Andrea Arco
Founder & CEO
Arco + Associates, LLC

Andrea is the founder and CEO of Arco + Associates, LLC, a marketing communications firm based in St. Louis, MO that serves clients nationwide. Prior to starting Arco, Andrea directed the marketing efforts at two Boston-based law firms, held senior copywriter positions at advertising agencies along the East Coast, and worked as the Marketing Director at The University of Virginia’s Engineering School.

She has been published in The Boston Business Journal, Women’s Business, The National Law Journal, and The Pittsburgh Business Times. She graduated summa cum laude from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC with degrees in communications and journalism. She was the only Master’s candidate to be awarded a full scholarship to the Corporate Communications program at Duquesne University. She holds advanced certifications in corporate communications, public relations, and business marketing.

Andrea also authored a children’s book in 2013 which, after publication, won a Mom’s Choice award and an honorable mention at the Paris Book festival. The book, Wally McBap Needs A Nap, was named Book of the Year by Creative Child Magazine in 2014.

Arco & Associates has been named a Top Marketing Firm and Top PR Firm by The St. Louis Small Business Monthly. Andrea was recognized as one of the Top 40 under 40 professionals in St. Louis by the St. Louis Business Journal in 2016 and regularly speaks at the Midwest Women Business Owners’ Conference. She is a member of the Public Relations Society of America and the American Marketing Association and has received awards for multiple campaigns she has conceptualized.


Kira Hudson Banks, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology, Saint Louis University Co-founder, The Mouse and Elephant

Dr. Kira Hudson Banks is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Saint Louis University and focuses on race, racial identity and intergroup relations. She has worked in the field to improve intergroup relations since 1998 through research, community outreach, and school-based interventions at the middle school, high school, and college level. In addition to publishing articles in peer-reviewed journals related to these topics, Dr. Banks contributes regularly to discussions of current events through several website news sources and blogs. Her expertise has also been sought out by major corporations to train managers and emerging leaders on diversity and inclusion. She served as a consultant on racial equity to the Ferguson Commission and continues to work with Forward Through Ferguson to implement regional calls to action. Dr. Banks has been described as making the complex and controversial topic of race accessible and intergroup interactions more understandable. She works within the larger framework of diversity, which captures multiple aspects of identity (e.g. gender, class, sexual orientation, religion, nation of origin, political affiliation, other affiliations). Her main passion is to help people and institutions tap into their fullest potential by engaging diversity. The benefits of diversity don’t occur when diverse groups simply coexist. Dr. Banks believes reflective individual work along with keen structural analysis is necessary for forward progress.


Maureen A. Borkowski
Ameren Transmission Company

Maureen A. Borkowski is president of Ameren Transmission Company (ATX), a subsidiary of Ameren, dedicated to electric transmission infrastructure investment. In addition to leading the development of new transmission, she is responsible for the planning, operations, engineering, construction and policymaking for Ameren’s system of more than 7,500 miles of high-voltage transmission lines in Illinois and Missouri.

Ms. Borkowski has led Ameren’s transmission function since 2005, joining Ameren as vice president, Transmission, becoming the first female officer to direct an operational and technical area in the company’s history. She has more than 30 years of experience in the utility industry. From 1981 until 2000, she was employed by Ameren with responsibilities in the corporate planning, power marketing, transmission and energy supply areas. Before rejoining Ameren in 2005, Ms. Borkowski was president of Borkowski Enterprises, Inc., an energy consulting firm.

Ms. Borkowski was named one of the 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM in 2014 and was recognized by the Diversity Journal as one of the 2013 Women Worth Watching. She was named one of the Most Influential Business Women by the St. Louis Business Journal, a Leader of Distinction by the YWCA, and a Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri. Ms. Borkowski has been involved as a volunteer for various charitable organizations and serves as a member of the board of St. Patrick Center and The Magic House.

Ms. Borkowski graduated cum laude from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. She resides in Sunset Hills, MO with her husband, Dan, and has three adult children and one adorable grandson!


Tonya Browning
Vice President, Information Technology,
Digital Design & Delivery
Express Scripts Holding Company

Tonya Browning, a seasoned technology leader, is responsible for helping build the next generation of healthcare software tools to create a seamless and simple experience for Express Scripts’ 85 million members.

She joined the company in 2015, bringing deep expertise in design, software engineering, usability and accessibility. Tonya has worked in entrepreneurial, corporate and academic settings, including founding her own start-up technology company. She has led technical teams for PayPal, eBay, Magento and Visa as well as other start-ups.

