Meet Our Alumni
Cordaryl “Pat” Patrick came to St. Louis from Mississippi in 2009 to complete his Master of Public Policy Administration (MPPA) degree. Since graduating and making the region his home, he has been working tirelessly to strengthen economic development in North County, first as City Administrator for Dellwood and now as Economic Recovery Coordinator for the St. Louis Promise Zone.
“I have a heart and passion for community,” he says. “I’m always thinking ‘how is this going to change the lives of the individuals we’re serving?’ And if an idea doesn’t make sense for a community, I’m going to say so.” It was this heart and passion that led him to join the Leadership St. Louis class of 2015-16.
Is there a particular program day that stands out to you?
The Race Weekend experience changed my perspective on race relations in St. Louis. It’s very eye-opening to put people from all these different backgrounds into one bubble to face the harsh realities of the region. I was initially worried that it would be divisive, but instead, it brought us closer together. The experience helped us have a conversation on perspectives, and we were able to continue these conversations outside the program days.
For me personally, it also brought me back to reality as an African-American male. In professional arenas, we can sometimes think we’re beyond these conversations. But it really doesn’t matter if I put on a suit and tie, I’m still an African-American, and as a class, we needed to have these uncomfortable conversations.
How do you describe Leadership St. Louis to others?
In Leadership St. Louis, you’re already expected to be a leader – but the experience will challenge you as a leader. It provides you with exposure to what’s happening in the region, but it also equips you be a catalyst for change. Bringing folks together to talk about the issues that affect us as a community – this is what we can do to make change.
What do you see for your class and yourself in the future?
Even before the class ended, we started talking about how we were going to stay engaged. For example, we started a scholarship fund for future LSL participants and have hosted several hot topic discussions. We keep in contact and are always looking for opportunities for collaboration.
Collaboration is key for our region. St. Louis has issues, but I also think the resources are here to make real change. In my work in North County, we’re starting to see the benefits of collaboration to build capacity and use resources in the most effective way.
I am a public servant; I was born to be a public servant. Going to a job where I get to make others’ lives better is what gets me up in the morning. Each day I try to listen to those I’m serving and lead by example.