2019 Women's Conference (WC19)
Tell a Friend About This EventTell a Friend

This special event is our highest rated event of the year. The conversations are lively and meaningful, and our world-class speakers offer best practices and sage advice for seizing your own personal power and celebrating your strengths. Don’t miss it!

When: 05/17/2019
7:30 AM until 4:20 PM
Where: Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel
7000 Bluebonnet Blvd
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 
United States
Presenter: Various

Online registration is closed.
« Go to Upcoming Event List  

2019 Women's Conference

May 17 • Renaissance Hotel, Baton Rouge

You are a masterpiece.

The beauty of the mosaic is in how a thousand tiny pieces all come together to form a bigger, more beautiful piece. Similarly, your journey is made of a million diverse experiences that, when collected across a lifetime, have given you your unique perspective and strengths.

To celebrate and enhance those strengths, we’ve brought together a lineup of amazing women — women from diverse backgrounds who will share their stories and inspire you to find the masterpiece in you.

This special event is our highest rated event of the year. The conversations are lively and meaningful, and our world-class speakers offer best practices and sage advice for seizing your own personal power and celebrating your strengths. Don’t miss it!

Sessions & Speakers

7:30 – 7:55 am Registration & Continental Breakfast
7:55 – 8:00 am Welcome & Opening Remarks
8:00 – 9:15 am

Communicating Financial Information to Non-financial People

Geni Whitehouse, CPA, CITP • Accountant, Author, and Winery Consultant/Enthusiast • Napa Valley, CA

We accountants speak a different language. Whether we are referring to Debits and Credits, Assets and Liabilities or different sections of the tax code, our clients are generally at a loss to understand what we are saying. They place less value on information they don’t understand and are often too intimidated to ask questions. In this session, you will learn secrets of de-mystifying accounting and increasing the value of the services you deliver.

9:15 – 10:05 am

Managing Up, Down and Sideways with a Hospitality Mindset

Lisa K. Bowles, MTA, CHIA • Instructor – Hospitality Management, University of Louisiana – Lafayette • Lafayette, LA
10:05 – 10:25 am Break
10:25 – 11:15 am

Seize Your Power: Increase Your Impact and Build Better Teams

Michelle Ganon • Chief of Staff and VP of Public Affairs – Port of New Orleans • New Orleans, LA

Michelle will give you practical suggestions to increase your personal and professional impact, recognize your strengths, and contribute meaningfully to teams.

11:15 am – 12:05 pm

Breaking Down Barriers and Beating the Odds

Honorable Lori Landry • 16th Judicial District Court, Division H • St. Martinville, LA
12:05 – 1:05 pm Women to Watch Awards Luncheon
Presented in partnership with the AICPA.
1:05 – 1:55 pm

Embracing Change: Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Laura O’Brien • Zachary City Council – District 3 • Zachary, LA
1:55 – 2:45 pm

Beyond Social: Digital Media for Personal Marketing and Career Development

Rachael Higginbotham • Marketing Director - Postlethwaite & Netterville • Baton Rouge, LA
2:45 – 3:05 pm Break
3:05 – 4:20 pm

Igniting the Leader Within: Self-Discovery, Empowerment, and Leadership Transformation

Dima Ghawi, MBA • Author, Executive Trainer, and Keynote Speaker • Baton Rouge, LA

Lisa K. Bowles, MTA, CHIA

Instructor – Hospitality Management, University of Louisiana – Lafayette • Lafayette, LA

Lisa K. Bowles has worked in the tourism and hospitality industry since 2000, entering the academic world in August 2016 as full-time instructor.

Read More

Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Mass Communication, major in Public Relations from Louisiana State University – Baton Rouge, and a Master of Tourism Administration from The George Washington University (GWU). For both degrees, she studied abroad and earned Summa Cum Laude status.

Her corporate background includes 16 years of working at and with hotels, CVBs including Destination DC, convention centers and the national meetings and conventions market. She has held various leadership positions, volunteered on industry committees, taught as adjunct faculty for NOVA Community College and Howard University, and was the Keynote Speaker for the 2005 graduating Master of Tourism Administration students at GWU.

Her certifications include:

  • 2018 - Certified Course Designer
  • 2017-2022 CHIA – Certified Hotel Industry Analytics
  • 2007-2012 CMP – Certified Meeting Planner
  • 2005-2010 CASE – Certified Association Sales Executive

“There has never been a doubt that I wanted to follow my passion of working in the tourism industry. I have had so much fun, so many experiences, and met so many people. The value of education outside the classroom and learning by doing is integral; in addition to working, you must travel regularly to truly understand the business from both the supplier and customer point of view. And how fun travel can be even with the hiccups here and there….it’s all part of the memory!”