Among her accomplishments, Tonya co-founded the Visa and eBay offices in Austin, Tex., where she was also involved in the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. She previously taught graduate-level user Interface design at the University of Texas at Austin.

Tonya holds a PhD and master of arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin; and a bachelor of arts degree from Florida State University.

In her bid to survive a zombie post-apocalyptic world, she has mastered motorcycles, sailing and advanced chainsaw handling. You’d be surprised where those skills come in handy.


Dr. Karen Chang-Chen
St. Luke’s Hospital

Karen Chang-Chen, MD, is a physician specializing in endocrinology with Endocrine Associates at St. Luke’s Hospital. She earned her medical degree at Stony Brook University School of Medicine and completed her residency and fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She treats a variety of endocrine conditions including diabetes, thyroid disease, osteoporosis, adrenal and pituitary disorders, as well as polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Dr. Chang-Chen is committed to helping her patients achieve a high quality of life while managing their chronic, and often ongoing, medical conditions. She works individually with patients to balance the medication needed to treat conditions, with lifestyle and preventative wellness measures they can take to see results in their daily life. She believes in a multi-disciplinary approach to healthcare and works closely with a patient’s other physicians to ensure comprehensive treatment and care.


Maxine Clark
Founder, Build-A-Bear Workshop Chair, Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation CEO, Clark-Fox Family Foundation

Maxine Clark is the Founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop®, a teddy-bear themed retail-entertainment experience. Founded in 1997 in St. Louis, MO., today there are over 400 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide, more nearly 150 million stuffed animals have been sold world-wide and global revenues have exceeded $5 billion. Maxine stepped down from her CEO position in 2013 to dedicate her time to investing in women and minority entrepreneurs and to use her entrepreneurial skills to help reinvent K-12 education in St. Louis by “retailizing” it—making it more consumer friendly.

In 2016 Build-A-Bear was named to the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list for the 8th consecutive year. In 2008, Maxine Clark was named one of the “25 Most Influential People in Retailing” by Chain Store Age and is a member of the Junior Achievement National Business Hall of Fame.

Maxine is a Founding Managing Director of Prosper Women’s Capital, a St. Louis based accelerator for women led businesses. Maxine is a member of the Build-A-Bear Workshop, Footlocker, Inc. and Gymboree Board of Directors. In addition to her being on the national and St. Louis Board of Teach For America, Maxine is also a member of the Parents As Teachers and PBS national boards and the board of Beyond Housing. She is Past Chair of the Nine Network Board of Directors and a past Chair of KIPP St. Louis Board. Maxine is a graduate of the University of Georgia, and holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from St. Louis University and an Honorary Doctor in Human Letters from the University of Missouri St. Louis. In 2006, she published her first book “The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart.


Dr. Rachel Dickerson
Internal Medicine and Pediatrics
St. Luke’s Hospital

Rachel Dickerson, MD, is a physician specializing in internal medicine and pediatrics with St. Luke’s Hospital. Originally from St. Louis, she earned her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and completed a combined residency at the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Board certified in both Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, Dr. Dickerson enjoys seeing members of the entire family, from newborns to seniors. In her practice with Chesterfield Valley Internal Medicine & Pediatrics, LLC, she provides primary and preventive care, and skillfully manages complex chronic illness. Dr. Dickerson prides herself on approachability and excellent listening skills, and has a particular interest in helping teens and young adults with developmental disabilities and chronic childhood illness transition from pediatric to adult care.


Ann Friedman
Ladyswagger, Inc.

Ann Friedman is a freelance journalist who writes about gender, politics, technology, and culture. She is a columnist for New York magazine and the Los Angeles Times, and a contributing editor to The Gentlewoman. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, from The New Republic to ELLE to Lucky Peach to The New York Times. She co-hosts the podcast Call Your Girlfriend, makes hand-drawn pie charts, and sends a popular weekly email newsletter. She is originally from Iowa and now lives in Los Angeles. Find her work at


Patricia Hagen, PhD
President/Executive Director
Technology Entrepreneur Center/T-REX Innovation Center

Patricia is the President of the Technology Entrepreneur Center and founding Executive Director of T-REX, downtown St. Louis’s technology business incubator. She joined TEC/T-REX in 2014 with a strong background in academic and non-profit executive leadership. As the Associate Provost for Research at Saint Louis University, she was a leader in the development of the University’s profile as a major research institution, including the acquisition of federal funding and Biosafety Level 3 compliant design for the Doisy Research Building; university grant and partnership development; and compliance with all regulations associated with federal, state, and private research funding. As a Vice President of the National Audubon Society, she founded the Audubon Center at Riverlands at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and then directed both the Center and Audubon’s statewide operations. Patricia received her PhD in Public Policy Analysis from Saint Louis University. In addition to her executive role with the University, she taught Urban Issues, a class that partnered students from Saint Louis University and Washington University in real time planning projects throughout the St. Louis area. She is currently a board member of the United Way, Citizens for Modern Transit, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, and the DowntownSTL Community Improvement District.


