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When it comes to health, everyone matters. Centene helps people access the quality healthcare and resources they need to take care of themselves and their families. We’re proud of our diverse and dedicated employees, who provide the perspective, insight, and eort to help us transform the health of our communities, one person at a time. Interested in joining our team? Visit us at


If We Were All Alike BY O R V I N T. K I M B R O U G H

If we were all alike, how boring would that be Would I only want to interact with someone identical to me Identical in thought, in preference and standard, no deviation in mood, self-expression or candor Who would you debate with if everyone were politically the same Whose shoulder would you lean on if we were all simultaneously in pain If we were all alike, how creative would we be Would we quest for continuous knowledge and understanding of our identity Would poverty no longer exist because we would all have the gift of financial wizardry or as many believe Jesus’ intuitive spirit to multiply loaves and fish If we were all alike, would we age at the same rate Would life on earth as we know it end at the same time with everyone meeting their fate, would there exist in this world more concern and compassion for one another with total disregard to what we monetarily earn Would our asset accumulation and spiritual denomination be consistent across the board Would the minimum standard of living be all that we could afford What color would we be or would color be obsolete Would the only differences be in gender so that we may continue to breed Or would gender differences also be void Would there be monolithic vision and dreams, and would the only way to continue our existence be by synthetically engineering genes Would we all have the same mental and physical abilities or would some be differently abled? And would those who identify with that label, not bring talents to the table Would we all value life the same, and be thankful for how we’ve been blessed Good health, family, food and fortune, if that’s the lot we possess How distracted some have become for wishing the impossible, that all of our differences never existed, paying homage to thoughts that are illogical While I understand that most are comfortable with those who look and think like them we must begin dismantling the barriers that keeps us confined to this realm No longer should we embrace thought that promotes exact division, divine unity is a must and it’s an individual decision. Life choices, religious beliefs, or the skin in which you were born whether your abilities are exceptional or limited, whether your mind is here or gone He loves us all the same, He being the God to whom I pray And He will demonstrate this magnificent love always, through Judgment Day Take a closer look at yourself and determine if you are opposed, to diversifying your thought process and in the end you can say you chose If we are to continue to thrive we must remember who we are, and celebrate the diversity that exist in each of God’s shining stars

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Table of Contents PG. 5

If We Were All Alike

Foreward by Orvin T. Kimbrough PG. 10

Criteria for Inclusion PG. 11

Meet the Team PG. 12

Letters of Greeting PG 17


by Sarah Yang Bosco PG. 18

Publisher’s Remarks by Ericca Willis PG. 24

Host Committee PG. 26

Diversity & Law Firms PG. 34

Organizational Highlight The Mosaic Project PG. 40

Most Intriguing PG. 73

Corporate Highlights PG. 102

Executive Profile

St. Louis Children’s Hospital PG. 104

Best, Boldest & Brightest 6



who’s who diversity in color

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Jackie Joyner-Kersee, 6-time Olympic medalist


HERE’S TO THOSE WHO SET THE BAR HIGH. Congratulations to all the leaders recognized in the Who’s Who Diversity in Color. Explore St. Louis |



Criteria For Inclusion Who’s Who Diversity in Color® is an opportunity for us to afford a measure of recognition to men and women of color who have made their mark in their specific occupations, professions, or in service to others in the Greater St. Louis region A sincere effort was made to include those whose positions or accomplishments in their chosen fields are significant and whose contributions to community affairs, whether citywide or on the neighborhood level, have improved the quality of life for all of us. The names of those brief biographies included in this edition were compiled from customary sources of information. Lists of a wide variety were consulted and every effort was made to reach all whose stature or civic activities merited their inclusion. In today’s mobile society, no such publication could ever claim to be complete; some who should be included could not be reached or chose not to respond, and for that we offer our apologies. Constraints of time, space and awareness are thus responsible for other omissions, and not a lack of good intentions on the part of the publisher. Our goal was to document the accomplishments of many woman of color from various occupational disciplines. An invitation to participate in this event was extended at the discretion of the Publisher and a committee of Human Resource professionals. Biographies were invited to contribute personal and professional data, with only the information freely submitted to be included. The editors have made a sincere effort to present an accurate distillation of the data, and to catch errors whenever possible. However, Who’s Who Diversity in Color® cannot assume any responsibility for the accuracy of the information submitted. There was no charge for consideration of this recognition, also inclusion was not guaranteed; this will be an annual publication. Comments and other concerns should be addressed to: Ericca Willis, Publisher Who’s Who Diversity in Color® 4579 Laclede Ave., #130 St. Louis, MO 63108 Phone: (314) 473-5257



Meet the Team

Keith A. Willis Sr.

Senior VP Of Sales & Marketing

Ericca Willis

Brad Glotfelty


Creative Director / Designer

Tiffany Russel Photographerr

Inquiries for bulk book orders for schools or commemorative plaques should be directed to: or (314) 473-5257

Who’s Who Diversity in Color, LLC 4579 Laclede Ave., #130 St. Louis, MO 63108 All books are $39.95 Each

Joyce Gates Writer

Bill Beene Writer

Cynthia E. Smith Editor

Cover photo courtesy of Glen Wolf. Follow him on Instagram at @shutternaut who’s who diversity in color

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Lyda Krewson







Gregory F. X. Daly

who’s who diversity in color

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Lewis E. Reed





Kathleen M. Ratcliffe

Greetings! Congratulations to all of the honorees of the 5th Annual Who’s Who in Diversity in Color Awards. We all benefit from the diversity of St. Louis and we are proud of the achievements of everyone throughout our community. St. Louis continues to grow and create new opportunities for all with $8 billion invested into our region with transformation projects like the $380 million renovation of the Gateway Arch grounds, the reopening of Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, redevelopment of Westport Plaza, new hotel developments in St. Louis City and St. Louis County, continued investment in the 39 North agricultural innovation district, and much more. Residents and visitors alike enjoy world-class attractions throughout the metropolitan area, including culturally varied restaurants and a vast array of treasured exhibits at institutions such as the Saint Louis Zoo, Saint Louis Art Museum, the Saint Louis Science Center, The Magic House, Grant’s Farm, The Butterfly House and others. More than 25.8 million visitors join us each year for leisure, conventions, meetings and business travel, which means more than 86,000 jobs for employees in our local hospitality and tourism industry. As one of the leading industries in jobs and largest employers in town, we cannot accomplish great things without working together and acknowledging everyone’s contributions to our region. Sincerely,

Kathleen M. Ratcliffe President

who’s who diversity in color

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Kathy T. Osborn



Introduction B Y S A R A YA N G B O S C O

up the majority of these new hires. Approximately 32 percent of the 2017 summer class of new attorneys nationwide were minorities – an increase of six points since 2007. The challenge facing larger law firms is retaining people of color. The Vault/MCCA survey found that minority lawyers represented 17 percent of lawyers employed by firms in 2017, but they also make up 22 percent of attorneys who left their firms. Similar challenges exist in the manufacturing and energy industries, as well as Emerson. However, Emerson is committed to creating a workplace where every employee is valued and respected for their skills, talents and dedication to improving our company. Our leadership believes diversity and inclusion are not only critical, but also part of a smart business strategy. A diverse, inclusive work environment contributes to the rich exchange of ideas that inspires innovation and brings the best solutions to our customers. When employees feel accepted and appreciated, they are empowered to do their best work and reach their full potential.

t’s an honor and a bit of a surprise to be asked to pen this year’s Introduction for Who’s Who Diversity in Color. Yes, I am the first woman and first person of color to be general counsel for Emerson. However, as a relatively new resident of St. Louis – having moved here in 2016, after living 24 years in Hong Kong, I’m still learning about the community. Among the many wonderful St. Louisans I’ve met these past two years are Qiaoni Linda Jing and Betsy Cohen, who nominated me to write this Introduction. They have helped me become active in the community and now have introduced me to this publication and its worthy purpose. Who’s Who Diversity in Color is an annual celebration of the best and brightest representatives of the diverse, ethnic communities that make St. Louis such an exceptional place to live and work. Building awareness and appreciation of the power of diversity is a good thing. When we come together to embrace and celebrate our region’s colorful mosaic of backgrounds, cultures and experiences – and the perspectives and ideas each and every person contributes – we are all made better. This year’s edition puts a special focus on what diversity means at St. Louis’ leading law firms. Achieving greater diversity has long been a collective goal of the legal profession nationwide. The good news is there’s been generally steady, albeit slow, progress. According to the latest annual survey by Vault and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), law firms across the United States are recruiting more minority lawyers and law students, and women make

Emerson is seeking to attract, develop and retain more women and minority employees at all levels of our workforce. We are actively working to create an employer-of-choice environment within our industry. Unconscious Bias Trainings – in which more than 7,500 Emerson leaders have participated to create more inclusive work environments. We are working with the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management and our university partners in outreach and recruitment of minority graduates. And we are striving to identify a diverse slate of candidates during interviews and use every hiring decision as an opportunity to diversify our talent pipeline.




I am honored to support the efforts of Who’s Who Diversity in Color. Through a continued commitment to lifting one another up, focusing on what unites us instead of what divides us; together, we can create an environment, where diversity is recognized as an advantage for a thriving region. Congratulations to the 2019 honorees! Sara Yang Bosco is the senior vice president and general counsel at Emerson

who’s who diversity in color

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From the Pubisher BY: ERICCA WILLIS

hat a difference 5 years can make! I can remember the mid Sunday afternoon when my husband/partner and I decided to expand the publication to include all people of color. We felt it was time for us as African American publishers, to be more inclusive! I still get tickled when I think of the irony of that thought. As minorities, we each have our own corner that we fight to protect. I am glad, however, that I have always been of the mindset that if we each share some of our space, not only would it seem larger, we would have many more corners to explore. Embracing all cultures is one of the cornerstones of what it means to be an American. Which is why it has been so perplexing that as most of us are enjoying low unemployment, higher wages and healthcare coverage; it seems we are threatened by our country growing into what we have always been, a country of varying nations. No matter what side you stand on, the fact remains, that we have always been a country of immigrants and we have been richer because of our openness. We have made many gains, unfortunately, they have been offset by the strong political challenges we are facing, that keep us divided. As we are making our way through this political fog,

and I do believe we will see ourselves on the other side of this uncertainty, hopefully sooner, rather than later; my hope is that we are strengthen as a human race! Who’s Who Diversity in Color, LLC has seen many changes over the last five years, yet one thing has remained a constant – we have immensely enjoyed bringing together St. Louisans of all races, creeds and colors! The individuals we have featured over this brief span of time have been nothing short of spectacular! We were given a brief view into their life’s success. Being able to peek into the accomplished lives of the many cultures featured, gives me hope for our humanity; simply because I know, we have so many wonderful people working toward greater goals to make everyone’s life a little brighter. It doesn’t get much better than that! As we close out the 5th Edition of the publication, I want to thank each and every one of you for the support you have given to us over the years. We know that doing anything for any length of time is a major feat and we are fully aware that we did not make this far alone. So, again, I want to thank you all for joining us on this very special journey – and as St. Louis grows, so will Who’s Who Diversity in Color! who’s who diversity in color

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WE BRING OUR WHOLE SELVES TO WORK Cigna is proud of a diverse and talented workforce that spans identifications, orientations and generations. Because we’re empowered to bring our whole selves to our work, we’re better able to deliver on our promise of whole-person health. That’s the way it works here. Join us. Visit to apply.

Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to any protected category including their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, protected veteran status or disability. The Cigna Companies are equal opportunity employers. Most employees are employed by operating subsidiaries of Cigna corporation. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. 19EME50750 © 2019 Cigna. Some content provided under license.



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Growing & Thriving Through Diversity At Emerson, we recognize the value and benefits of diversity and inclusion to encourage innovative thinking. To better understand customers and trends. To attract and retain top talent. We are committed to being a workplace where all employees feel valued, respected and have the opportunity to reach their full potential. And we are proud to support others who are working to promote diversity and inclusion in our communities. EmersonCorporate

@Emerson_News Emerson Company/Emerson

Larry Engineering Diversity Woods Construction Supervisor Larry is an Engineering Diversity Construction Supervisor for the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD). His professional career includes over 10 years of progressive experience and leadership. Larry began his career in construction as a Collection Systems Operator Trainee in MSD’s Apprenticeship Program. He was promoted to a Team Lead. In his current role of Diversity Construction Supervisor, Larry leads a staff of Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) inspectors to ensure compliance with MSD’s Minority and Women Business Utilization Programs and supplier diversity for the Capital Improvement and Replacement Program.

In fiscal year 2018, MSD’s diversity programs reported $41 million in expenditures to minorities and women on active construction projects. Larry and his staff of seven MWBE compliance inspectors monitored over 300 active construction projects, totaling more than two million work hours, to ensure compliance with MSD’s diversity programs. A native of St. Louis, Larry is a graduate of Columbia College with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Human Resource Management.

MSD’s mission is to protect the public’s health, safety, and water environment by responsibly providing wastewater and stormwater management. who’s who diversity in color

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Betsy Heller Cohen

David Noble

Qiaoni “Linda” Jing

Betsy Cohen is Executive Director for the regional Immigration & Innovation Initiative, the St. Louis Mosaic Project.

David Noble is the Community Development & CRA Officer for Midland States Bank overseeing their Community Development and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) activities, executing their Corporate Community Development Plan.

Qiaoni “Linda” Jing is a global strategy and operation executive successful in connecting the dots of complex business challenges and building high-performance multicultural teams.

This initiative is a joint collaboration of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, the Regional Chamber and leaders of 32 organizations on the Steering Committee. The goal is that by 2025 our region will have the fastest growth rate of foreignborn people, reversing our current declines on our regional population of 2.8 million. In fact, for 2015 and 2016, the St. Louis region was in the top 2 fastest growing regions for foreign born of the top 20 major metros. Our second metric is to add 25,000 foreign born people to the region by 2025, or “25 by 25”. We involve business, government, education, faith, safety, health, culture, diverse local chambers and agencies plus the people of our region. The St. Louis Mosaic Project is part of the World Trade Center-St. Louis within the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. Betsy is on the Advisory Board of the St. Louis University Cook School of Business and the Washington University Council for Sustainability. She has been recognized by the St. Louis Business Journal and the YWCA. She is an advisor to The Yield Lab agricultural accelerator in St. Louis. She has spoken at the US Chamber in Washington, DC. twice on immigration and was a delegate to Germany on global refugee issues in September 2016. She was part of the St. Louis regional trade mission delegation to Argentina in November 2017 to help recruit agricultural companies to move to St. Louis. Betsy received her BA from Wellesley College and MBA from the Harvard Business School. She worked with international colleagues in her previous role as a vice president at Nestle Purina. At Purina, she also launched and led a St. Louis regional coalition.



He is an astute Senior Banking Leader with a triumvirate combination of experience in application of the CRA Regulation and Equitable Community Economic Development Strategies. His “Value Proposition” is his innate ability to facilitate cooperation from various interests to create opportunities assisting in problem solving and achieving objectives both within his employer’s organization and the communities he serves. He permeated the banking industry as a trailblazer through cultivating what would otherwise be considered atypical and unrelated alliances. David attended Saint Louis University receiving a B.A. in Organizational Studies, a Minor in Real Estate Planning & Community Development and is currently pursuing a M.S. in Urban Planning & Development. He was a pioneer in co-founding the Metropolitan Saint Louis CRA Association and serving as the first Board Chair. He has served on a numerous boards and committees.

She worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Asia, General Motors in North America, and Monsanto, now part of Bayer Crop Science, in North & South Americas. Her career has been underpinned by rallying teams around transformational strategies and fast-paced executions to deliver significant positive results. After positions with increased responsibilities in commercial, supply chain and R&D, Linda became Senior Director of Global Corporate Affairs at Bayer Crop Science. Linda is a passionate and influential community leader, chairing the Multicultural Leadership Cabinet of United Way Greater St. Louis, serving as a board member & VP of Asian American Chamber of Commerce as well as an Executive in Residence at University of Missouri-St. Louis’ MBA program. She was recognized at the White House during the 2018 Leadership Summit for Asian American & Pacific Islanders as the only speaker representing agriculture and food industry and the Heartland. She was also a 2018 WIWDIC Most Intriguing honoree. Linda is a proud alumna of Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University in Evanston, IL and Fudan University in Shanghai, China. She enjoys jogging, Yoga, and writing about Chinese culture on LinkedIn.


at Armstrong Teasdale



Think Differently Together Inclusion means everyone has a seat at the table. At Armstrong Teasdale, we define diversity and inclusion broadly and focus on helping professionals of all races, religions, national origins, gender identities, ethnicities, sexual orientations and physical abilities feel a sense of belonging. Diversity and inclusion are core values of the firm, and we recognize the richness they bring to our workplace. We value inclusion in practice, presenting opportunities to participate in engaging dialogue and firm-wide initiatives that challenge and help us recruit, support and retain diverse professionals. From internal learning and mentoring opportunities to participating in community groups, we are committed to promoting inclusivity. Our key initiatives are implemented from the top down and include employee benefits such as flexible work arrangements and paid parental leave. Other examples include: •

Our clients expect and challenge us to align with diversity initiatives, and we take the mandate seriously. We are committed to diversifying client teams by ensuring that team leaders, supporting attorneys and professional staff are diverse, as we recognize it enables us to better serve our clients. The firm is also actively involved with various affinity groups, community and civic organizations that focus on driving diversity and inclusion through various events and conferences across the country. Armstrong Teasdale is honored to have earned several key recognitions, including: •

Active participation in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) with a focus on creating a diverse U.S. legal profession. Our managing partner, other partners, associates and professional staff are involved in their programs, including fellowships, mentorships and learning opportunities.

