Enter the Catapult Competition

Fran Hauser (Morning Keynote)

Fran Hauser is a long-time media executive, startup investor and best-selling author of The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming a Person You Hate. The Myth of the Nice Girl deconstructs the negative perception of “niceness” that many women struggle with in the business world and will resonate with smart, professional women who are looking for real advice to take their career to the next level.

Fran has held senior positions at some of the world’s largest digital media businesses, including PEOPLE, InStyle, Entertainment Weekly and AOL. Now a startup investor who largely invests in female founders, Fran was named one of Business Insider’s “30 Women In Venture Capital to Watch in 2018.” Fran and The Myth of the Nice Girl have been featured on a wide range of outlets including NBC’s Today Show, CNBC, PEOPLE, Fortune, TIME, Fast Company, Oprah.com, Business Insider, Elle, and many more. She is a frequent speaker on women’s leadership and writes a regular career advice column for Refinery29.

Deborah Roberts (Lunch Keynote)

Deborah Roberts joined the ABC newsmagazine “20/20” in June 1995. Since then she has also served as a substitute anchor on “Good Morning America” and “World News Weekend.”
Roberts reports regularly on a wide variety of stories for the newsmagazine program and World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer. She has reported from Africa on the HIV/AIDS crisis and orphans, and the CA wildfires, which earned her an Emmy award. She also was awarded an Emmy for her emotional, in-depth reporting on an Ethiopian American woman’s journey back to Africa to find her mother and for her work with ABC’s millennium coverage.
A 1982 graduate of the University of Georgia, Roberts was awarded the 1992 University of Georgia Distinguished Alumnus Award, presented annually to recent graduates who have excelled rapidly in their professions. She also earned a Sports Emmy nomination for her coverage of the 1992 Olympics; was cited as top local female anchor by the Orlando Sentinel; and was awarded the Clarion Award for her investigative story on the Amish.

Carolyn Kindle Betz
Enterprise Holdings Foundation

Carolyn is President of the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, the charitable arm ofEnterprise Holdings Inc. Funded by contributions from the company’s operations, the Foundation provides financial assistance to recognized charities supported by employees and customers. Since its inception, the Foundation has contributed more than $354 million to thousands of registered nonprofit efforts, focused on community improvement, education and environmental stewardship. In her role, Kindle Betz develops and implements the Foundation’s long-term philanthropic strategies and objectives for the future.

Kindle Betz, a third-generation Taylor family member, began her career at Enterprise Rent-A-Car as an intern while attending college. Following graduation, she joined the company full-time as a Management Trainee in Oklahoma, working behind the rental counter and learning the importance of superior customer service, an Enterprise trademark. After earning a promotion to Assistant Manager at the Tulsa airport, she moved to St. Louis in 2001 to work for what is now Enterprise Fleet Management. 

In 2003, Kindle Betz changed proroles to work with the insurance replacement team, where she was responsible for national insurance accounts. This prepared her for her next position supporting Enterprise’s regional subsidiaries in the southeastern part of the United States. She was promoted to Assistant Vice President of Rental in January 2007.

In 2010, Kindle Betz transitioned her focus to philanthropy and community relations in the St. Louis area and served as Secretary for the Crawford Taylor Foundation, the Taylor family’s philanthropic foundation. She was promoted in January of 2013 to Vice President and Executive Director, where she was tasked with leading three meetings each year at which the Foundation board reviews grant applications submitted by Enterprise, National and Alamo employees, on behalf of community organizations with which they are involved. 

In 2017, Kindle Betz was promoted to Senior Vice President and became President of the Enterprise Holdings Foundation in 2019. In this role, she oversees the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, made up of Enterprise Corporate Officers and General Managers who consider charitable requests. 

A graduate of the University of Tulsa, Kindle Betz lives in St. Louis and – in addition to leading St. Louis’ bid for an MLS soccer team – serves as a board member of the Gateway Arch Park Foundation.

Beth Chesterton
Chesterton & Company

Beth is a consultant with extensive experience working at the highest levels within some of the greatest companies in the world. She has 25 years of experience assisting thousands of individuals to reach their potential and numerous Fortune 500 companies to develop profitable relationships. She has a strong reputation for helping others see what’s possible, developing a plan and implementing it. Beth is able to take clients from idea to implementation whether it be changing culture, or motivating groups to higher levels of performance. She is particularly adept at speaking, facilitating, inspiring, and helping people see their best selves with actionable clarity.

