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FOCUS News: Leadership

FOCUS Announces 2015-16 Leadership St. Louis Class

Thursday, May 28, 2015   (0 Comments)
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FOCUS St. Louis has selected 67 outstanding individuals from the private, public and nonprofit sectors for the 40th Leadership St. Louis (LSL) class. These participants join a prestigious and diverse group of more than 2,000 leaders who have graduated from the LSL program since its inception in 1976.

Leadership St. Louis is a highly respected program for emerging and established leaders who have demonstrated a deep commitment to improving the St. Louis region. The 18-day, 9-month curriculum explores such issues as economic development, education, poverty and social services, racism, arts and culture, and the criminal justice system. Participants visit key sites in the bi-state region, engage in face-to-face dialogue with regional decision makers and gain a deeper understanding of leadership approaches that produce results.


“It is exciting for us to invite such a talented and diverse group of community leaders into Leadership St. Louis. Over the next year, they will experience this region in new ways and gain knowledge, skills and connections they can use to make a difference within it,” said Yemi Akande-Bartsch, Ph.D., FOCUS St. Louis Executive Director and Director of the Leadership St. Louis program.

Leadership St. Louis is one of seven leadership programs offered by FOCUS St. Louis to achieve its mission to create a thriving, cooperative region by engaging citizens to participate in active leadership roles and to influence positive community change. 

Individuals Selected for the 2015 – 2016 Leadership St. Louis Class:


Quen Agnew

Employer Relations/Career Specialist

Southeast Missouri State University


Barbara Archer


Archer Wealth Management, LLC


Andrew Barnes


Artisan Building Company


Lori Becker

Director of Development and Communications

Starkloff Disability Institute


Mirza Bijedic


Better Family Life, Inc.


Keith Brooks

Director, Cardinals Care

St. Louis Cardinals


Cathleen Brueggemann

Director of Development

Missouri Botanical Garden


Jacqueline Byrne

Director of Development

Youth Learning Center


Emily Dai

Manager - Industry Relations and Public Outreach

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


James Frost


Accessible Strategies Group, LLC


Shannon Grass

Chief Development Officer

Epworth Children & Family Services


Deidre Griffith

Program Officer

Missouri Foundation for Health


Mary Elizabeth Grimes


Marian Middle School


Christopher Haffenreffer

Manager, Corporate Development

HBM Holdings


Kara Hanak

Director, Strategic Program Management

Express Scripts


Elizabeth Hartman

Director of Human Resources

The Magic House, St. Louis Children's Museum


Cathy Hartmann

Executive Director



Ann Haubrich

Institutional Giving Director

Voices for Children


Simon Huang

CIO, Director Information Systems

St. Charles County Government


Arindam Kar


Bryan Cave LLP


Shawn Kormanek

Managing Director

Citi Bank


Jacki Langum

Staff Attorney

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri


Maureen Larkins

Senior Director



Peter Lazaroff

Wealth Manager

Plancorp, LLC


Brian Leahy

Senior Human Resources Business Partner



David Leipholtz

Director of Community Based Studies

Better Together


Elizabeth D'Agostino Letscher

Assistant Vice President, Real Estate and Community Development

St. Louis Economic Development Partnership


William Liebermann


WJL Companies


Joey Mahari

Manager - Software Solutions



Meg Manley

Senior Vice President

McCormack Baron Salazar


Ryan Martin

Assistant Vice President & Treasurer



David Martineau

Executive Director



Scott Meyer

Director of Investments

BMO Private Bank


Sarah Rochelle York Moore

Manager, Quality and Regulatory

Young Dental Manufacturing


Brian Naber

US Commercial Operations Lead

Monsanto Company


Thomas Noack

General Counsel, Vice President and Secretary

Commerce Bank


Kimberly Norwood

Professor of Law

Washington University School of Law


Katherine Nowak

Executive Director, Strategic Initiatives



Matthew Oldani

Vice President, Strategic Alignment

Deaconess Foundation


Wendy Orson

Chief Executive Officer

Behavioral Health Network


David Orwick


Thompson Coburn LLP


Jessica Pabst

Director of Advocacy - Missouri

SSM Health


Cordaryl Patrick

City Administrator

City of Dellwood


tinA pihL

Executive Director

Spanish Lake Community Development Corporation


Juli Plassmeyer

Vice President of Marketing

Nestle Purina PetCare Company


Antonia Ponder

Archdiocesan Elementary School Development Director

Archdiocese of St. Louis/Today and Tomorrow Foundation


Linda Rallo

Public Policy & Strategic Communications Consultant

Pick Strategies


Pradeep Ramakrishnan

Senior Project Manager

Enterprise Holdings Inc.


N. Ellen Reed-Fox

Vice President of Development

Neighborhood Houses


John Rohde

Senior Business Development Manager

World Wide Technology


Stephen Savis

Vice President - North America Human Resources

Monsanto Company


Lindsay Selner

Director, Activation Planning

BJC HealthCare


Suzanne Sierra Sewell


Sierra Public Relations


Donna Smith-Pupillo

Executive Director

Deaconess Faith Community Nurse Ministries


Nancy Spargo


St. Louis Center for Family Development


Rebecca Spear

Director, Global Internships & Corporate Partnerships

Webster University


Angela Tate

Vice President of Operations

Behavioral Health Response


Scott Thoma

Principal- Client Needs Research

Edward Jones


Kristin Thompson

Financial Advisor

Renaissance Financial


Eugene Todd

Group Head/Managing Director

First Bank


Suzanne Wagener

Executive Director

Covenant House Missouri


Pam Weston

Director Employee Communications

Equifax Workforce Solutions


Sandra Wilkie

Director of Research and Evaluation

Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative


Megan Williams

City Attorney/ Assistant Corporation Counselor

City of Alton


James Wyrsch


Khazaeli Wyrsch Stock LLC




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