The Michael C. Tramble Memorial Scholarship Fund was created in 2004 in memory of Michael, a promising AfricanAmerican associate who tragically lost his life in 1998. The firm holds events and fundraisers each year to award a scholarship to a minority or military veteran law student at the University of Missouri in Michael’s name.

Armstrong Teasdale’s Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN) seeks to create a positive and supportive environment for women through mentoring, networking and educational opportunities. It aims to strengthen existing relationships with clients and prospects as well as forge new relationships between professional and executive women in the community. As a result, our women are generating new business, serving as first-chair in trials, handling sizable matters and holding leadership positions firmwide.

We support Supplier Diversity efforts to create sustainable economic development in the communities where we live and work. We actively seek business relationships with minority-, women- and LGBTQ-owned businesses, and encourage inclusive suppliers to do business with us.

For several years, the firm has received the highest possible score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality.

profession. •

• In 2018, Armstrong Teasdale, a LCLD Member Firm, earned a Compass Award by actively participating in LCLD programs designed to build a more open, diverse legal

Armstrong Teasdale earned the Inclusiveness @ Work award, presented by the Center for Legal Inclusiveness, in 2018. The award recognizes one law firm each year for leveraging the different strengths and talents within their organization; incorporating management practices to allow equal access to opportunities; creating an inclusive environment; and collaborating with partners outside the firm to make the community more inclusive.

We are excited to continue our inclusive work in 2019, when we will focus on a very deliberate approach and theme: “What Inclusion Means to Me.” By exploring themes of authenticity, inclusive communication and allies, we will work to recognize, embrace and celebrate our differences. We believe we can achieve great things when we think differently together. who’s who diversity in color

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Critical Mass: Creating Real Diversity in Our Ranks T. M I C H A E L WA R D , M A N A G I N G P R I N C I PA L , AND TERESA YOUNG, PRINCIPAL AND HIRING COMMITTEE CHAIR Recent reports show that thirty-five percent of the lawyers employed by law firms are women and only fifteen percent may be categorized as minorities, lagging behind the percentages of women and minority lawyers employed by other private sector employers. Brown & James, P.C., together with many other law firms in the St. Louis legal community, is working to rectify this disparity. Diversity is a core value, one that is demanded by our clients and essential for success in today’s competitive marketplace. Earlier this year, more than 170 general counsel from major corporations signed an open letter asking law firms to make a commitment to diversity. The participating legal officers represented a wide spectrum of industries, from retail, to technology, to financial services. Their call for diversity followed past efforts by America’s leading corporations to promote diversity in the legal field. Law firms that fail to heed this call may do so at their peril. However, a real commitment to diversity does not spring from client considerations alone. It is a matter of values. A 28


commitment to diversity must flow from an understanding that inclusion makes us better attorneys and stronger law firms. As many of the general counsel who signed the open letter have noted, not only do principles of equality matter to them and to us, these principles also have an impact on the outcome of cases. Corporations have long understood that the success of their businesses depends on the diversity of thought that comes from a variety of perspectives. This lesson applies equally to law. Law firms understand in many cases that the best possible legal outcomes occur when a diverse group of lawyers with varying perspectives collaborate on their client’s behalf. Where one lawyer may see a roadblock, another may see an opportunity. Moreover, diversity gives voice to the many different perspectives that trial lawyers encounter when placing a case before a jury. Brown & James, P.C., is proud of its longterm commitment to diversity. The firm has made significant progress in hiring and retaining female attorneys. Women now

Mike Ward serves as the firm’s Managing Principal and is chair of the firm’s Appellate practice group. He has handled more than 150 appeals, including cases before the Missouri Supreme Court, the Missouri Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of Illinois, the Appellate Court of Illinois, and the Seventh, Eighth, and Tenth Circuits of the United States Court of Appeals. Teresa Young is a Principal with Brown & James, practicing in the firm’s St. Louis office. Within her specialty of insurance defense, Ms. Young regularly takes on cases that fall into the category of complex litigation, including class action, business litigation, and professional liability, as well as cases that contain intricate factual or legal issues. Ms. Young also represents clients in complicated coverage-related matters involving all types of coverages, including directors’ and officers’ liability, underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage, and commercial general liability claims.

A Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion BY E R I C TO D D A N D S TA C Y B U N C K At Ogletree Deakins, we believe that Diversity embraces each person’s uniqueness and encompasses all the ways in which we differ. Our unique set of differences is part of each of our identities; it helps shape who we are and how we perceive the world. Inclusion refers to harnessing this uniqueness towards a common goal. Inclusion fosters a work environment of respect and engagement, and brings a variety of different perspectives together in a meaningful way. This results in both promoting the well-being of our attorneys and staff to build a better collective firm, but also in the highest quality of service to our clients and in excellent and sustainable business outcomes. Accordingly, Ogletree Deakins fosters diversity and inclusion as an integral part of the firm’s overall professional development. The firm has worked to enhance its profile in the diversity and inclusion arena and, as a result, we have received several awards and recognition from various organizations and clients across the United States. The firm has received recognition for outstanding diversity metrics in the areas of recruiting, retention, advancement, and promotion of diverse attorneys, and various awards for our overall diversity and inclusion programs and initiatives. For example, in May 2018, Ogletree Deakins was ranked #2, in the 600+ Lawyers category, in Law360’s Best Law Firms for Female Attorneys report. Also in 2018, Ogletree Deakins earned a second annual perfect score of 100 percent on the 2018 Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer workplace equality, and are on track to repeat for a third time in 2019. But we remain committed to doing more.

Diverse attorneys and staff at Ogletree Deakins also hold key leadership positions with varying levels of responsibility, including seats on the firm’s Board of Directors and the Compensation Committee, and as Office Managing Shareholders and Practice Group Leaders. The firm believes this is a key component of our diversity and inclusion strategy, and is paramount to our long term goals. We believe that by keeping diversity in leadership top of mind, it helps to increase our ability to retain and promote diverse attorneys and staff and with their long-term success at Ogletree Deakins. Moreover, because the firm has a long tradition of diversity among its attorneys and staff, we are uniquely situated to assist our clients with creative and effective solutions in the increasingly diverse global economy. Ogletree Deakins’ commitment to diversity is exemplified in its St. Louis and Kansas City offices. Since its formation in 2005, all but one of Kansas City’s Office Managing Shareholders have been diverse. The current Kansas City Office Managing Shareholder, Stacy Bunck, is the first attorney in the 41 year history of the firm to assume the role in a reduced hours capacity, the arrangement allows her to pursue a leadership role in the firm, while spending more time with her young children. In St. Louis, our attorneys are partnering with local law schools to offer Ogletree’s St. Louis Diversity Scholarship, providing mentoring opportunities to first year law students with an interest in labor and employment law. Additionally, 21 of the 40 Ogletree attorneys practicing in Missouri are racially and/or gender diverse. As an international law firm, Ogletree Deakins believes that because of its philosophy and practice of promoting diversity and inclusion - soliciting, valuing, and incorporating the myriad viewpoints of its attorneys and those who support our practice - the firm is more creative, stronger, and better able to address the evolving issues in the global workplace.

who’s who diversity in color

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5700 Lindell Blvd. • St. Louis, MO 63112

225 S. Skinker Blvd. • St. Louis, MO 63105

1315 Chestnut St. • St. Louis, MO 63103

No matter who you are or where you’re from...

we’re here for you.

At Midland States Bank, our “Great strength. More heart.” brand of banking is made possible through the ideas, perspectives and collaboration of our 700+ associates. We join Who’s Who Diversity in Color by proudly supporting diversity and inclusion in our workforce and communities.

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congratulations to the 2019 who’s who in diversity

o r g ani z ati o nal

hi g hli g hts

The St. Louis Mosaic Project he St. Louis Mosaic Project is an initiative of the nonprofit World Trade Center-St. Louis. Research in 2012 and 2013 by the William T. Kemper Foundation showed that the bi-state region has under 5% foreign born population versus a national average of almost 14% foreign born. St. Louis is missing the social, cultural and economic value that the foreign born bring, in terms of neighborhood vitality, retail stores, entrepreneurship, STEM jobs, keeping local schools open, having a growing tax base and adding a range of skills to fill jobs unfilled by local population. The St. Louis region is falling behind others in terms of population growth and economic prosperity, which can be helped by attracting and retaining foreign born of all ethnicities and all skill levels. This is why the St. Louis Mosaic Project started in 2013, with a Steering Committee of 30 community leaders from agencies, businesses, universities and government representation.



With support from the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and other community sponsors, the St. Louis Mosaic Project has two regional goals: for the STL region to be the fastest growing major metro for foreign born by 2025 and for the region to add 25,000 foreign born people to our regional MSA population from the base in 2016. There are key programs run by the Mosaic Project: Professional Connector Program that connects 100  work-authorized immigrants   each year who have degrees abroad with local networks for career opportunities; International Student Program to educate, prepare and connect the 9,000 international students (majority STEM)   at 14 universities with employers who need talent; Corporate Hiring Program to bring education and legal advice to companies who need help filling open jobs and who seek international talent for startups or ongoing businesses; Immigrant Entrepreneur assistance and referrals especially in the food and high-tech fields; International Spouse Program for 300+ spouses here through corporate or university transfers; International

Mentoring Program for 60+ pairs of international/local women; Ambassador Programs for 800 individuals who help welcoming foreign born people, 45 welcoming schools and school districts and 26 welcoming companies/organizations. St. Louis Mosaic Project is a member of the national Welcoming America organization. Mosaic partners with hundreds of organizations in the region including the Hispanic Chamber of St. Louis, the AsianAmerican Chamber, the African Chamber, Vitendo4Africa, Casa de Salud, and the Immigrant Service Providers Network (ISPN). Since inception in 2013, Mosaic has partnered extensively with the International Institute of St. Louis to promote the high economic and cultural value of immigration in our region. Mosaic collaborates with them especially on welcoming programs and workforce initiatives to develop a trained workforce for the STL region.  The Institute, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, has served as St. Louis’

trusted resource for immigrant services and community engagement since 1919. Annually, it provides immigrant integration services including English classes, job placement and career path services, and business development assistance to 6,000 foreign-born from 80 countries. Their immigrants clients generate hundreds of millions of dollars in positive regional economic impact annually. St. Louis congratulates the International Institute of St. Louis on this important anniversary.

For m or e infor m ation and updat es on The Mosaic P r oject, visit thei r w ebsi t e, or follow them on s oci al medi a. w w w.S tl M os ai c P roj ec w w ai c P roj ec t w w i tter.c om/S TLMos ai c who’s who diversity in color

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BACHELOR’S DEGREES - Computer Information Systems - Emergency Management - General Studies - Organizational Leadership and Technology - Organizational Studies - Project Management - Security and Strategic Intelligence

MASTER’S DEGREES - Applied Analytics - Cybersecurity - Leadership and Organizational Development - Strategic Intelligence

Alan Byrd Jr.


As a devoted advocate for access to higher education, Alan Byrd Jr. has assisted thousands of students in the St. Louis region with their transition to college. Currently Vice Provost for Enrollment Management at the University of Missouri–St. Louis (UMSL), he is responsible for leading, planning, and implementing all undergraduate recruitment initiatives. He leads a division of more than 60 employees in the Welcome Center, Admissions, Financial Aid, and Registration. Alan chose to work at UMSL because of the diversity of the student body, which has a significant proportion of underrepresented students. He is the co-chair of St. Louis Graduates, a collaborative network of college access providers, educators, business leaders, and philanthropists who are working to increase postsecondary degree attainment for


of the students enrolled at UMSL are first-generation college students

underrepresented students in the St. Louis Region. He is also an active member of the ACT State Organization Council, Missouri School-College Relations Commission, Missouri School Counselor Advisory Board, Infinite Scholars Board, UNCF Leadership Council, and the Urban League Education Committee. A native of St. Louis, Alan attended Lafayette High School as a participant in the VICC Desegregation Program. He graduated from SEMO where he received a BA in communication and an MA in higher education administration. He is currently working on his PhD in educational policy and leadership at UMSL.

40% are Pell Grant recipients


are ethnic minorities 38







Dr. Wang Yields Innovation in Agriculture and Diversity BY BILL BEENE


r. Qi Wang has yielded his dream job: transforming industry-leading research and development through predictive analytics and driving digital innovation and big data to create products for sustainable agriculture.

This is what he does at Bayer (which recently acquired Monsanto) as Partner, Head of IT (Internet Technology) and Research and Development. The essence of his responsibility is to find information technology solutions to facilitate seamless collaborations between great minds and smart machines. This is his dream job because, for one, it reminds him of home. He grew up in Yangzhong (China), an Island in Yangtze River formed 300 years ago as a result of a flood yielded incredibly fertile soil and perfect weather for agriculture. He remembers families performing true, organic farming, his own family growing two seasons of crops on the same acre of land every year. Kids pulled weeds by hand, and, straws were used to burn the stoves and all wastes were returned to the field as fertilizers.

life so much richer. “I love pizza, but I do not want to eat it every day; I love music but I do not want to limit myself to one genre,” he says noting that at work, they are solving some of the most complex problems and need people with different knowledge, experiences and perspectives. He adds, “I am so fortunate that I am working with so many smart people who are passionate about doing great things to change the world.” His team and stakeholders, he says, are truly global – all continents and representing a cross-culture and diverse team coming together to deliver something that could not be delivered individually; is extremely gratifying. The well-cultured Dr. Wang takes a people-first approach to his work and tries to understand people’s passion and strength and would like to be the glue that brings people with a common vision together.

Dr. Wang recalls this life as uneasy and unromantic, but simple with a star-filled sky.

“I believe in all of them and want to make a difference for the wellbeing of people, society, and the planet. We are fortunate in the sense that our research is different and linked to sustainable agriculture,” he says.

Scarce was electricity, but it was that very source that, also, endeared him to his occupation. While in middle school, his chemistry teacher burned a piece of magnesium with broken windows without using electricity.

The people that ultimately come first in Dr. Wang’s life is family. And while, he sometimes works long hours, he says, he always makes sure he has dinner (cooks most of the time) at home with wife; though the kids have their own homes.

“It was the brightest thing I had ever seen,” says Dr. Wang, adding that, right then, he was hooked on science.

“Family first is my principle,” he asserts.

“Science changed my view of life and changed my life,” Dr. Wang says. Now, as a professional, he sees “another way of agriculture emerging on the horizon that is highly productive and sustainable, both for large farms here in the most advanced country, and for family farms in the rural area where I grew up.” Through the years, Dr. Wang has in various places, experienced different cultures and backgrounds, something he says makes his

Dr. Wang also enjoys good food, music and nature. He spends a lot of time on YouTube, watching on a big screen with good speakers for a very immersive experience. He mostly watches concerts, travel and nature offerings. The cultured China native, received his BS from Fudan University in Shanghai, his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa and his MBA from Washington University in St. Louis.

who’s who diversity in color

2019 |






Expert And Decorated Doctor Injects Diversity And Inclusion BY BILL BEENE


hile an Ivy League biology undergrad at Yale University, Dr. Will Ross enjoyed the physiology of the human kidney. That led him to study nephrology, the treating of disease of the organ.

He went on to study medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, where he now is Dr. Will Ross, Professor of Medicine, Division of Nephrology at the Washington University School of Medicine. As a leading nephrologist with respected research, accolades and publications, clinically, Dr. Ross knows well the importance of removing and filtering unnecessary products in order to produce balance, and treating kidney disease. In that same vein, at his second post at Washington University in St. Louis, he treats the diseases of disparity and exclusion as Associate Dean for Diversity and Principal Officer for Community Partnerships. There, he, administratively, oversees diversity and inclusion for students and trainees and coordinates health partnerships.   “Diversity is not an outcome, it is a process that leads to equity,” says the multitasking doctor/professor, who also says, “I am driven to promote social justice and reduce health disparities; making a difference in the lives of people who are marginalized and medically underserved.” For more than two decades, Dr. Ross, has, as his bio states, “developed innovative medical school pipeline programs, and recruited and developed a diverse workforce of medical students, residents and faculty.” He is co-founder of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Center for Diversity and Cultural Competence and served on the task force that created the Washington University Institute for Public Health, while serving as co-director of its new MD/MPH program. Dr. Ross also served as vice chair of the Washington University Commission on Diversity and Inclusion. He has been instrumental in redesigning local access to health care for the underserved as the founder of the Saturday Free Health Clinic and co-founder of Casa de Salud Latino Health Center.

