About Us

Welcome to Brand State U – Your Premier Source for Comprehensive Training and Professional Development Providers!

Each of us are dedicated to empowering individuals and organizations with the knowledge, skills, and strategies they need to excel in today's dynamic and competitive business landscape. 

With a passion for growth and a commitment to excellence, we offer a diverse range of professional development training programs and workshops that cater to various aspects of personal and organizational enhancement. 

Our Expertise

With years of experience in the industry, we specialize in delivering high-impact training in key areas such as human resources, communication skills, sales and marketing, leadership, team building, and more. Our portfolio includes a wide array of programs, from intensive leadership development training to interactive team building exercises. We understand that the modern business world demands continuous growth and adaptation, which is why our training solutions encompass a comprehensive spectrum of skills.  

 What Sets Us Apart  

Customized Approach:

We recognize that each organization and individual has unique needs. Our programs are meticulously tailored to address specific challenges and goals, ensuring maximum relevance and impact.  

Expert Trainers:

Each instructor is a seasoned professional with hands-on industry experience and success. We bring real-world insights and practical knowledge to every training session, making the learning experience both engaging and enlightening.

Cutting-Edge Content:

Our training content is regularly updated to reflect the latest trends, strategies, and best practices. Whether you're interested in traditional skill development or emerging fields like digital marketing and social media, we've got you covered.

Interactive Learning:

We believe in the power of interactive learning. Our workshops and seminars are designed to encourage active participation, group discussions, and hands-on exercises, creating an environment that fosters skill application and retention.  

Comprehensive Curriculum:

From negotiation techniques and conflict resolution to customer service excellence and time management, our curriculum spans a wide range of essential skills that contribute to personal and professional growth.

Strategic Partnerships:

We are proud to be approved by the State of Louisiana for reimbursement through programs like SBET and IWTP, reflecting our commitment to aligning with initiatives that drive skill development and economic progress.  

Whether you're an individual looking to enhance your career prospects or an organization striving to optimize its workforce's potential, Brand State U is your trusted partner. Our mission is to empower you with the tools and knowledge you need to thrive in today's ever-evolving business landscape.

Join us on this journey of growth and transformation. Explore our comprehensive training programs and workshops, and take a step closer to unlocking your true potential. 

Melissa Bowen, LPC-S, CDWF

The Authenticity Center

Melissa Bowen is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Coach, and a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator. Her work revolves around the belief that the way we live and lead can be transformed by developing a stronger sense of self and living a more authentic, vulnerable, connected, and courageous life. It is her passion to teach the skills of doing just that.

Melissa is the only Certified Facilitator of The Daring Way™ in the Acadiana area, an approach based on the shame-resilience research of Brené Brown. She has a solo counseling private practice in Lafayette, LA, where she also supervises counselor interns working toward licensure. Melissa has worked with GlaskoSmithKline, KADN TV15, The United Way of Acadiana, and New Iberia Chamber of Commerce, among others.  

She is a Nola native and proud graduate of The University of Louisiana at Lafayette (and USL). She lives in Lafayette with her husband, Kody, a few cats and some ducks. Yes, ducks.

For information on her workshops that are open to the public, visit her website at www.theauthenticitycenter.com


Goal Setting & ACHIEVING!

A system to achieve authentic, intentional goals

  • Learn how to set intentional goals for your authentic life
  • The repeatable system
  • Understand the appropriate mindset skills to achieve your goals

The Ultimate Guide to Better Boundaries

Do you have a source of consistent frustration? That is an issue with YOUR boundaries, my friend Boundaries empower you to love yourself and others at the same time And in order to say “hell yes” to things you want in your life, you need to learn how to say “no”. 

In this ultimate guide, learn all about boundaries! Including: 

  • WTH is it and why is it so important?! 
  • How do I set a boundary? 
  • Learn why it is so hard, and how to move forward 
  • Where the magic happens, in the doing! 

Speaking Availability

​Melissa is available to speak to your organization or facilitate workshops from 2 hours to all day. Below are some of the specialty topics to choose from.

  • A Life by Design: Goal Setting, Envisioning, Action & Achievement 
  •  Level Up Your Life: Connecting to Yourself, Others, & Your Life 
  •  Live life as a “hell yes” by learning how to say no; Healthy Boundaries 
  • Live Aligned: Identifying Your Core Values 
  •  Master Any Situation: Developing Emotional Intelligence 
  • Midlife Crisis to Midlife Reconstruction 

As well as Daring Way™ subjects by Brené Brown: 

  • Gifts of Imperfection™
  • Daring Greatly™
  • Rising Strong™
  • BRAVING Trust: Operationalize Trust with Your Team 

Keesha Buteau, MBA, CNC

Founder of Beacon of Light

 Founder • Executive Coach • Consultant • Facilitator

Keesha B. Buteau has amassed over twenty years of experience as a nonprofit executive, facilitator, and trainer. She has a passion for creativity and growth and believes it is her purpose to be not only a reliable source of encouragement but a beacon for those who need support in search of their own success. Keesha’s presentation style has been described as dynamic, relatable, and engaging as she speaks from the heart and her words are rooted in love. Highly valuing personal and professional development, she believes that good business management starts with people. 

