By Karen Martin
Ouachita Parish class of 1986
A professional photographer and the mayor of West Monroe, Louisiana, Mitchell sees a direct line between her career and 4-H.
“My involvement and participation in the 4-H program has definitely played a big role in my career path in photography and as an elected official serving the public,” Mitchell said. “4-H’ers understand the importance of good citizenship, serving others and giving back to their community.”
Growing up in her Ouachita Parish 4-H club, Mitchell showed market lambs and won state and national 4-H photograph competitions. As a 4-H’er, Mitchell’s work hung in the National 4-H Conference Center and at the Walt Disney World Epcot Center in Florida.
Today she is the owner of Albritton Photography. She and her husband, Jay Mitchell, have four children and four grandchildren.
Vernon Parish class of 2001
An executive sales director for Mary Kay cosmetics, Gleason participated in public speaking and livestock projects in 4-H. She served on the National Club Congress Planning Committee and was the state 4-H secretary.
“4-H was the place that I learned how to set goals and persevere until the task was complete or the goal was reached,” Gleason said. “That is a skill that I will forever use in business and in life.”
Cameron Parish class of 2001
Before serving District 47 in the Louisiana House of Representatives, state Rep. Bourriaque showed livestock and won at 4-H Short Course, a forerunner of 4-H University.
“4-H taught me responsibility and, at times, how to deal with losing,” Bourriaque said. “The relationships that I formed in and out of the show ring were numerous, and I am proud to call many of those individuals friends today. To be able to watch my oldest daughter participate in Contest Day, Achievement Day and the livestock program is one of the best feelings I have experienced as a father.”
Cameron Parish class of 2002
Bordelon is the director of training and development for LHC Group Inc. in Lafayette, Louisiana, an in-home healthcare service with 30,000 employees. In 4-H she developed leadership skills and perseverance at 4-H University and through livestock judging and raising and showing animals.
“There are so many areas I could attribute to my 4-H experience, from general exposure to practical knowledge and skills” she said. “I would have to say, 4-H without a doubt helped build my confidence, my courage, my ability to adapt and my ability to work under pressure. It provided me with opportunities to develop myself and to serve others.”
Concordia Parish class of 2004
A faculty member at Harvard Medical School and an adult and pediatric pulmonologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, Dr. Perkins cares for children and adults with lung diseases, particularly those with cystic fibrosis. During his 4-H career, Perkins was the state 4-H president and a delegate at the National 4-H Conference.
“4-H was pivotal in helping me to develop into the person I am today," Perkins said. “Through my experiences in 4-H, I learned invaluable lessons about communication and leadership that I continue to utilize. These tools have been instrumental in helping to open doors and have given me the confidence to pursue my dreams of caring for people with lung diseases.”
Assumption Parish class of 2011
Hood has traveled the world, teaching in Korea, Poland and Aruba. He currently teaches in New Orleans at the International School of Louisiana.
“4-H gave me confidence and let me experience positive opportunities that I may never have had the opportunity to do. I’ve traveled to 30 countries since my involvement with the program. The only way to experience opportunities is by getting the courage to experience them.”
Caddo Parish class of 2011
The administrative lead for the Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center and for adult cardiac surgery at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, McFarland credits 4-H with his personal development.
“4-H played a significant role in my development, both personally and professionally,” McFarland said. “It instilled a sense of responsibility through my beef projects, a drive for excellence through the various competitions and development programs, and taught me how to be an effective communicator through the various speaking opportunities, Toastmasters program and leadership roles. My experiences in 4-H have provided me with a wide array of connections in work and lifelong friendships of which I am forever grateful.”
St. Landry Parish class of 2011
Stelly is an Air Force captain working as a contracting officer managing programs valued at more than $1 billion.
“The 4-H servant leadership model made me both an empathetic and effective leader,” Stelly said. “It taught me the importance of managing ideas across a wide array of people and ensuring that all of those people felt that their voices were heard. As state 4-H president, I had to manage ideas and interests of the entire executive board while still remaining effective as a leader. That same skill is so useful today as I manage relationships across the Air Force, our sister services and other government agencies. I think about 4-H and what it taught me every day. I can say without a doubt that I would not be the man, Air Force officer or friend to others that I am today with the 4-H club.”
Terrebonne Parish class of 2012
Bergeron’s career as poultry nutritionist for animal nutrition company Adisseo USA is informed by her 4-H experience as a State Food and Fitness Board member and a member of the 4-H University champion poultry judging team.
“One 4-H motto is ‘To Make the Best Better.’ I truly utilize this motto for every instance in my life,” Bergeron said. “Every step in my path I have strived to make the best of every opportunity and focused on how I could make it better.”