Tracy Hayes
Financial Planning Consultant
Fidelity Investments

As a financial consultant, Tracy Hayes provides clients with personalized service. That means clients can rely on her to listen, take time to understand their concerns and objectives, and work with them to develop investment strategies to reach their goals. By providing clients with complimentary guidance consultations, Hayes can help bring even greater clarity to any personal investment approach.


Mary Louise Helbig
Entrepreneur In Residence, ITEN
Executive Partner, Atomic Revenue

Mary Louise’s entrepreneurial experience spans over 20 years, and includes diverse industries: telecommunication, education, financial and services. She has operations and marketing experience in US and international businesses for mid to large sized corporations: Charter Communications, CyberTel Cellular and American Express and start-up companies: WorkNet, HealthyMe and Virtual Nerd.

Key experience includes establishing channel and product strategies as well as implementing operating policy and procedures to achieve growth objectives. While she was the President of Virtual Nerd, it received national and industry awards from the Software and Information Industry Assoication (SIIA), Blackboard, Parent Tested Parent Approved and ITEN – prior to being sold to Pearson in April 2013. Mary Louise is a strong supporter of the St. Louis entrepreneurial community working as a mentor for Capital Innovators, a volunteer with Prosper Network, and CET’s Square One Program. Currently Mary Louise is an Entrepreneur In Residence with ITEN and an Executive Partner with Atomic Revenue.


Jan Hess
Vice President
St. Luke’s Hospital

Jan Hess is Vice President and a member of the Senior Administrative Staff at St. Luke’s Hospital. She joined St. Luke’s Hospital in 1976 and has served on the Leadership Team for nearly 40 years.

Jan’s administrative responsibilities include oversight of Quality Improvement, Case Management/Social Services, Health Information Services, Medical Library, Medical Staff Office, Voice Services, Oncology Services and Marketing/Community Outreach. She 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 Boards for Family Resource Center and Lydia’s House. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri, and she is a member of the Women’s Choice Award Healthcare 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.


Pamela B. Jackson
Vice President-Technology

Pamela Jackson is Vice President-Technology at Emerson, a global manufacturing and technology company based in St. Louis, Missouri. She holds responsibilities in new and lean product development, Emerson’s centers of excellence for software and human-centered design and serves on the management boards of the Emerson Innovation Center in Pune, India and the Emerson Engineering Center in Xi’an China.

Ms. Jackson has been with Emerson since 2001. Prior to accepting her current corporate position in 2006, she served as Vice President and General Manager of DC-DC Power in Carlsbad, California for five years.

Before joining Emerson, Pam worked at Lucent and AT&T, most recently as VP and GM of Lucent’s MicroPower division in Austin, Texas.

Pam was recently recognized by the Business Journal as 1 of 100 National Women to Watch, by the SLBJ as one of St. Louis’s Most Influential Business Women and presented with the 2016 Private Sector Achievement Award by the St Louis Society of Women Engineers. Pam belongs to several global professional organizations and in St. Louis, she served as the Missouri Botanical Garden Corporate Council founding chair and is a member of the Washington University Industrial Advisory Panel, the Ranken Technical College Board of Trustees, the STEMpact Council and many other local institutions. She is also a charter member of Texas Women Ventures.

Ms. Jackson received BS and MS degrees in chemical engineering and a BS chemistry degree from MIT. She also holds an executive MBA from Boston University.

Pam is married to John Bush and they are the parents of three adult daughters, all STEM graduates.


Mae Jemison, M.D.
Former Astronaut, Principal, 100 Year Starship

Dr. Mae C. Jemison broke more than the sound barrier in 1992 when she climbed aboard the space shuttle Endeavour and became the first woman of color to travel into space. She was also NASA’s first Science Mission Specialist performing experiments in material science, life science and human adaptation to weightlessness.

Dr. Jemison is currently the Principal for the 100 Year Starship Project. Her leadership and vision provides guidance and direction for the foundation and in fulfilling its goal of ensuring all the capabilities for a successful human journey to another star will exist by 2112.

