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TERREBONNE’S YOUNG ACHIEVERS OFFER VISION, HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

The Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 Terrebonne’s Young Achiever Award. This award is presented to honorees annually who are under the age of 40, live in Terrebonne Parish and are involved in the community, have professional career achievements and a vision for future aspirations for Terrebonne Parish. The awards were presented at the Chamber luncheon on December 4. Congratulations to this year’s honorees: Katy Bourg Ledet, Brett M. Means, and Kandace Mauldin, CPA.

KATE BOURG LEDET

Katy Bourg Ledet is a secondary English teacher at her alumni, South Terrebonne High School in Bourg. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Nicholls State University. During her time at the high school, she has served as student council advisor for six years. She received over $20,000 in grants for her classroom that included a class set of Chromebooks, flexible seating options, and a field trip to the Shakespeare Festival at Tulane University.

Katy has presented for AXI, an education technology company, at the Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators State Technology Conference and was an original member of the Terrebonne Parish District Google Pilot Program, pushing for the broader use of 1:1 technology in Terrebonne Parish Schools. She was nominated for the American Petroleum Institute Teacher Awards in 2015. Most recently, Katy was named the South Terrebonne High Teacher of the Year and the Terrebonne Parish District High School Teacher of the Year.

While studying business, Katy took an active role in the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce as a Diplomat. Currently, she is a core member of the Terrebonne Safe Schools Coalition, a grassroots organization helping support the local school districts in providing a safe learning environment. She has been a member of St. Anne’s youth ministry for retreats and was a 9th grade catechism teacher. She has volunteered for the TFAE Run for Excellence and volunteered during the annual “TFAE Celebrates Excellence” banquet. In the South Terrebonne community, Katy has organized events such as a Veterans Day breakfast for local veterans and charity fundraisers.

Katy says her vision for Terrebonne Parish “is to create a beautiful, innovative environment that will encourage our students to reach high expectations and return to our parish as successful, caring adults. By continuing to write grants for technology, conducting and implementing research in my classroom, and sharing these tools with the community, we can build meaningful learning opportunities for our students. In addition, I am currently working on getting refillable water bottle stations in our school and then growing that project out to the district in an effort to reduce waste and promote healthy choices. Additionally, I feel it is incredibly important to support the events that are growing in our area as they create culture of togetherness that helps our area thrive. As a deep-rooted lover of tradition, it is sometimes hard to imagine real change. But by working toward a positive learning environment daily, allowing tradition to grow with the times, and pushing constantly for excellence, we can be the people that move until something amazing happens.”

 

BRETT M. MEANS

Brett Means graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/ Finance at Nicholls State University. He started at Synergy Bank the year he graduated in 2009 as an investment assistant. He quickly proved he was over-qualified for the position but embraced the opportunity to learn the business without exhibiting any sense of entitlement. Brett studied on his own time to successfully pass a difficult securities industry exam (FINRA Series7), the Louisiana Life, Accident & Health Insurance exam and then went on to obtain his masters in the Executive MBA program at Nicholls State University. Within one year, he was promoted to Investment Representative, meeting with clients, recommending investments and demonstrating tremendous competency in a broad range of financial matters. Within 3 ½ years of working in investments, Brett was promoted to Vice President, Commercial Lender.

Brett was involved with the South Central Planning and Development Corp. He has been a member of Loan the Administration Board and on the Loan Advisory Committee since 2014. He has been a member of the Economic Development Committee at the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce since 2015. He was a 2016 Charter board member of Roux for a Reason which is a non-profit raising $30,000-$40,000 annually in funds donated to medical programs for cancer screening and early detection. He has been a Board Member and Treasurer since 2017 for the Chabert Foundation and is actively helping solicit auction items and donations for the foundation’s annual fundraiser “A Night Out for Goodness Sake.”

Brett says “Terrebonne is a unique parish steeped in rich culture and tradition. My vision for Terrebonne is for us to continue to be a destination for people to live, work, and raise their families. In order to accomplish this, we must continue to make strides in three key areas. Having a young child, I am very much concerned about progress being made in our education system…I would (also) like to see our community/legislators continue to support higher education.”

Brett goes on to say “Diversity in industry is another area that I hope we continue to make great strides in. oil and gas is the lifeblood of our economy…with that said, we can all bare witness to the struggles faced when oil and gas markets turn.” Brett also believes that “continued improvements in the areas of coastal restoration and levee protection are paramount to any other initiative Terrebonne Parish can undertake…The biggest individual contribution I can make to this parish is to remain an advocate through professional and civic activity.”

 

KANDACE MAULIN, CPA

Kandace Mauldin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Nicholls State University and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems in 2004, received her CPA accreditation in 2007 and went on to complete a master’s degree in Business Administration from Nicholls State University in 2009. After working for Bourgeois Bennett, LLC for 12 years, Kandace joined the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government in 2016 as CFO where she manages a $217.1 million financial budget which contains $13.6 million in Operating Capital.  Under her leadership, the finance department has received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, the highest professional recognition in governmental budgeting.

She also is an adjunct professor at NSU, teaching an auditing class to accounting majors, which allows her to give back to her profession and help mentor the young accounting graduates. An avid advocate for the accounting industry, Kandace has rapidly advanced through the Society of Louisiana CPAs, the industry’s preeminent professional organization for CPAs and is currently serving as the Chair. She is the youngest person to serve in a volunteer position, and the first from government. She is a member of the LCPA’S Governmental Accounting and Auditing Conference and Continuing Professional Education Committee and a former member of the Women’s Initiative Task Force.

Kandace is a 2012 graduate of Leadership Terrebonne, a “community incubator” that provides a comprehensive, interactive program for current and future leaders. She served as the Treasurer of the Young Professionals of South Louisiana whose mission is to make the Greater Bayou Region a place where young professionals want to live, work and play by developing opportunities for leadership through networking, engagement and advocacy. She’s a member of the NSU Alumni Federation, member and a past board member for NSU College of Business Alumni Organization. In 2012 and 2013, Kandace was a Panel Member of the NSU Business Seminar and a presenter at the NSU College of Business Career Week in 2017. She also serves on the NSU Accounting Advisory Board.

Kandace says her vision for Terrebonne Parish is for it to “become a place where people choose to live, work, play and retire. The Parish has many great things to offer and, as such, has already positioned itself to accomplish this vision. The Parish is known for its friendly people, robust economy, abundance of natural resources, unique cuisine, and cultural and music festivals such as the Rougarou Fest and Voice of the Wetlands.”

“Local officials have done an excellent job of enhancing the lifestyle of its citizens by improving streets, recreation facilities, parks and the downtown area. The school system, Nicholls State University and Fletcher Community College continue to work toward ensuring that the students are getting the necessary skills to meet workforce development needs.” Kandace believes many of us are aware of these things, “However, I am not sure the story is being told as effectively as it should. This is where I would like to get involved. A campaign should be developed to promote all the opportunities and unique attributes that the Parish has to offer potential employers, employees and visitors. This initiative should involve a public/private partnership including the local Chamber, Terrebonne Parish Schools and the higher education community. I would like to contribute my time, effort and talent to this initiative in hopes to be known in the future as a young leader who was instrumental in helping the Parish realize this vision.”

BY HEIDI GUIDRY, HOUMA-TERREBONNE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

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