FOCUS St. Louis is pleased to announce the incoming officers for the 2021-22 fiscal year, as well as four new board members. Board members are community leaders who demonstrate interest and commitment to FOCUS’ mission to educate leaders, connect leaders and facilitate important conversations in the St. Louis region.
Board Officers for July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022 are:
- Board Chair – Amy Shaw, President & CEO, Nine PBS (Leadership St. Louis 2013)
- Executive Vice Chair – Johnny Wang, Labor and Employment Counsel, Enterprise Holdings (Leadership St. Louis 2017)
- Vice Chair – Jason Carter, Founder and President, UNCOMN
- Treasurer – Maria Briggs, Vice President, UBS Financial Services – The Omega Group (Leadership St. Louis 2009)
- Secretary – Dr. Karen Hall, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Saint Louis University (Leadership St. Louis 2013 / Diversity Leadership Fellowship 2015)
New board members are:
- Matthew Blakely, VP, Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability, Reinsurance Group of America, Incorporated (RGA) (Leadership St. Louis 2021
- Eric Madkins, Vice President, Community Development, Regions Bank (Leadership St. Louis 2019)
- Saffiyah Poole, African American Health Equity Initiative Community Programs Manager, Susan G. Komen (Emerging Leaders 2019)
- Sara Stock, Founder & CEO, Stock Legal (Leadership St. Louis 2022)
In addition, FOCUS St. Louis® welcomes to the board two youth members who are 2021 graduates of FOCUS’ Youth Leadership St. Louis program:
- Terrion Brawner, Soldan International Studies High School
- Alexia Nastasia, Lindbergh High School
Amy Shaw became the President and CEO of the Nine PBS in February 2020. She is the first woman to lead Nine in its 67 year history. Shaw is recognized as a national leader and innovator in community engagement and public media. She leads a talented team in groundbreaking work that leverages on-air, online and community engagement for measurable impact around important and complex issues facing communities.
Shaw has led numerous national content initiatives that have created durable change in local communities, including Facing the Mortgage Crisis, public media’s response to the national financial crisis and the local/national American Graduate initiative to rally communities to improve outcomes for youth. Shaw also oversaw the creation of a Community Engagement Guidebook designed to help public media organizations deepen their commitment as relevant and essential community institutions.
Shaw was an inaugural 2015 Eisenhower Zhi-Xing Fellow, spending a month in China to advance bilateral dialogue and understanding between the China and the U.S. Shaw was a member of the 2012-13 class of Leadership St. Louis and has served on numerous local and national boards. She currently serves on the Public Television Major Market Group board, is chairperson of the Webster University School of Communications Advisory Board, and serves on the Grand Center, Inc. board. She was named as as one of the 2021 Most Influential Business Women by the St. Louis Business Journal. She is deeply committed to the power of public media and the strengthening of communities across the country.
Johnny Wang is an in-house attorney with Enterprise Holdings, serving as a labor and employment counsel. In this role, he supports the company’s human resources team throughout the US, Canada and Europe. Prior to joining Enterprise, Johnny worked at a large national law firm for 15 years, working with businesses of all sizes and chaired his firm’s recruiting efforts in St. Louis and their attorneys of color resource group.
Outside of work, he currently serves as a Trustee for the St. Louis County Library District and a bank director for Midwest Bankcentre. He is also a founder of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis and served as president of the Missouri Asian-American Bar Association in 2012. Nationally, he is involved with the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, serving as the Regional Governor for the Central Region in 2020-2022. He has received the Diverse Business Leader Award and 40 under 40 from the St. Louis Business Journal, and been named an Up and Coming Lawyer by Missouri Lawyers Weekly. He was also selected as a member of the inaugural class of Leadership 100, which consists of members from the Young Professionals Network of the Regional Business Council. He earned a law degree from Washington University School of Law and an undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is a 2017 graduate of Leadership St. Louis.
Since 2010, Jason Carter has overseen UNCOMN’s growth from a one-man consulting firm to the region’s “#1 Fastest Growing Company” in 2017 and a national “Best Places to Work” as rated by Glassdoor in 2021. He graduated from the University of Missouri-Rolla with a bachelor’s degree in metallurgical engineering and served in the U.S. Navy as a submarine driver and information professional for over 20 years. He retired from the Navy as a Commander in 2009. A lifelong learner, Jason holds three master’s degrees, including his most recent—an Executive MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, having graduated in 2020.
Jason is active in the community, serving as Board President of CyberUp , Board President of the UNCOMN Foundation, and board member to numerous local non-profit organizations. He is an investor and mentor in local startup accelerators, including SixThirty Cyber and the Cultivation Capital Geospatial Tech Fund.
As Vice President at UBS Financial Services, Maria Briggs is one of the founding partners of the Omega Group, providing advisory and brokerage services across the U.S. the last 30 years. After receiving both her BSBA and MBA from Washington University, she earned her CFP and the CIMA designation from the Wharton School of Business, and has been recognized as one of the America’s Top Financial Planners. Prior to joining UBS, she was with Smith Barney Shearson 17 years, and has management, operations, and lending experience from Boatmen’s Bank, Community Federal Savings and Loan, and Citicorp Mortgage.
