LA Young Professionals Conference serves up advice for today’s entrepreneurs

Natchitoches Young Professionals, an initiative of the NatchitochesArea Chamber of Commerce, hosted its second annual “Louisiana Young Professionals Conference” July 26. Long-time NYP member Haley Taitano led an ice breaker session to kick off the conference.

“I hope you all take away some important information today,” said Chamber President Laura Lyles. “I hope you take it back with you to where you live and work.”

The agenda included a lunch keynote delivered by Community Coffee’s Candace Tucker. She talked about the importance of evolving your brand, and the detailed and fascinating history of Community Coffee.

“Our first conference had a fantastic speaker line up, and this year we feel we had an equally excellent group of speakers from all different fields to speak to our attendees,” said long-time NYP Board Member and conference coordinator, Carrie Hough.

The conference brings together young professionals from across the state to learn about topics that affect young professionals and immediately put that information to use in their career or business.

Breakout sessions included topics that affect young professionals and featured speakers from across the region.These breakout sessions included:

“Beating Burnout” by Mark Springer (Austin, TX). Springer, a Louisiana Scholars’ College Graduate, quoted technology entrepreneur, investor, and engineer Elon Musk, who said being an entrepreneur is like, “Eating glass while staring into the abyss,” which Springer said is true in many ways.

“Things that you don’t want to happen are going to happen,” said Springer. “It’s inevitable. Understand that burnout is just part of the process. The difference between expectations and reality is how much things hurt when they go wrong. Just do your best to change the world in ways that you’re passionate about.”

“Making Room at the Table: Cultivating Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” by Ruben Henderson (Lafayette, LA)

“Work-Life Balance” by Alberta Greene (Monroe, LA)

“Leadership Lessons from the Killing Fields” by Tom Matuschka (Natchitoches, LA)

“A Road Less Traveled” by David Meaux (Lafayette, LA). Meaux spoke about the unconventional path that lead him to discover his passion, talked about how his distillery, and the book he wrote for his daughter. His stand-out message was boldness. It’s important to not be afraid of your ideas and see things through.

“When you build a campfire I always have enough kindling and logs but never had enough medium sticks,” he said. “You can have the vision and gumption to get something started but that median period is the hardest. It requires sacrifice and a tremendous amount of staying power. It’s important to keep this in mind at the beginning. Try to have a plan while retaining some flexibility.”

“Only in Your State: Best Summer Spots” by William Bloom (Baton Rouge, LA). Bloom talked about why staycations and holistays are good alternatives to taking expensive trips out of state.

The Chamber is very proud to say it had a successful second annual conference. “Personally, I loved to see all of our attendees and speakers interacting,” said Events Coordinator Maggie Harris. “I think some great conversations were had today.”