I help businesses and individuals define their vision for success and lead the way through personal and professional development. Let’s Find Your Way!

Keesha earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2006 and in 2020, she returned to obtain a Master of Business Administration, with a concentration in project management to assist her in the navigation of c-suite management. She’s a registered and certified nonprofit consultant (CNC) through the National Association of Nonprofit Organizations and Executives.

She has been instrumental in the implementation of new business operating models both locally and nationally. She has assisted and equipped organizations to reach revenue goals, measure impact, onboard management teams, and develop cohesive strategic plans. Recognizing that people and businesses have different, varying needs, Keesha is a strong proponent of personalized plans, bringing light to issues, and creating a path to success with realistic solutions and strategies for the business and individual. In 2022, Keesha founded Beacon of Light to provide essential professional services that would assist people and organizations in fulfilling their missions and reaching their goals.

For information on her workshops that are open to the public, visit her website at www.beaconoflightla.com


Curated Topics Include

  • Best Laid Plans- From Paper to People
  • Change Your Playlist. Change Your Life
  • Difficult Conversations
  • Powerful Pivots
  • The Strategy Behind The Leadership
  • Titles Don’t Determine Worth
  • Who’s Your Mom & Dem? Networking Done Differently

Rob Kirkpatrick

Kirkpatrick Brands

Words matter and knowing how to use them makes all the difference.  

For many years, Rob Kirkpatrick has been at the forefront of identifying audiences and how to best speak to them. With a professional background in local, national and global media, Rob has become a go-to resource for companies looking to amplify their own story and GROW. Supporting both for-profit and nonprofit organizations, Rob has a handle on current best-practices in the fast-paced world of communications with a focus on revenue.  

I've found my calling in helping professionals find their  voice and turn big goals into reality. 

Rob Kirkpatrick, owner of KirkpatrickBrands, specializes in consulting senior leadership and helping them to conquer business development mid-funnel through sales enablement training. He has spent time at notable companies such as CNN Newsource, FOX Television Stations, Townsquare Media, Airspace Technologies and Lafayette-based Stuller. Through a combination of proven marketing and communications tactics, Rob is helping companies make tangible changes in their sales process. He is a sought after business consultant working with organizations from startup to global success and everywhere in between. KirkpatrickBrands is a passion project that has kept him in touch with the local business community and navigate specific issues facing Louisiana Businesses. 

For information on his speaking and consulting services, visit his website at kirkpatrickbrands.com

Courses & Topics

Curated Topics Include

  • Sales Success With Storytelling 
  • One Voice: The Sales and Marketing Connection 
  • Less Is More: Communicating in Times of Crisis 
  • Maximizing Earned Media Coverage  

Dr. Mechelle Roberthon, EdD, CPTD, MCCT, MOS

Dr. Mechelle Roberthon Enterprise, LLC

Talent Development Practitioner • Facilitator • Advisor 

Developing the people who are responsible for developing the business.

"By changing the way people behave, by showing them that new ways of working make them more successful, and by creating a new and shared history, you affect the underlying assumptions that drive behavior in the first place." – RUMIZEN (2022)

Dr. Mechelle Roberthon’s background includes facilitating various workplace culture topics, adult learner engagement, learning management system administration, improving internal performance workflows, and establishing collaborative work relationships. She is also an experienced career and professional development instructor. You can often find Mechelle presenting at a conference, workshop, guest featuring on a podcast, teaching a college course, serving on a panel, or assisting companies from within their infrastructure.

I received my Doctor of Education degree in Learning and Organizational change from THE Baylor University (Sic em’ bears). I’m a Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD), a Modern Classroom Certified Trainer (MCCT), a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS), and a keynote and workshop speaker. My background includes, but is not limited to, curating signature internal learning experiences, leveraging adult learning principles for learner engagement and retention, learning management systems, facilitating and evaluating learning experiences, improving internal performance workflows, and establishing collaborative relationships with executive and senior leaders. 

For information on her talent development services, visit her website at drmechellerob.com​​​

Courses & Topics

Curated Topics Include

  • Building Your Business Culture
  • Becoming A Student of Inclusion
  • Communication Excellence
  • Human Resources Unveiled
  • Leadership Development Intensive
  • Personal Growth Blueprint

Carrie Rickert

Nomis Advisors

Author • Speaker • Consultant • Founder • CEO

Carrie Rickert is an author and the founder and CEO of Nomis Advisors, a management consultancy firm in Stevensville, Maryland. Carrie has worked with hundreds of companies to strategically develop programs to initiate change. Additionally, Carrie is a trauma survivor and an expert on navigating catalytic circumstances.