A 2009 graduate of Leadership St. Louis, Maria currently serves on the Board of the Artist Presentation Society, the Advisory Council for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and various committees on behalf of Rosati-Kain High School, Washington University and Forest Park Forever. Born in the Philippines, and a transplant from Chicago, Maria also serves as an ambassador for the St. Louis Mosaic Project and was one of the founding board members of Belas Artes Multicultural Center and Art Gallery. Prior to that, she received multiple President’s Volunteer Service Awards for her time with Mentor St. Louis, St. Louis Tax Assistance program and Habitat for Humanity.
Dr. Karen I. Hall joined in Saint Louis University’s School of Education in 2021 as Assistant Professor for the Educational Leadership Program. She previously served as superintendent of the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District from 2012-2020, overseeing more than 1,500 students, 275 employees and a $25 million budget. She joined the MRH district as assistant superintendent in 2008, coordinating a wide array of programs: human resources, professional development, curriculum and instruction, federal grants, home visits, gifted instruction, and social justice training, among others.
Dr. Hall has held principal positions in the Pattonville and Ritenour school districts and was a third-grade teacher in Kirkwood. Under her leadership, MRHSD was named a “District of Distinction” from District Administration Magazine and consistently earned national attention for its system-wide sustainability practices. She is a 2013 graduate of Leadership St. Louis and a 2015 graduate of the Diversity Leadership Fellowship program.
New Board Members
Matt Blakely has 24 years of experience working with foundations and corporate social responsibility programs. He is Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability for Reinsurance Group of America, Incorporated (RGA). In that role, Matt leads the philanthropic, employee volunteerism, sustainability, and CSR reporting for RGA – one of the world’s largest global life and health reinsurance companies. Previously, Matt served as Executive Director of Motorola Solutions Foundation and Director of Inclusion, Diversity and Outreach for Motorola Solutions, coordinating the giving, volunteerism, and inclusion efforts of Motorola Solutions Foundation and Motorola Solutions.
Matt is a 2020-21 graduate of FOCUS Leadership St. Louis and has served on the boards and advisory committees of many large and small nonprofit organizations.
As Vice President of Community Development for Regions Bank, Eric Madkins is responsible for developing partnerships with business groups both internally and externally to assist in successfully identifying community development lending opportunities, investments and services in low and moderate income communities. He is also responsible for corporate compliance for community reinvestment act activities for Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and has dual master’s in business management and communications from Webster University. He is a 2018-19 graduate of FOCUS Leadership St. Louis. His community involvement includes serving on the boards of directors for the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, St. Louis Community Foundation, St. Louis Metropolitan Equal Housing and Opportunity Council and Epworth Children & Family Services. He also serves on the steering committee for the Regional Business Council’s Young Professionals Network Leadership 100 and UMSL’s Alumni Association Governing Board.
Saffiyah Poole is a native of St. Louis and currently serves as Susan G. Komen’s African American Health Equity Initiative Community Programs Manager overseeing community outreach and engagement efforts for the St. Louis and Chicago markets. Saffiyah’s purpose in life is to bridge the gap between community and structural systems in order to create more equitable pathways, specifically within the healthcare and public health infrastructures, to reduce health disparities that disproportionately impact groups who experience societal marginalization and oppression. Her comprehensive career experiences with the St. Louis County Health Department and St. Louis healthcare anchor institutions, Washington University School of Medicine and BJC HealthCare, paired with her personal lived experiences, consistently keep her positioned to execute her overall goals of restoring, transforming, and cultivating culturally inclusive community engagement efforts locally and nationally.
Saffiyah obtained her undergraduate degree in cultural anthropology and a minor in biology from Howard University, Master of Public Health from Saint Louis University College of Public Health and Social Justice, and a Master of Healthcare Administration from Webster University. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Generate Health Ambassador Board member, FOCUS St. Louis Emerging Leader alum and member, Regional Business Council Young Professional Network Inductee, mother member of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., and member of the American Public Health Association.
Sara Stock is founder and CEO of Stock Legal, and co-founder of Legal Back Office. Her legal practice focuses on general corporate work for small- to medium-sized businesses and commercial real estate transactions, advising clients in all aspects of the business lifecycle. Sara’s joint MBA and law degree uniquely position her to provide the highest quality legal advice seasoned with a solid understanding of her clients’ business objectives. She left an equity position at a large St. Louis law firm to join KWS Law, and later to form Stock Legal, because she felt she could better serve her target clients – small- to medium-sized businesses – from a small- to medium-sized law firm. Sara is passionate about these types of clients because they surround her in her personal life. Sara’s mom and dad ran the family trucking company out of their home while Sara was a child, and Sara’s dad and brother continue to run this successful business today. In 2018, Sara cofounded Legal Back Office, which provides back office services to small- to medium-sized businesses.
Sara is chair of the Middle Market and Small Business Committee, a committee of the American Bar Association, and sits on the YWCA Board of Directors, the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Development Board of Directors, and the Gateway 180 Board of Directors. She is also an active member of ACG St. Louis, and sits on the advisory board for a number of institutions, including banking organizations and local companies.