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***Update***

We are excited to announce that the Women's Leadership Academy, Cohort 2 at Loyola University New Orleans will begin on March 12, 2020! We will start accepting applications for Cohort 2 on October 15, 2019. Please continue to monitor this webpage or follow the Office of Professional and Continuing Studies on Facebook at www.facebook.com/loynopcs for updates on the application process. We hope to have you in our next WLA class!


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The Women's Leadership Academy 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.

The program consists of ten (10) on-campus class sessions; monthly one-hour, one-on-one mentorship meetings; a one-hour, one-on-one deep dive into your Individual Development Plan created throughout the program; and networking opportunities with fellow rising leaders in the region.

Class sessions will be facilitated by Amy Landry, an MBTI© Certified Practitioner for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator training, and include guest speakers and microlearning seminars conducted by expert Loyola University New Orleans faculty and staff. Microlearning seminars will include lessons in:

  • project management (Mark Faust, PMP)
  • public speaking
  • critical thinking 
  • emotional intelligence (Dr. Alicia Bourque)
  • conflict resolution
  • negotiation
  • strategic planning (Dr. Mazhar Islam)
  • networking

High-profile speakers for the ten-month program include: Republican political strategist and television commentator Mary Matalin, Emmy-winning journalist and TV news executive Betsy Fisher-Martin, author and communications leader Sally Forman, New Orleans City Councilwoman Helena Moreno, Loyola Professor of Management Dr. Michelle K. Johnston, former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu and Dr. Mary Killackey, chair of the Department of Surgery at the Tulane University School of Medicine. 

A limited number of scholarships will be offered to applicants who work at a non-profit. View How to Apply to learn more. 

Featured Speakers - Class of 2020 (Cohort 1)

  Kim Boyle
Kim Boyle is a labor and employment partner with Phelps Dunbar, LLC. Her standout legal career has earned her local, regional and national recognition, including recognition by the Louisiana Bar Foundation, Benchmark Litigation, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, New Orleans Magazine and New Orleans CityBusiness, among others.

LaToya Cantrell
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell is the first African-American and the first woman to lead the city since its founding in 1718.

Deb Elam
Corporate pioneer Deborah Augustine Elam rose to the C-suite at GE as President of the GE Foundation and Chief Diversity Officer. Her thirty-year career has enabled her to launch Corporate Playbook, an Executive Coaching and Strategic Solutions consulting firm, where she serves as President and CEO.

Betsy Fischer Martin
Betsy Fischer Martin is an Emmy-winning journalist and TV news executive who currently leads American University's Institute of Women and Politics.

  Sally Forman
Author and communications leader Sally Forman has served as chief of protocol for the City of New Orleans and in the press offices of both Republican and Democratic administrations in Louisiana. She is co-founder and former CEO of the Idea Village.

 Dr. Michelle Johnston
Michelle K. Johnston, Ph.D., is the Chase Minority Entrepreneurship Professor of Management in the College of Business at Loyola University New Orleans, where she teaches leadership communication classes to MBA and undergraduate students. Dr. Johnston has received research and teaching awards in the field of communication.

  Dr. Mary Killackey
Dr. Mary Killackey is chair of the Department of Surgery at the Tulane University School of Medicine. She is the first woman and youngest person to hold that position.

 Andy Kopplin
Andrew “Andy” Kopplin currently serves as president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation. He previously served as First Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer for the City of New Orleans under Mayor Mitch Landrieu from 2010-2016.

  Mary Landrieu
Mary Landrieu served 18 years as a U.S. Senator representing the state of Louisiana; prior to that, she served as state treasurer and member of the legislature. The first woman from Louisiana elected to serve a full-term as senator, she is now a senior policy advisor with the firm of Van Ness Feldman in Washington, D.C.

Mary Matalin
Mary Matalin is one of the most celebrated and popular conservative voices in America. She is an author, television and radio host, and widely sought after political contributor, pundit and public speaker.

