Louisiana is home for many talented, intellectual, cultured, and politically savvy people. The staff and publisher of The Drum Newspaper have identiﬁed the people to watch in the new year. We introduce them to you here and encourage you to follow them along with us as we report on how they impact Ponchatoula, Baton Rouge, and the state. These are leaders in entertainment, business, education, and public policy—watch them.
Joyce C. Burges,55
Baker City Council President
Hometown: Baker, Louisiana
Life Motto: “Treat people the way you
would like them to treat you.”
Business Motto: “The customer is alwaysright” and “Execute, Execute, Execute”
2013 Accomplishments: Served with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. I had a chance to showcase my book, “Would Someone Please Teach me How to TeachMy Child.” My husband and I were recognized by the Exodus Mandate and Frontline Ministries and presented with the Robert DreyfusAward, an award given annually to people who exemplify high services to humanity in this country.
Personal Resolution for 2014: To continue to pursue excellent health including a 4-day exercise plan, a regiment of eating 80% raw foods, and drinking 72-80 ounces of water every day. I feel amazing and have more energy.
What to expect in 2014: Efforts to set up K-4 and K-5 learning centers for our children in Baker; fundraising projects to honor young adults for their hard work in school with the Academics List of Excellence in Education Book Scholarship Fund; create a Food Bank for families, form positive partnership with area cities; discussions that lead to the formation of a Youth Center.
Business resolution for 2014: To continue to honor God by serving my family and the citizens of District 3, children, churches, etc. in a way that makes all of them proud to know me. Everything in my life that’s valuable I want to share with others. I am so thrilled to know that God has chosen me to do His work….serving people and loving them unconditionally.
What are you reading: Who was Rosa Parks by Yona Zeldis Mc-Donough and The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff McKinny
What are you listening to: Marian Anderson’s Deep River; TheCommodores’ “Zoom”; and The Measure of a Man (audiobook) by Sidney Poitier.
Executive director Boys Hope Girls Hope Baton Rouge and President/founder JGDProductions and Daniel Karate Group
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
2013 Accomplishments: Executive Director, Boys Hope Girls Hope, JohnG.Daniel Productions–Opening A Black History Time Capsule with Tony Brown, Unity Day/Daniel Karate Group Events e.g.Unity Day Exxon Mobil YMCA 2013, The Advocate Video, “John Daniel, A Sensei,Teaching with A Purpose”
What to expect in 2014: Residential girls service, Boys Hope GirlsHope, one-hour documentary on the elements of life success; UnityDay; and Daniel Karate Group expansion to Los Angeles and Philadelphia Personal Resolution for 2014: Keep moving forward!
Business resolution for 2014: Reach out to more youth and families
Life/business motto: Struggle, Perseverance, Character and Hope What are you listening to? Marvin Gaye’s ”What’s Going On”, “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now”, and McFadden & Whitehead
What are you reading? The Book of Five Rings/ Go Rin No Sho, by Miyamoto Musashi
Cierra Fogan , 16
Ms. Banks, 10th grade student at Madison
Hometown : Baton Rouge
Personal Motto: “Dream big. Go far”
2013 Accomplishment: Passed EOC test
and Deans List 3.0 honor roll and selected
represent my community as Ms. Banks
Resolution: Finish this year with 3.5GPA
What are you reading: Something like
Hope, by Shawn goodman
What are you listening to: K. Michelle’s
“Can’t Raise a Man”
President, NAACP Baton Rouge Branch
2013 Accomplishments: Became president of the Baton Rouge Branch of the NAACP, took the ﬁght for equality and inclusion for all and especially Blacks to the streets. We marched and ﬁle a suit against Turner Industries; supported a suit against City Court; and openly spoke out against discrimination at the State Ofﬁce of Alcohol and Tobacco Commission.
What to expect in 2014: NAACP taking an active role in the educational system and the direction it is headed; taking an active role in the breaking up of the City and annexation of other parts; ensuring the consent decree of the BR police department are fully implemented and shine a spot light on evil and wickedness in and around the Greater Baton Rouge area and hold those accountable who choose to practice and uphold it.
Personal resolution for 2014: live healthier; do more evangelizing
Life motto: “If I can help someone as I pass this way through word, thought or deed then my living won’t be in vain.”–Dorothy Clay
What are you listening to? Richard Smallwood
David Gray, 25
State policy fellow and policy analyst at the Louisiana Budget Project
Hometown: New Orleans
2013Accomplishments: Coordinated the Louisiana Coalition for Responsible Lending, which is a group of citizens, faith-based organizations, non-proﬁ ts and banks that are dedicated to protecting families from predatory payday loans;. produced fact-based research that helped defeat a bill from Gov. Bobby Jindal that would have raised taxes on low and middle-class families; and appointed to the East Baton Rouge Parish Food Access Policy Commission by Mayor-President Kip Holden.
What to expect in 2014: Launch of a statewide network of community advocates dedicated to protecting the economic interest of the millennial generation and creation of loan products that offer families’ short-term credit at responsible interest rates and fees. Personal Resolution for 2014: Carve out time each day to grow mentally, physically and spiritually.
Business resolution for 2014: Continue to provide sound research and analysis of state ﬁscal issues to promote economic prosperity, a rising standard of living, and the opportunity for all citizens to reach their highest potential.
