Saturday, April 20, 2024

NSU staff, alumni will be among presenters at Louisiana Young Professionals Conference

by BIZ Magazine

Several Northwestern State University staff and alumni will be featured during the fourth annual Louisiana Young Professionals Conference that will take place from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, July 9 at Chateau St. Denis in Natchitoches. Organizers say employers and employees will both find real value in the session topics for this conference.

“Our keynote and session speakers will give participants valuable insight into some of today’s greatest workplace challenges, and strategies to overcome those challenges,” said Maggie Matuschka, marketing director for the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event through the Chamber’s Natchitoches Young Professionals organization. Although presented through NYP, there is no age limit to participate and professionals of all ages are invited to attend the conference.

Registration is $60. Active NSU students can register for $20 with a current student ID. Discounts are also available for NYP members. Registration includes a light breakfast and lunch.

Keynote speaker will be Dr. LaToya Burrell, a 2005 graduate of NSU. Burrell is a licensed attorney, a university administrator and a champion for inclusion and diversity. She is the author of “Be Bold: How to Prepare Your Heart and Mind for Racial Reconciliation” and will speak on “Understanding and Embracing DEI Efforts in the Workplace: Your Guide to Uncomfortable Conversations.”

Dr. Nikki Ceaser Small, a 2007 NSU graduate, is associate dean of Curriculum and Assessment at Dallas College and an adjunct instructor at NSU. With over a decade of leadership experience in higher education administration, Dr. Ceaser Small has established herself as a practitioner of education in the areas of advancing enrollment management and building corporate relations within the higher education sector. Her presentation will be titled “Leading from the Cheap Seats.”

Dr. Tait Martin, a 1997 graduate of Northwestern, will discuss how businesses can run with their brand story. Martin has worked as a communication and marketing professional, helping organizations focus their outreach messages, build stronger relationships and develop creative and innovative programs that enhance their image with the people who matter most to them. Martin is CEO and president of Wildcat Brothers Distilling in Lafayette. His presentation is titled “Rum Runners.”

Emily Zering, an instructor in NSU’s Department of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts, will discuss how to effectively launch a business on new and emerging social media channels. Her presentation is titled “What’s Your Social Status.”

NSU’s Director of Recruiting Van Erikson will serve on a panel with three others, “Taking Learning & Leadership to the Next Level,” that will discuss how leadership programs help transform professional life and community.

Several other speakers will round out the conference schedule during the informative sessions.

Prior to the conference, an evening social will take place beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 8 at Mama’s Blues Room for registration, networking and prize drawings. A conference after party will be at Jimbo’s Sports Bar and Grill starting at 3 p.m.

“You will walk away with new ways to adapt your habits and skills to become a more valuable team member and employee,” Matuschka said. “You will have the opportunity to network and engage in idea-sharing with a cross section of professionals from around the state. This is one conference you don’t want to miss out on.”

For more information or to register, visit

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