Dr. Jemison started The Jemison Group, Inc., a technology consulting firm integrating critical socio-cultural issues into the design, development and implementation of engineering and science projects. As an Environmental Studies professor at Dartmouth College, she taught classes on and researched technology design and sustainable development with special emphasis on developing countries. She is a worldwide respected voice in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and is founder of the non-profit Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence. She started The Earth We Share™, a unique international science literacy curriculum and program that builds student critical thinking and problem solving skills and trains middle and secondary school teachers in experiential education. Dr. Jemison was the founding Chairman of the state of Texas' Product Development and Small Business Incubator Board. Prior joining to NASA she was the Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia and a general practice physician in Los Angeles. She is on the boards of Kimberly-Clark, Scholastic, and Valspar.

A member of the National Academies of Science's Institute of Medicine, Dr. Jemison is also an inductee of the National Women's Hall of Fame, the National Medical Association Hall of Fame, and Texas Science Hall of Fame and recipient of the National Organization for Women's Intrepid Award and the Kilby Science Award among many honors. An author of lay literature and technical articles, Dr. Jemison is sought for commentary on space exploration, science education, diversity, sustainability and development and appeared on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.


Sharon Price John
President & CEO
Build-A-Bear Workshop

Sharon Price John has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. since June 2013. In a few short years, she has helped lead the company through a successful financial turnaround, while refreshing the nearly 20-year-old brand. At the St. Louis headquarters of Build-A-Bear Workshop and when visiting stores across the globe, the Tennessee native leads and challenges her teams to be better and do better every day in a uniquely engaging way. She takes the time to share the full story with employees and answer questions, and they in turn know she will always speak the truth.

With more than two decades of experience in strategic marketing, product development, innovation and change management, Sharon has worked with a number of iconic brands. During her tenure at companies, including Hasbro, Mattel and Wolverine World Wide (WWW), she established a strong track record of success working with a variety of brands and businesses.

Before joining Build-A-Bear Workshop, Sharon was President of the Stride Rite Children's Group LLC. (SRCG), where she led all functions of the SRCG, including product creation, wholesale sales, marketing, planning and distribution. She wore many hats while directing operations, retail merchandising and international franchising for more than 350 Stride Rite stores.

Sharon has served on the Board of Directors for Jack in the Box, Inc. and KaBOOM since 2014; the Board of Visitors with the College of Communications & Information at The University of Tennessee at Knoxville since 2015; and the Board of Directors of The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital since 2016. She has been a member of the Regional Business Council of St. Louis since 2013; the Executive Committee of the Regional Business Council of St. Louis since 2016; The Committee of 200 (C200) since 2014; and St. Louis Forum since 2014.


Kathryn Kiefer
Kiefer Communications Group, Inc.

Kathryn is a senior level executive known for her ability to quickly assess communications challenges, provide strategic options and manage internal as well as external audiences. As the principal of Kiefer Communications Group, she specializes in oral communications coaching executives and on air talent.

In her previous position of Chief Marketing, Communications and External Affairs Officer for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri Ms. Kiefer has exponentially raised the visibility of the organization through television, radio and print but also developed a model for securing social media with online exposure. She redesigned the organization’s publications and e-communication as well as re-branded all print documents. Previously she worked for Hospital Sisters Health System; an Illinois based health care organization of 13 hospitals in two states as a consultant to the President and CEO and as Vice President of Communications. Prior to HSHS, she ran a robust communications consultancy providing general communications to a variety of businesses. With an emphasis on health care, Kiefer Communications provided strategic media management and media placement for regional hospitals and media training and presenting skills training to hundreds of physicians and health professionals throughout the Midwest. Kiefer Communications Group also worked with many for profit businesses throughout the region including real estate developers, biotech companies, accounting firms and legal practices.

Kathryn Kiefer’s community service is extensive and her advisory roles wide ranging. She has been consulted by a significant number of not for profits and has served on many boards.


Mary Lamie
Executive Director
St. Louis Regional Freightway

St. Louis Regional Freightway Executive Director Mary Lamie is responsible for developing public-private partnerships to optimize the region’s freight transportation network and creating the foundation for planning, marketing and advocacy of the bi-state region as a national freight hub. To help drive economic growth she works closely with manufacturing and logistics industry leaders and local, state and national public sector leaders.

She has over 25 years of experience in transportation, engineering and management including 23 years with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), with the last seven years as the Deputy Director of Highways Region 5 Engineer. Her engineering and project management experience includes a wide variety of transportation projects.

She holds a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri- Columbia and is a professional engineer.


Shelley K. Lavender
President, Boeing Military Aircraft
St. Louis Senior Executive, Boeing Defense, Space & Security

Shelley Lavender is president of Boeing Military Aircraft, a business unit within Boeing Defense, Space & Security, and the St. Louis senior executive. BMA is one of the world’s largest providers of military airpower, serving the United States and more than 50 allied nations, while continuing to expand globally with steady growth in international sales. BMA operates four divisions: Mobility, Surveillance and Engagement; Global Strike; Autonomous Systems; and Vertical Lift. The business has more than 12,000 people at five major domestic locations and offices around the world.

