The inaugural Leadership Youngsville class will be introduced at the city’s ninth annual chamber banquet, happening from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Youngsville Sports Complex.

A total of 28 people who live, work or have ties to Youngsville are participating in the leadership program.

“We wanted to get more people involved in the community and create an alliance of advocates and allies for the city,” said Youngsville Mayor Ken Ritter. “And, if we have to have critics, we want to have informed critics who have the information of why we’re doing things a certain way.”

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The eight-month program will include networking events, team-building activities and meetings with local and state leaders in the public and private sectors.

Leadership Youngsville is a joint effort between the City of Youngsville and the Youngsville Chamber of Commerce.

Leaders of both organizations were overwhelmed by the response from applicants.

“It reminded me of how great of a community we have,” Ritter said. “It’s actually a diverse group from a diverse segment of the community.”

Meet the first Leadership Youngsville class

Jake Abadie

Abadie started his oilfield career in 2007 as a field hand, working his way up to leadership roles. By 2009 he was operations manager for the field department.

He joined another company in 2014 and soon was promoted to another supervisory position. He now leads a new department that landed several major contracts with large drilling operators. 

Abadie believes in supporting his personnel because his own success comes through their success.

Jim Angers

Angers is general manager and chief financial officer of Acadiana Bottling where he has been employed for 28 years.

He has an accounting degree from the former University of Southwestern Louisiana and is a notary public.

Angers serves on the Acadiana CFO roundtable and on the Pepsi Cola Bottlers Association board, is a Ducks Unlimited volunteer, having served on local and state boards, and is a member of the Ragin' Cajuns Athletic Foundation.

Cindy Bailey

Bailey served on the the Morgan City Council before moving to Youngsville 13 years ago. She became a realtor and worked for Coldwell Banker, which was acquired by Van Eaton & Romero, where she remains today.

She quickly became involved in the Youngsville Chamber of Commerce, co-sponsoring the chamber's first website and activities, and serving as an ambassador welcoming new businesses to the city.

Bailey has won local and international realtor awards and was among the Top 5 Producers at Van Eaton & Romero for 2018. 

Shannon Bares

Bares and her husband have owned Farmer’s Drugs and Gifts for 14 years, after purchasing the business in 2005.

She joined the Youngsville Chamber in 2005 and has served as secretary, vice president and president. She has been secretary of the Youngsville Lions Club since joining in 2009, is on the Louisiana Lions Camp board of directors and is the Youngsville Lions Club eyesight coordinator, the contact person for those who need eye exams and glass free from the Louisiana Lions Eye Foundation.

Bares is president of the Krewe des Amis, a local Mardi Gras Krewe established in 1981.

Erin Bolfer

Bolfer started with Stuller Inc. shortly after graduating from UL in 2001 in business administration. After 3 1/2 years, she moved to The Schumacher Group, starting as an IT project manager, a post she held for five years. She's still with the company, now Schumacher Clinical Partners.

In 2010, Bolfer was the United Way Corporate Volunteer Award winner and served as UL Alumni Association Homecoming chairperson. She served as Relay for Life event co-chairperson in 2011 and was named UL Lafayette Alumni Association Volunteer of the Year for Outstanding Service in 2013.

Bolfer served two three-year terms on the UL Alumni Council and within the last year created the IT professionals chapter.

Jason Boudreaux

Boudreaux is the chief legal counsel for the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, a position he has held under Sheriff Mark Garber since 2016.

Boudreaux has more than 20 years of experience as an attorney in Louisiana.

He has lived with his wife in Youngsville for more than nine years and volunteers for Acadiana nonprofits. He is the secretary-treasurer of Sheriff Mark Garber Charities and is a former treasurer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Acadiana. 

Gareth Boyd

Boyd attended UL and served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 2006-2014, serving one tour in Iraq from 2010-11.

In 2013, he stared Insight Technologies, which provides a variety of security technology solutions for businesses and residents. He also works with ShieldWall Security Consulting, working with schools, churches and businesses to improve the safety and security of their facilities and operations.

Boyd volunteers with Americans for Prosperity and Young Americans for Liberty, and is a member of ASIS International and InfraGard-Louisiana.

Glenda Bryan

Bryan has been a full-time realtor with Southern Lifestyle Realty since its inception in 2009 and is accredited as a "Green" realtor.

She is president of the newly formed Youngsville Historical Preservation Society, a member of the Youngsville Chamber of Commerce and a Master Gardener from the class of 2012.

Bryan graduated from Lafayette High, attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana and lived in New Orleans through Hurricane Katrina, moving to Youngsville at the urging of River Ranch developer and long-time friend Robert Daigle.

