Thriving 30-something: Jennifer Wallace

Former beauty queen and now government employee Jennifer Wallace, 39, is certainly thriving in her 30s. She started pageants in college and in 2001, after having her first child, she was crowned Mrs. Louisiana.

"I just kind of entered it for fun and wound up winning," laughed Wallace.

Now she focuses on her career at the Calcasieu Police Jury as the Assistant Director of Advanced Planning and Grants. She said her passion for government all started with an inspiring civic teacher in her hometown of New Iberia.

"I remember there was a Governor's race that was going on that year and she had us write essays on who we would vote for and why. We have debates in the class and that's really what peaked my interest," said Wallace.

During the hurricanes she played a big role in recovery and relief.

"When Rita hit I think it was such a shock to our system, but in a lot of ways we're fortunate that Katrina happened in close proximity because we could learn from things that happened. We were able to come back and mobilize," said Wallace.

She spearheaded FEMA disaster relief and recovery in Southwest Louisiana. Wallace said her main inspiration to stay busy and help the community comes from her six year old daughter.

"A lot of what I do on my down days when I feel like I'm tired and I'm not finding that balance I just look at her and I think I've got to do it for her. I've got to show her that whatever she wants to do she can do it with hard work," said Wallace.

Now she is looking toward her next decade saying, "I'll be 40 later this year I'm trying to work through that angst right now. It's not over yet."

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