Simone Cummings, MHA, PhD
Dean, George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology
Webster University

Dr. Cummings serves as the chief academic officer for the George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology at Webster’s more than sixty locations.

Dr. Cummings joined the Walker School in 2013 as an Associate Professor of Management.  She holds a BSBA from Washington University, an MHA from the Washington University School of Medicine, and a PhD in Health Policy and Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Dr. Cummings is a board member of the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute, the St. Louis Regional Health Commission, the Missouri History Museum Sub-Commission, the YWCA Metro St. Louis, and the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis. Dr. Cummings and her husband Don have two daughters.

Heidi Coco, DO
St. Luke’s Hospital

Dr. Heidi Coco is an anesthesiology specialist with the Open Heart Anesthesiology practice at St. Luke’s Hospital. She is board certified in anesthesiology and specializes in cardiac anesthesiology and critical care medicine.

Through a team approach with the patient and care team, Dr. Coco uses the most advanced technologies and techniques to correct pathology and disease, helping the patient regain equilibrium. A native Missourian, she earned her medical degree from A.T. Still University Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2005 and completed her residency at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. 

Angela Cody
Senior Manager
Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals

Angela Cody is the Senior Manager of Inclusion and Diversity at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. In this role, she develops implements and manages Mallinckrodt’s global Inclusion & Diversity strategy, programs and the company’s 13 Business Resource Groups across two Chapters.

By effectively building and leveraging the teams, Angela led the Mallinckrodt Inclusion and Diversity Council to a top 10 Council in the nation in 2016 and 2017 through a well-crafted, integrated strategy. In addition, she has personally developed, designed and facilitated workshops on topics such as unconscious bias, micro-inequities, building inclusive teams, and measuring and articulating the ROI for diversity and inclusion.

Angela is known as an inclusion and diversity subject matter expert and engaging speaker at local and national conferences.  Most recently, she has received the Diverse Business Leaders Award from the St. Louis Business Journal and pioneered the start-up of the St. Louis Diversity & Inclusion Consortium.  In addition, in 2017, she was recognized as Mogul’s Top 100 Innovators for Diversity and Inclusion.

Kristen Fisher, MD
Pulmonary Medicine
St. Luke’s Hospital

As a pulmonary medicine specialist, Dr. Fisher is trained in critical care and treats diseases and conditions of the chest, particularly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, interstitial lung disease, pneumonia, asthma, tuberculosis, complicated chest infections and bronchiectasis. She practices with Cardio-Pulmonary Associates located on the campus of St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield.

Dr. Fisher received her medical degree from Southern Illinois School of Medicine and completed her residency in internal medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine. Following her residency, Dr. Fisher completed a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Washington University in St. Louis.

Dawn Gipson
Account Director

Dawn Gipson is an Account Director with FleishmanHillard’s Creative practice group, and her specialty is events planning. She relies on her background in client relations, project management, communications plan development, and graphic design to create events that transform corporate messages into memorable brand experiences. As the Diversity & Inclusion Champion for FH’s global headquarters, Dawn collaborates with champions across the agency to develop the vision, goals, and strategy for our initiatives. Dawn has a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a master’s in graphic design from the University of Illinois-Chicago. She’s a member of FOCUS St. Louis and a graduate of their CORO Women in Leadership and Diversity Fellowship Programs.

Jan Hess
Vice President of Network Integration and Professional
and Administrative Services
St. Luke’s Hospital

Jan Hess is vice president of network integration and professional and administrative services at St. Luke's as well as a member of the Senior Administrative Staff. She has served as a leader at St. Luke's for over 40 years.

Jan’s administrative responsibilities include oversight of Regulatory and Quality Improvement, Marketing and Public Relations and Medical Staff functions. Jan also is the Executive Sponsor of St. Luke’s Spirit of Women initiative, helping improve the quality of life in our community by providing leading health services and community outreach to women and their families.

Jan is a graduate of Saint Louis University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Record Administration. She holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management from Washington University.

Jan has served in numerous leadership positions in the community and has a passion for issues involving women and children’s advocacy. She currently serves as an officer on the Governance Board for FamilyForward. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri, and she is a member of the Women’s Choice Award Healthcare Advisory Board and Relevate’s Spirit of Women Advisory Board.

Jan is a recipient of the St. Louis Business Journal’s 2011 Most Influential Business Women Award.  She was also named one of the 2011 Women of Worth honorees by the Gateway Voice of Mid-life and Older Women (OWL), and she received a Salute to Excellence in Health Care Award in 2008 from the St. Louis American Foundation. Jan speaks on various topics, both locally and nationally, related to leadership, women’s health and the business of healthcare.