An admitted workaholic, with a lengthy and diverse resume, Dr. Ross enjoys his work so much that he doesn’t consider it work at all and, he also, admittedly, blends work and home life. While he’s extraordinarily accomplished, he says his proudest moments consist of seeing his two daughters grow up to be mature, caring and socially-conscious women. No surprise there: the professional advice that he lives by is that, “when you close your eyes to sleep, feel comforted knowing someone or some community is better because of your actions.” Deep down inside, Dr. Ross, who hails from Helena, Arkansas, says he’s still a math and physics geek. And if he was not manning his two posts, one clinically, the other, administratively, at Wash. U., he would be working in a developing country with Doctors Without Borders. Similarly, however, he has, not only promoted health equity local and nationally, but globally, through collaborations with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health officials in Ethiopia and Haiti. He recently helped to develop an undergraduate program in public health in Haiti. Here, locally, he is a founding member of the Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience, a magnet health professions high school in St. Louis.  Dr. Ross previously served as the chief medical officer and director of ambulatory clinics for the St. Louis Regional Medical Center, the last public hospital in St. Louis. In 2001, he was appointed a charter and founding member of the St. Louis Regional Health Commission, which maintains an integrated network of safety net primary care clinics and public health services. Yet and still, he also served as Chairman of the board of directors of the Missouri Foundation for Health, where he directed the Foundation’s creation of the nonprofit center, Health Literacy Media.  When the busy doctor isn’t working, wearing one of his man hats and coats, he enjoys distance running, jazz concerts and art shows. 

who’s who diversity in color

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One Size Does Not Fit All


ince childhood, Reshma Chattaram Chamberlin has been inspired to aspire. Growing up in what is now considered Mumbai, India, Chattaram Chamberlin’s upbringing with her single mother and two older sisters had a big impact on who she is today. “I grew up in a city with 22 million people, so that really inspires and affects the way that you see the world. I had the wonderful opportunity to travel a lot as a young person; meet people from different walks of life and interact with people from all religious backgrounds,” said Chattaram Chamberlin. “I think my upbringing really solidified my approach to the world, which is that we’re all more similar than we are different and that you can approach the world with kindness and understanding.” Chattaram Chamberlin’s unique background would eventually lead her into a life of exciting business opportunities, including her most recent venture, Summersalt. Chattaram Chamberlin --who was noted as one of the top 15 female entrepreneurs you should know by Tech Cocktail-- attended Kodaikanal International School and Bombay International School, before earning a Bachelor of Arts, Graphic Design degree from Principia College. Since then, Chattaram Chamberlin has gone on to serve as CEO/partner of We Are January, founder/ CEO of Muzio, Assistant Director for Harper Collins Publishing, and most recently as co-founder and Chief Brand and Digital Officer at St. Louis based swimwear brand, Summersalt that she founded with Lori Coulter, veteran swimwear designer. When discussing her past businesses, Chattaram Chamberlin touches on Muzio, “Muzio is something that I’m very proud of. We created this app because we felt there was a need and we had [the]

ambition to do so. We didn’t raise any money and we didn’t make it as big as we had dreamed, but it was the most incredible experience and that helped fuel my next career.” It is that same ambition that Chattaram Chamberlin credits her success to. “Ambition is what brought me to my current position because I was ready to take on a challenge and continuously put myself out there. Sometimes you have to keep trying; sometimes you fail and sometimes you succeed.” Today, Chattaram Chamberlin is proud to be a part of an incredible swimwear brand for women alongside co-founder Lori Coulter. “We make a great team,” Chattaram Chamberlin says when speaking of Coulter. Together they are redefining the conversation around swimwear. In 2018 Summersalt, an eco-friendly swimwear brand offering designer swimwear without the designer price tag raised a total of $8.1 million dollars. “We’re excited to continue to work hard to be even more inclusive. We’re extending sizes and hopefully we can continue to add even more moving forward. We’re excited to grow; growth means that we’re able to do more as well,” Chattaram Chamberlin says about use of funds. Speaking of more, Chattaram Chamberlin believes diversity and inclusion are essential to growth. “It’s really not a one size fits all business. The more thoughts and ideas, then the more interesting we can be; it’s just better for our customers.” When not working, Chattaram Chamberlin enjoys traveling. “Even if I’m somewhere far away, I’m always checking emails and staying connected. I think that’s really important when you’re building a brand. I think that people underestimate how much work it takes, but I don’t mind it at all.” who’s who diversity in color

2019 |






Manager’s Dad Supplied Him With A Plan To Build Success BY BILL BEENE


aking results-driven changes, so that his company could bear the fruit of saving money, is one of the proudest moments for Santiago Beltran, Logistics Manager for Build-A-Bear. He also won the Teddy award, in which colleagues choose employees to be recognized for bearing the company’s core values.

chain class and decided I wanted to pursue a career in supply chain.

Those values of warm thoughts about childhood, friendship, trust comfort and love are built into Beltran’s approach.

In his spare time, he cohosts a Spanish radio show which broadcasts Saint Louis FC soccer games. He also covers other sports news. A sport-enthusiast, Beltran plays tennis in a couple of leagues around town.

“I always want to be fair and make sure what I do doesn’t have a negative impact on others,” says Beltran, pointing that “personal gain shouldn’t result in losses for others.” Over the past 15 years, he has served and grown from Associate to Inventory Allocator, Logistics Planner and Financial Analyst. In his current role as Logistics Manager, Beltran is responsible for the transportation of products to Build-A-Bear warehouses and stores. “I enjoy the interaction with other departments and the variety of things I deal with on a daily basis,” he says of his current role. The Build-A-Bear executive started clawing an interest in business as a youngster growing up in Manizales, Columbia. He, subsequently, thought that it would be sweet to study Business Administration. However, advice from his father to major in Industrial Engineering, would prevail and bode well for Beltran. “My dad told me industrial Engineering was similar to Business Administration and that would give me more career options,” so “while in school I took a supply chain class and decided I wanted to pursue a career in supply chain.” Growing up, I always had an interest in business and wanted to study Business Administration. My dad told me Industrial Engineering was similar to Business Administration and that it would give me more career options. While in school, I took a supply

Beltran began college in Bogota, Columbia, moving to the United States in 2004 to finish his undergraduate studies in Industrial Engineering at the University of Houston. After graduation, he decided that he wanted to study Business Administration and earned an MBA from the University of Missouri – St. Louis.

“I love sports and am enjoying the opportunity to talk and cover sports in my free-time,” says the avid tennis player. Beltran also manages to find time to sit on boards, volunteer and give to charities, like the Hispanic Educational Cultural and Cultural Scholarship Fund that he donates to. He also volunteers with the United Way of Greater Saint Louis and the English Tutoring Project. He is a member of The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Regional Business Council’s Young Professionals Network Leadership 100. Beltran and his wife, SiSi enjoy traveling, eating great food and time with their loved ones, Including their dog, Nina. “I think it’s important to keep a balance between work and life; when I have non-work meetings and events, I flex my work schedule,” he says adding that his boss is very supportive of what he does outside of work. As for diversity, Beltran, says, he believes that people with different backgrounds can complement each other and make teams better. “In a workplace, a diverse team can look at a problem from different angles, which can result in better solutions.” who’s who diversity in color

2019 |






The Right Path


rowing up in a very supportive household had an immense impact on Sekhar Prabhakar’s upbringing. “My parents always tried to provide for our family even though we did not come from a wealthy background,” Prabhakar noted. “Without my parents I would not be who I am today.” Today Prabhakar is the CEO and owner of CEdge Software Consultants, a highly-certified firm and strategic business partner offering IT solutions to state and federal government, in addition to commercial enterprises across the nation. In 2017, CEdge was nominated as the technology company of the year by the SBA of Eastern Missouri and St. Louis. Then in 2018, Prabhakar was selected by Small Business Monthly as one of the Top St. Louisan’s to know. “St. Louis is a city I have truly grown fond of and being able to represent the small business industry in this city has given me a great joy,” Prabhakar noted of the honor. “This event allowed me to meet with many other successful people. The speaker at the event talked about culture shaping everything and this was something I learned from my mentors, Scott McNealy and Dr. William Powell. In the end, it is about how you can help support your workforce to become successful.” Prabhakar’s father initially wanted him and his brothers to pursue a career in government services, but encouraged him to pursue engineering based on his interests. “I was the first one in my direct and extended family to strive for a career in engineering. I studied mechanical engineering in India, but after coming to the United States, I saw an opportunity to join computer science. My father was the first to support my decision. He always believed in me and taught me to follow my heart.” Prabhakar attended Nagpur University in India before earning a

master’s in computer science from the City College of New York. His father was a police officer in India while his mother was a stayat-home mom. “Even as of today I remember my mom telling me that there had been several attempts on his life in his line of duty, but he never once complained. He sacrificed so much for our wellbeing and he has always been a role model in my eyes. He also taught me the virtue of kindness and compassion. My mom taught me the value of dreaming big and studying hard.” Post relocating to St. Louis, Prabhakar was inspired to create his own business by the lack of jobs available being parallel to previous positions as well as by his CEO’s at Sun Microsystems and Sybase. “I shared the news about my company and the fact that we were going to have a daughter with my dad. He didn’t get a chance to see my daughter or my company take off since he passed away in September of 2004. I was there when he was admitted into the ER. He did not get a chance to see me or talk to me before he passed away. I can always feel that my dad is watching over me. He gives me the passion and energy to work very hard.” Regarding diversity and inclusion, Prabhakar disclosed that CEdge is on the right path of exemplifying their importance. We have become a mosaic ambassador in promoting a true diversity by helping immigrants. We are including other small business and companies in our opportunities along with helping foreign born entrepreneurs.” Prabhakar also disclosed that CEdge is involved in supporting STEM programs at inner city schools. “We are in the process of establishing our first cohort at Clyde C. Miller to promote GIS programming in schools through Gateway GIS. True diversity is not just in a company but is also in how you help the community by supporting people of every race and religion.” When not working or volunteering Prabhakar enjoys golfing, working out, and spending time with his family. who’s who diversity in color

2019 |






Creating Good Working Environments


rances Barbieri made the decision to become an employment lawyer particularly based on interest in the subject matter and relatability.

Barbieri earned a B.A. degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in International Studies and Religious Studies before earning a J.D. degree from Washington University of St. Louis’s School of Law. “I went to college and law school in Missouri and then moved to Boston. I think being away from my family really made me think for the first time about my identity and what it means.” At nine months, Barbieri was adopted from Korea to her parents in Florissant, MO--each with their own diverse backgrounds. “My mother’s family is Japanese and Irish; her mother and grandma moved here from Japan when [she] was about 20 [years old]. My dad’s family has been in St. Louis for a long time; they’re Italian and German. At home, everyone knew about my unusual family situation and never questioned why for instance, I had a Korean face and an Italian last name. I felt very much like an ItalianJapanese-American St. Louisan in a Korean body! But in Boston, all [that] people saw was a Korean face and I realized I didn’t know much about my origins or birth culture at all.” In 2011, Barbieri received an opportunity to travel to Korea. “I returned to Korea for the first time and met a lot of other Korean adoptees who were returning; that was a very cool experience. To have something so much in common with these people that you just met, even though you don’t really speak the same language, we [developed] an instant bond. I was able to explore Seoul and learn a lot about Korean culture and what led to so many Korean children being adopted internationally.” Barbieri is currently employed by U.S. Bank as a part of their legal team, which she loves. “I feel like we’re working together to not only follow the law but to create the best working environment for our employees that we can.”

“My favorite part of my job is the relationships that I make and that I get to really partner with our human resources group. There have been a few situations where we have noticed a trend in some kind of an issue and were really able to address what’s causing it, and do some training for our employees to hopefully stop it. That’s when I feel like I’m being very effective as a lawyer.” When not working, Barbieri enjoys spending time with family and cooking; even creating a restaurant review website called, which will focus on family-friendly establishments. Before U.S. Bank, Barbieri was employed by the national law firm, Littler Mendelson, as an active participant in their diversity and inclusion program. Through that program, she was part of an affinity group. “I was able to connect with Asian-Pacific American lawyers from all over the country, which was really amazing. I received great mentorship opportunities and I really benefited from that.” Barbieri noted that her experience with the groups inspired her current work with U.S. Bank’s St. Louis Diversity and Inclusion leadership program. “I’m now in my third year of running the program. It’s been a really great opportunity to take an idea-to develop and support our diverse employees who have a lot of potential—with the support of all of the U.S. Bank leadership located in St. Louis.” “I’ve been able to use their support to put into action a program that didn’t exist before, at least not in St. Louis for U.S. Bank.” Through their St. Louis Diversity and Inclusion program, U. S. Bank nominates a group of high potential employees with a diverse background, allowing them access to targeted mentoring, as well as an opportunity to present work to senior leadership, along with networking opportunities. “In a customer-focused company like U.S. Bank, our customers include people from every background in the St. Louis area. It’s just essential that our employee base and our leadership be reflective of and understand our customers.” who’s who diversity in color

2019 |






The Art and Construction of Success BY BILL BEENE


ho opens a bookstore at the young age of 21? Art prodigy, Kevin Bryant, that’s who! The Saginaw, Michigan native has been adding extraordinary chapters to his life ever since. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, with a degree in advertising, Bryant created a fruitful filled career in Graphic Design and became one of the most sought-out designers in St. Louis, Missouri. His booming graphic design company was aptly named, Inkosi Designs. The Zulu word, “Inkosi”, means king or chief, whichever one prefers. However, the culturally conscious and ambitious Bryant, who has also taught post-secondary art, isn’t one to wear one hat or title or rest on any one laurel. At present, in the area where his former design business was located, he is now the executive founder, developer and president of the Kingsway Development, LLC. In this capacity, Bryant has become a leading community and building developer in the Kingsway and Central West End neighborhoods, a highly coveted St. Louis corridor. “Real Estate Development came from a passion for wanting to see the communities I live and work in, developed on par with other St. Louis communities,” Bryant says. As such, Bryant is advancing redevelopment in the historic black neighborhoods of Fountain Park and Lewis Place, including more than $56 million in total development investment. His vision has also included establishing and fully operating the Kingsway Redevelopment Plan, with exclusive rights from the St. Louis Development Corporation, the governmental redevelopment arm of the City of St. Louis. The plan includes initiating corporate expansion, upwardly mobile housing and a $5 million invested development of Elevated Workspace. Before these amazing community- and corporate-minded undertakings, Bryant rendered more than 10 years of experience working with advisory boards and key investors in extensive corporate expansion, as well as renovations of business and residential buildings. “I place the interest in the community’s residents first,” Bryant says of his insightful and informed approach. “By having their input and incorporating that into what myself and other professionals

determine will benefit both the residents and the investors, allows everyone to partake in the vision and plan for a thriving community,” continues Bryant. In 2017, Bryant became The Collective Work Foundation nonprofit founding officer (CWF), where he designed and established CWF to support the philanthropic needs of the Kingsway Redevelopment plan to combat problems of urban blight. Since 2000, he has been the founder and CEO of Conversions Global Marketing, LLC, which oversees the strategic management and authorizing of capital budgets, business agreements and competitive bidding for subcontracting. The CWF also managed successful, multi-stakeholder projects with companies such as the former Monsanto Company, Grace Hill Health Centers, Lambert St. Louis International Airport, HarrisStowe State University, Anheuser-Busch, Family & Workforce Centers of America and dozens more top companies, celebrities, nonprofits, municipalities and corporations. Bryant has created a very successful business life that keeps very busy, but he still finds a way to balance and contrast both. “I keep the external noise to a minimum; work stays at work and home stays peaceful,” says Bryant who loves martial arts (practicing or observing), traveling and, of course, exploring new ideas and information. If the enterprising Bryant wasn’t painting a better St. Louis, he would simply be painting, which was his major in college, before switching to graphic design. But, either way, he would be learning something along the way, while planning on how to bring his newfound knowledge to aid in the betterment of others. As for diversity, the multi-talented master artist and developer says, “diversity is key to all of our success, because we don’t live in a monolithic society, nor are we dependent on the existence of such a way of life. Having a diverse mindset not only allows you to prosper professionally, but more importantly, as an individual with an open mind, it helps create spiritual growth that is not limited by a narrow cultural impediment.” who’s who diversity in color

2019 |






Hometown Role Model


St. Louis native, Apollo Carey matriculated from Metro High School, the St. Louis Public Schools’ coveted college preparatory magnet school. From there, he was accepted to the University of Missouri -- Columbia (Mizzou) where he received his bachelor’s degree. He then returned to the metropolitan area to earn his juris doctorate from the St. Louis University School of Law, continuing with a studies in LLM Tax Law at Washington University. This St. Louis attorney and counselor of law may have stayed in his hometown to further his education, but his thinking and approach to his profession is out of this world. He’s a natural problemsolver with an innate disposition backed with an acquired skillset, ambition and passion that has ascended him among the best and most successful in his field. Today, a member of Lewis Rice Law Firm, Carey represents a variety of clients, primarily in the business sector with some individual representation. “At any given point of the day, I may have to call upon a particular skill set, but the common denominator is that I am, at my core, a problem-solver,” Carey said. Carey’s work ethic starts, primordially, with balance and self-care. He exercises regularly, eats properly, meditates and tries to build time for that which he enjoys, making sure that he maintains the proper mindset to handle the rigors and stresses of his career. “It’s the only way I can give my clients 100 percent of the service they deserve,” says the holistic Carey. An average day for Carey begins at 4:30 a.m. with exercise and nutrition before his boxing training. After about 30 minutes of

meditating, he’s off, answering emails and returning phone calls. After that, he’s on to whatever “project of the day” may be, unless there’s “some fire” he has to put out, something he says takes precedence over whatever he’s doing at the time. “I continue this cycle all day long, then wake up the next day, and do it all over again.” Practicing in the areas of corporate and real estate law, development/construction law and tax law. His corporate practice focuses on mergers, acquisitions, stock and asset purchases, and business operation and organization. In his tax practice, he handles planning and tax controversy matters and provides legal advice and practical guidance to for profit, government, municipal, educational and nonprofit entities and associations. Apollo also routinely provides a cost/benefit analysis to clients of any proposed legal action, with a strategy designed to aid his clients in meeting their objectives and bottom lines. He has also been recognized by the National Black Lawyers Top 100 as one of the top “40 under 40” in America and was named an “Up & Coming attorney by the Missouri Lawyers Weekly in 2004. When Carey isn’t working, he enjoys boxing, so to speak, he enjoys boxing, hiking, writing and trap shooting, “I force myself to make time for the things I enjoy and care about outside of work,” Carey says, noting that he has a very understanding family and, adding that his other activities are, “really just a conscious effort to make sure I am taking care of myself in order to give my very best to my clients.” who’s who diversity in color

2019 |






Going Above and Beyond BY BILL BEENE


dvocating for others and giving back is something that Arindam Kar has always valued. And going into law, he said, has helped him to develop the skills and tools necessary to be effective at those passions.