Prior to this role, Lavender was vice president and general manager of Integrated Logistics, a division of the Global Services & Support business within BDS, focused on providing readiness and after-delivery support for a wide variety of military platforms and systems. She also served as vice president and general manager of Global Strike, where she was responsible for the execution and growth of a portfolio of strike-fighter and attack helicopter products that included the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, F-15 Strike Eagle, F-22 Raptor, AH-64D Apache and AH-6i Light Attack/Reconnaissance helicopter.

Lavender’s other leadership positions include serving as the vice president/chief engineer for Boeing Military Aircraft and as program manager for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, where her responsibilities included all aspects of program performance including development and production. She was also the director of Tactical Aircraft Integrated Product Teams and the F/A-18 chief engineer.

Lavender began her aerospace engineering career at Hughes Aircraft Company in El Segundo, Calif., in 1986, as an engineer on the F-15 APG-70 radar program. She joined Boeing in 1988 as an avionics engineer. Over the years she has held a variety of positions of increasing responsibility, including program manager for the T-38 Avionics Upgrade Program and director of Tactical Aircraft Mission Systems in St. Louis.

Lavender holds a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering from the University of Illinois and received a Master’s in Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis. In recognition of her career achievements, Lavender has been named a distinguished alumna of the Washington University Olin Business School. She is a member of Civic Progress, an organization of the top business leaders in St. Louis who are working to improve the community and business life of the region. Lavender serves on the National Council for the Washington University Olin Business School, the board of directors for The Magic House children’s museum in St. Louis, and the board of commissioners for the St. Louis Science Center. She also served on the board of directors for The United Way of Greater St. Louis.


Deborah LeeAnn
Authentic Leadership Academy
Speaker, Trainer, Coach

Deborah has spent her entire professional career helping leaders become their most creative, competent, authentic selves, while helping organizations become places where talented people love to work and can accomplish great things in and for the world. Her diverse range of experience has included Human Resources, small business consulting, community service on nonprofit boards, starting/running a small nonprofit for Native American children, coaching and empowering women leaders, and more.

She’s passionate about community activism for social justice, ecological awareness, youth development, education issues, and diversity and inclusion for all.

Her coaching and consulting integrates intellectual prowess, extensive experience, and intuitive wisdom. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri and is the proud mother of two adult daughters who she’s raised to be emotionally intelligent citizens of the world.


Angela Lewis
Executive Director
Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship

Angela Lewis is a former professional basketball player, championship winning coach and author who is passionate about empowering the lives of youth. Lewis serves as the Director of Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s (NFTE) St. Louis Region. NFTE is a global nonprofit which inspires students from underserved communities to start businesses and have the entrepreneurial mindset.

Also the owner of Global Athlete Media Network (GAMeN), Lewis helps athletes publish books and produce podcasts to expand their brands. As a result, her clients are able to leverage their influence to positively impact others.

To date she’s published three books, The Game Changing Assist: Six Simple Ways to Choose Success, The Game Changing Assist Workbook and Post Moves: The Female Athlete’s Guide to Dominate Life After College which focus on providing a roadmap for young women to accomplish their goals.

Lewis’ love for sharing other’s stories is evident as she hosts the Athletes as Educators podcast. On this podcast, Lewis interviews current and former athletes such as Chamique Holdsclaw, Donna Orender, Gary Bennet and Bradley Beal who are passionate about using their lives to change the lives of others.

A recognized leader Lewis was awarded the Robin Roberts Sports Communication Award, honored by Black Girls Rock St. Louis, and received the Distinguished Young Professional in Education and Youth Empowerment from the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. In addition, she was called on to facilitate a leadership sessions at the Nike Elite 100 Camp and the National Youth Summit on Economics, Justice, and Education.

A St. Louis native, Lewis received a full athletic scholarship to play basketball at St. Louis University. In four years, Lewis scored over 1,000 point, grabbed over 500 rebounds and went on to play in Germany. She helped lead the St. Louis Surge, professional women’s basketball team to a WBCBL National Championship.


Ann Cuiellette Marr
Vice President; Global Human Resources
World Wide Technology, Inc.

