Barriere Emerging Leaders Program hosts special guest speaker event with author Damon West 

Recently, Barriere’s Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) hosted a guest speaker event featuring author and college professor Damon West. All Barriere management was invited to attend the event which was generously sponsored by Traffic Commander, Gulf States, Kelly Industries and Traffic Control Products of Louisiana. Book sponsor Louisiana CAT sent each attendee home with a copy of The Coffee Bean: A Simple Lesson to Create Positive Change, a Wall Street Journal bestseller co-authored by West and famed leadership consultant Jon Gordan.

A nationally known keynote speaker, West is a college professor who holds a Master of Science degree in criminal justice. His first book and autobiography, The Change Agent: How a Former College QB Sentenced to Life in Prison Transformed His World, was published just three years after his release from a Texas maximum-security prison. 

Facing a 65-year sentence for burglary and drug possession, West compared his experience to that of a coffee bean that changes with the application of heat and pressure. Armed with a program of recovery, a renewed faith and a second chance at life, Damon emerged from seven years in prison a changed man. Today, West is focused on living a life of recovery, service and sharing his story.

The Coffee Bean is a fable about realizing that we have the power to transform ourselves and our surroundings by adopting a positive mindset and using challenges as opportunities for growth. West’s “be a coffee bean” message has inspired thousands, including teams from Walmart to the NBA to the U.S. Army.

Barriere’s event included breakfast with West for ELP members and company sponsor employees before West’s talk, and lunch was provided for all attendees afterwards. 

As one of Barriere’s Culture of Care programs, the Emerging Leadership Program aims to foster professional development for employees who demonstrate an unwavering dedication to improving their expertise and directing their energies into leadership and mentorship roles. ELP participants learn how great leaders impact the people they work with and their organization. 

To be eligible for the program, nominees must be salaried Barriere employees with more than three years of experience. Members of Barriere’s current ELP group include Kristy Owens, Ryan Kaufmann, Jacob Macheca, Joseph Spinosa, Lance Montross, Keena Creason, Brent Neal and Michael Rebstock. 


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