Kar and his wife have five children and credits his wife with great management of her work and home life while supporting him in his endeavors. Every day, he says, brings new joys, challenges and managed chaos.

I try to be more than an attorney for my clients; I want to be a trusted adviser and counselor, said Kar who doesn’t mind spending extra time and effort going above and beyond in order to provide global, strategic advice.

Kar admits that for him, juggling work and home life is extremely difficult and a daily challenge, with some successful days and some not so successful.

It’s a small order for Kar: he likes interacting with clients and getting to know them, one of the most likable aspects of his practice as a Partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. Kar’s corporate work involves antitrust and competition law compliance, counseling and investigations. As such, he counsels companies on complying with antitrust and competition laws. He also counsels clients on mergers and acquisitions, and represent them before the U.S antitrust agencies: Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission, not to mention, State attorneys general. As if those representations don’t keep him busy enough, Kar takes on clients in antitrust investigations. Still, the community and humanity-driven attorney finds time take on pro bono cases, representing refugees, asylum petitioners and immigrants in immigration proceedings. “My parents (who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1970’s) instilled in me very early how to be grateful for everything our community did to support us in making a new home in this country,” he said. In accordance, his parents also instilled in him the value of giving back and helping others in the community. In fact, if Kar wasn’t practicing law, he would still be doing something in support of the community. That is between eatery outings with his wife: they both are foodies, who also like to try new recipes at home.

“My success is dependent on constant communication and coordination with my family,” Kar said. Kar gives this advice to professionals: “If you are a leader in your organization, it is important to be inclusive and to actively listen to your team,” he said. “Every team member, no matter how junior, may have insight that will help provide better service to clients.” Further, he said, “always remember to always be respectful and to your team and everyone with whom you interact.” Kar is also big on diversity, something he says is critical for any organization that wants to thrive in the global environment, because it is a prerequisite for acquiring the best talent and insight to move an organization forward. However, Kar says, that equity and inclusion are even more important because having a diverse workforce will not advance an organization unless diverse talent is meaningfully engaged in all levels of the organization. He concludes his diversity, equity and inclusion insight, saying, everyone must be actively and equitably part of the strategic conversation and direction of an organization. “That is when an organization truly gains the benefit of diversity.” Kar is a native of Ames, Iowa, He completed his undergrad at St. Louis University and studied law at the University of Iowa College of Law. who’s who diversity in color

2019 |






A True Measure of Success


uth Kim’s personality is as exuberant and impactful as her dedication to her work, family, friends, and community.

“I was raised in a very loving, supportive and forwardingthinking home. My parents were both highly educated, and believed education, ethics, compassion, and hard work were all foundations to a purposeful life. My father and mother encouraged us to learn about art, music, science, literature, sports, and different cultures. My father said that ‘you need to try everything at least once, maybe twice in case they messed it up the first time. My parents stressed having an open mind and never being ‘too smart to learn something new.’” Kim graduated from Ladue Horton Watkins High School before earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Amherst College, followed by a Juris Doctor degree from Washington University School of Law. Kim’s older brother graduated from Brown University and MIT, one sister graduated from Yale University and the other from Brown University, UCLA School of Law, and Columbia School of Journalism. After college, Kim became a paralegal, worked part-time in lawschool, became an attorney, then vice president, general counsel and an equity owner of a healthcare services firm, and now: General Counsel, Senior Vice President, and Senior Partner at FleishmanHillard Inc. “Because I work for a firm that has more than 80 offices around the world and I serve clients in all time zones, there isn’t an average work day. Sometimes an average work day might be a 24-hour cycle. I like solving problems and working collaboratively with my clients, I like the whole process. As an Asian and a woman, there have been obstacles along the way. If you have a good sense of who you are, you can keep moving forward. Ultimately, you can’t let somebody else define you.” Kim believes in diversity and inclusion in the workplace. “Your place

of work should reflect and welcome diversity and inclusion because that connects you with the rest of the world.” Kim continued, “It helps you understand and serve your clients better. It helps you recruit more diverse talent. It helps you learn and share different points of view, and most of all, it expands your humanity. If you work in a place without diversity and inclusion, you’re missing an entire part of life.” In 2016, Kim received the Visionary and Community Champion Award from the St. Louis Business Journal and the St. Louis chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC). “I felt honored to be recognized because I care about our community and what happens in our region.” “Like any city we have our challenges; our racial divides, our socioeconomic divides, zip codes that are treated disproportionately,” she continued. “But we as a community have to figure out how to come together to raise the tide for everybody.” Putting her resources, time, and heart “where her mouth is,” Kim supports and volunteers for various organizations, including the St. Louis Civic Pride Foundation, Marian Middle School for Girls, Downtown STL, Inc., Danforth Plant Science Center, to name a few. “If you can make a beneficial difference in somebody’s life, whether it’s by solving a problem, empowering them, or making them feel valued, what you’ve done has meaning and resonance. People who have made the biggest impression on me are those that made me want to be better and to do better. To me, that is a true measure of success. It all starts with the individual. If you have people who unconditionally love you, adults who are there for you as a kid, you get a sense of worth that you can accomplish anything.” Kim continued, “Everyone needs to have somebody in their lives who is unconditionally there for them. I think that is one of the greatest gifts that my parents ever gave me. who’s who diversity in color

2019 |






Dreaming Into Reality


oming up with your own job description sounds like a dream opportunity. For Susan Stith, it was a dream come true.

Joining Express Scripts in 2011 to head up diversity and inclusion followed by corporate giving and the Express Scripts Foundation, Susan quickly learned that while the company had completed some early work, there was a need for a more strategic approach overall. The role, the team, and the plan to help a $100 billion company achieve diversity and inclusion, had to be built from scratch. Luckily, for Express Scripts, the right person with the right dream was on the job. “When you see a chance to do something that’s necessary, but also that could be really special, you’re called to step up, even when it’s not clear exactly how to do so,” Susan says. “For someone like me, who works at the intersection of ‘passion’ and ‘profession,’ diving deep into an opportunity is the only way I know.” Fast forward to today and Express Scripts is now one of the industry’s leading companies in diversity and inclusion -- ranking in the Diversity 50, achieving a 100 percent score in the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index and Disability Equality Index, and launching 10 employee resource groups bringing together nearly 5,000 employees. Following a December 2018 merger with Cigna Corporation, Susan now leads Diversity and Inclusion, Civic Affairs, and the Cigna Foundation globally, which gives her an even greater platform to build upon. “As someone who has dedicated my career to being a champion for diversity and inclusion, I cannot tell you what it means to see colleagues of all kinds rally together and rewarding our community with their enthusiasm to help,” Stith noted. “Whether it’s packing a backpack, donating time to work at a local food shelter, or giving money, there are many ways for our colleagues to make a difference.”

Bringing two companies together can be a challenge, but the similarities in cultures and shared values of Express Scripts and Cigna helps ease the transition. Susan notes that the 74,000 employees who have come together are united in a common mission to provide better care, offer greater choice, and deliver more affordability in healthcare. Part of building a new culture means rallying around a singular cause that everyone can support. For Susan and her team, that meant launching a program – Healthier Kids for Our Future –, which is part of a $200 million commitment to communities, Cigna launched after closing the deal. The program addresses childhood hunger and food insecurity, and all Cigna employees will be able to donate time and energy to help kids around the world. That approach is emblematic of what Cigna and Express Scripts are doing today to deliver on the promise of whole person health: taking care of mind and body helps people stay well longer. In addition, the companies share a strong commitment to expanding diversity and embracing inclusion. By reflecting the population it serves, Cigna is better prepared for long-term success. “Companies that truly commit to diversity and inclusion have a competitive advantage,” Susan said. “When you have a mosaic of people working together, representing all faiths, races, nationalities, and perspectives, you are building a legacy of leadership that attracts dynamic leaders, challenges the status quo, and makes society better. That is our north star, and we are guided by it every day.” Susan’s motivation is also guided by her life experiences. Growing up in a small town, faith, family and community are important cornerstones. In particular, she enjoys spending time with her family: her husband Drexel of 33 years, and children Alexandria (who graduated from college last year) and Clark (who will graduate from college this May). “I make sure that I’m giving back as much as I’m taking,” she says. “When we connect people who might otherwise think they have who’s who diversity in color

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A Labor of Love


al Valadez is among those able to say that they enjoy what they do for a living. “I’m blessed to be working for an organization that is concerned about not just our workers, our members, but also for all workers and working families.”

that we’re working on, [like] addressing the opioids crisis; basically addressing some of the disparities in our community.”

Valadez is the Diversity, Outreach, and Marketing Representative for the LiUNA Midwest Region-LECET-Eastern Missouri Laborers’ District Council. LiUNA is an acronym for: Laborers’ International Union of North America and is considered to be one of the most diverse and effective unions representing public service employees.

Some of the other collaborators that LiUNA have partnered with include: the Missouri School of Dentistry, the city of St. Louis Public Health Department, civil hospitals, all-access interpreters, Affinia Healthcare, fellow members within the construction industry (construction trades, owners, contractors, subcontractors), nonprofits, Washington University and St. Louis University’s Schools of Medicine, College of Pharmacy, LAMP, and the Midwest Laborers nurses.

“I’m excited to be involved with people and organizations who see the potential [in St. Louis], who understand our history and who are working for a better future for everyone.”

This year will mark LiUNA’s seventh health fair at St. Sicilia and their third regarding the International Institute Community Health Fair.

Understanding history and storytelling are important traits that Valadez acquired from his parents, who along with Valadez and his late brother, were first generation immigrants from Mexico; Valadez also has five sisters.

“I’m always asking myself with everything that I’m involved in: ‘Are we asking the right questions? For example, when we look at the disparities in our communities, are we asking ourselves the right questions regarding data collection?’” Valadez continued, “If we ask the wrong questions, then we generate flawed data. That flawed data is in turn researched and its findings and conclusions provide the foundation for public policy, programs, and funding.”

“My mom and my dad taught me the importance of knowing your past because it was important to understanding where you are and it certainly effects your future; there’s a linkage.” In their home, Spanish was the primarily-spoken language, which assisted with time spent with relatives in Mexico. Although he dropped out of high school, Valadez went on to serve in the U.S. Army for four years. Latterly Valadez earned his GED, followed by his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in political science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. “My dad worked very hard, my mom was a housekeeper. They couldn’t contribute much to our college education, so my sisters and me, those that went to college, we did it on our own, and we had the drive.” Valadez currently serves on various taskforces and committees focused on education and workforce development, parallel to LiUNA community health fairs. The health fairs pivot on providing free screenings for the general public. “I truly believe that many of the issues that we have in our St. Louis metropolitan area are issues that can be resolved through collaboration,” said Valadez. Although each health fair’s services vary, the commonality includes: blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol screenings, and screenings provided by the National Kidney Foundation. “[It] holds true that collaboration is so important; this holds true for other initiatives

He noted that opioids are one of the biggest challenges within Missouri’s construction industry, due to the nature of their work. LiUNA hopes to educate the general public, specifically immigration communities on this issue and available resources to prevent and decrease it. Valadez and his work have been recognized by the St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers (SLCCC) and the St. Louis Construction Forum (SLCF). As acknowledged by NBC Latino, Valadez was the lead researcher for the Latino History Project at the McLean County Museum of History in Bloomington, Illinois. “I believe in discussion, consensus and action,” Valadez said. “Diversity in itself can mean many things. Diversity is the concept, inclusion is the action.” When not working or volunteering, Valadez enjoys biking nature trails and being near the ocean in Hawaii. He indicated that over the years he’s received tremendous support from Rebecca HawkinsValadez: an artist, his wife, and his best friend. “This recognition is not so much about me, it’s about the people that I work with, my organization, leadership, the members, and [LiUNA’s] collaborators.” who’s who diversity in color

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Fusing Inclusion with Innovation


honda Carter Adams has been able to fuse her passion with her career; Adams is currently the Corporate Diversity Lead of Illinois American Water (ILAW).

“In my role, I focus on creating diversity strategies that are inclusive not only to our suppliers and vendors, but also strategies for workforce inclusion efforts,” Adams noted in a recent interview. “We want to impact a diverse culture within our organization and identify potential diverse hires for future employment opportunities.” Adams began her professional career as a computer programmer and systems analyst at Caterpillar after her matriculation at Jackson State University where she earned a Bachelor of Sciences degree in computer science. Her immediate past prior roles include Supplier Diversity Manager at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and executive director for the Mid-States Minority Supplier Development Council. “As I pursued my advance degree, I was also doing a lot of networking and connecting with different levels of people,” noted Adams. It was during this interconnection that she was advised to go through Caterpillar’s marketing training program; a program designed to create leaders within the organization via cross-functional training. Because of Adams’ community interest and strong interpersonal skill-set, a purchasing manager approached Adams and recommended pursuing an open opportunity of the Supplier Diversity program. “When I began to explore it and do my due diligence, I found it quite interesting and it made my heart smile that there was a career that was solely devoted to helping businesses that were small and diverse-owned with getting a foot in the door.” She added, “That was always a passion of mine because outside of my career at Caterpillar, I volunteered a lot within the community.” Adams feels connected to minority views and girls in the business community; she appreciates being in a profession that allows her to create strategy around both.

Regarding the Supplier Diversity program at Caterpillar, Adams stated, “I just knew at that point that that’s what I’m here for, that’s the direction that I’d like to go because naturally I had that passion for developing my own community.” She continued, “When I can marry my personal passion with my profession, which felt as if that was my purpose. And that’s when I began to pursue this career and I’ve not waivered on that career path since.” Adams serves on the board for the Tennessee Williams Festival, the Center of Creative Arts, Ignite Theater Company, and the Illinois Division of United Way. “I work to make sure I’m impacting communities so more youth can have those opportunities in the arts and theater,” she said. Growing up in the small town of Magnolia, Mississippi, Adams received abundant support from her family and those considered extended family. Adams was involved in various extracurricular activities including Beta clubs, jazz band, cheerleading (where she was a captain), and playing piano for her church’s Sunday school. Adams’ nine-year old daughter is also involved in theater. “If I’m not spending time with my daughter and doing theater and seeing theater shows with her, yoga is a passion that I have not been able to engage very much recently,” she noted. Adams also enjoys watching live jazz performances and wine nights with her husband of nine years. Adams and her family have only been in St. Louis for about 8 years now; before this, she and her husband were based in Peoria, Illinois. Regarding diversity and inclusion, Adams believes that ILAW aligns with her passion for helping others. “Without inclusion, we cannot have innovation, a culture of acceptance or be able to truly obtain a diverse body of talent that will carry the organization forward.” She continued, “Being able to see diverse board members, who have a key influence and stake in the direction of the company, actively engaging in relationships with labor unions, community organizations and legislators is so admirable to me. That speaks to the customer-obsessed value we have.” who’s who diversity in color

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Making a Better Place for All


rowing up, Ninoska Clarkin received inspiration for her career path from her surroundings. “The discussions about the economy were present in every conversation at the family table, it was everywhere: in the news, on TV and in our communities,” Clarkin noted. “I was curious about why we were in such big trouble in our economic health and I wanted to better understand if there was a path forward for us, so I decided to study economics.” A native of Bolivia, Clarkin was raised by her mother, who worked three jobs to ensure that her family received a good education. Clarkin was advised regularly that education and learning were essential components for a better life and career path. Clarkin earned an undergraduate degree in Economics from Catholic University in La Paz, Bolivia and then a MBA from Missouri State University (MSU). “When I came to do my studies in the U.S. [in 1996], I was fascinated by computers. I [had] not worked with or seen a computer in Bolivia, so when I came to the U.S., I did my MBA [at MSU] with an emphasis on Computer Information Systems.” A few years ago, Clarkin completed her master’s degree in Information Systems at Washington University through the support of Edward Jones. Clarkin joined Edward Jones in 2000 as a Project Analyst on the International Architecture team, before taking on the role of project leader. Clarkin then became a team leader for the Global User Interface team; a position which she describes as a great experience that provided her with the opportunity to work with different leaders and project teams across Edward Jones. “I consider coming to Edward Jones one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” she noted. “The coaching and mentoring I’ve received has been invaluable, and I have seen how we make a difference in helping in the delivery of an ideal client experience through our branches.” Clarkin now leads the Firm Strategic Enablement office at Edward

Jones. “Coming to Edward Jones, I have not only developed as a professional but I’ve also learned how we can make a difference through our involvement in our community.” She expressed, “Being involved in different organizations has shaped who I am and given me a deeper respect for the importance of giving back.” Regarding the importance of diversity and inclusion within the workplace, Clarkin believes that each are essential. “There is validation that high-performing teams are successful because their members feel safe [enough] to bring their oneself to everything that they do,” She added, “So creating an inclusive and safe environment where all ideas count and where every voice is heard is critical.” Clarkin believes that Edward Jones’ mission statement, core values, and principles are parallel to her own. “It is wonderful to be around peers, leaders and people in the community that support the premise of making our region a better place for all.” Clarkin’s an active volunteer within the community and has been involved with various organizations including serving as co-chair with her husband of the United Way’s Multicultural Leadership Society for St. Louis, past president of the board of directors for the Professional Women Alliance of St. Louis and part of Steering Committee for the Young Professional Network at the Regional Business Council of St. Louis. “I want my kids to know that no matter what people’s backgrounds are, we all use the same muscles to smile, to cry and that we should be intentional on learning from others.” Clarkin continued, “The world is so rich because we bring different prospective, stories and experiences.” For the past 15 years, Clarkin has been married to her husband Patrick. The Clarkin’s enjoy traveling, learning from new cultures, and taking their twins Lukas and Cielo to parks and festivals around St. Louis. who’s who diversity in color

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Major Success In Finance Has Always Been In The Cards For VP BY BILL BEENE

Introducing Al Li

we need to invite to the table in regards to Diversity and Inclusion.