WWT is a $9.5B systems integrations, value added reseller and software development company. WWT is on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For – 2016 (five years in a row) and #5 Best Places to Work for Glassdoor. In her role, Ann oversees all global human resources functions which include talent management, strategic staffing, policy development, benefits and compensation, government compliance, training, leadership development, immigration, communications and employee relations. WWT’s global expansion has included offices in Brazil, Mexico, Singapore, China, England, India and the Netherlands. As a strategic partner, Ann also manages the company’s Corporate Development Program which includes Supplier Diversity and Small Business Enterprise and manages the company’s communication efforts. Ann has successfully spearheaded the company’s submission for the 100 Best Companies to Work For (five years in a row) and founded the WWT Women’s Leadership Forum. Ann is President of the WWT Charitable Foundation and is very active in the St. Louis community. Ann has managed tremendous growth at WWT continues to focus on making WWT a great place to work. Ann has over 25 years of human resources experience and has held HR positions with Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Anheuser-Busch Companies.

Ann serves on the board of directors for Hightower Petroleum Company, the Board of Trustees of Maryville University, the University of St. Louis Chancellor’s Advisory Council, the St. Louis Regional Chamber Association, the United Way of Great St. Louis and St. Louis Police Foundation.

Ann is on the Advisory Board (and founding member of the St. Louis Chapter) of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR) and a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Ann was highlighted in the fourth edition of Who’s Who is Black St. Louis, honored as “Corporate Executive of the Year” by the St. Louis American Newspaper for 2009, named as one of the “50 Most Powerful Minority Women in Business” by the Minority Enterprise Advocate magazine for 2010, one of the “25 Most Influential Business Women in St. Louis” by the St. Louis Business Journal for 2010 and selected as a “Leader of Distinction” by the YWCA of Great St. Louis. Recently acknowledge as one of the Top Diverse Business Leaders by the St. Louis Business Journal for 2015. Author of the cookbook - Classic Creole – A Celebration of Food & Family.

Ann received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business & Human Resources Management from Webster University (Walker School of Business & Technology), St. Louis, MO.


Patricia Miller
St. Louis Business Journal

Patricia Miller was named publisher and market president of the St. Louis Business Journal in January 2016.

Miller had been editor of the St. Louis Business Journal since 1996. A third-generation journalist, she joined the paper in 1986 as a list researcher, became a reporter and was promoted to associate editor. She is a 1985 graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.

Miller is a member of the Missouri Press Association and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, and a volunteer with Ready Readers. The St. Louis Business Journal is part of American City Business Journals, which has media operations across 43 major U.S. cities.

Traci O’Bryan

Traci O’Bryan was promoted to President in 2010 and become CEO of Arcturis in 2013. Under Traci’s leadership, Arcturis has expanded their national presence with offices in both Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas and provides service to national corporations such as Equifax, Nestlé Purina Pet Food Company and Wells Fargo. She continues to place Arcturis in the top ranks of St. Louis Business Journal’s list of largest interior design and architecture firms. A strong belief in community service and economic growth, Traci is involved in a number of boards including St. Louis Regional Chamber, Regional Business Council, St. Louis Community College and the YMCA. Most recently, Traci was recognized as one of St. Louis Business Journal’s Most Influential Business Women and a WBE of the Year by Chicago’s Women’s Business Development Center.


Rhonda Ries
President & Chief Financial Officer
Osborn Barr

Osborn Barr is a strategic marketing agency focused on delivering insights and creative solutions to deliver measurable results for their clients. Since 1988, the agency has served as an advocate for clients in agriculture, rural and other specialized sectors. As President, Rhonda Ries is responsible for providing strategic and tactical leadership to elevate the agency’s offering and ensure client satisfaction. Together with a dynamic Executive Team, she leads the overall business strategy focused on business expansion, growth and commitment to elevating client satisfaction.


Nicole Roach
Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
Senior Director for Community Engagement
Webster University

As a catalyst for leadership capacity and an advocate for women’s empowerment, Nicole Roach has been fortunate to partner with a host of individuals, community leaders and organizations. For more than 15 years, Nicole has been a mentor, educator and speaker, fortifying the inclusion of women and underrepresented populations while equipping advancing leaders.

Nicole currently serves as the inaugural Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Senior Director for Community Engagement at Webster University. She also contributes as an adjunct faculty member teaching Women in Management and Leadership and Change Leadership - Diversity and Inclusion.

Nicole is the founder of covenant exCHANGE, llc. The organization’s mission, ‘Equip people to lead’. Through structured programming, face-to-face and virtual, individuals and groups are educated on strategies to lead in purpose, on purpose.

For seven years she was an on-air personality and lead producer for The Freeman Bosley, Jr. Show. Currently she's a guest contributor on the Sparkman JobTalk Radio Show (KSTL 690 AM). Through a partnership with RareGem Productions she hosts and produces a podcast entitled Rethinking Possible, providing tools for leadership development and mentoring moments.