Life motto: “Give to the world the best you have, and the best will come back to you.” — my late grandmother, Isabella Gasper.
What are you listening to? A mix of Israel & New Breed, Gregory Porter, Maxwell, J. Cole, Trombone Shorty, Maze & Frankie Beverley, Luther Vandross, Drake, The Fugees, Nina Simone, and Wale.
What are you reading? The Bible, Life Entrepreneurs by Gergen and Vanourek, and 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup; Something Like the Truth blog by Bob Mann, Louisiana Voice blog by Tim Aswell
Owner and chief higher education consultant for E_Source Learning Solutions, LLC
Hometown: Amite, LA
2013 Accomplishments: Delivering higher education presentations at national conferences across the country.
What to expect in 2014: Broader impact of E_Source Learning Solutions on the educational success of students in the tri-parish area.
Personal Resolution for 2014: To dream big and ignore the limits.
Business resolution for 2014: Collaborate with other emerging businesses to help them reach their goals. Do for others what you want to happen for yourself.
Life: “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others strength; mastering yourself is true power.” –Lao Tzu
What are you listening to? Electric Lady by Janelle Monae
What are you reading? Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Keith Richard, 42
Lead Pastor at Elevate Church
Hometown: Baton Rouge
2013 Accomplishments: Received MLK Leadership Award
What to expect in 2014: Strategizing for the opening of a homeless shelter and resource center
Personal resolution for 2014: To be a better vessel to be used for the glory of God
Business resolution for 2014: No clichés or catch phrases…Just Action.
Life motto: Loving God deeply, makes loving people easy What are you listening to? Jazz
What are you reading? Apostolic Fathers by Apostle Burnell Williams
Tonya G. Robertson, 42
Executive director , Young Leaders Academy of Baton Rouge, Inc.
Hometown: Baton Rouge
2013 Accomplishments: Dr Martin Luther King, Jr Leadership Awards Inaugural Coretta Scott King Heroine Award; Started new foundation, Fifty Shades of Pink, in honor of my late sister and other breast cancer victims and survivors; led YLA’s new fundraising event “Men are Cooking” and assembled more than 40 men cooks who prepared their signature dishes with wine, revelry, and relevance.
What to expect in 2014: My greater is coming!
Personal Resolution for 2014: I’m on a journey to my best self..I lost 31 pounds in the last three months of 2013 and as I get healthier physically, I’m seeking the same standard of excellence in all other areas of my life! I have come to truly appreciate the sacred value of life well lived and the secret for me is balance and fortitude..ﬁnding time for all the people and things that matter and staying with a goal or commitment until I see it through! There is a standard and for me it is EXCELLENCE!
Business resolution for 2014: To refocus, re-energize, reposition, and rededicate myself and The Academy for next level success as we strive to serve more efﬁ ciently and profoundly the young people whose lives we touch and whose hands we hold. Our mission work to prepare young African American males for lives of success and substance is being expanded to include others, but not at their expense..the challenge and resolve as we move forward is to ﬁnd a more excellent way to do all that we’re being called to do.
Life motto:“Faith without works is dead” …so I work and I do it with passion, purpose and a spirit of integrity and excellence
What are you listening to: Prince, Jennifer Hudson, Beyonce’, Robin Thicke, Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson, upbeat and uptempo gospel ..Donald Lawrence, Yolanda Adams, and Kirk Franklin.
What are you reading: Holy Bible, “Toxic Charity” by Robert D. Lupton, The Advocate newspaper, Baton Rouge Business Report, and online publications for foundations and grants
Dr. Rani Whitfield,44
Board Certified Family Practice Physician, FAAFP, CAQ in Sports Medicine
Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA
2013 Accomplishments: Received YMCA Legions Award; discussed the Affordable Care Act on several MSNBC TV, including The Ed Show, Al Sharpton’s Politics Nation; Disrupt with Karen Finney, and Melissa Harris Perry show; featured in the documentary “Soul Food Junkies” by Byron Hurt; served as medical director for the National Association of Free Clinics-Communities Are Responding Everywhere (C.A.R.E.) Clinic in New Orleans where more than 900 individuals without access to affordable, quality healthcare treated by volunteers; released “Get On Tha Bus”, a music project and collaboration with artist Love-N-Pain; featured guest on LPB’s The State We’re In with a monthly segment “Prescription for Health” that addresses health issues and health disparities.
What to expect in 2014: Shhhh, it’s a secret, but let’s just say it could be a very good year.
Personal resolution for 2014: 2014 will be bigger and better both personally and professionally. However, I don’t place a lot of stock in New Year’s resolutions. I set goals and work towards them. I choose to live by making decisions every single day. I do not wait for the year to end in order to make them.
Business resolution for 2014: Better communication and delegating of task .With all the changes in medicine lately, it’s fast and furious—organized chaos. In 2014, I need to make sure everyone is on the same page. We’ll do this by ensuring everyone in the practice feels motivated towards the same business goals, participates in setting goals, and takes accountability for their department.
Life motto: “All things are possible to him who believes!”
What are you listening to: Ian Von’s “Love, Beats, and Guitars”; Dee-1’s “Psalms of David II”; Odissee’s “Tangible Dream”; Taurus RiBoard Certiﬁed Family Practice Physician, FAAFP, CAQ in Sports Medicine