He is Vice President of Global Trade Finance at Regions Bank.

Li figures that Diversity and Inclusion are imperatives.

In that respectable role, he provides financing and risk mitigation solutions to corporations that transact internationally. That includes export financing to supply chain finance and everything in between.

“You never want to prevent the best of the best from coming to the table to help your team win,” Li says, adding that, “a culture of diversity always wins out over a culture of homogeneity.”

“I love to discuss world affairs and opportunities abroad for local businesses to – not only connect business partners but – cultures as well,” Li says. He also notes that within the global context that he operates, “It’s always engaging to hear his clients’ cross cultural experiences from which I can learn some about the world.” Li is also President of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce in St. Louis and has minority stake in Wasabi Sushi Bar. Li approach to all he does professionally? “I am a big picture and results oriented person; I ask a lot of questions in order to discover what the true problem is to ensure I am not simply fixing a symptom, but, also the underlying cause.” If there is a way to fix more than one thing or improve the organization in a more holistic manner, he says, the better. “My approach, he says, thus, is “to engage in those activities that will have the most impact for my client, company and myself, but also for the next company, my city and my co-workers.” A promising career in finance and accounting has always been in the cards for Al Li. As a youth, he was a baseball card fanatic and could memorize stats of every player in Major League Baseball. “While some had a love for words, I had a love for numbers and what story they told,” says LI who has always been in Finance and Accounting roles of some kind. Without doubt, he said, his greatest privilege has been to run and grow the Asian American Chamber of Commerce. “This has not only brought the diversity of the Asian community together, but it’s growth has shown the mainstream community that

The busy and accomplished corporate-ladder-climbing executive discounts work/life balance, explaining that he does not believe in it. “I believe more in pursuing your passion and finding a way to get paid for it, and working for a company that has a strong culture and leads from there to produce results; I have a passion for what I do and because Regions believes in community involvement, my work and personal ambitions tend to blend together.” When he can, Li loves to travel the world — mostly to Asia. At home, rides a Harley Davidson Road King that he likes to ride to work on and around town or across the country. He was born in Flushing, New York. His formal education includes a BA in Communication from Mizzou (the University of Missouri), where he also earned a Master’s in Economics. He summed up his academic lettering with a MBA from the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. His professional advice: 1.  Always know the value that you bring to an organization.  If you don’t know, take a step back to either equip yourself for value or find another organization 2.  Spend some time in sales no matter what your end goal is because at the end of the day, your organization needs customers and this will allow you to be focused on the customer no matter what role you end up playing. 3.   Organizations run on influence – not formal hierarchy – so understand your own power-base and how it fits into the power pyramid of your organization.  Your employer may just care more about how you get it done than your ability to get it done.

who’s who diversity in color

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Corporate Highlights



Our success is driven by diverse ideas, perspectives, and people

For Wells Fargo Advisors, diversity is more than a strategic goal and a core value for our firm — it’s the driving force behind our commitment and appreciation for different ideas, perspectives, and people. Wells Fargo Advisors is committed to building a diverse work force that mirrors the communitites in which we live and work.

To learn more about our firm or career opportunities, visit

Wells Fargo recognizes and values the diversity of its employees, customers, and business partners. Wells Fargo is an Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Employer, Minority/Female/Disabled/Veteran/Gender Identity/Sexual Orientation. Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC. © 2016 – 2018 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. All rights reserved. CAR-0419-02990 IHA-5683701



Fighting to protect our seniors ELDER FINANCIAL ABUSE ON THE RISE

Elder financial abuse has the potential to impact all of us on some level. Whether you are protecting a loved one from becoming a victim or actively taking precautions to protect your personal estate or property, fraud and exploitation is a risk that grows as people age. Elder financial abuse spans a broad spectrum of predatory behavior, such as forging checks, misusing power of attorney, exploiting loneliness, or scamming/ deceiving someone by using scare tactics or exaggerated claims to get money. With nearly $37 billion lost each year to crimes such as these , Wells Fargo is among the financial services companies working to prevent and stop the crime before it takes root. In 2006, the brokerage division of Wells Fargo – Wells Fargo Advisors – began to focus significantly more on protecting our elder clients and in 2014 created a dedicated Elder Client Initiatives (ECI) team that is devoted to taking action when a financial advisor or other team member suspects a customer is the victim of financial abuse. “Everything we do is designed to help clients 1 2

avoid the devastation that could result if their life savings are shipped off to a scam,” said Ron Long, former head of WFA’s Elder Client Initiatives team and current director of Wells Fargo’s Elder Center of Excellence. Long shared that no one situation is the same. Elder financial abuse is often very complex and emotionally charged – and the ECI team is trained to help navigate these difficulties and offer personalized guidance on how each individual situation should ideally move forward. A frequent misconception that Ron hears is that it won’t happen to me or my family. In 2018, Wells Fargo commissioned a research study to better understand how seniors and their adult children were preparing for issues related to aging. The results showed an alarming disparity between the number of individuals who think seniors are at risk and the number that think they personally are at risk.

(46%) of this same group of respondents shared they know someone who has fallen victim . “Putting a blindfold on and acting like potential exploitation isn’t all around us only further enables these crimes,” Long said. “Taking proactive and preventive measures will be critical in safeguarding your nest egg.” For more information on how you can protect yourself or someone you love, visit Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. Investment and Insurance Products: NOT FDIC-Insured/NO Bank Guarantee/ MAY Lose Value

Nearly all (98%) older Americans and adult children believe that older people are susceptible to scams and exploitation and yet only one in ten older Americans (10%) feel they are susceptible. But nearly half

True Link Financial. “True Link Report on Elder Financial Abuse.” 2015 Wells Fargo. “Elder Needs Survey.” 2018 who’s who diversity in color

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Nadida Amatullah-Matin C O N T R O L S A N A LY S T

Nadida Amatullah-Matin joined Wells Fargo Advisors in 2000, and currently serves as a Controls Analyst within Supervision. In this role, she partners with field leadership to mitigate risk to clients, financial advisors and the firm. Nadida is the founder and Executive Director of Abdul-Wakil M Kamal Memorial Foundation and Matin House, two Saint Louis based nonprofits addressing recidivism and human trafficking. Besides spearheading two not-for-profit organizations, she is also a member of the League of Women Voters, co-leader for MOMs Demand Action – STL, and on the planning committee for 2018 & 2019 St. Louis Women’s March. In 2014, Nadida was asked to join Mother 2 Mother, a conversation between mothers of color and their white counterparts, about “the talk” they have with their Black sons and daughters regarding interactions with law enforcement. Over the past 5 years, Nadida has participated in more than 30 such conversations and was one of the featured panelists in the PBS documentary, “The Talk”. She also co-owns a 22,000 square foot warehouse, where the doors are opened during inclement weather to her unhoused community. “It is here at WFA where I learned “lead yourself, lead your team and lead the business”! It is that attitude which has allowed me to see an issue in my community, and be a leader to the solution.


Lu Reames has approximately 17 years of compliance and legal experience within financial services.  He has been very active in building relationships within the greater St. Louis community with the goal of fostering a more diverse and inclusive community.  He founded the Black/African-American Connections Team Member Network (TMN) St. Louis Chapter, and has served on the boards of Heat-up Cooldown St. Louis Non-profit and the Boy Scouts of America. Lu presently serves as the Central Region Chair for the B/AAC TMN and a member of the B/AAC Executive Leadership Team.  In this role, he has been able to influence leaders to support Diversity & Inclusion goals by becoming active members, mentors and sponsors within the TMNs.  He has also been very active in encouraging diverse team members to lend voice and action to advancing us on our D&I journey.  Lu holds a Juris Doctor from the David A Clarke School of Law (Washington D.C.) and matriculated at University of Maryland School of Law.  Lu also holds a BA from Gardner-Webb University.    “I am excited and encouraged by the level of commitment and action taking place where we are all assuming a bold, courageous role in willing our D&I future into existence.” 74



Ronald C. Long D I R E C TO R O F E L D E R C L I E N T I N I T I AT I V E S

Ronald C. Long currently is the Director of Elder Client Initiatives, reporting to the Control Executive for Wells Fargo Advisors. In this role, he works with business units to help them stay abreast of the changing regulatory and social environment concerning issues related to the aging client. He has spoken at numerous conferences for those in financial services as well as at meetings sponsored by the Institutes of Medicine, American Society on Aging, and the White House Conference on Aging. Prior to his current position, Ron worked in Regulatory Affairs for Wells Fargo Advisors. In this role, Ron visited securities regulators nationally, ensuring they are aware of firm and industry concerns. Before joining WFA’s predecessor Wachovia Securities, Ron was District Administrator of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Philadelphia District Office. In 1994, he assumed the position of Counselor to Chairman Arthur Levitt where he was instrumental in helping the Chairman launch the first-ever securities arbitration law clinic focused on having law students learn by assisting smaller investors in pursuing securities arbitration claims. Ron started his legal career as an associate with the San Jose, California law firm of Hoge, Fenton, Jones and Appel, Inc., where he conducted insurance defense and coverage civil litigation. He is a graduate of Williams College and received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

Rodnée Warr C O M P L I A N C E C O N S U LT A N T

Rodnée Warr is a Wells Fargo Advisors Compliance Consultant within the newly formed Wealth & Investment Management Business Control group. Rodnée has been with WFA and its predecessor firms since 2004.    She began in the Law Department as a senior paralegal, then moved to the Elder Client Initiatives Team within Compliance, which has been realigned under WIM Business Control.  She has a B.A. from California State University, Fullerton and a paralegal certificate from UCLA.   She is now working on her Master’s in Gerontology at Webster University in St. Louis. As a Case Specialist, Rodnée is responsible for investigating concerns from the field about possible elder and vulnerable adult financial abuse, and for reporting to state regulatory agencies. She also provides education and risk base expertise to WFA business channels and offices throughout the U.S. “This is the most satisfying work I have ever done in my career.  I am so proud to work for a company that listens and responds to employees.” In addition to her work responsibilities, Rodnée finds time to lead as a board member of the Women’s Team Member Network.  She collaborates across the firm to produce engaging, inclusion-related events on campus.

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Ronald Sakai, CFA, is a Manager in the Communications Compliance Group at Wells Fargo Advisors, where he has worked since 1999. His primary responsibility is supervising a team of compliance professionals who ensure firm communications comply with regulatory requirements, internal guidelines, and other risk related issues. Ron started in the financial services industry as a registered representative in 1984. He spent the next 14 years working with clients in various roles before becoming a compliance professional in 1998. Mr. Sakai earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 2000. Ron is an advocate of Wells Fargo’s diversity and inclusion efforts, having led the local Asian Connection Team Member Network from 2009-2011. He remains active in various roles, including serving as South Region Chair responsible for seven chapters including St Louis. Ron is a board member of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) St Louis chapter as well as a regional representative on JACL’s National Education and New Member committees. He is also treasurer and a board member for the St Louis Chapter of the Japan America Society. “I am extremely proud to be part of the D&I effort at Wells Fargo Advisors where we value and embrace differences.”


Otha Jones is a Manager and Senior Vice President of Compliance at Wells Fargo Advisors. He has over fifteen years of management and leadership experience. In 2002, Otha initiated management of a team dedicated to conducting internal investigations. His responsibilities now include managing the firm’s heightened supervision, Pre-Registration and internal compliance disciplinary programs. Otha began his career in the financial services industry as a Financial Planner with American Express Financial Services in 1990. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Richmond and holds a number of securities registrations. He is an active member of the National Society of Compliance Professionals and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. He is a graduate of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s Wharton Leadership Program, and the St. Louis Diversity Initiative Fellows Leadership program. Otha’s passion in life is to be an impactful humanitarian. For over ten years in the Department of Corrections in Richmond Virginia he mentored numerous young men who were incarcerated and often lost in the system. He co-owned and operated a group home for at-risk teens for over five years. He developed a comprehensive program to provide a support system to help them develop the living skills needed to become productive members of society. 76




Beverly Jo Slaughter is a Senior Managing Counsel in the Wealth and Investment Management Litigation section of the Wells Fargo Legal Department. Bev and her team handle WIM litigation concerning recruitment and promissory note issues, intra-industry disputes concerning privacy and customer data claims, and customer arbitration matters.  In this role, Bev is not only responsible for litigation matters but also fostering strong and collaborative relationships with her business partners.  Bev and her peers are focused on proactively helping team members understand and mitigate risk while achieving business success. Bev speaks at forums across the country, including the National Bar Association, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority sponsored events.  She is a past member of FINRA’s National Arbitration and Mediation Committee and previously Secretary of Shakespeare St. Louis.  Bev is a graduate of SUNY-Empire State and received her JD from the Fordham University School of Law.  She and her husband Bill are avid travelers. “For many years of my career, I was the only one who looked like me in the room.  Working at Wells Fargo has given me the opportunity to pursue and achieve my professional goals and it shares my commitment to attracting diverse lawyers to the financial services industry.”


With Wells Fargo Advisors since 2001, Darius Miller is a Vice President and Compliance Manager for the Retirement and Fiduciary Compliance team within the Financial Products Compliance group. Darius provides advice to business leaders concerning retirement plan and fiduciary compliance matters. A graduate of the Saint Louis University School of Law and member of the Missouri Bar, Darius has committed himself to ongoing professional development by obtaining Series 7, Series 66 and Series 24 registrations, and involvement in industry groups such as the Securities Industry and Financial Markets (SIFMA) State and Local Government Committee. Darius enjoys mentoring, acting as a mentor for the WFA Mentoring Program and the WFA Emerging Leaders Mentoring Program. Darius is also committed to his community and church, serving in a variety of organizations, and acting as lead elder at his local church. “My grandmother, a small business owner for more than 40 years, instilled in me the value of education, hard work and service to others,” Darius recounts. “She always stressed the importance of responding to life’s challenges with faith, and not fear.” Darius notes that these lessons inspire him daily to be a force for good in both his professional and private life. Most notably, Darius is proud to be a loving husband to his wife Takilya and devoted father to their three sons (Camden, age 12; Case, age 11; and Cade, age 10). who’s who diversity in color

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Edgar Umana joined Wells Fargo Advisors in 2007; he currently is a Supervision Manager. In this role, he manages a group of Qualified Supervisors who are charged with assessing risk of Financial Advisors and field leaders to mitigate the exposure to the firm, associates and/or clients. Edgar has held leadership roles with the PRIDE and Latin Connection Team Member Networks of Wells Fargo; and, currently serves on the Board of Directors of Black Tulip Chorale in St. Louis, MO. “I grew up in a very conservative family with strong religious and cultural influences. Being my true self was hard since I felt I was disappointing my family members. It was not until I moved to the US and started working for this firm, that I realized the best way to be happy and enjoy my life was to accept myself as a gay person. Now, I am able to bring my whole self to work, with no fear, and give the best possible to those around me with a sincere heart.”


Darrell Jackson, Managing Director of Supervision at Wells Fargo Advisors is responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction around centralized supervision efforts onshore and offshore within various divisions of the firm. He directs a team that conducts sales practice reviews on behalf of Senior Leaders, Regional Presidents and Branch Managers. This includes the implementation and monitoring of supervision policies, procedures and controls to ensure that Financial Advisors, Branch Managers and staff are in compliance with all regulatory and firm policies in support of Clients, First, Always.  Additional areas of responsibility include Business Controls, Policies & Practices and Registration. A native of Richmond, Virginia, Darrell attended James Madison University earning a Bachelor of Science in Communications. In addition, he obtained a Master of Business Administration degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and attended the Securities Industry Institute, hosted by The Wharton School.  He holds Series 3,7,9,10,63 and 65 registrations. Darrell currently serves on the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s Regional Supervisory Roundtable, WFA’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and WFA’s Senior Leadership Board.   He also created the Supervision Engagement Committee that annually supports a number of local organizations. 78




Kam Johnson is currently Director of Supervision, Risk and Surveillance for Wells Fargo Advisors. Kam oversees two teams whose key focus is to ensure Digital Advisors help clients achieve their financial goals the right way and elevate risk awareness within the business. She began her career in the financial services industry in 1996, building experience at Edward Jones as a Senior Field Supervision Director and Fixed-Income Specialist on the trading desk. In 2006, Kam transitioned to serve as VP/ Market Governance and Risk Manager, and Market Executive Committee member with U.S. Trust. She was hired by Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network (FiNet) in 2009, and served as a Regional Supervisor and Divisional Supervisory Manager. Kam earned her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration – Finance and Banking from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is a member of the Digital and Automated Investing Operating Committee, both the WFA Black/AfricanAmerican and Women’s Team Member Networks, as well as a St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative graduate. Kam was recognized as one of the 2017 YWCA Women Leaders in the Workplace. She is very active in the community as a tutor and a mentor. Kam is a member of the board of directors for Cornerstone Center for Early Learning, and served as a Captain for the 2014 WFA Community Support and United Way Campaign.

