Shreveport women honored as ‘Game Changers’, SUSLA celebrates Women’s History Month

Shreveport women honored as ‘Game Changers’, SUSLA celebrates Women’s History Month

March 25, 2017 0 By smcclellon

The Honorable Judge Shonda Stone

Southern University of Shreveport, Louisiana (SUSLA) celebrated Women’s History Month by welcoming six inspiring Shreveport women to speak at their panel.

Erica Bryant is the Director of Finance and Human Resources for Caddo Parish. She began as the Director of Finance for Caddo Parish in 2003. Raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Southern University, holds a Masters in Business and Registration from Louisiana State University Shreveport (LSUS), and is a certified Public Accountant, certified Public Finance Officer, and a senior in Professional Resources.

“Whatever is important to you, you should strive,” says Bryant when answering a question during the panel.

Katrina Early, after graduating with a B.S. Degree from Arkansas University in Jonesboro, entered the workforce in 1995 and accepted a job with State Farm Insurance Companies. At the same time, she pursued decades of service in a foreign country in service of the U.S. Army. Six years later, she was appointed as a fully licensed State Farm Agent and formed an agency in southern Shreveport. In 2014, the Mayor of Shreveport offered Early a job in the city workforce commission. From 2009-2013, she worked on the Louisiana Commission after being appointed the position by Governor Bobby Jindal. Additionally, she served as president of the Minority Business Council and was a member of the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce. Over the years, she has received many awards of recognition such as Shreveport Woman of the Year (2011), Business Person of the Year (2010), African-American Achievement Award (2009), and two separate small Business of the Year Awards (2007 & 2008).

“I am who I am and I find that people respect that,” says Early.

(L to R): Virgin Rachal, Mary Trammel, Katrina Early, Erica Portrait

Virgin Rachal, native to Shreveport, is Rally Specialist Supervisor of the Caddo Parish School Transportation Department. She has a Bachelor’s and Science Degree from Louisiana State University Shreveport. She expects to earn her MBA Degree in May 2017 at LSUS. Rachal began her career at the Caddo Parish School Board as a CEO student and was eventually promoted up the ranks. She now supervises over 400 employees as the Transportation Supervisor of the Caddo Parish School District.

Virgin states during the panel, “When you decide who you want to be, you work for that.”

Belinda Roberson

Dr. Belinda Roberson was assumed the position of the director of the YWCA of Northwest Louisiana in 2016. She came to the YWCA from the Samaritan Counseling Center, a nonprofit organization, where she served as the Executive Director of Marketing and Finance. In addition to working nine years at the Samaritan Counseling Center, Dr. Roberson worked for seven years at a local gaming company. She has a PHD in Management from Waldron University, an MBA from the New York Institute of Technology in Westborough, New York, and a Bachelor Arts Degree from Walding College. She also attended her first two years of undergraduate school at Southern University at Shreveport.

“Women are often asked to be like men,” says Roberson. “We just have to be who we are.”

District Judge Shonda Stone, the daughter of the late Jesse Stone, the first Black Attorney of Caddo Parish, was elected for the position of superior judge of Shreveport on March 5, 2016. Prior to her election, she practiced law in Shreveport for 15 years. She has an undergraduate degree from Southern University and has a Law degree from Southern University’s law school. She is involved in the Louisiana State Bar Association, the Jessie M. Stone Junior Legal Society, received the Judge of the Year Award (2012), and is a part of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

“When women show up, things change,” says Judge Stone. “We are seen as the threat. It bothers me when women don’t understand their worth. For those of us who are older, we need to share out experience with the younger generation of women.”

Mary Trammel is a member of the Caddo Parish School Board representing District 6. In 2016, she served as the board’s President. She attended public schools in Caddo and attended Grambling State University with a focus on office administration. Trammel was employed by Caddo Parish Schools in 1977 and retired after 33.5 years. Trammel is now a community organizer currently working on a project to help stop violence in Shreveport.

“In order to be a game changer, you gotta do you,” says Trammel during the panel.

These phenomenal women are only six out of thousands of women who wish to make their nation and home towns just a little better. Through this panel, they wish to inspire other young women to strive to achieve their goals and spread the word of the importance of women around the nation.

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