What is the NYP?
Natchitoches Young Professionals is dedicated to developing our community’s current and future business leaders with membership available to anyone between the ages of 21 and 40 who lives, works, learns or plays in the greater Natchitoches area. A program of the Community Affairs Division of the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce, the NYP was founded in January of 2015. We’re a young organization. Come grow with us!
What Are We Up To?
Shout out to rhodespropertiesanddevelopment for the awesome prize pack to be given away at our… https://t.co/zsF6kS5BXT
Who wants a $25 gift card to Eat Fierce?!? Make sure you come to our NYP Tacky Sweater Christmas… https://t.co/4edoRPFQNR
Fellow NYP Member Meagan Cobb will be headed to the Livingston/ Houston area on Thursday morning… https://t.co/ognko2mlVp
Meet The Board
Chair | Sub Committee(s): Kickstarter Concepts, Public RelationsVan Erikson is the Associate Director of Alumni Affairs at Northwestern State University. He is a native of Loreauville, Louisiana, and has been living in Natchitoches since he attended NSU. He attended NSU from 2007-2013, receiving a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations in 2011 and a master’s degree in adult education and continuing education in 2013. He plans to pursue a doctoral degree in the years to come. Van is married to Aly, and they have a daughter Landry who is almost 3 years old.
Van is very involved in the Natchitoches community. In addition to serving as the Chair of NYP, Van is the Vice President of Community Development for the Natchitoches Area Jaycees (a men’s service group, and junior chamber), Board Member of the Cane River National Heritage Area, and the NSU Commissioner for the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission. Van also serves as the Development and Marketing board member for the Northwestern State Demon Regiment and the Chapter Advisor for Theta Chi Fraternity at NSU.
Sub Committee(s): Social Committee (Chair)Kenneth is a native of Natchitoches and owner of Blue Frog Technology. He graduated from Bossier Parish Community College with an Associate’s in Computer Information Systems and holds several industry specific certifications.
Subcommitee(s): Kickstarter ConceptsSamantha Bonnette, Main Street & Public Relations Manager for the City of Natchitoches, is a graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans. She began a career in marketing and event planning with Harrah’s New Orleans Casino in 2003, and relocated to Cleveland, Ohio in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina to continue a casino marketing career. After seven years in the casino industry, Samantha decided that she needed a career change and looked for a way to give back to her community. She returned home to Natchitoches and began working with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for children). In April 2013, Samantha took on the role of Main Street and Public Relations Manager for the City of Natchitoches and manages several programs for the City including the Natchitoches Main Street Program, Cane River Green Market, Keep Natchitoches Beautiful and Beau Jardin.
Corbin CovherCorbin Covher is the Art Facilities Manager/ Adjunct Professor for the Art Department at Northwestern State University. He is also the Art Director for the Neo-Renaissance Collective, a group of polymaths hoping to enrich the community with creativity. He recieved his Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from the University of Illinois in 2002. He recieved an M.A. from NSU in 2011and an M.F.A. from the University of New Orleans in 2014. He was recently married to Natalie Covher who is currently the Lifestyle Editor of the Natchitoches Times.
Sub Committee(s): Public Relations
Chair | Sub Committee(s): Public Relations
Haley Blount is the Assistant Athletic Director for development and marketing at Northwestern State University. She attended Northwestern State University from 2002-2007 while competing four years as a member of the NSU track & field team. She earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science in 2006 and a master’s degree in sport administration in 2007. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in educational leadership from Louisiana Tech University. Haley is very involved in the Natchitoches community. In addition to serving as the Chair for NYP, Haley is currently serving as the president of Les Amies Service Organization of Natchitoches (a women’s service group) and the vice-president of the Kiwanis Club of Natchitoches. Other notable contributions to the Natchitoches community include volunteering with Natchitoches Hope for Paws, Relay for Life, and the Natchitoches Parish Special Olympics. “I am thrilled to be a part of this new and enthused group of young people and eager to continue working on making Natchitoches an even better place to live, work and grow, both professionally and personally. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to serve as your 2015 NYP Chair.”