Jeffery Rodgers C O U N S E L I N T H E W E A LT H A N D I N V E S T M E N T M A N A G E M E N T L I T I G AT I O N

Jeffery Rodgers serves as Counsel in the Wealth and Investment Management (“WIM”) Litigation section of the Wells Fargo Legal Department. He works on Sales Practice matters handling customer arbitrations before Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and associated litigation. He also manages litigation in state and federal courts, and represents Wells Fargo Advisors and its Financial Advisors in out-of-court negotiations and settlements. Jeffery earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas School of Law and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Florida A&M University. He currently serves on the Young Friends Board of Loyola Academy and on the Board of the Sophia Project. He is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., 100 Black Men of Metropolitan St. Louis, and Urban League Young Professionals of Metropolitan St. Louis. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Harris-Stowe State University teaching Freshman Seminar. “As a graduate of a Historically Black College and University, it is important for me to teach and serve as a role model to the students of Harris-Stowe State University and let them know how important my education has been to my success at Wells Fargo and how Wells Fargo values me and my perspective.”

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Maryville is a diverse and welcoming campus. Students from around the world see themselves reflected in our community and feel connected, accepted and respected. With 100+ student organizations, 90+ academic programs and 2,500+ yearly activities, you can find your passion. Through our life coach program and our focus on personalized learning, achieve success at Maryville. Schedule a campus visit—and prepare to be inspired. Learn more at


Konrad Dias, PT, DPT, PhD, CCS P R O F E S S O R O F P H Y S I C A L T H E R A P Y AT M A R Y V I L L E U N I V E R S I T Y

As a professor of physical therapy, Konrad Dias, PT, PDT, PhD, is improving the quality of life for individuals with chronic lung and heart disease. He is a board certified Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Clinical Specialist and brings over 15 years of clinical and research experience into the classroom to effectively instruct graduate students in this specialized field of study. Dias helped create a joint Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Residency program with the VA St. Louis Health Care System and Maryville University. The 12-month residency program is one of eight accredited programs in the nation and is designed to train clinicians who can integrate specialty knowledge and skills to demonstrate advanced clinical decision-making in the field of cardiopulmonary physical therapy. Residents provide St. Louis area veterans with outstanding, evidence-based physical therapy services throughout their adult lifespan and across the entire spectrum of practice settings. Throughout his career, Dias has provided continuing education opportunities for physical therapists nationally and internationally. He has served as a guest speaker for the Missouri and Arizona Physical Therapy Associations, the American Physical Therapy Association national conference and at international conferences in Kuwait, Chile, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago. Additionally, Dias recently created a partnership with the Kindred Foundation to develop a practice facilitation model with the goal of improving practice in the management of patients with heart failure.

Karlla Dozier, J.D. A S S I S TA N T D E A N F O R C O M P L I A N C E / T I T L E I X C O O R D I N ATO R

Karlla Dozier, J.D., is a legal and higher education specialist with more than 13 years of combined experience in law and higher education. In her role as assistant dean for compliance/Title IX coordinator, Dozier is responsible for the development, implementation and enforcement of a comprehensive compliance program that encourages adherence to federal civil rights laws and all university policies and procedures related to equity and inclusion. In consultation with other university offices, including the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Dozier developments and implements Title IX training and education programs. These programs are targeted toward a variety of audiences including students, faculty and staff. Dozier also directed initiatives designed to recruit and retain diverse faculty and staff members. These include changes to hiring practices such as internal and external recruitment strategies as well increased diversity training for hiring committees. Since those efforts began, the number of diverse faculty and staff has tripled. Before joining Maryville, Dozier worked as a career advisor at Washington University School of Law, and as assistant director and senior attorney for a local nonprofit focused on civil rights litigation. She also spent six years as a trial attorney in the private sector. 82




Several Maryville University programs have gained a reputation for excellence under the leadership of Guangwei Fan, PhD, director of the actuarial science, data science and mathematics programs and professor of mathematics and actuarial science. Students come to Maryville from around the world to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in these programs. In the classroom, Fan leads by recruiting Maryville alumni and other business professionals from companies like RGA, Bayer/Monsanto, MasterCard and Pfizer to teach. Many of his students are hired before completing their studies. These full-time positions often evolve from lucrative internships and co-op programs. Many alumni report career success and give high marks to their academic training. Fan wrote Maryville University’s first e-textbook and has since written four more. The most recent e-textbook, “Everyday Data with R Commander,” has been used as the official textbook for Math 102, which provides students with a foundation to the world of data science. The textbook was also used to facilitate faculty professional development through the university’s Finch Center for Teaching and Learning.


As a member of Maryville University’s School of Adult and Online Education, Caitlin Ladd, M.A., is opening new doors for people who balance work and family life, and require flexible learning environments. In her role as director of admission and advising for on-campus programs/strategic partnership coordinator, Ladd oversees enrollment strategies and recruitment for students taking the bold step of starting a college program for the first time or finishing an uncompleted degree. She also works with students who are pursuing an advanced degree to further their professional careers or begin new careers. Ladd helped found Mocha T.E.A., a group focused on the engagement and retention of women of color across the Maryville campus. Members gather monthly for fellowship and professional development opportunities including educational webinars, book clubs and talks given by guest speakers. The group also hosts a mentorship program which pairs faculty, staff and students to learn from one another. Previously, Ladd served as assistant director of admissions for Maryville University. In that role, she helped increase the university’s on ground student population. Ladd has also served as an adjunct faculty member for Maryville’s John E. Simon School of Business. who’s who diversity in color

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Destiny Reddick, EdD A S S I S TA N T D E A N F O R T H E S C H O O L O F E D U C AT I O N

Destiny Reddick, PhD, assistant dean for the school of education, has been instrumental in building a more diverse and inclusive Maryville community. In her role with the school of education, Reddick develops teacher candidates who recognize and acknowledge how the external realities of American schools and the historical landscape of America, including institutional systems such as racism, influence American schools, curriculum and the work of classrooms. She has taught numerous courses, and currently co-teaches the course “School and Society” which focuses on how to become a morally responsible educator in a diverse and democratic society. Reddick facilitates a series of small book group discussions for Maryville faculty and staff featuring titles surrounding issues of race in America including “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America” by Michael Eric Dyson. The popular and well-attended book groups have led to opportunities for the faculty and staff to openly discuss their perceptions and experiences through their own cultural lenses. Previously, Reddick served as an instructional specialist for the Hazelwood School District in North St. Louis County. She continues to support North County schools by serving on the Board of Directors for A Red Circle, a nonprofit that addresses racial injustice in the North County region


Art Santirojprapai, PhD, assistant dean of the college of arts and sciences, encourages Maryville students to think critically about the world around them. In his English and dramatic literature courses, he leads thoughtful, intentional discussions to help students challenge traditional ways of thinking and embrace diverse viewpoints. In partnership with the Maryville Office of Study Abroad, Santirojprapai taught the class “Drama and Theatre of England” in Oxford, England. Students traveled throughout England to see drama in different types of theaters including stops at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London’s West End and the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon. The class allowed Santirojprapai the opportunity to instill a passion for theater and drama among Maryville students. Additionally, Santirojprapai helped reestablish the Maryville University Drama Club which produces two plays each year. The club welcomes students from all areas of study to collaborate in the entirely student-run productions. Roles include acting, directing, set design/production, stage crewing, lighting, sound, costumes, props and music. Opportunities are also available to work with print and social media advertising for the plays.



WO R K I N G TO G E T H E R . When we come together for a common goal, we can achieve uncommon results. We at Anheuser-Busch salute Who’s Who Diversity in Color for striving for a Better World.


Many Faces; One Goal At Edward Jones, we continuously work to create an inclusive work environment. By welcoming different perspectives, we can better understand our clients’ needs and consistently deliver an ideal client experience.

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Chris Lewis Edward Jones Principal Chris Lewis is general counsel and is responsible for leading all associates who provide legal support to the firm and for Compliance and Government Relations. He also serves on the Edward Jones Executive and Management Committees, which provide critical thought and lead and drive initiatives that enable Edward Jones to progress toward its vision of becoming the first choice of serious, longterm individual investors. Chris joined Edward Jones in 2007 as a principal and deputy general counsel in the Legal division. He was named general counsel in 2015. A graduate of Columbia University School of Law as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, Chris is a member of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) General Counsel Committee. He serves as a member of the board of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation, Missouri Botanical Garden and is a member of the Board of Trustees at Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y.

Larry Thomas After completing his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1977 from Washington University in St. Louis, Thomas joined the Corporate Bond Trading department at Edward Jones. Since becoming a partner in 1983, he has developed, led and coordinated many areas of the firm. Today, he leads the university channel for Financial Advisor Talent Acquisition. In addition to his undergraduate degree, he earned MBAs from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., and Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg School of Management. He also is a graduate of the Securities Industry Institute at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Thomas serves on the Executive Committee of Washington University’s Board of Trustees and is a member of the Alumni Board of Governors. He sits on the National Advisory Council of the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University and is a member of its Steering Committee. Thomas serves on the Executive Committees of the United Way of Greater St. Louis, the St. Louis Zoo and Forest Park Forever (St. Louis). He also sits on the boards of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation, Provident, Inc., and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Foundation. 88



Vanessa Okwuraiwe Vanessa Okwuraiwe leads the Edward Jones Financial Advisor Career Development program, which focuses on the onboarding and retention of new financial advisors. Okwuraiwe joined Edward Jones’ former United Kingdom affiliate, Edward Jones Limited, in 2001 as an academic training leader. She later assumed responsibility for leading academic training leaders within the Training department. In 2007, Okwuraiwe moved to Financial Advisor Recruiting and Hiring, where she oversaw the growth and retention of financial advisors in the United Kingdom. In 2008, she was named a principal with the firm. In February 2010, Okwuraiwe relocated to the firm’s St. Louis headquarters to assume responsibility for the hiring and training support of the new branch office administrators. In January 2015, she assumed responsibility for the Financial Adviser Career Development program, where she remains today. Okwuraiwe earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Edo State University in Nigeria and a master’s degree in development economics from the University of Kent in Canterbury. She serves on the board of the St. Louis Community College Foundation.

Demetrius Grooms Demetrius Grooms joined Edward Jones in June 1998 as an associate in the Rotational Development Program. Over the next several years, he served in various service and support roles in the Security Processing, Service, Customer Loans, Reconciliation and Control, Insurance and Retirement areas. He was named a limited partner with the firm and joined Retirement Services in 2000. Over the years, Grooms held a variety of team leader positions. He was named a department leader in 2004 and was responsible for a variety of functions in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. In 2010, he was named a group leader, in 2012 assumed the role of director of Retirement Services, and 2015 was named a principal with the firm. Grooms earned bachelor’s degrees in applied mathematics and education from St. Louis University and an MBA from Webster University. He is the founding president of the La Salle Charter School Board and chaired the board program committee of De La Salle Middle School.

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Everett Johnson Everett Johnson is the senior director of Business Solutions Development for Edward Jones. He joined the firm in April 2007 and assumed responsibility for firmwide applications development. He was named a principal with the firm in 2008. Prior to joining Edward Jones, Johnson was a senior vice president at Citigroup Inc. in New York City. There he was charged with developing and implementing various business- critical systems at the Smith Barney retail brokerage, Asset Management and Global Transaction Services business units. Johnson, a native of New York City, attended Wagner College in New York, earning dual bachelor’s degrees in computer science and business administration. He also holds an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of business and a master’s degree in technology management from the university’s engineering school. Johnson has served on the SIFMA Technology Management Committee and the AT&T Financial Services Advisory Board. He currently serves as a board member of the St. Louis Application Development Board, Boys Hope Girls Hope of St. Louis and the Grace Hill Settlement House, a non-profit organization focused on helping the underprivileged

Irasa Downing Irasa Downing leads the Client Strategies Group (CSG) Human Resources delivery area. Irasa also provides human resources leadership as a member of the Client Strategies Strategy Group (CSSG) and, at the firm level, as a member of several Human Resources strategy and operating committees. Irasa joined Edward Jones in 2012 as the human resources leader responsible for the central division of Branch Development. There, she spearheaded a multitude of projects, including helping define the financial advisor role as the leader of his or her branch team and spearhead the strategic plan for building and implementing a field human resources organization. She was named the director of Human Resources for the Client Strategies Group in 2014. Irasa has extensive experience in the human resources industry and was the human resources manager for Energizer Battery Inc. five years. A native of Winfield, Mo., Irasa attended the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. She also holds the professional designation of Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). She and her husband, Kurtis, have two daughters, Kira and Kumari. Irasa has served with Connections to Success, formerly known as Dress for Success, since 2013. 90



Emily Pitts Emily Pitts began her Edward Jones career in 1995 as a financial advisor in Atlanta, was named a principal in 2004, and moved to the firm’s headquarters to implement marketing of credit cards and mortgage services. Today, she leads the firm’s comprehensive inclusion and diversity efforts, which helps foster an inclusive environment and delivers results. Pitts has a bachelor’s in business administration and an EMBA from Washington University. She serves on the boards of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater St. Louis, the St. Louis Urban League, and is board chair for the Diversity Awareness Partnership. She serves on the diversity committee of SIFMA and the Executive Leadership Council of corporate leaders. Pitts received the Diversity Woman’s Magazine named her one of 50 Diversity Champions in 2013, Savoy Magazine named her one of the 2014 Top Influential Women in Corporate America, the St. Louis Business Journal named her to its 25 Most Influential Business Women. Pitts received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Urban League and the St. Louis Public School signed by Former President Obama. In 2018, she received the YWCA Women’s Corporate Leadership Award



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Adrienne Davis VICE PROVOST

Vice Provost; William M. Van Cleve Professor of Law; director of the Black Sexual Economies Project for the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Work and Social Capital; and founder & coordinator of the Law & Culture Initiative As Vice Provost, Davis focuses on faculty diversity and development, consulting and collaborating closely with the university’s schools; managing a suite of programs from the Office of the Provost; and chairing key searches for the next generation of university leaders. Davis is founding director of the university wide Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity. The new inter- and transdisciplinary center will bring synergy to research already underway in these areas throughout the university — on the Danforth and Medical campuses — and be a driving force for further scholarship and collaboration. From 2015 until 2017 Davis chaired the university’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, which was charged with designing a university-wide plan for diversity. She also works closely with other stakeholders at the University on a range of institutional policies, initiatives, and programs, including ones that support students and staff. Davis is renowned for her scholarship and teaching on gender and race relations; theories of justice and reparations; feminist and critical race theory; and law and popular culture. She has written extensively on the gendered and private law dimensions of American slavery, the legal regulation of intimacy, and how culture and law converge to distribute justice


Norwood’s research focuses on colorism, implicit bias, and the intersection of race, class, and public education in America. She lectures around the nation and the world on colorism, various social justice/civil rights issues, implicit and explicit bias issues, and was part of the national team of experts consulted to advise Starbucks on its national implicit bias training agenda. She organized the first international colorism conference on U. S. soil. Global Perspectives on Colorism, supported by the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute, was held at the law school in April 2015. Scholars from around the nation and world came to share their scholarship on skin color preferences and discriminations throughout the world. She also organized a 2012 conference to commemorate the 40th anniversary of a major desegregation lawsuit filed in 1972 in St. Louis. The conference, “Liddell at 40: Commemorating the Desegregation Movement in St. Louis and a Look at the Future of Urban Education,” celebrated the efforts of Minnie Liddell to bring quality education to black children in St. Louis city public schools. That lawsuit toiled in the court system for 27 years and ultimately became one of the largest voluntary desegregation cases in the nation’s history. She is a Commissioner on the American Bar Association Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession Commission and a Commissioner on the Missouri Supreme Court Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness. Norwood is also the editor of two books, one on colorism and a second on the social injustices that gave rise to the uprising in Ferguson, Missouri.





Tokarz teaches and writes in the area of civil rights and conflict resolution. She served on the Ferguson Commission Municipal Courts working group and co-chairs the Municipal Justice subcommittee of the Missouri Supreme Court Commission on Racial & Ethnic Fairness. She served as a Missouri Supreme Court monitor for the St. Louis County municipal courts, and has participated in conclaves on court fees, fines, and bail reform at the White House, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Tokarz has been instrumental in moving forward the university’s diversity and inclusion efforts, and serves as faculty advisor to OUTLaw, which provides resources and programs in support of LGBTQ* members of the law school community. She also coordinates the law school Global Public Interest Law Fellowship program, which has placed over 200 law interns in South Africa and other African countries over the past two decades. Tokarz is the recipient of several teaching awards, including Washington University’s Founders Day Distinguished Faculty Award, the Student Bar Association Experiential Professor of the Year, and the Black Law Student Association Instructor of the Year.


