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April Alumnae Spotlight, Amy Johnson Ponson, Sioux of 2005

In what ways did your Ursuline education prepare you for the work you’re doing now? 

When thinking back about how Ursuline has prepared my for the work I do today, I can think of two key areas. One of which is at the heart of Ursuline is the motto “Serviam” meaning ‘to serve’. That simple phrase is one that has forever changed my heart and one that I continue to live by each day. As the current Executive Director of the Catholic Foundation of South Louisiana, I serve the church and the people of our diocese every day in a very unique way. Ursuline opened my heart to the understanding how important it is to serve your community. In my current career, not only do I serve the church but more importantly, I serve the people of our community. I work directly with parishioners who want to plan their legacy of giving back to the church. I connect the passions of families to the needs within our community and together make an impact for the greater good. At the core of what I do is to build solid relationships with people built on trust, compassion, and faith. Ursuline taught me how to give back to our community, how to work with different types of people, and how to prioritize within my life.
In addition to serving, Ursuline taught me how to work hard and set priorities in life. As an Ursuline Sioux of  2005 I was involved in a number of extracurricular activities. I ran both cross country and track, served on God Squad and Student Council, and at one point I kept stats for the UA basketball team. Being so busy and involved with so many activities, I had to learn to prioritize and put in the work to achieve goals. Nothing in life comes easy, but if you put forth the effort and drive to accomplish your goals you can do just about anything you set your mind to. Running the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux is not an easy task, however it is one that brings great purpose and its fulfilling!

The teachers at Ursuline and my friends at Ursuline all helped shape me into the person I am today. While I don’t get to see my classmates much anymore, each of them have a special place in my heart and I am so grateful for my time at Ursuline.

Please describe the most significant value you learned from Ursuline Academy. 

My years at Ursuline have taught me many different values that have been crucial throughout my life. Two stick out in my head as most prevalent: 1. Service 2. Respect for others. The Sioux Class of 2005 had 99 girls, all who came from different backgrounds, family life, and areas across the city. Learning to love each one of their differences was important and their differences are what made our class so special and unique. In life you will come across  so many different types of people especially in your work environment and you have to learn how to get along with everyone. As a development officer, one of my strengths has been the ability to work with people of all walks of life and make a difference in each person’s life. I have been able to work with people and play into their strengths to make them the best that they can be rather than harp on their weaknesses, which can be a challenge. Having a level of respect for every person you meet is important in life and in your work environment. In order to be able to lead and manage people you have to find respect for everyone’s differences. Then there is services, as I discussed above, serving others is at the root of my daily life and my career. However, not only do I make it part of my career, I bring it into my family life as well. I am married with 2 children and we volunteer together regularly for our church and other nonprofits that mean a lot to us. I serve on our St. Mary School Board, Thibodaux Service League, and several other service organizations to continue to give back. However, I feel it is important to show my children that serving makes your heart feel so good and your community needs people to step up and lend a hand. These two values are values that Ursuline instilled in me and I will forever be grateful.

Describe Ursuline in one word. Explain.
Exceptional! Ursuline is an exceptional school from its academics to its sports. They top the charts on exceptional experiences for young girls and mold them into great women who venture into the world to do great things. Just looking back at the girls from our Class of 2005, we have engineers, teachers, small business owners, pharmacists, nurses, photographers, political leader personnel, and many of whom are also moms. Our class was the only class to win Rally 3 times in a row as well – a record we are proud to hold! Ursuline led us to be exceptional at life, never underestimating our power to do anything we are capable of.

Amy Ponson is a 2005 graduate of Ursuline and a proud Sioux! Amy graduated from LSU with a Bachelors in Marketing and Communications and is currently living in Raceland with her growing family. She is married to her husband, David, and has two children Michael (5) and Abby (2). Amy has worked in marketing and sales her entire career and was named the Executive Director of the Catholic Foundation of South Louisiana just two years ago. Amy has dedicated her life to serving her community and, for the past 10 years, has worked in nonprofits, first Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and now the Catholic Church. Amy serves on the St. Mary Nativity School Board, is a member of Thibodaux Service League and volunteers throughout the community for a number of local nonprofits. Amy considers her greatest accomplishment in life to be her children and she works towards setting the best example for her kids - showing them how serving their community is an important aspect of life.