Helen Jardine
District Director
Northwestern Mutual

Helen is a District Director with Northwestern Mutual-St. Louis. As of September 1, 2018, she was one of only 6 female District Directors out of 58 District Directors nationwide in Northwestern Mutual and the first female District Director in St. Louis. She is passionate about bringing more diversity to the Northwestern Mutual-St. Louis team and providing a better reflection of a community that, according to the U.S Census Bureau, is 51.6 percent female.

She has the privilege of selecting and training talented people who are seeking a career with impact and helping to make our communities THE most financially secure in the world. She loves coaching and developing people to help them achieve their potential.

In 2016, she founded the Kickass Chicks Mastermind Group which is a monthly meeting of like-minded entrepreneurial women who connect to grow and support each other.

Jardine joined Northwestern Mutual in 2008 as Director of Practice Management. She became Chief Development Officer with Northwestern Mutual – St. Louis in 2015. She is also a Northwestern Mutual Certified Coach and Certified Trainer. In 2018, she was selected to participate in the Northwestern Mutual Women’s Leadership Program.

Prior to joining Northwestern Mutual, she started her first small business in 1994. She was a co-owner of Cor Productions, Inc., a video production and marketing coaching company located in St. Louis, MO. In 1996, she won the SBA Award for Young Entrepreneur for Eastern Missouri, and in 2004 she won the SBA Region VII Award for Women in Business Advocate. She has served on the board of the St. Louis Chapter of the American Marketing Association, as well as, the Emerson Center for Business Ethics. She was a founding board member of the St. Louis Sales Professional Association and a co-founder of the St. Louis Women Entrepreneur’s Lunch Group. She has been a guest on the radio program Entrepreneurs Live! and guest speaker for SCORE (Service Corp of Retired Executives). She was also interviewed for the book Big Vision, Small Business by Jamie Walters. Most recently, she was a contributor to the book Execute to Win by René Vidal and Steve Finkelstein.

Cor Productions, Inc. received awards for business excellence from SCORE and the St. Louis Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Cor has been featured in Fortune Small Business, the Wall Street Journal, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Small Business Monthly, the St. Louis Business Journal, and on the SCORE web site.

Helen Jardine taught fifth grade in East Los Angeles through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps after graduating from Loyola University in New Orleans.

Outside the office, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She and her husband Bill have been married since 1997. They have 2 children, Danielle, 16, and Tyler, 12. Helen served as a Girl Scout Troop Leader for her daughter for six years.

Erin Joy
Principal & CEO
Black Dress Partners

A strategic consultant, straightforward confidant, and sought-after speaker, Erin founded the consulting and executive coaching company, Black Dress Partners, in 2011 to help guide businesses facing a variety of challenges. Erin and her team conceived Black Dress Circle®, facilitated, member-driven roundtables exclusively for female business owners, and the award-winning Midwest Women Business Owners’ Conference. She has helped transform a variety of organizations across industries and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in business psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Susan Kidder
Safe Connections

Founded as Women’s Self Help Center in 1976, Safe Connections is the oldest, largest and only nationally accredited nonprofit in the region dedicated solely to preventing and ending domestic and sexual violence.

Susan joined Safe Connections in March of 2007, relocating from Chicago where she was named one of Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine’s 100 Women Making a Difference. Susan has over 30 years of experience in nonprofit leadership, specializing in the areas of disabilities, education and social justice.

Susan grew up in Springfield, Illinois, earned her Bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University and her Master’s degree from Eastern Illinois University. She holds a certificate in Business Management for Nonprofit Leaders from Washington University Olin Business School and is a 2013-14 graduate of Leadership St. Louis.

A frequent presenter on domestic and sexual violence, human rights, social justice and nonprofit leadership, Susan is actively involved in numerous organizations, including: The St. Louis Forum, the St. Louis Ending Violence Against Women Network, the National Women’s Political Caucus, the St. Louis Children’s Service Coalition Leadership team, the Behavioral Health Network Board of Directors and the Better Business Bureau Nonprofit Advisory Committee. Susan is a Cornerstone donor in the United Way of Greater St. Louis’ Women’s Leadership Giving Society and serves on the United Way of Greater St. Louis Women’s Leadership Society Cabinet.