Lulu David

David, who is fluent in Laos and Thai, started her real estate career three years ago with Keaty Real Estate.

She graduated from UL in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in design and merchandising, and was district sales and operations manager for the Linde Group before going into real estate.

Real estate, for David, is about the personal relationships she develops with her clients and watching them grow as families.

Jillian Dickerson

Dickerson is a post-admissions specialist in the UL Graduate School office.

Before joining UL, she worked for the Lafayette Education Foundation where she honored educators through an annual teacher awards program and for the Lafayette Economic Development Authority where she worked with local businesses to develop the community. 


Dickerson has served on the board of the 705 for six years, is an advisory council member for Eckerd Connects and a committee member for the American Cancer Society’s Black and White Gala. 

LaSonja Dunbar

Dunbar is the owner of LaSonja Dunbar Agency, Horace Mann Teachers Insurance Company serving educators.

She has more than 15 years of experience in various fields of business. After attending Southern University in Baton Rouge studying business administration, Dunbar worked in the real estate industry, specializing in selling insurance and real estate.

Dunbar is a mother of three. When not working or serving her community she enjoys attending football games, cheer competitions, relaxing with friends and family, and exploring the world through travel.

Missy Wagner Ford

Ford is enrolled in Travel Leaders of Tomorrow, pursuing a career as a certified travel agent. She will graduate in July and has plans to open her own travel agency in Youngsville in 2019 or 2020.

A resident of Lafayette for seven years, Ford and her husband moved to Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville in May. She has been a licensed realtor for 15 years.

Ford graduated from LSU with a bachelor's degree in political science and worked as a paralegal for five years with the Louisiana Attorney General's Office.

Dustin Fortenberry

Fortenberry has worked in the waste industry since 2009, starting in Madisonville. He managed the company's Hammond office then took over the Slidell location. In 2017, he took a promotion to district manager of southwest Louisiana.

Growing up in Franklinton, Fortenberry attended Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, earning a bachelor's degree in marketing. After graduating he worked for Wells Fargo.

He has a side photography business.

Hubert Gauthier Jr.

Gauthier is a licensed real estate broker with 20 years of experience in various facets of the real estate industry and seven years motivating and training real estate agents for Exit Realty Acadiana, Exit Realty Elite and Gauthier Real Estate.

In 2013, he was selected by Louisiana Realtors to be part of their leadership class. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Southern New Hampshire University, an E-Pro designation through the National Association of Realtors and has completed the coursework for the Sellers Representative Specialist designation.

A member of the International Real Estate Management Organization, Gauthier is on track to receive his Certified Property Manager Designation and is pursuing a master's degree in business administration. He served as the public relations chair for the Real Estate Association of Acadiana two years.

Samantha Kelly

Kelly is a brand developer for Russo, an ad agency located in downtown Lafayette, and has more than 11 years of marketing and media buying experience. She joined the Russo team in 2016 and works daily building bridges between clients, their target audience and the community.

Kelly attended the University of Southern Indiana, Northwestern State University and studied speech pathology while at UL.

With a focus on philanthropy in her professional and personal life, she is active in Operation Backpacker, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Healing House, Food for the Hungry, Operation Christmas Child and Samaritan’s Purse.

Patricia Lanier

Lanier is a professor of management at the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration at UL.

She earned her bachelor's degree in accounting from the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University, her master's degree in business administration from the Hankamar School of Business at Baylor University and her doctorate in management from Louisiana Tech. A certified human resources professional, Lanier holds the Van Eaton and Romero Professorship in Business, the Drs. Chuck and Sue Lein Professorship in Management, and the Home Bank Professorship in Management.

Lanier has served on several boards of directors including Goodwill Industries of Acadiana, the Girl Scouts of Louisiana, Pines to the Gulf, and the Southern Management Association. She has been a human resource and strategic management consultant for 20 years.

Jan Latiolais

Latiolais began her banking career as a part-time teller at Premier Bank in Lafayette 29 years ago. Today, she's the vice president/manager for Farmers State Bank and Trust, managing the Youngsville location and handling consumer and commercial lending and marketing.

She is president of the Youngsville Lions Club, secretary of Krewe Des Amis, the Youngsville Mardi Gras krewe, and president of the Youngsville Center. She is a member of the Youngsville Chamber of Commerce, has served on the board of directors and is a past vice president.

A lifelong resident of Youngsville, she is married to Assistant Police Chief Nicholas Latiolais.

Renee Leblanc

Leblanc is the utility billing specialist for the city of Youngsville, where she processes all of the bills for resident accounts.

She was promoted in 2018 to the front office supervisor in addition to continuing her work as utility billing specialist.

