I am a native of New Orleans, LA and my personal experiences with hurricane evacuations molded my passion for meteorology and emergency management at a young age. My experience in emergency management at the local, state, and federal level spans over 15 years. I began my career at the East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, where I served during response operations for Hurricane Katrina in 2005. As a young, ambitious 21-year-old student at LSU in her senior year, Katrina stole my innocence. I learned that if I continued down this path, I would be subjected to long hours in response operations, but the disaster could be in my backyard, and I may not have a home to return to. That idea of being both a responder and survivor fueled my determination to make a difference.
I advanced to the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, where I served in numerous positions including State Hurricane Program Manager. During my tenure at GOHSEP, I served on special projects and responded to several events, including Hurricane Isaac.
In late 2014, I joined FEMA Region 6 and served in Response Operations for several activations and disasters, including Hurricanes Matthew and Harvey. I also served on special projects, including the Hurricane Matthew NOAA Assessment Team in 2016. Joyfully, I returned to the National Hurricane Program as the Regional Hurricane Program Manager for Region 6 in 2019. I am responsible for delivering products, training, and technical support to state and local officials to prepare for and respond to tropical cyclones. I oversee the Hurricane Evacuation Studies, a vital deliverable of the program used for evacuation planning and guidance for the Region 6 states that are at risk to tropical weather, Louisiana and Texas. I also serve as a member of FEMA’s Hurricane Liaison Team (HLT), providing vital hurricane forecast information to the emergency management community to help steer response operations. I am living my dream!
During my GOHSEP days as the State Hurricane Program Manager, I was tasked with managing the Southeastern Louisiana Hurricane Evacuation Study (HES). During this time, the FEMA Regional Hurricane Program Manager position became vacant due to retirement. Successfully conducting a “kick-off” meeting without federal support, or essentially acting as both state and federal was a huge mission. While I was supposed to be the client (as the state), I had to act in a federal role while learning the HES process from the federal side.
FEMA Region 6 recently formed the Diversity Working Group (DWG), under the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee (EDIC). The purpose of the working group is to foster constructive dialogue on the region’s diversity policies and procedures, ensuring that equity is at the forefront of the region’s business areas. The goal is to create an inclusive culture of respect and support that doesn’t just cover race and gender, but also looks at life experience, ability and disability, personality, and other factors. I am one of the 18 founding members who have volunteered to assist with this goal, and I’m eager to participate in this team effort.
I used to spend a lot of time volunteering through organizations like Big Buddy and the LSU Disaster Science Management Association (student led) back home in Louisiana. I have also participated in the Junior League in my regional area here in Texas. Between the pandemic and life in general, I haven’t had as much time to dedicate to the community these past few years, however, one of my goals in 2022 is to seek more networking occasions within the EM community to create those outreach opportunities.
Although I’m extremely proud of my professional career in Emergency Management, I’ve held other titles; one is “Singer.” While working towards my dream job, I used my talents to create an illustrious supplemental career in music and was the lead singer of the cover band, U4ria for over 6 years before moving to Texas. You can still find videos of me jamming with my “brothers in music” all over the internet; I even travel back on occasion to perform with them. I also had a short career as a solo artist, and filmed my first music video back in 2009. Being in music was an incredible experience, but the best title I hold is “Mom.” I am a wife and mother of a 15-year-old high school Varsity soccer freshmen and a dog mom of two.