Significant change is a journey with side steps and detours along the way. The only hard and fast rule is that you can't go back to who you were before.

Carrie Rickert is the author of Trauma is a Catalyst, a speaker, a consultant, and creator and host of the podcast Transformational Trauma and Healing. Her main goal, in all aspects of her work, is to use her experience to help others. Carrie has examined her own life, post-trauma, and wondered, Now what? Through a lot of determination and resilience, she has created the life she wants to live (or is at least working toward it).

Carrie’s true passion is in helping other navigate their own murky waters to provide support when it seems like there is no road map. She does this through public speaking, writing, and her consultancy practice. Carrie has a BS in clinical psychology from Towson University and an MFS in forensic sciences from George Washington University. She lives in Stevensville, MD, with her two children - Simon and Alli - the family’s two dogs - Holly and Grover - plus Milly the hamster. 

I received my Doctor of Education degree in Learning and Organizational change from THE Baylor University (Sic em’ bears). I’m a Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD), a Modern Classroom Certified Trainer (MCCT), a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS), and a keynote and workshop speaker. My background includes, but is not limited to, curating signature internal learning experiences, leveraging adult learning principles for learner engagement and retention, learning management systems, facilitating and evaluating learning experiences, improving internal performance workflows, and establishing collaborative relationships with executive and senior leaders. 

For information on her consulting and speaking services, visit her website at www.carrierickert.com

Speaking Topics

Curated Topics Include

  • DEI: Incorporating Neurodiversity In The Workplace
  • Holistic Approaches To Engaging A Team
  • Personal And Professional Integration
  • Transforming Company Culture
  • Team Development And Communication
  • Organizational Needs Assessment
  • Navigating Individual Needs Within A Team Environment
  • Transformation After Trauma

Jaci Russo, PCM

Brand State U


“Your brand is a person’s emotional connection with your company, product, and service” - Marty Neumeier

Since it is the person’s emotional connection that means it is their perception. Their feelings. People don’t make decisions based on logic - they choose the “best” option based on their gut and then use logic to justify their choice. You need to learn how to build your brand.  

Jaci Russo, P.C.M., is a passionate leader with a proven track record of driving growth and exceeding expectations. As the co-founder and CEO of brandRUSSO, a strategic branding agency headquartered in Lafayette, LA, Jaci has been instrumental in establishing the company's reputation for excellence in delivering reliable and high-quality results.

Russo's career took off after joining Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in Los Angeles, CA. Later, while working with media mogul Barry Diller, she played a pivotal role in shaping the brands of major entities such as the Home Shopping Network, Ticketmaster, and USA Network. However, in 2001, Jaci set her sights on a new horizon, determined to create something uniquely her own, and that's when she co-founded brandRUSSO.

Beyond the boardroom, Jaci is a published author and highly respected speaker on branding and marketing. With over two decades of experience as a Brand Strategist, she brings a wealth of knowledge and a dynamic perspective to her topics, speaking from a rich reservoir of personal insight. This experience led her to create Brand State U, an accessible online learning platform for small businesses and DIY marketers. Jaci also conducts Brand Builder Workshops and produces brandRUSSO's Razor Branding blog and podcast, offering guidance in today's marketplace. 

Jaci holds a Professional Certified Marketer (P.C.M.) designation from the American Marketing Association, is a graduate of Leadership LA, has successfully completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program, and serves as a Brand Consultant for the Edward Lowe Foundation. However, beyond her remarkable credentials, what truly sets her apart is her exceptional leadership style.

At brandRusso, Jaci fosters a culture of collaboration where fresh ideas and creative solutions thrive. Her dedication to education, equal opportunity, and economic empowerment extends beyond her professional life, positioning her as a community leader who inspires others. It's no wonder she's been inducted into the Acadiana Business Hall of Fame. 

As an active community leader, Jaci actively volunteers with civic organizations and nonprofits, exemplifying her commitment to making a meaningful difference both professionally and personally. 


Brand & Marketing E-Learning

With these self-paced E-Learning courses, you can select any course from the library and start building your brand today. 

Brand Membership

Membership has its privileges so become a member today.

Plan 2 Brand

This 8 session bootcamp will take you step by step to map out your strategic brand plan for the next 12 months.

Marketing Review Packages

Want to make sure your marketing is really paying off?  Check out these BSU Review options. It's all about making sure your marketing works as hard as you do. Get a deep dive by a professional with decades of experience. An outside perspective can be the most illuminating. Let's get your business booming.