Leblanc has worked for the city of Youngsville since April 2016.

Lucas Menard

Menard has worked with Community First Bank since 2011, now serving as lending officer for the Youngsville branch.

He graduated from UL in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in behavioral science and spent three years traveling the country as a claims adjuster for Allstate's National Catastrophe Team. In 2017, he earned his statewide notary commission, becoming the first member of Community First Bank to do so.

Menard has used his love of the arts to give back to Acadiana through various charities and by contributing to public art displays in Lafayette. 

Monica Meyers

Meyers has worked as a State Farm agent in Youngsville since 2007 and worked as an auto claims representative for the company for 15 years before that.

She serves as membership chair for the Youngsville Chamber, which she has been a member of since 2008.

Meyers and her husband raised their three adult children in Maurice, where they continue to live today.

Chad Murray

Chad Murray is a licensed realtor with Keller Williams Realty Acadiana and an accomplished human resources professional who holds a master of business administration.

He serves as president of the Copperfield Master Homeowners Association and a member of The 705. He was a member of Leadership Lafayette Class of XXXI and was recognized in 2018 with a 20 Under 40 Acadiana Leadership Award and in 2011 as the Acadiana Human Resource Professional of the Year.

A native of New Roads, Murray now lives in Youngsville with his family.

Nicholas Niland

Niland is a clinical nurse manager at Lafayette General Medical Center.

He developed the hospital’s medical surgical unit, which opened in June 2018, by hiring more than 25 people to work in the 24-bed space.

Niland holds a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, an associate degree in nursing and is enrolled in an online master of business administration program at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He serves as a delegate for his district in the Louisiana State Nurses Association and is a member of the Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Foundation and UL Alumni Association.

Niland has lived in Youngsville for two years.

Jennifer Nugent

Nugent has worked in the hospice industry for more than 15 years and is a partner of Grace Hospice and Palliative Care.

In 2017, she started the Acadiana Advocacy Network, a nonprofit organization that donates medical devices, furniture and clothes to those in need.

Nugent volunteers as a community advocate in multiple parishes through the Elderly Protective Service, Council on Aging, sheriffs’ offices and district attorneys’ offices. She is also on the homeless task force in Iberia Parish.

A New Iberia native, Nugent has lived in Youngsville for six years with her husband and two children.

Tammie Romero

Romero has 32 years of banking experience and holds a class C insurance license.

She worked for five years as Youngsville branch manager of Gulf Coast Bank and spent nine years working for Whitney Bank, the last four of which were spent in Youngsville. She also worked for First National Bank of Lafayette and IberiaBank.

Romero serves as diplomat chair of the Youngsville Chamber’s board of directors and was recognized as member of the year in 2016. She also has served on the Goodwill Events Advisory Board for 13 years.

Reid Sellers

Reid is the co-owner of Sugarland Exterminating & Chemical Company.

Born in New Iberia, Sellers graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1995 with a degree in business administration, specializing in marketing. He serves as governmental co-chair of the Youngsville Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors and a member of the Iberia Industrial Development Foundation’s board of directors.

Reid has lived in Youngsville for 13 years with his wife and three children.

Jonathon Smith

Smith is the owner-operator of Revive Performance Training in Youngsville.

Born and raised in New Iberia, Smith graduated in 2004 from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in business management. He also served as pitcher for the UL Ragin’ Cajuns baseball team.

Smith has lived in Youngsville for 10 years. He shares his passion for fitness and athletics through his business, which provides cutting edge training for adults and athletes with a focus on enhancing lives and getting results.

Robert Unterburger II

Unterburger has worked as a security consultant at Acadian Total Security since 2015.

He has been in the security and enterprise solutions industry for several years now and has earned recognition for being a top sales consultant.

Unterburger serves as chairman of the board for the Youngsville Chamber of Commerce. He is involved in the community and also serves as a member of several associations.

Michael Williams 

Williams is the vice president of commercial lending and business banking for Hancock Whitney Bank in River Ranch. He joined the bank in 2002.

Williams also owns multiple businesses, including AAA Factory Direct Blinds and Shutters, Williams Investment Holdings LLC, and Williams & Roussel Heirloom Furniture and Accessories. In the late 1990s, he also ran a specialty candy shop called Le Chocolatier de Lafayette.

Williams serves on the Youngsville Chamber of Commerce, Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and Krewe de Amis. He is also a member of the Delta Water Foul and the National Rifle Association.

Before joining UL, she worked for the Lafayette Education Foundation where she honored educators through an annual teacher awards program and for the Lafayette Economic Development Authority where she worked with local businesses to develop the community. 

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