Lisa is a voracious reader, involved in small family businesses, former aerobics and spin instructor, loves adventures with her children, and is married to Harry Bowles. They have two children, Luna and Harrison.

Michelle Ganon

Chief of Staff and VP of Public Affairs – Port of New Orleans • New Orleans, LA

Michelle plays a lead role in crafting communications strategy, strengthening community engagement efforts and building new partnerships to drive regional economic prosperity and job growth.

Read More

Current projects span the Port’s four lines of business (cargo, rail, real estate and cruise) and include infrastructure projects throughout the Port’s jurisdiction, the Port’s Strategic Master Plan, and workforce development initiatives.

Prior to joining the Port of New Orleans, Ganon served in leadership marketing and communications roles with the Port of San Diego, San Diego City Council, and San Diego’s downtown redevelopment agency.

Dima Ghawi, MBA

Author, Executive Trainer, and Keynote Speaker • Baton Rouge, LA

Dima’s Story: From Forced Silence to a Loud Purpose My story is one of escaping confinements, shattering barriers, crossing continents, and daring to discover and create a bold identity and transformational life purpose.

Read More

I came from a part of the world where I was taught, at an early age, to be follower, quiet, and subservient. I was fiercely constrained by the Middle Eastern culture, community, and family expectations that molded me to be absent of identity. My path was predetermined, my worth was decided by the judgment of others, and all that truly mattered was preserving the honor of my family’s reputation in my every action.

The weight of these suffocating external forces consumed me, left me paralyzed in fear, and grasping for a sense of identity.

It took me years before I was able to dare realize that I might have a choice - that I might have a greater value than I was taught. I knew to change my circumstances would be extremely dangerous and would require courage I had never known before. Nevertheless, I was determined to transform my world, embrace the unknown, and discover my true identity, even if I had to stand alone and face the painful life-threatening consequences of my decision. Finally the day of metamorphic transformation came.

I ended up shattering the limitations that chained me to a life to which I no longer belonged.

I began a new journey. I’m proud to share that, today, I draw from 18 years of global corporate experience and the harrowing trials of my own personal journey to establish this unique and empowering consulting company. I’m here to speak to the future leaders, the rebels and visionaries, those who are ready to shatter limitations, reach their full potential, and become a part of the global community for change.

With experience leading global teams, managing strategic client relationships, and developing future leaders for companies like IBM, Merrill Lynch, and Bank of America, I combine my corporate expertise with my own personal narratives to captivate and motivate my audiences, by reaching into the depths of people’s minds, hearts, and unkindled aspirations and sharing a vision of hope, courage, and wild possibilities.

Through keynote speeches, workshops, training programs, coaching and the development of an online global community, I continue to share my unique leadership journey with one goal in mind: motivate and activate those around me to dare to grow into leadership roles and reimagine what they are truly capable of achieving.

I know the foundation of empowerment is knowledge, and I believe our world is hungry for effective leaders who can be agents of change.

It’s time to shatter your limitations and be courageous - join me as we grow into the leaders of tomorrow.

Rachael Higginbotham

Marketing Director - Postlethwaite & Netterville • Baton Rouge, LA

Rachael Higginbotham leads the Marketing Department for Postlethwaite & Netterville. With over 15 years of marketing and consulting experience—including over a decade in the world of accounting marketing—her strengths include marketing strategy, business development coaching and support, ROI development, brand management and strategic corporate projects.

Read More

Rachael focuses on supporting business-to-business marketing initiatives for a firm of over 400 employees. She directs internal and external communications, business development efforts, lead generation and acquisition strategy, soft skills training, and branding.

Honorable Lori Landry

16th Judicial District Court, Division H – St. Martinville, LA

Honorable Lori A. Landry is a 1981 graduate of New Iberia Senior High School. She is also the beneficiary of a catholic school education through the 9th grade. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Pre-Law from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, formerly the University of Southwestern Louisiana and a Juris Doctorate from Southern University Law Center.

Read More

Judge Landry served as the first African-American female Assistant District Attorney in the 16th JDC for eight and one-half years. During her tenure, she prosecuted all sex offenses in Iberia Parish as well as one of the volunteer Drug Court Prosecutors. On November 5, 2002, Judge Lori A. Landry was elected District Court Judge of the Sixteenth Judicial District, Division H. Again, she became the first African-American female to serve in that capacity and only the second female. Judge Landry also served as Chief Judge of the 16th Judicial District Court in 2005.