Committed to combining a dedication to youth advocacy and teaching young lawyers, Kathryn Pierce Banks directs the Children’s Rights Clinic (CRC) in Washington University’s School of Law’s nationally ranked clinical legal education program. She previously was the legal services director for Voices for Children and an attorney in the Youth Advocacy Unit of the Missouri State Public Defender’s Office. From 2009 to 2014, she was a supervising attorney for the Law School’s Juvenile Law and Justice and Children & Family Advocacy Clinics and the acting director of the Criminal Justice Clinic. While teaching in the clinical program, she received the Outstanding Achievement in Practice Award from the Black Law Students Association. She is an appointed member of the Missouri Supreme Court’s Committee on Practice & Procedures in Municipal Division Cases and Task Force on Criminal Justice, having also been an appointed member of the Missouri Supreme Court’s Municipal Courts Working Group.

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Inazu’s scholarship focuses on the First Amendment freedoms of speech and assembly, religious diversity, and related questions. His most recent book, Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving Through Deep Difference, argues that we can and must live together peaceably in spite of deep and sometimes irresolvable differences over politics, religion, sexuality and other important matters. In 2013, Inazu authored a brief titled, “Peaceful Coexistence? Non-discrimination Principles With Civil Liberties” to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. In addition to “Confident Pluralism,” Inazu recently has been working at the juncture of the First Amendment and criminal law, trying to more effectively bridge those topics.  His recent article, “Unlawful Assembly as Social Control,” challenges some of the laws that regulate public protests, including those that unfolded in Ferguson. Inazu has received the law school’s David M. Becker professor of the year award.  He is a military veteran and serves as the executive director of The Carver Project, which focuses on cultivating Christian leaders at the intersection of university, church, and society.


Smith is a leading scholar in the regulation of care work that occurs both inside and outside the home, including child care, home care, and elder care. She has published widely on issues such as home-based care work, work and family balance, parental-status employment discrimination, and elder care. Smith regularly presents her scholarship at conferences and colloquia throughout the United States and overseas. In addition to her research and teaching, she is the Danforth Campus Faculty Ombuds for the university. Among her professional affiliations, she is a member of the American Law Institute and the Labor Law Group, a national organization of leading scholars in labor and employment law. She is also on the editorial board of the Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal. Prior to joining the faculty, she clerked for the Hon. Michael Boudin, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit; earned an M.A. in African American Studies at Yale University; and held several teaching fellowships and positions at other law schools. 96




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Temeka Gauss is a Human Resource Business Partner at St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH) with leadership responsibility for workforce Diversity and Inclusion. Temeka is passionate about advancing this work on behalf of our patients, families and employees.    Temeka’s areas of focus include recruiting a diverse workforce, engaging a diverse workforce, and developing a diverse workforce. This three prong approach is effective as we are looking to acquire and retain our diverse workforce. Temeka’s work is reported to the community benefit committee of the SLCH board and is reviewed by our internal diversity and inclusion executive steering committee. Temeka has a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Missouri-St. Louis and a Masters of Business Administration from Strayer University. 

Debra Parran MSN, RN, CPN, CPEN, TNS

Debra Parran MSN, RN, CPN, TNS has been a BJC Healthcare System employee for 23 years – 18 of those years were in the emergency room at Saint Louis Children’s Hospital. She currently works as the Assistant Nurse Manager of SLCH Procedure Center and serves as co- lead of the Diverse Nurses Connection Group. Parran received her BSN from Saint Louis University in 1984 and her MSN from Webster University in 2016. Her certifications include certified pediatric nurse and trauma nurse specialist. Parran is a fellow in the Saint Louis Business Diversity Initiative Program. Past honors include 2013 March of Dimes Pediatric Nurse of the Year and induction into the Sigma Theta Tau International Honors Society of Nursing in 2016. Parran has been featured in the SLCH documentary series “The Frontline for Hope” and the Guardians for Childhood campaign. She believes nursing is a science in its own right requiring critical thinking skills to analyze the global picture. Administering safe, effective, and efficient care with love and providing support to every patient and family is her mission. For Parran, nursing is not just a career, it’s a vocation. 102


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Orvin T. Kimbrough Orvin Kimbrough has served as the CEO of Midwest BankCentre since January 2019. Midwest BankCentre, a mainstay of St. Louis community banking since 1906, empowers people, enables business and energizes neighborhoods through the strength of its financial services. It ranks among St. Louis’ largest locally owned banks with assets exceeding $1.9 billion. Prior to joining MBC, Mr. Kimbrough served as the president and CEO of United Way of Greater St. Louis, the largest United Way affiliate in the nation, which raised nearly $80 million annually. Growing up in the Missouri foster care system and having witnessed tragedies far beyond his years, Orv credits his faith, determination and a strong support system in helping him build a career and passion for helping people. He has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Missouri - Columbia, a Master of Business Administration from University of Missouri – St. Louis and a Master of Arts in Theology from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis. Orv is an adjunct instructor at the Brown School of Social Work for Washington University in St. Louis. He serves on the board of Mid-America Transplant, Lewis and Clark Community College and Washington University’s Olin Business School – Bauer Leadership Center.

Sara Yang Bosco Sara Yang Bosco was appointed senior vice president, secretary and general counsel for Emerson in May 2016. In this role, she is responsible for Emerson’s legal affairs, as well as providing legal counsel on a wide range of matters, such as mergers and acquisitions, compliance, dispute resolution, and corporate and commercial operational matters. In 2016, she was named to Emerson’s Office of the Chief Executive, which helps develop and guide the company’s global business strategies. Bosco has more than 30 years of legal experience, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, cross-border investment and joint ventures. She has been named one of Asia’s leading business lawyers in AsiaLaw’s past annual surveys. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association and the American Bar Association. Bosco served six years on the board of directors of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, most recently as a member of the executive committee and treasurer. She is also an Emerson representative on the US-China Business Council. While living in Hong Kong, she served as a visiting professor to the business school of Nanjing University, China, and also served on an advisory group for a program jointly offered by the faculties of business administration and law of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, as well as the executive MBA program at Chinese University. She also served as an advisor to the China Europe International Business School based in Shanghai. A U.S. Midwesterner by birth, Bosco speaks and writes Mandarin Chinese. Bosco holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from the University of Notre Dame. She received her Juris Doctorate from Indiana University Bloomington and in 2014 was named to its Academy of Law Alumni Fellows, the highest honor bestowed by the university’s Maurer School of Law.




Charles Mallett Charles Mallett is a Human Resource Business Partner at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Formerly, Charles was an HR Business Partner for BJC’s Behavioral Health, Corporate Health and Home Care organizations supporting our underserved populations and communities. Charles’s advocacy will continue for the underserved as he now supports our youth as a Guardian of Childhood with St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Charles is passionate about Organizational Development, Leadership Development and Professional Mentorship. With years of leadership experience, Charles engages his passions facilitating leadership trainings and individual coaching focusing on the elements: team culture, team development and inclusion. Charles is a participant of the St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative and serves on the leadership team for Society of Multicultural Professionals in Human Resources. Charles has a B.A. of Psychology from Alabama A&M University and Masters of Business Administration from Webster University.

Sha’Neco Fennoy Sha’Neco Fennoy, an epidemiologist, has decades of effort in public health, focusing on public administration and communications. Her broad range of experiences include program development, community board advisory roles and cultural competency programs within international and domestic settings. Fennoy has been involved in government sector projects in Kuwait, Iraq and Dubai. She has developed public health initiatives and programs for some of the most underserved communities in St. Louis and the Metro East. As the Program Manager of Raising St. Louis, Fennoy has worked to integrate Community Health Workers and Father Engagement specialist to complement the program and aid in addressing social determinants of health and shortening the disparity gap between black and white moms as it relates to healthy birth outcomes. She presented at National Conference such as APHA, National Academy of Science, and Parents as Teachers among others. A graduate of Grambling State University with a degree in kinesiology, she holds master degrees’ in public health and public administration from Texas Southern University. Specific interest in family and child health inequities and social support networks to improve these disparities.

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Angel Jimenez-Gutierrez Angel Jimenez-Gutierrez moved to St. Louis when he was 22 with only $1,000 to his name. He worked at multiple restaurants until starting his own restaurant, Señor Pique, in Ballwin, which brought him much success. Angel has successfully opened many businesses, including The Detailing Pros, a car-detailing shop, Malinche, a gourmet Mexican restaurant, and Profundiza, a restaurant-consulting firm which has helped dozens of restaurant owners manage key aspects of the business.  Angel is a board member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and has received many awards for his service to other minority-owned businesses, including Mosaic Immigrant Food Award and the Hispanic Chamber’s Business Person of the Year.

Denise Bursey Denise Bursey is the TSC Engagement Coordinator for Amazon in Saint Louis, MO. In her role she ensures that candidates and stakeholders experience the highest level of Customer Obsession for Amazon fulfillment centers and partners with local community groups such as workforce development agencies and community colleges to leverage grassroots sourcing channels to develop talent communities for her organization. Prior to her role at Amazon she spent over 7 years working in Human Resources for other area organizations. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Studies from Fontbonne University and two Master degrees in HR Management and HR Training and Development from Webster University.  Denise is a native to Saint Louis and currently resides in Florissant, MO with her husband and 4 children. She serves on the fundraising committee for KEEN St. Louis, a nonprofit organization that provides recreational opportunities for children with developmental and physical disabilities at no cost to their families. Denise is also a financial member of Eta Mu Sigma chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Incorporated where she is a Rhoer advisor to their young woman affiliate and serves as chairperson for their St. Jude Fundraising Committee.




Georgina Randazzo Georgina Randazzo arrived in the U.S. with her family from Mexico in 1980. Randazzo successfully finished a degree in Fine Arts (Interior Design) and Small Business Administration from Maryville University, which would eventually lead her to become founder and CEO of one of the top corporate furnishing companies in the region, Facilitec Corporate Furnishings.  Randazzo still manages the day-to-day operations at Facilitec, because “I like to be with our team and be involved. I’m passionate about our industry; it’s been my calling since 1986,” she said.  Georgina is a board member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and is always ready to mentor fellow women and minority-owned businesses on how to achieve the same success she has.

Gabriela Ramirez Originally from Guanajuato, Mexico and inspired by her own experience growing up as a poor immigrant in the United States, Gabriela has a passion and commitment to help others. Since moving to Michigan, she saw the importance of helping others so she and daughters learned leadership, health, and communication by teaching these essentials to elementary and middle school students. Now back in St. Louis, Gabriela finds her voice helping small business owners achieve their dreams and was named one of the top 100 people to know in St. Louis to succeed in business in 2017 and recognized as a Diversity Champion by the MO Department of Transportation and Diversity and Inclusion Champion by the St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers in 2018. Gabriela sits on the board of the Contractor Loan Fund, the St. Louis Equity and Inclusion Collective, United Way Multicultural Leadership Society, Fontbonne University and others as she is trying to conquer her fear of networking and speaking in public. She and her husband own a Mexican restaurant in O’Fallon, MO and her grown children make her proud every day.

who’s who diversity in color

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Haniny Hillberg Haniny Hillberg, a native of Bolivia, has been responsible for the largest celebrations of Hispanic heritage in St. Louis. Hillberg and her daughter, Elisa, continue to run for more than 25 years their organization, aptly named Hispanic Festival Inc. Hispanic Festival Inc., organizes the Greater St. Louis Hispanic Festival in Soulard in the fall; Fiesta in Florissant in the spring; and a celebration of Dia de Los Muertos at the Missouri History Museum in November. Each of the events attracts hundreds of vendors and thousands of attendees, many of them yearning for a taste of home. Hillberg recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis for her contributions to the Hispanic community of St. Louis.

Lusnail Rondon Haberberger Lusnail Rondon Haberberger, a Venezuelan-born American, is the president and founder of LUZCO Technologies, LLC, a top-rated local engineering firm.   Haberberger drew from her skills as an electrical engineer and seasoned project manager for large-scale infrastructure projects to compile a team of certified project managers who thrive on delivering best-in-class services and exceptional results. Haberberger founded LUZCO Technologies, LLC with the goal of creating a diverse workplace that values innovative ideas and a work-life balance.  LUZCO has more than tripled its revenue since the company launched in 2017. In addition to the award presented yesterday, LUZCO has won several other awards, including the 2019 SBA Small Business Week, St. Louis District, Startup Small Business of the Year and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis 2018 Adelante Award for Hispanic Emerging Business of the Year. For Haberberger, this is just the beginning. She hopes LUZCO’s continued success, and its awards and recognition will inspire other women and minorities to pursue STEM careers and leadership roles.




Major Deberry Major Deberry is Director of Business Development for St. Louis Community Credit Union. In his role, DeBerry works to form strategic partnerships for the members of the credit union. DeBerry provides access to services for business owners so they can improve their quality of life and be a happy, productive member of the St. Louis region. DeBerry works tirelessly to form strategic partnerships with financial institutions, community development organizations, and other stakeholders in the region to create a more prosperous St. Louis.

Dr. Kendra Holmes Dr. Kendra Holmes serves as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Affinia Healthcare. The community health center’s network consists of 12 locations, which provide primary and preventive health services to those most vulnerable in the St. Louis area. She began her career at Affinia Healthcare in 2003 as a staff pharmacist.  Within two years, she was promoted to Director of Pharmacy Services.  In 2012, she was promoted to Director of Pharmacy and Radiology services. In 2014, Dr. Holmes was named the Vice President of Clinical Integration and Ancillary Services, and in 2015, she accepted the role of Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Holmes is a St. Louis native and graduate of the St. Louis College of Pharmacy. She serves on the St. Louis College of Pharmacy Board of Trustees, and an active board member of the HealthWorks! Kids’ Museum. Her posthumous recognition includes St. Louis Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Class (2015), St. Louis American Foundation’s Excellence in Healthcare Award (2016), and the St. Louis College of Pharmacy Distinguished African-American Alumni Award (2013). 

who’s who diversity in color

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Yvonne M. Buhlinger Yvonne M. Buhlinger serves as Executive Vice President of the Affinia Healthcare Foundation and Vice President of Development and Community Relations for Affinia Healthcare. The Foundation works to secure resources to address unmet healthcare needs in our community. The community health center provides primary and preventive health services at 12 locations serving the most vulnerable in the St. Louis area. In 1996, she joined Affinia Healthcare as the Coordinator of Managed Care, and has held various management positions during her 23 years with the organization. In 2015, Mrs. Buhlinger assumed the role of Vice President of Development and Community Relations, and in 2018, she accepted the additional role of Executive Vice President of the newly formed Affinia Healthcare Foundation. Mrs. Buhlinger, born and raised in Venezuela, came to St. Louis to learn English at Webster University.  She holds a B.S in Psychology and a Masters of Social Work, both from Washington University in St. Louis.  Mrs. Buhlinger also holds a Fellowship in Community Health Center Executive Management from Kansas University Medical Center.  She also is the incoming Chair of Webster University’s Parent Council. 

Angelia D. Bills, M.S.W. Since 2003, Angelia D. Bills has served as Vice President of Communications for the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. In this capacity, she manages and directs communications, marketing, advertising and social media programs for the entire agency. She also provides professional assistance to the President in the planning, design, development and management of strategic communications projects, speech writing and news columns. During her tenure, she has secured over $1 million in free advertising and media partnerships to promote the agency and the National Urban League Conferences in 2007 and 2017. In addition, she also successfully planned and executed the groundbreaking and grand opening of the Ferguson Community Empowerment Center. Currently, Bills has arranged media partnerships with KSDK Channel 5, KMOV Channel 4, KTVI – Fox 2, the St. Louis American, Town & Style, Gazelle Magazine and the Ladue News for the Urban League. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Howard University, a Master of Social Work Degree, specializing in Social and Economic Development from Washington University-in-St. Louis and a Consortium for Leadership Development Certificate from Harris-Stowe State University.




Kel Ward M A N A G E R O F C O M M U N I T Y R E L AT I O N S F O R S T. LO U I S C H I L D R E N ’ S H O S P I TA L

Kel is Manager of Community Relations for St. Louis Children’s Hospital where he promotes the presence and visibility of the hospital along with building community partnerships across Missouri and Illinois. He oversees the Community and Faith Advisory Boards and has assumed additional responsibilities as a Steering Committee member for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, providing guidance and making recommendations for effective interventions to reduce health disparities, increase patient and employee satisfaction, and improve recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce. He also helped create the hospital’s new program, Raising St. Louis, working with families to navigate the healthcare system and access social services resources. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice and a certificate in Conflict Mediations/Resolution from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Kel worships at Pleasant Green and Liberty Community Bible Churches and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Kel and his wife have three children.

Adella D. Jones Adella D. Jones is the Director of Marketing and Community Outreach for Home State Health, the Missouri subsidiary of Centene Corporation based in Clayton, Missouri. Home State is a managed care provider serving Missouri families enrolled in MO HealthNet Managed Care. Jones is responsible for increasing brand awareness and knowledge of the health plan among medical providers, plan members and healthcare advocates throughout the state of Missouri. Since Home State began operations on July 1, 2012, Jones launched a number of successful community partnerships and initiatives. Prior to joining Home State, Jones served as the Vice President of Government & Community Affairs for Metro, the agency that operates public transit in the St. Louis region. She was responsible for oversight of the agency’s internal and external communications program, as well as directing the agency’s legislative agenda. Jones is a graduate of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. She previously served as St. Louis press secretary for Missouri’s Third District Congressman Richard Gephardt. She has also served as director of communications and chief spokesperson for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

who’s who diversity in color

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LaToya Daughrity RN, BSN, MHA N E O N ATA L N U R S E M A N A G E R AT S T. LO U I S C H I L D R E N ’ S H O S P I TA L

LaToya Daughrity is a Neonatal Nurse Manager at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The NICU is a 125 bed unit with over 300 staff members. My job responsibilities include; hiring new nurses, performance evaluations, coaching, mentoring, cultural transformation, campus renewal, employee engagement, ensuring patient satisfaction scores and community involvement. She recently received her Master’s degree in Health Care Administration in an effort to increase her knowledge in the health care field from a global perspective. LaToya is currently in the St. Louis Business Diversity Leaders Fellowship, where she is able to network with other diverse leaders in the St. Louis area.