In 2017, Susan was one of two women across the state honored by the Missouri Women’s Network for her leadership in advancing women’s equality. Susan was featured in Gazelle magazine in 2018 as one of St. Louis’ women leaders making a difference. Susan volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, numerous political campaigns, and rides BikeMS for the Gateway Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Lashana Lewis
L. M. Lewis Consulting

LaShana Lewis is a technologist working in the diversity space with over 20 years of experience. She is currently the CEO of L. M. Lewis Consulting, a company which aims to make employers more diverse through recruitment, hiring, and retention best practices. Lewis also serves as the CTO of MultiPass, which seeks to network coworking spaces together. She recently joined Astral AR as Director of Aerospace IT, a company dedicated to giving police/search-and-rescue teams sensory capable drones.

Lewis began her journey into technology while attending high school in East St. Louis during the early 1990s. She was picked for a rare computer programming course and, eventually, ended up tutoring her fellow classmates. At the urging of her instructor, Lewis took computer programming courses in college. Although entering in on a full scholarship, Lewis was unable to finish her college degree after running out of funds and had to return home. Lewis went through a series of entry-level jobs, unable to utilize the bulk of her computing knowledge. She eventually retook programming courses while working for a university in 2007.

While at the university, Lewis co-founded The LGBT Center of St. Louis which eventually had a location in the Central West End. She served as its Chief Operating Officer from 2006 – 2011, gathering information and collaborating various disparate groups together within a meeting space that was free and accessible to many LGBT+ members in the St. Louis area. Lewis and the founders grew the Center to an organization that received close to $30,000 in funding and donations. Lewis left in 2011 to pursue her degree, further.

During her degree program in 2014, Lewis was told by her computer programming instructors to try LaunchCode, an organization that pairs people aiming to work in technology with top-level employers. Lewis joined and landed at Mastercard, working with the Windows Server Technical Services team as an Engineering Apprentice, Associate Engineer, and then a Certified Professional Engineer before moving to the Business Operations team (Dual Message Authorization) as a Software Engineer due to her background in C++ programming.

While at Mastercard, Lewis served as a role model for diversity in the technology community. In 2015, she was honored by President Barack Obama when he spoke on stage (and was aired publicly on C-SPAN) about her life story, and how she triumphed over adversity to work in the tech field. The speech was a lead-in to the nationwide TechHire Initiative, a $100 million-dollar plan to fill IT jobs which encouraged employers to hire and train people with non-traditional tech backgrounds, using LaunchCode as its base.

Lewis was also President of the Mastercard LGBT employee group where, under her leadership, the company sponsored three major St. Louis area LGBT celebrations, one of which topped over 300,000 in attendance and is one of the largest celebrations in the U.S. To bring intersectionality, Lewis worked with the company's African-American employee group to become a first-time mid-level sponsor for a celebration geared towards the African-American LGBT community. This resulted in increased visibility in both the LGBTQ and African-American communities for the company, and often resulted in increased diversity numbers in recruiting and retaining efforts.

Lewis left Mastercard to create L. M. Lewis Consulting. She was approached by businesses to help diversity their retention, hiring, and recruiting practices as they still had issues doing so after receiving diversity training. Since starting the company officially in April 2018, Lewis has already consulted with major companies and small businesses to help increase visibility and create best practices within their diversity and inclusion spaces.

During her free time, Lewis freelances as a STEM writer for The St. Louis American, an award-winning African-American newspaper in the St. Louis area. She also serves on the Alumni Association board of LaunchCode as Chair of Alumni Outreach.

Lewis was recently mentioned in NPR and Forbes articles regarding diversity and inclusion, and has spoken on a national level regarding diversity in the workplace. She has also been quoted and mentioned in different publications such as Fast Company, The Guardian, and the Financial Times. She was most recently awarded as a St. Louis Business Journal Diverse Business Leader in 2018. More information, video clips, and contact information for Lewis is available at www.lmlewisconsulting.com.

Dr. Angela Miller
Senior Medical Director

Dr. Angela Miller is the Senior Medical Director of Aetna’s Eastern Missouri, Southern Illinois, Iowa, and South Dakota health plans and is based in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Dr. Miller leads the Medical Management team and supports the clinical needs of customer and provider relationships to ensure sales and growth. This team includes six Medical Directors that work alongside a nursing team to focus on the holistic needs of Aetna members as they navigate the health care system, including inpatient and outpatient services, pre-certification, case management, and quality of care issues. Dr. Miller also supports Wellness initiatives for Aetna members and employees, and she serves as the Executive Sponsor for the local health plan Wellness committee.

Prior to her current position, she served as the Acting Chief Medical Officer for Aetna Better Health of Missouri. She has also worked as a medical consultant with Molina and as a Medical Director with HealthCare USA.