In 2003 she hit the road as Tonia, the lead actress in the popular stage play ‘Lord Knows I've Tried’. For two years she toured with a dynamic star-studded cast directed by Marty K. Casey Productions.

Nicole has a heart for serving the community. In January 2012, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon appointed her as a Commissioner of Missouri Community Service Commission with a mission to build stronger communities throughout Missouri. She serves on the Great Circle Board of Directors. She is active with many civic organizations including but not limited to; Regional Business Council Young Professionals Network; United Way’s Women’s Leadership Cabinet and Charmaine Chapman Leadership Society; Opera Theatre of St. Louis Engagement and Inclusion Task Force; and Webster Groves Business Development Commission.

In 2015, Nicole was a member of DELUX Magazine's inaugural Power 100. In 2012 she was recognized as a Diverse Business Leader by the St. Louis Business Journal and was appointed as one of the inaugural Webster Global Leadership Academy fellows. In 2011, she was selected by DELUX Magazine as one of St. Louis’ Women Power Players of 2011. Other recognitions include National Sales Network (NSN) Black Business Woman Who Rock, 2011; Gateway Classic African American Citizen of the Year, 2011; and YWCA Leader (Lunch 29), 2009.


Susan Bromberg Schneider, MD
St. Luke’s Hospital

Susan is an allergist and immunologist at St. Luke’s Hospital. She received her medical degree from Yale University and completed an internal medicine residency and allergy-immunology fellowship at Washington University. Dr. Bromberg Schneider serves on the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology “Adverse Reactions to Drugs and Biologics,” “Anaphylaxis” and “Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders” committees. She has a special interest in the treatment of allergic rhinitis, asthma and urticaria.


Dr. Cheryl Schrader
Missouri S&T

Dr. Cheryl B. Schrader is the 21st leader in Missouri University of Science and Technology’s nearly 150-year history and one of the few female engineers to ascend to the top leadership position of a college or university in the United States.

Since becoming chancellor in the spring of 2012, Schrader has led a comprehensive strategic planning effort involving thousands of Missouri S&T stakeholders. “Rising to the Challenge: Missouri S&T’s Strategy for Success” sets the university’s bold course through 2020 and beyond. The plan focuses on providing a top return on investment to Missouri S&T’s key customers and has already resulted in strong public-private partnerships. Since 2012, Missouri S&T has secured a 27 percent increase in state appropriations based on the strength of the plan and progress toward its goals. Under Chancellor Schrader’s leadership, the university has realized a 16 percent increase in total enrollment, an 18 percent increase in ranked faculty, a 36 percent increase in ranked female faculty, a 31 percent increase in underrepresented minority faculty, a 59 percent increase in U.S. patents filed and a 26 percent average increase in gifts. The number of license and option agreements has doubled.

Previously, Schrader was associate vice president for strategic research initiatives at Boise State University. While dean of Boise State’s College of Engineering from 2003 to 2011, the college’s undergraduate enrollment increased by 60 percent, graduate enrollment increased by 36 percent, and funding for research grants and contracts more than tripled.

Schrader earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind., in 1984. She earned master of science and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1987 and 1991, respectively. Her research background is in the area of systems and control. Schrader has received several best paper awards; authored approximately 100 publications in the areas of systems and control, robotics, and intelligent systems, with biomedical, networking and aircraft applications; and delivered more than 100 invited presentations and keynote addresses. Her grant and contract funding exceeds $11 million. A past president of the IEEE Control Systems Society, she has also served as a member of the ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission. This commission, which is dedicated to providing world leadership in stimulating innovation and excellence in engineering, today accredits 2,100 engineering programs at more than 400 colleges and universities.

Schrader began her teaching and research career at the University of Notre Dame while undertaking internships and consulting work with McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Co. in the early 1980s and Chimera Research in the early 1990s. Following a brief period as an adjunct assistant professor at Rice University in 1991, Schrader moved to the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she rose to serve as a tenured professor of electrical engineering and associate dean at both a college of sciences and a college of engineering. Passionate about increasing interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, Schrader’s current research interests focus on creating and assessing innovative learning methods to help students of all ages succeed in the STEM areas.

Schrader is a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from the White House; the IEEE Education Society Hewlett-Packard/Harriett B. Rigas Award; the Idaho Women Making History Award; and the WebCT Exemplary Online Course Award. She was also named one of Valparaiso University’s Top 150 Most Influential People. She received the 2013 Distinguished Educator Award from the Electrical and Computer Engineering division of the American Society for Engineering Education and was named an IEEE Fellow in 2014 in recognition of her leadership and contributions in engineering education.

