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The 2023 Louisiana Girls Leadership Academy held at Nicholls State University from June 11-14 featured Melinda Schwegmann, Louisiana’s first female Lieutenant Governor, as its keynote speaker for its celebration dinner. The special dinner was hosted on the third night of the program at the home of Dr. Raja and Guithre Talluri. Sporting her “Vote Schwegmann” campaign t-shirt during her speech, Schwegmann reinforced that girls can do it all.
LGLA is a premiere leadership building opportunity, aiming to empower young women in grades 9-12 seeking leadership roles in their schools and to provide them with the tools necessary to be successful, including sessions on how to run campaigns, facilitate communication and build teams. Participants are able to stay on Nicholls campus, learn from the valuable programming and meet other high school students from all over the state. It’s the flagship program for the Louisiana Center for Women in Government and Business at Nicholls State University, under the direction of Dr. Laura Badeaux and program coordinator Kristen Anselmi, Nicholls director of marketing.
With 63 candidates selected from over 100 applicants, participants represented 32 high schools and 16 parishes. Participants immerse themselves in a real world mock election, learning from a panel of experts and designing their own group campaign. The LGLA Ambassador is elected after the campaign process and represents an overall outstanding leadership model to assist in planning next year’s program and events.
Ava Robichaux from E.D. White High School was voted the 2023 LGLA Ambassador, and Whitney Coleman’s campaign team won for “Get Lit for Whit,” whose group campaign featured light bulbs and neon colors. Of the nine young women who applied to be ambassador, the runner up was A’Myri Sam from New Iberia Senior High School. The six other ambassador applicants included:
- Addison Prince, E.D. White
- Annika Noelle Small, Dutchtown
- Ja’Leah Robinson, Baton Rouge Magnet
- Kayla Orgeron, Central Lafourche
- Marlee Zeringue, Covenant Christian
- My Le, South Lafourche
“LGLA provides participants with the tools to build confidence in their leadership abilities so that they can succeed in leadership roles. We teach them that before they can become a leader, they must first work as a team. It is so much fun to work with this incredible group of young women and learn from Dr. Laura Badeaux who has dedicated her career to empowering women to take on leadership roles,” said Kristen Anselmi.
Other guest speakers included LCWBG President Sandra Herman; activist, author and Vice President of LCWGB Sandy Rosenthal; “everybody’s favorite twins” Sherry and Cherry Wilmore; advocate and actress Crystal Rivers; and The Demo Diva Simone Bruni.
For more than 20 years, the LCWGB has promoted female leadership in government and business through a variety of non-partisan outreach and educational programs for women. The LCWGB strives to promote women’s leadership in government, public service and business; cultivate economic opportunities for women; acknowledge and support the achievements of women; and educate all citizens about the importance of public service, responsible citizenship, and public policy education.