Dr. Miller graduated with distinction from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a combined BA-MD degree and completed an Internal Medicine/Pediatrics residency at Indiana University School of Medicine. She has practiced in both the outpatient and inpatient settings in the St. Louis area and held faculty teaching appointments with Indiana University Medical Group, St. Louis University School of Medicine, and Mercy Hospital in St. Louis. She has served on committees that address both best practices as well as patient safety and is committed to quality, holistic health care.

Melissa Muench, DO
Family Medicine
St. Luke’s Des Peres Hospital

Melissa Muench, DO, is a board-certified physician in family practice at Primary Care of Imperial. She provides personalized care and works closely with patients and their families to achieve their health goals. Dr. Muench offers physicals, general wellness and disease management for all ages including preventive care, sports medicine, chronic disease management, anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorder, as well as removal of skin lesions, joint health, immunizations and women's healthcare.
Dr. Muench received her medical degree from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences and completed her internship and family practice residency at St. Luke's Des Peres Hospital.

Nancy Schnoebelen Imbs
Founder and President

Nancy is an empowering leadership and professional development consultant. Highly dedicated and results oriented, she has the skill and passion for helping individuals become more confident and successful in business and beyond. Nancy combines her communications expertise with a pragmatic approach in a variety of important soft skill areas including verbal, written and nonverbal communications, emotional intelligence, etiquette and protocol, time management, business acumen, working with team dynamics and coaching. She helps clients focus on key adjustments that result in meaningful impact and effectiveness.

Drawing on her marketing and communications background, over 25 years’ experience in leadership roles and a lifetime of personal growth, Nancy has keen appreciation of mindset and the power it has to change patterns of behavior. She focuses on building one’s strengths and minimizing weaknesses through enrichment, feedback, self-discovery and detailed action plans.

Before launching Polished, Nancy served in leadership positions where she helped businesses like Edward Jones, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and Mercy Health boost their products and services, communications, marketing, brands and stature. She was also a reporter for the Dallas Morning News and freelance writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Nancy is an author and dynamic motivational speaker. She delivers keynotes on several topics including Present with Power Poise and Punch; Kindness is Underrated; Beyond the Fork and Knife and Yes. Maybe. I Mean No. She’s a contributor to CBS-affiliate KMOV, Great Day St. Louis, KMOX and KTRS radio.

Natalea Simmons Beaudean
CFP®, CIMA®, CPA®  - SVP: Wealth Management Advisor
The Simmons Group – Merrill Lynch

Natalea leads The Simmons Group Wealth Management team at Merrill Lynch in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Simmons Group assists private families, corporate executives and foundations in identifying, managing and solving complex financial issues.  Natalea works with clients to help them define specific life goals and financial needs by providing comprehensive financial planning then implementing customized investment plans which track client’s progress towards their goals. 

Natalea understands the unique challenges that face women when it comes to wealth management.  As such, she has made it her personal mission to help close the existing investment gender gap - focusing on bringing financial empowerment to all women.

Natalea is recognized on Forbes’ Magazine list of America’s Top Women Wealth Advisors as well as Forbes’ Best-in-State Wealth Advisor lists.   In addition, Natalea is recognized on Working Mother Magazine’s Top 200 Wealth Adviser Mom’s list.  Prior to joining Merrill Lynch in 2001, Natalea spent 7 years in public accounting.  Natalea is an Executive MBA graduate of Washington University and a graduate of the University of Missouri at Columbia with a B.S. in Accountancy.  Natalea serves on several charitable organization committees and boards throughout the community.  Natalea enjoys spending free time with her husband and 3 boys ages 6, 11 and 14.

Michelle Smallmon
Co-Host of the Bernie Miklasz Show (101 ESPN)

Back for her second 101 ESPN stint, Michelle Smallmon brings balance to ‘The Bernie Miklasz Show’ with her unique perspective and plenty of big-time radio experience. The Belleville native and life-long St. Louis sports fan spent two years with the ESPN “mothership” before returning home to co-host with Bernie weekdays from 7-10 a.m. While in Bristol, Michelle produced ‘Russillo & Kanell,’ ‘The Ryan Russillo Show,’ and ‘The Will Cain Show.’ Prior to her “mothership” time, you could hear her producing the ‘Bernie Show’ and ‘The Fast Lane’ during her prior stint with us. In addition to co-hosting with Bernie, hosts ‘Small Talk,’ a weekly podcast.

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2019 Agenda