  Helena Moreno
New Orleans City Councilwoman-at-Large Helena Moreno has been honored as a legislative champion for women by various organizations. Previously an Emmy Award-winning reporter, she is a successful businesswoman and founder of the nonprofit Ignite Advocacy Network, created to advance issues important to women and their families.

 John Nickens
John R. Nickens IV is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Hospital New Orleans and LCMC Health Maternal and Child Health Services.

  Julie Stokes
Julie Stokes is a Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, representing District 79. As businesswoman and certified public accountant, she ran for Secretary of State in fall 2018.

 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.

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®

Trisha Young
Atmos Energy Corporation
Director, Gas Supply Planning and Contract Administration

Tania Zachari
Techniques International Corporation

Mentors - Class of 2020 (Cohort 1) 

Emily Arata
Ochsner Health System
Assistant Vice President of Economic Development and Community Initiatives

Aimee Aysenne, MD, MPH
Tulane University
Director of Neurocritical Care
Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery

Robin Barnes
GNO, Inc.
Executive Vice President & COO

Liz Broekman
Fidelity Bank
Director of P.O.W.E.R. (Potential of Women Entrepreneurs Realized)

Simone Bruni
Demolition Diva

Jane Cooper, MA
Grand Krewe

Myra Corrello, PhD
Find Your Spice Seminars, LLC

Carla Coury
Tulane University
Director, Career Services

Rebecca Dietz, JD
Audubon Nature Institute
Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and General Counsel

Monique Doucette, JD
Ogletree Deakins

Asali DeVan Ecclesiastes
New Orleans Business Alliance
Director, Strategic Neighborhood Development

Deborah Augustine Elam, PhD
Corporate Playbook
President & CEO

Anna Finch, MA
Real DFM
CEO and Co-Founder

Betsie Gambel
Gambel Communications

Michelle Ganon
Port of New Orleans
Chief of Staff, Vice President for Public Affairs

Ashleigh Gardere
New Orleans Business Alliance
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Kellie Green
Greater New Orleans Foundation
Director of Nonprofit Leadership and Effectiveness

Ronald Guillory, MBA MEd
Vice President of Operations

Antonia Keller
Emeril Lagasse Foundation
Vice President

Katie Lasky, JD
Lasky and Murphy

Catherine Lenihan, MBA

Sandra Lindquist, CCE
New Orleans Chamber of Commerce
Executive Vice President / Chief Operating Officer

Liz McCartney, MA
St. Bernard Project (SBP)
Co-Founder & COO

Kate McCrery, MA
Loyola University New Orleans
Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Development
Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship

Tina Meilleur, CPA, MBA
Design Your Success, LLC
Founder & CEO / Executive Coach, Business Advisor, Author

Karen Thomas McNay, EdD
Ursuline Academy

Rebecca Pennington, PhD
Girl Scouts Louisiana East

Victoria Adams Phipps
New Orleans Business Alliance
Vice President of Programs
504ward Executive Director

Mayra Pineda
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana

Lesley Poche
McEnery Residential

Aimee Quirk
innovationOchsner, Ochsner Health System

Takema Robinson
Principal and Co-Founder

PK Sheerle, RN
Gifted Nurses / Gifted Healthcare
CEO and Chairman of the Board

Kristine Strickland, PhD
Fletcher Technical Community College

Lisa Taglauer
Magnolia Physical Therapy
President / Co-Owner

Tania Tetlow, JD
Loyola University New Orleans

LaVerne Saulny Toombs
St. John Parish
Chief Administrative Officer

Sarah Usdin
New Schools for New Orleans
Orleans Parish School Board
District 3 Representative