In addition to her regular duties, Judge Landry has volunteered to serve as the Juvenile Court Judge in St. Martin Parish, in furtherance of the belief “One Family… One Judge.” She is active in many professional and civic organizations; has served on many Boards of Directors in the Acadiana area, such as United Way, Iberia and Jeanerette Chambers of Commerce and special Boys and Girls Committees. She is actively involved with the youth of the community as a guest lecturer; volunteer with school-based programs, such as CHOICES; and as a member of the New Iberia Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Until August, 2009, she was a lifelong member of St. Edward Catholic Church and has served as a member of the Diocesan Pastoral Council for the Diocese of Lafayette and was a Proclaimer of the Word. Judge Landry is now an active member of the Lighthouse Missionary Baptist Church where she serves in several capacities.

Laura O’Brien

Zachary City Council – District 3 • Zachary, LA

Laura O'Brien was elected to Zachary City Council in November 2014 representing District 3. She served as Mayor Pro Tempore from 2015-2016. Laura is a graduate of Louisiana College with a bachelor's degree in kinesiology and a graduate of Louisiana Tech University with a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology.

Read More

She was a local business owner of Fitness Design for Women and Audubon CrossFit for 15 years and is currently the Operations Director of the Americana YMCA.

In 2018, Laura was selected as one of the top ten Influential Women in Business by Business Report. In 2017, she was the recipient of the Women in Business Award given by the Zachary Chamber of Commerce and chosen as Small Business of the year in 2014. She presently serves as Chairman of the Americana Economic Development District. Laura is a member of the Zachary Chamber of Commerce, Century Club, and serves on the Economic Development Board, Lane Foundation Board and the Fore Kids Golf Foundation Board. Laura was a member of the Professional Women of Zachary and is currently a member of the National Association of Professional Women. She is married and has four children.

Geni Whitehouse, CPA, CITP

Accountant, Author, and Winery Consultant/Enthusiast • Napa Valley, CA

Geni is a part-time winery consultant at Brotemarkle, Davis & Co in the Napa Valley. The rest of her time is spent keynoting at CPA and Technology conferences around the world.

Read More

Geni is the author of “How to Make a Boring Subject Interesting: 52 ways even a nerd can be heard” and co-founder of a remote bookkeeping company called SolveServices for wineries.


Renaissance Hotel

7000 Bluebonnet Blvd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70810

Group Rate: $139/night*
Cut-off date: April 22

Reserve Online

*Note: Mention LCPA's 2019 Womens Conference
to get this rate when reserving by phone.

Registration Information

Members: $299
Non-Members: $399

Non-CPA staff of LCPA members may attend at the member rate. Rates are good through 5/2. After 5/2, add $50 to your fee.

CPE: Up to 8 Credits

Acronym: WC19


To register online, use the ‘Register’ button below.
To register by phone, call the LCPA Member Service Center at 800.288.5272 or 504.464.1040, Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm.

Need to register more than one person? Fill out our Group Registration Form and email it to register@lcpa.org.


Bronze Sponsor


Personnel Consulting Group

PCG has been serving the CPA community through direct hire and temporary/contract placement services since 1969. No firm in Louisiana has been here longer, and no firm has had the same staff of accounting recruiters either. Chip, Dan, Laura and Judy bring a combined 100+ years of accounting and finance recruiting experience to work for you, whether you are looking for a career change or seeking to locate a new employee. PCG also offers search services in Engineering, IT, HR and Office Support.

We've been an exhibitor at the Business & Industry Conference since 1989, and we are grateful once again to have the privilege of being the Gold Sponsor.

Frank Loria • 504.581.7800 • floria@pcgla.com


Brooke Companies

Brooke Companies

Brooke is a dynamic, full-service company offering temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire professionals to businesses looking for real team members. Whether you need General Office Support (including administrative and clerical positions), Legal or Accounting/Finance —we understand getting someone up to speed quickly makes them a more effective employee. Because of extensive screening, skills testing, and our in depth interview process, Brooke employees are amongst the top 20% of job seekers. We guarantee it 100%.

Caroline Middleton • 504.834.9772 • CarolineM@brookecompanies.com

Horizon Financial Group

Horizon Financial Group

Horizon Financial Group is a Baton Rouge-based financial services firm. We’ve serviced company retirement plans for over two decades, while also providing investment management and financial planning services to business owners, executives and other individuals.

The HR Dept., Inc.

The HR Dept., Inc.

The HR Dept., Inc. serves as benefit consultants, designers, and administrators for our employers and employees. Our expertise is in providing employers with top quality insurance products and administrative services. We also provide experienced plan management and dedicated customer service for your employees.

Bonnie Martin • 318.347.0938 • bonnie@hrdeptinc.com