Centenary student attends White House summit

SHREVEPORT, LA — Cheredith Rhone '17 has taken Centenary's motto "Do More" and run with it all the way to the White House. This summer, she was nominated as a change maker and was invited to attend The United State of Women Summit on June 14. She also had the privilege of serving as the youngest secretary ever on the Shreveport Mayor's Women's Commission, a committee dedicated to supporting women by addressing citywide concerns and implementing programs to alleviate them.

No stranger to the political arena, Rhone started getting involved in politics and in her community while still in junior high. At the age of 13, she worked on State Representative Cedric B. Glover's campaign when he ran for Mayor. Since then, she has earned several prestigious internships and joined organizations that have helped her form connections and further her involvement.

At the Summit, which was the first of its kind, Rhone had the opportunity to hear from speakers such as President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey, and several other world leaders. The conference provided a platform for political leaders to celebrate their successful steps towards gender equality and also to discuss ways to keep improving it. Speakers covered issues on a wide variety of topics such as education, economics, health, and violence.

"My most memorable experience was sitting and talking with Ms. Wanda Durant, NBA's Kevin Durant's mother," says Rhone. "She talked about the difficulties she had living and raising Kevin in an underprivileged community and how she overcame those challenges."

After the summit, Rhone returned to Shreveport and continued working for Mayor Ollie Tyler as part of both her 2016 Summer Internship Program and the Shreveport Women's Commission. As the commission's secretary, she contributes by recording the board meetings that take place and logging their minutes.

"Working for Mayor Ollie Tyler is an honor and a blessing," says Rhone. "Working alongside her and many other qualified and influential women, helping to promote and further economic status, health, education, and leadership opportunities for women and youth in the city is a rewarding experience."

It is no coincidence that Rhone has involved herself in projects and organizations centered around the progression of women. She feels a strong calling to support those who are struggling and to be a force of positive change in their lives.

"I believe that gender equality is necessary for the advancement of our society as a whole," says Rhone. "Secretary Tom Perez said it best at the White House Summit, 'When you educate a woman, you educate a generation.'"

Studying at Centenary has played a large role in Rhone's career choices, giving her unique opportunities and allowing her to make lasting connections. As a business major, she has not only become adept at financing and accounting, but has also picked up invaluable abilities such as networking and communication skills.

"Attending Centenary has been a remarkable experience," says Rhone. "I'm truly grateful for all of the opportunities that I've encountered by attending Centenary, from working in the president's office to traveling across the world to Paris, France. My advice for my fellow peers is to always remain humble as you elevate in your career and life and remember to thank and appreciate the people that help you along the way. Never forget to pay it forward and help others along the way."