Mary-Jo Webster
Aunt Sally’s Pralines

Shondra Williams, DNP
Jefferson Community Health Care Centers

Session Themes and Dates - Class of 2020 (Cohort 1)
  1. Opening Session - April 16, 2019 (9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)
  2. Your Work Style - May 14, 2019
  3. Your Decision-Making Style - June 11, 2019
  4. Your Team Style - July 16, 2019
  5. Your Leadership Style - August 6, 2019
  6. Your Communication Style - September 10, 2019
  7. Your Conflict Style - October 15, 2019
  8. How Stress Impacts You - November 12, 2019
  9. Individual Development Plans (IDP) Presentations - December 3, 2019 (two half-day sessions; 9:00 - 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.; participants will be assigned to morning or afternoon session)
  10. Your Approach to Change - January 21, 2020

Make-up date - October 22, 2019 (in case of campus closures for earlier session dates due to weather or other emergencies)

Graduation Ceremony - Thursday, January 30, 2020; 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Individual Development Plan (IDP) Deep Dives - January 6, 2020 - January 17, 2020. Each participant will schedule a one-hour, one-on-one session with the WLA facilitator for a deep dive into the participant's final IDP. Every effort will be made to accommodate participants' availability when scheduling the one-hour sessions during this date range.

  • 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. - 3:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
  • All sessions are held on Tuesdays.
Expectations of Participants

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 will not complete the program. 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


Application Deadline

The first priority application deadline is Monday, March 18, 2019, by 9:00 a.m. Priority deadline applicants will be notified by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 25, 2019.

The second priority application deadline is Monday, April 1, 2019, by 9:00 a.m. Those who apply by April 1 will be notified by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, 2019.

The final application deadline is Monday, April 8, 2019, by 9:00 a.m. Those who apply by April 8 will be notified by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. 

The tuition deadline is Monday, April 15, 2019, by 5:00 p.m. 


Application Requirements

  1. A completed online application. This should take about 15 minutes to complete. You can view a PDF of the application beforehand to prepare your responses by clicking here.
  2. A copy of your resume (PDF only) or the URL for your public LinkedIn profile
  3. One letter of reference (PDF only): The letter should be from a key stakeholder in your professional development such as your current supervisor or a current external partner. It should highlight your strengths, achievements, and reasons why you would be a good fit for the Women's Leadership Academy.
  4. Your organizational chart (optional, PDF only): The chart should demonstrate your reporting structure, including any positions that report to you.


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 photograph of yourself that will be shared with other participants. This does not have to be professionally shot.
  4. A brief professional bio that will be shared with other participants.
  5. A scan or image of your business card. (A photo taken with your phone is fine.)
  6. Your favorite quote about leadership.


A limited number of scholarships will be offered to applicants who work at a non-profit. 

Tuition and Fees

Tuition for the Women's Leadership Academy is $2,995 and 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.

Tuition must be paid in full by the deadline of Friday, April 15, 2019, by 5:00 p.m. and can be paid via credit card or check.


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

Advisory Committee

Many thanks go out to members of our Advisory Committee!

Elizabeth "Liz" Glaser Broekman, Director of P.O.W.E.R. (Potential Of Women Entrepreneurs Realized), Fidelity Bank

Myra Corrello, Ph.D.; business growth advisor, speaker, and trainer

Stephanie Davi, M.P.A.; Director of Development and National Operations, ACE Mentor Program of America, Inc.

Klassi Duncan, M.B.A.; Director, Women's Business Resource Center, Urban League of Louisiana

Lesli Harris, J.D., L.L.M.; Chief of Staff, Loyola University New Orleans

Diane Jackson, SHRM-CP; Director of Curriculum and Programs, The Slone Group

Amy Landry, SHRM-CP, PHR; Founder/Owner, Fuel Success Academy and Diapers to Desk

Sandra Lindquist, C.C.E.; Executive Vice President and COO, New Orleans Chamber of Commerce

Rachelle Matherne, Director, Professional and Continuing Studies, Loyola University New Orleans

Christina Morales, M.B.A.; MBA Director, Loyola University New Orleans


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.




Last revised: May 22, 2019