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Annual 15 under 40 dinner and gala nears

by Minden Press-Herald

The fifth annual “15 under 40” dinner and gala will honor 15 young professionals under the age of 40 and will begin at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 20, at the Minden Civic Center.

Tickets are $35 each and a table of eight may be purchased for $250.

Dinner will be catered by Roma Italian Bistro.



The keynote speaker will be Zazell V. Dudley, engineer. She was born at Barksdale Air Force Base and raised in Lakeside Acres in Shreveport. She is a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School and Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. She holds an MBA from Dallas Baptist University, where she earned a 4.0 grade point average.

She serves as president and CEO of the Louisiana Black Chamber of Commerce.

Dudley recently joined the North Louisiana Economic Partnership as the director of business development, a newly created position by the Caddo Parish Commission. She was recently appointed to the Shreveport Bossier Sports Commission by Shreveport mayor Ollie Tyler.

Dudley is a pioneer and change agent as she has helped steer and drive positive change. To name a few, she is the:

– First African American female to graduate with a bachelor of science degree in petroleum engineering from Louisiana Tech University.

– First African American female manager in corporate procurement for Coming Inc., in Coming, New York.

– First female to chair the Shreveport Bossier African American Chamber of Commerce. Under her leadership, the membership and range of supporters were significantly increased, the chamber “purchased” its operational building (the old KOKA building), a “contract” was secured with the Louisiana Department of Economic Development and “grants” were secured from the City of Shreveport’s Neighborhood Improvement Program. All of these were “firsts” for the organization.

– First black female president of the Strategic Action Council (SAC) of northwest Louisiana.

– Co-chaired the MSI Stand-Up Committee for SAC. The MSI is fully operational, employs four professional staffers and is the first organization of its kind in the state of Louisiana.

– A founding member of the Shreveport Charter Foundation, the board that governs the Magnolia School of Excellence. Magnolia is the first Type I public charter school in northwest Louisiana, and the first public school built in Caddo Parish in over 25 years.

– Commencement speaker at Louisiana Tech University, the first official duty of president Dr. Les Guice.

Dudley has worked in leadership for Fortune 100 companies and has a passion for entrepreneurship wherein she formed and operated a successful business enterprise. She is deeply involved in community activities and has served on a host of boards. She is strongly aligned with the National Black Chamber of Commerce and proudly serves on the Louisiana Tech University Foundation board.

Dudley is a high-energy dynamic speaker that delivers straight talk, zapped with a little wisdom and wit. She has traveled the country to address audiences for churches, business associations, organizations, universities and nonprofits and leaves members more enlightened, motivated and ready to achieve higher heights.
She is known for her ability to work with diverse groups of people, leading change and simply put, for getting positive things done.

She attributes her accomplishments to relying on biblical principles. She is a member of Greenwood Acres Full Gospel Baptist Church, where Bishop Fred A. Caldwell is pastor.

“Zell,” as she is commonly called, is a lover of all cuisine, travels and live music and enjoys spending downtime with her family.

She is the daughter of Minister Dr. Hazel Dudley and the late Rev. Silas Dudley Jr.

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