check made payable to: Loyola University New Orleans.

Address: Loyola University New Orleans

Office of Professional and Continuing Studies

6363 St. Charles Avenue, Campux Box 148

New Orleans, LA 70118


Sponsorships are available for all on-campus sessions and the graduation ceremony. If your business or organization is interested in sponsoring the Women's Leadership Academy, please download the WLA Sponsorship form here or contact the Office of Professional and Continuing Studies for additional information at (504) 865-3530 or PACS@loyno.edu.

Testimonials (Cohort 1)

"One of the unique aspects of this opportunity, in addition to creating such a woman-positive professional space, is the exposure to such a variety of experts in thier field. Presenters provided meaningful content that ranged from big-picture professional and personal learnings, to concrete leadership and management tools we can immediately implement."

- Elizabeth "Liz" Marcel Williams, Founder and CEO, Center for Resilience

"I have so much admiration and appreciation for the women in this program. WLA is both a stimulating and supportive space that has allowed me to learn from and relate to women from different walks of life and career backgrounds. My fellow WLA participants and the guest speakers have provided me with insights and inspiration to be a more self-assured and impactful leader."

- Heide Winston, Director, Communications and Civic Engagement, Tulane University

"This program and my classmates are the reason why I am where I am today. In the time we have been together, I have grown (personally and professionally) far past my initial expectations. Every month I learn at least 3 new skills. These skills have significantly increased my value to my organization, as well as my direct team. I have learned about successful meeting strategies, logical thinking, decision making, as well as personalities blending in groups and how to handle these things as a woman. This program and its subject matter provided the knowledge no one wanted to give me, but everyone needs to know. I am surrounded by powerful women who make me feel large instead of small. I have taken this confidence with me to work and in my home. The ripple effect is my daughter and son will also benefit from this program. Thank you President Tetlow and staff! This program is a gift and I am excited for the future and for the long term bonds that I now have!"

- Mary Schulingkamp, Vice President of Operations, Magnolia Physical Therapy

"I strongly encourage women in leadership roles or interested in serving in a leadership role to particiapte in the Loyola Women's Leadership Academy. I look forward to these sessions each month because of the speakers, who are inspirational and informative, and because of the value of setting time aside to dream big. Moreover, the opportunity to attend this course with so many strong women is uplifting and amazing in itself. We learn so much from each other. We also see that strong leaders are as diverse as each individual in the room, from the extroverted, assertive leader to the introverted, deep thinker. Good leaders are lifetime learners, and this academy is fantastic, even for the "more experienced" of us in the room!"

- Mary Garvey Algero, Associate Dean of Faculty Development and Academic Affairs, Distinguished Professor of Law, Loyola University New Orleans

"What I have enjoyed about the classes is that we are learning practical skills. I feel like I leave with something practical from each session that I can not only implement now, but am able to tie and connect it to what I am currently doing at my current job.."

- Krista Mincey, Associate Professor of Public Health Services, Xavier University 

"The Women's Leadership Academy was appealing to me because I wanted to hone in on my leadership skills and meet other leaders in managing areas to help me to be a better manager, leader, and person. I have met amazing women in the program and equally amazing speakers. I have learned a lot about myself, leadership skills, how to effectively relate to others, build upon my communication skills, and network. Through networking, I am now an adjunct professor teaching trial advocacy here at Loyola which I am so excited about. Had I not been a participant in this program, it just would not have happened..."

- Josephine "Jo" Heller, Assistant District Attorney, St. Bernard District Attorney 

Contact Us

Office: (504) 865-3530      

Email: PACS@loyno.edu

Quick link to this page: http://www.loyno.edu/WLA


Subscribe to the Professional and Continuing Studies newsletter for updates about the Women's Leadership Academy.

I have learned through the program to be authentic and own who you are. We are flexible and tend to evolve in situations, but always stay true to yourself.

October Ambrose

Clinic Manager, Ochsner Healthcare System
I thought it would be a great opportunity to be around a group of women who were either in the same situation as I am and women who have been in these roles, so I can learn from them.

Allison Hjortsberg

Assistant Director of Marketing, Tulane University
The relationships that I am forming with the women in the program, from a variety of backgrounds, has been instrumental for me.

Renata Granger

BoysTown, Director of Early Headstart