USM Child and Family Sciences Professor Jeanfreau Selected as Woman of Year by Gulf Coast Group
Tue, 11/05/2019 - 15:04pm | By: Kendra Ablaza
Lighthouse Business and Professional Women, a Biloxi-based organization dedicated to the interests and advancement of working women, recently presented Dr. Michelle Jeanfreau, Child and Family Sciences professor at The University of Southern Mississippi, with its Karen Sock Woman of the Year award at its 2019 Women of Achievement Awards event.
The organization works to unite women who are working professionals, support business and community relationships, and provide leadership skills and networking opportunities in the Mississippi Gulf Coast area. Its Women of Achievement Awards ceremony each year recognizes seven finalists who have excelled in specific fields such as corporate, education, entrepreneur, medical, military-government, nonprofit, and young careerist.
Of those seven finalists, one woman is awarded the Woman of the Year award, which commemorates Karen Sock, president and CEO of Sock Enterprises Inc., whose has had a long and varied career as a hotel, casino, resort, and entertainment industry executive.
Jeanfreau’s research expertise includes relational research, marital infidelity, and financial infidelity. In 2018, Jeanfreau was featured in New York Magazine’s The Cut, Spanish news website La Información, and Philippines-based news site The Manila Times, among other publications, for co-authoring a study on financial infidelity.
Jeanfreau also serves her community through her volunteer work with the national nonprofit Court Appointed Special Advocates, which supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy for abused or neglected child in the United States. For years, she helped trained new advocates. She is also very involved with the South Mississippi Soccer Club in Gulfport coaching youth soccer and has coached ages 5-14.
“I feel very honored to be chosen for this award,” Jeanfreau said. “It especially means a lot to me to be recognized in the community I live in. I try to be helpful to people and work hard.”
Jeanfreau said she has made many meaningful connections through the organization and looks forward to collaborating with some of the professionals she has met from different professional backgrounds. She admires the organization not only for how it boots camaraderie and skills, but also for encouraging women to take on leadership roles in their communities.
“My career advice to other women would be to be strong, witty, confident, and keep pushing through,” Jeanfreau said. “There will be many along the way who will try to hold you back or make you feel you aren't good enough. Believe in who you are, what you know, your uniqueness, and what you want to accomplish. The only person who can truly stop you is you!”