Schrader’s husband, Jeff, served for many years in the legal profession. They have one son, Andrew, who is in graduate school and studying mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech, and one daughter, Ella, who attends elementary school in Rolla.


Meg Shuff
Assistant Dean, Executive MBA Admissions Olin Business School, Washington University

Meg serves on the Executive MBA admissions team at Washington University’s Olin Business School. She joined the EMBA team upon her graduation in 2012 and oversees admissions for program’s campuses in St. Louis, Kansas City and Denver.

She also serves as president for Eagen, Inc., a strategic communications consulting and event management firm she founded in 2010. Prior to founding her firm and going back to school to earn her MBA, she was senior vice president, communications for Citigroup’s mortgage business where she and her team had responsibility for strategic communications efforts for over 15,000 employees and orchestrated over 100 events a year. She started her career as a sports producer in Chicago before transitioning to corporate communications for two Fortune 20 companies.

Meg earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and her MBA from Olin Business School, Washington University.

Throughout her professional career, she has served on multiple non-profit boards, including a three year-term as president of Chicago Children’s Charities. While she remains an active donor to special strategic causes in education, she is currently taking a hiatus from board positions and volunteering as she focuses on her dual career.


Judy Sindecuse
CEO and Managing Partner
Capital Innovators

Judy is a visionary leader with a proven track record of starting companies and making them profitable, delivering the highest possible return on investment. She has an exemplary ability to identify and profit from niche markets. Judy is well-organized and efficient, with major strengths in business development, profit and loss responsibility, budgeting, business turnarounds, and the development of solutions for any organizational challenge.

Among her start-up success stories: she is the founder and CEO of Bride and Groom Magazine and; founder and former CEO of Oversees Colorworks and Printing, an international marketing and print brokerage management company; and founder and former CEO of Redesign, a real-estate development company. Utilizing her strengths in new market and niche market identification, as well as early-stage company leadership, Judy has shifted her expertise to Information Technology identification and investment. Her primary interest is in utilizing her extensive background with business and strategic development to select early-stage companies that possess the highest probability of success, and provide these companies with a mentorship program that will accelerate their profitability and growth for the purpose of wealth-building and long-term sustainability. Judy developed Capital Innovators Accelerator to fuel this interest. Capital Innovators is on pace to be Judy’s largest and most successful venture of her career. With over 250 Accelerator programs in the U.S., Capital Innovators has been ranked in the top 10 for the last three years in a row. It has invested in over 70 companies that have gone on to raise over $230 MM in follow-on-funding and created over 650 jobs. In fact, Capital Innovators was ranked #3 in the country for securing follow-on investment for its companies. As the business continues to expand its reach internationally, it is exploring further ways to add value to a variety of industries from large scale corporations to Universities and beyond.

Educated at Harvard Law School (J.D. 1989) and Southern Methodist University (B.S., Mechanical Engineering), Judy provides her expertise to both for-profit and not-for-profit ventures. She has been acknowledged by the March of Dimes for her pro-bono work and received an award for outstanding volunteer service.


Julie Sward, JD, AEP®, CFP®
Moneta Group

As her client’s Family CFO, Julie uses her expertise and experience alongside her team to help their clients navigate their financial path and protect what they cherish. Before joining Moneta, Julie worked as an estate attorney with Stinson Leonard Street and Bryan Cave then as an attorney and wealth advisor at TIAA. Julie received her BS Accountancy, summa cum laude, from the University of Missouri and her law degree from The University of Texas.

Julie currently serves on the boards of Great Circle, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, SouthSide Early Childhood Center, Children’s Legacy Partners, and Women’s Society of Washington University. She is a member of Forest Park Forever Planned Giving Committee and Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund. She also enjoys training for triathlons, hiking, renovating her century home and spending time with her husband, Ted Sward, and their son.


Patricia Whitaker

Pat Whitaker, Chairwoman of Arcturis, turned the interior design company she started in her basement into a global, multimillion dollar, multidisciplinary design firm providing services for corporations such as Enterprise Holdings Inc., Express Scripts, Monsanto, Ameren and Centene Corporation. She has been recognized as A Woman of Achievement 2014, a St. Louis Forum Trailblazer and Most Influential St. Louisian. For over 40 years, Pat Whitaker has built a reputation of community support and has raised millions of dollars to advance dozens of organizations. Today, she continues her philanthropic services by serving on the board for Webster University and Contemporary Art Museum. She is also passionately involved in launching The St. Louis Fashion Incubator.