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Professional and personal development for women will be the focus of an upcoming conference at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

UL Lafayette’s Women’s Leadership Conference will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 8, at the Student Union. The conference is in its 11th year.

The theme for the 2018 conference is “Nevertheless, She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination.” It will be hosted by the University’s Office for Campus Diversity.

Community leaders from education, business and nonprofits will direct workshops throughout the day. They will cover a variety of topics that include achieving goals, establishing support systems, health in the workplace and networking.

“I think one of the biggest things attendees look for – and what they will get – are opportunities to connect with others in the community,” said Dr. Taniecea Arceneaux Mallery, director of Equity, Diversity and Community Engagement at UL Lafayette. “The conference provides a network to assist women with professional development. It also provides ideas to make workplaces better, ways to find services and ways to challenge the status quo.”

Dr. Mary Neiheisel, a longtime nursing professor at UL Lafayette, will receive the Sarah Brabant Trailblazer Award at the conference. The award was established in 2016 to honor Brabant’s service to the community and commitment to advancing women’s equity. She is professor emeritus of sociology at UL Lafayette.

Brabant, one of the founders of the Mayor’s Commission on the Needs of Women, was president of the board of directors for Faith House, and taught the University’s first death and dying course.

Neiheisel joined the nursing faculty in 1966. One of the state’s first advanced nurse practitioners, she was the first College of Nursing faculty member to be awarded the UL Lafayette Foundation’s Distinguished Professor Award. She earned the honor in 1976.

Neiheisel is a past Distinguished Scholar and Fellow of the National Academies of Practice. In 2006, she was recognized as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the first person from Louisiana to receive the designation.

Conference keynote speaker will be Dr. Katrice Albert, executive vice president of inclusion and human resources for the NCAA in Indianapolis. A native of New Roads, La., Albert has held similar positions with the University of Minnesota System and the LSU System.

Albert frequently writes, speaks and consults on issues of gender, workforce diversity and partnerships between communities and universities.

She graduated magna cum laude from Xavier University of Louisiana with a bachelor’s degree in psychology; earned a doctoral degree in counseling psychology at Auburn University and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi.

The conference is open to the public. The cost is $65. Students can attend for $30. The cost to attend the luncheon only is $30.

Learn more or register: https://diversity.louisiana.edu/womens-leadership-conference

Photo: Dr. Katrice Albert; Dr. Mary Neiheisel