Sub Committee(s): Pub Crawl
Stewart is a native of neighboring Many, Louisiana. After spending a few years in Baton Rouge, Stewart and and his wife, Erin, decided to make the move to Natchitoches, Erin’s hometown. Stewart and Erin have a son, Cole, and are currently expecting a baby girl in March 2016. Stewart is currently an account manager with CP-TEL Network Services. In addition to NYP, Stewart is also actively involved in the Natchitoches Area Jaycees as well as the Many Lions Club.
Sub Committee(s): Social Committee, PhilanthropicDanielle Rhine is a native of Natchitoches’ sister city Nacogdoches, but the City of Lights holds a special place in her heart. She is a graduate of Northwestern State University, where she received her B.A. degree in Criminal Justice. During her time at NSU, she was a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority and was very involved in the community with various service organizations. Danielle enjoys being involved in the Natchitoches community. In addition to her position on the board of Natchitoches Young Professionals, Danielle is a member of Les Amies Service Organization of Natchitoches (a women’s service group) and the Natchitoches Historic Foundation. Danielle has grown to love the small-town atmosphere of Natchitoches and enjoys promoting the city to potential new members of the community!
Sub Committee(s): Lunch with Leaders (Chair), Dirty DozenJustin graduated from Mississippi State in 2007 with a degree in Civil Engineering. In 2006, he married his wife Ashli and they have three girls, Ady, Anistyn and Charlee. Justin is a member of Jaycees, a board member of Natchitoches Young Professionals, and is on the Executive Committee for the NSU Athletic Association.
Sub Committee(s): Philanthropic (chair)
Raised in Baton Rouge, La, Lauryn moved to Natchitoches in 2002 to attend Northwestern State University where she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management Tourism. Since its opening in 2011, Lauryn has been the general manager of Comfort Suites Natchitoches. In addition to NYP, Lauryn also serves on the board for the Les Amies Service Organization and the Coastal Conservation Association Natchitoches Chapter. Lauryn is also involved with the Natchitoches Parish Tourist Commission and the American Cancer Society.
You!Have a passion for helping strengthen Natchitoches? Our Board consists of 11 members, but we are constantly searching for new talent that can keep the organization fresh. Get in touch. Get involved!
Our Chamber of Commerce Oversight
President/CEO, Natchitoches Area Chamber of CommerceTony Davis, Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce, has served as President/CEO since October 2010. He is also President of the newly formed Natchitoches Community Alliance Foundation, Inc., a position created in January 2015. He is a native of Natchitoches, Louisiana and graduate of Northwestern State University where he received his BS in Business Administration. Tony is a licensed real estate broker (inactive) and served as the 2014 President of the Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Executives (LACCE). He currently serves on the Center for Chamber of Commerce Excellence (CCCE) Board and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) Board. He is active with the Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association (LIDEA) and is currently pursuing certification as a Louisiana Economic Developer (LCED). He has served on several other boards in the past, including the Jaycees, D.O.V.E.S., the Board of Realtors, and the Natchitoches Parish Children and Youth Planning Board.
Chamber Board Liaison to NYP, Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce
James graduated from Louisiana Tech in 2001 with a degree in Civil Engineering. In 2008, he married his wife Ali and they have twin girls, Kaylie and Kendall. James is on the board of directors for the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce and is also on the board of directors for the NSU Athletic Association.
Lunch with LeadersThe goal of the committee is to coordinate six (6) lunch events annually (one every other month), unless otherwise directed by the board o Each lunch will highlight one or two local “Leaders”—successful members of the community that have managed to incorporate their passion into a successful career o NYP members will be able to listen to and converse with these “Leaders” to learn from their experiences o The size of the audience should be appropriate to keep the event intimate, with easy access to the speaker(s) and message
Third Thursday SocialsThe goal of the committee is to facilitate networking opportunities for our members in a social setting This committee is responsible for organizing the following:
- Ten (10) “3 rd Thursday” Monthly Socials per year (one of which will be in conjunction with a Chamber After Hours Event)
- A signature event that will take the place of a “3 rd Thursday” Monthly Social
- Casual get-togethers as needed, unless otherwise directed by the board
- Recognizing that many business relationships can begin as friendships, these events should provide a venue where friendships and networking can be fostered
- The goal of the committee is to facilitate group projects among NYP members by providing support to project leaders
- This committee is responsible for helping stand-up groups to satisfy demonstrated “wants” in the community
- Projects should always add to or accentuate the positive quality of life in and around Natchitoches for young professionals and families while exploring new ideas and concepts