Lisa Glover-Jones B U S I N E S S M A N A G E R W I T H T H E H E A LT H Y K I D S E X P R E S S P R O G R A M O F S T LO U I S C H I L D R E N ’ S H O S P I TA L

As a Business Manager with the Healthy Kids Express Program of St Louis Children’s Hospital Lisa Glover-Jones believes it is imperative that they improve health outcomes for the community they serve. Possessing a natural enthusiasm to bridge the gap, working in healthcare as a liaison for patients has always been a passion for her. She transitioned into the role of Business Manager after working as the Supervisor for the Child Health Advocacy and Outreach Department.  In her day to day role, she manages Asthma Coaches, Mobile Health Drivers, Community Health Educators, Community Health Workers, Social Workers, dental clinicians, perform budgetary reviews, coordinate with community partners, train student healthcare clinicians, and educate children in grades PreK – 5th on asthma self-management strategies. Her eagerness to serve in the community led to being appointed and elected to the Board of Education in the Ritenour School District, where she serves as a Director.  Her most important role is being a wife and mother to 13 and 15 year old, who keep her grounded and active in the athletic realm with soccer.  She enjoys family time, volunteering in the community, laughing and just working for the greater good of others.




Dr. Sudarsan Kant H A R R I S - S TO W E S TAT E U N I V E R S I T Y

As a student and teacher of global politics, Dr. Kant is often confronted with the task of helping Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU) students think beyond the limits of geography and circumstance amidst the profound challenges we face in our communities. As Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Assistant Professor of Political Science at HSSU, Dr. Kant provides leadership together with his department chairs over the largest academic unit in the university. Together, they oversee new degree programs, grants, teaching, research and faculty growth. Dr. Kant earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2011. His research focuses on the political economy of microstates in Oceania and the process of social and political development in institutionally fragile societies. He feels privileged to be at Harris-Stowe because it allows him the opportunity to mentor students and engage with them on the most important questions that we face as they prepare to go out and make their mark in the world.


Daniela Velázquez is the director of communications at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU of Missouri), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that preserves and expands the constitutional rights and civil liberties of all Missourians. Prior to the ACLU of Missouri, she worked as a consultant for the Ferguson Commission, Mosaic Project and Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates. In 2015, she was also part of a team that evaluated the National Minority Consortia for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Daniela currently co-hosts a Latino-focused news show on STL.TV called, “En Breve.” She is also a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis and the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis. She has a Bachelor of Journalism in News Editorial and a Bachelor of Arts in History, both from the University of Missouri-Columbia. When she’s not coming up with her latest big idea, you can find her indulging her love for health and fitness.

who’s who diversity in color

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Dr. Fatemeh “Fara” Zackery Dr. Fatemeh “Fara” Zackery has held various positions with Harris-Stowe since 1996. She is currently the Dean of the Anheuser-Busch School of Business that offers several degree programs in Accounting, Business Administration, Professional Interdisciplinary Studies, Information Sciences and Computer Technology. Dr. Zakery has championed Harris-Stowe’s partnership with the China Education Association for International Exchange to afford students in the School of Business the opportunity to study abroad. Her instrumental leadership led to implementing this program, which happens to be the first at Harris-Stowe. In 2016, two students attended Ningbo University’s Business School in the spring and nine additional students are to follow during the summer and fall terms. Zakery holds a doctoral degree from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Her academic background is in Education, Health Care and Business Administration. She has taught several levels of courses, including online courses. The university is planning to add even more courses and entire programs online to make higher education more assessable for the busy professional. Dr. Zakery takes pride in relating to each of her students as unique professionals. She enjoys outdoor activities and crossword puzzles.


James Gillespie, a native St. Louisan, has been in the mortgaging business for over 25 years. Currently a Senior Mortgage Banker with Creve Coeur based Delmar Financial since 2014, James has worked for some of the St. Louis metropolitan area’s major financial institutions and nationally known institutions including Citibank and USBank. A graduate of Lindenwood University with a Bachelors in Business Administration with an emphasis in Financing, James also attended Truman State University where he pledged to his beloved fraternity Omega Psi Phi to which he remains an active member to this day.  James is also very active in the community and volunteers for a myriad of area youth and young adult oriented mentoring programs. When he’s not working or volunteering, James can be found enjoying time with his wife Edith of 30 years and their two adult children.  Also, when time permits, James enjoys reading, particularly his Bible, and swimming.




James & Kristy Jackson James and Kristy Jackson, ED. S. , are serial entrepreneurs, and co-founders Social Synergy Project which facilitates training programs and offers incubator space for underrepresented entrepreneurs. Social Synergy has provided support to 200+ youth and adult entrepreneurs in an effort to close the diversity gap in the STL Startup ecosystem. Social Synergy services and partnerships allow them to fulfill their social mission of service and giving to build a better community powered by economic growth. Delux Magazine recognized Kristy as one of STL’s 50 Most Intriguing women and one of their Top 100 influencers and advocates in the STL business community. Both were recognized in St. Louis Small Business Monthly Magazine as one 2017’s most admired CEO’s. James Jackson, II, CEO of JAJ2 Music, is a professional jazz musician using his 20 year career experience to promote, manage and develop creative entrepreneurs through the incubator and Gator MediaSTL. Kristy Jackson, ED.S., serves as CEO of DK Solutions,LLC creative consulting and the DK Annex private event space. She is also the founder of GLAMM-Girls Lead And Make Moves youth entrepreneurship and leadership program.

Jessica Mendez Recognized as one of the top Intellectual Property attorneys in Missouri and Kansas by Super Lawyers®, Jessica Mendez represents clients in management, protection, and enforcement of intellectual property. Jessica works for  businesses of all sizes, from startup companies to Fortune 100 companies. Jessica is the recipient of the Best Patent Attorneys, St. Louis Small Business Monthly (2018), Hispanic Emerging Leader, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Adelante Awards (2017), Top Lawyer Under 40, Hispanic National Bar Association (2017) and numerous other awards and achievements. Aside from her job, Jessica was a founding members of the Hispanic Bar Association of St. Louis, and served as this organization’s President in 2016. She serves as General Counsel to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and also volunteers with the Hispanic Educational, Cultural, and Scholarship Fund to help raise money for college scholarships for Hispanic high school students. Jessica also serves on the AT Inclusion Committee and chairs the Diversity Committee for the Missouri Bar Association. Through these efforts, Jessica has built a reputation as a champion for diversity both within the firm and the community as a whole.

who’s who diversity in color

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Jose Ponce RE/MAX GOLD

Jose Ponce has been a successful real estate agent with RE/MAX Gold for over 13 years, and has always been a top earning agent for RE/MAX Gold and RE/MAX International. His success was documented by the St. Louis Business Journal’s “30 under 30” award and Diverse Business Leaders in 2017. He has sold over 150 million dollars in homes since he started in the business, and has received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from RE/MAX International for earning over a million dollars in commissions. Not only has Jose found a way to assist the community through his business, but he continues to give back to the community through additional outlets. Ponce sits on the Board of Directors for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce advocating for Hispanic business owners and offer valuable insight to how the HCC can better direct their efforts. Aside from his great work with the Hispanic Chamber, Jose also dedicates his time to training young adults in boxing, supporting families who have lost a loved one in the line of duty through the Backstopppers program and through the Gary Sinise Foundation.


Karlos Ramirez is the President & CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis. In his role, Ramirez is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Hispanic Chamber’s operations, including donor cultivation, member relations, event management and solidifying partnerships with outside organizations. Under his leadership, the Hispanic Chamber has grown its membership by 79% and increased corporate sponsorships by 654%. As a community leader, Ramirez is the chairman of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership Board, and he participates in the Deaconess Foundation, St. Louis Sports Commission, United Way, BJC Children’s Hospital Board, Minority Business Growth Accelerator Advisory Committee, Contractor Loan Fund Executive Committee, St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission Multi-Cultural Committee and Washington University Student Entrepreneurial Program. Karlos Ramirez has been named to Ingram Magazine’s ‘50 Missourians You Should Know’ in 2018, Gazelle Magazine ‘St. Louis Influence List’ in 2016 and Small Business Monthly’s 100 People to Know to be Successful in Business’ List in 2015. Additionally, Ramirez has participated in FOCUS St. Louis’ Leadership St. Louis and is the recipient of the Diverse Business Leaders Award in 2011.




Kiara Bryant E X P LO R E S T. LO U I S

Kiara Bryant has been a public relations coordinator for Explore St. Louis for 3 years. As PR coordinator, she is responsible for promoting St. Louis as a destination for meetings, conventions and leisure travel. Bryant hosts journalists and influencers during St. Louis press trips. She is a contributor for content, press releases and other communications, including local and national publications. Prior to joining Explore St. Louis, she worked for Wisconsin Public Radio in Madison, Wisconsin as a corporate development specialist. Born and raised in St. Louis, she is a graduate of the University of Missouri in Columbia and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication in 2011. She is a member of the St. Louis Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. where she’s been involved as a mentor for the Rights of Passage program for young African American women planning to attend college.

Kristi Franklin E X P LO R E S T. LO U I S

Kristi Franklin began her career in the hospitality industry in 2004 at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis Union Station Hotel. After the hospitality market began to face a downfall in 2009, she began working for the St. Louis County Health Department – Food and Environmental Program for the following 6 years. She joined the Explore St. Louis team in April 2015.  As an Executive Meeting Sales Manager, Kristi works daily to bring meetings and conventions to St. Louis and thus creating a positive economic impact on her hometown.   Born and raised in St. Louis, Kristi graduated from Parkway West High and studied at SIU- Carbondale, Forest Park Community College where she received an Associates of Applied Science Hospitality Management, and University of Phoenix where she received her Bachelors of Science in Management. Kristi and her husband, Antonio, reside in St. Louis County while raising their beautiful daughters Alana and Kennedy. Their favorite family activities are spending time with each other while watching movies and going to their favorite restaurant, Chili’s for dinner. 

who’s who diversity in color

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Leah Spinks E X P LO R E S T. LO U I S

Leah Spinks, prior to becoming Event Manager for Explore St. Louis, received her Bachelor of Science in Business and Hospitality Management from the University of Missouri, Columbia. After graduation Leah accepted a job working for Explore St. Louis; Explore St. Louis directly contributes more than $5 billion to the local economy on an annual basis. In her role of Event Manager she maintains a fast pace, detail oriented environment, allowing her to connect and align herself with some of the most diverse events. Passionate about serving others (in her community) the decision to plant herself in her hometown of St. Louis was a natural fit. In her free time, Leah loves (honing her crafts) in her minor degree in viticulture, playing the piano and tennis. She also plans special events while pursuing her MBA at Webster University. Between managing events and her hobbies, Leah often retreats in California where her mother and father reside.


Abraham Rezex, President of Mortgage Banking, brings over two decades of management experience in the St. Louis financial services industry to the role, including retail banking, residential and commercial lending, and international business development. He joined Midland States Bank in March 2016 as a Regional Mortgage Sales Manager and was promoted to the President of Mortgage Banking in 2017. With his current role, he leads the bank’s growing mortgage business and oversees the mortgage sales team throughout the bank’s footprint. Abraham is a current member of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.





Crystal Morris, Regional Mortgage Sales Manager, has over 20 years of experience in the mortgage and banking industry. Prior to her position with Midland in 2018, she served as a Community Lending Mortgage Banker with another financial institution. Her responsibilities with Midland include managing the sales initiatives and performance of the community development residential mortgage team throughout the bank’s footprint. Crystal is a licensed mortgage loan originator and is also a chairman for Money Smart Month County Programming hosted by United Way of Greater St. Louis.

Aaron Rios D I R E C TO R O F O P E R AT I O N S

Aaron Rios, Director of Operations, has a proven history of driving results in a positive manner with a varied background in finance and servicing, including mortgage, retail, mortgage servicing and consumer product distribution. He joined Midland States Bank in September 2015 and brings past experience as a senior operational leader where he provided strategic thinking and operational excellence for a large U.S. financial organization. Aaron’s responsibilities as Director of Operations include leadership and coaching to ensure that all Operational departments are adequately staffed by well-trained professionals who efficiently manage their work while providing exceptional customer service. He also is responsible for overseeing the development of new operational policies, procedures and systems, and enhancing existing processes to achieve optimal efficiency.

who’s who diversity in color

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Rebeccah Bennett Rebeccah Bennett is Founder and Principal of Emerging Wisdom LLC – an innovative social enterprise that helps individuals, groups and organizations manifest the best within themselves and create communities that sustain the best in us all. At Emerging Wisdom, Rebeccah designs and facilitates personal and professional growth programs, organizational improvement efforts and social transformation initiatives. Her principal offerings include consulting, training, facilitation and planning, coaching and professional speaking. Rebeccah’s competencies are born from nearly 20 years of research and practice discerning what it takes to help her clients advance large and small-scale systems change while achieving high levels of function and impact. She supports her clients in aligning their decision-making and resources with their purpose, vision and values. Among Rebeccah’s clients are Anheuser-Busch InBev, Wells Fargo Advisors, MasterCard Worldwide, the St. Louis Regional Chamber, the MO Department of Mental Health, the Deaconess Foundation, Focus St. Louis, the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, the Ferguson Commission, and Hazelwood School District. In addition to her professional activities, Rebeccah sits on the boards of the St. Louis Maternal Child & Family Health Coalition and Jamaa Learning Center.

Barbara Bowman Barbara Bowman currently serves as the Vice President of Development for the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. In this role, Ms. Bowman is responsible for all aspects of fund raising including special events, individual giving, major gifts and foundation and corporate funding. Bowman serves as Vice Chairperson of the Board of CHIPS Health and Wellness Center and Chairs the Board of East Central Missouri Area Health Education Center. She also serves on the boards of Provident Inc, the Emerson YMCA Advisory Board, the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Community Advisory Board and the United Way Charmaine Chapman Leadership Society Cabinet. She is a member of the St. Louis Chapter (MO) Links, Inc. and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Bowman is a graduate of Saint Louis University and the Leadership St. Louis Class of 2001/2002. Ms. Bowman has presented at regional and national conferences on topics to include: Outcomes Based Funding, Creating a Legislative Strategy and Fundraising on a Shoe String Budget. She has received the Monsanto YMCA Community Zealot Award and the Unsung Heroine Award from the St. Louis Chapter of the Top Ladies of Distinction.





Dr. Lakesha Butler is an Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist. She earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Mercer University in Atlanta, GA and completed a postgraduate residency at University of Illinois- Chicago. Dr. Butler is a strong advocate for increasing cultural competency among healthcare professionals and improving diversity and inclusion in and outside of the classroom. She serves as the Chair of the SIUE School of Pharmacy Diversity and Inclusion committee and the director of the SIUE Healthcare Diversity Summer Camp exposing minority students to careers in healthcare. Dr. Butler is the President-Elect of the National Pharmaceutical Association and the national chair-elect of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, Pharmacy Practice Section with over 2000 members. She is the creator of the first Health Literacy instructional DVD for students and pharmacists across the nation and co-author of the pharmacy textbook Patient Communication for Pharmacy. Dr. Butler has received numerous awards including SIUE’s Champion for Diversity Award, Teaching Distinction Award and Community Leadership Award, St. Louis Salute to Young Leaders Award and the Urban League Distinguished Young Professional Award.

Larry H. Blue, Jr. Over the past 20 years Larry H. Blue Jr. has been a force in the sales industry both locally and nationally. Larry is perhaps most notably recognized as visionary for the St, Louis Chapter of National Sales Network (NSN). The St. Louis Chapter has twice been named national Chapter of the Year. NSN is a not-for-profit organization whose objective is to meet the professional and developmental needs of sales professionals. Larry has served on many boards including NSN, the Minority Professional Associations Collaborative, and the Back Pack to Briefcase Scholarship Board. Larry also volunteers for many organizations including the Kappa League Guide Right program. Larry has received various awards including the Johnson & Johnson President’s Circle, NSN’s National Award for Individual Commitment, Gateway Classic Sports Foundation’s Citizen of the Year, as well as being recognized as one of the 100 most influential St. Louisans’ by Delux magazine. Larry currently serves as a District Sales Manager for a pharmaceutical company and is responsible for delivering over 11 million dollars in annual sales. Larry is married to Becky Blue and has four children; Taylor, Caleb, Rebekah, and Christian.

who’s who diversity in color

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Danielle Carr Danielle Carr is the director of diversity and inclusion for Polsinelli, P.C. which is one of the largest and most reputable law firms in the country. Danielle attended the University of Michigan Law School where she served as President of the law school student senate from 1988-89 and received her undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Northern Iowa. Danielle’s professional and community affiliations include being a lifetime member of the Mound City Bar Association (Executive Board, 2014- present); National Bar Association; Bar Association of Metropolitan St Louis (Minorities in the Legal Profession section member); Black Women Lawyer’s Association of Chicago; St Louis Diversity Job Fair (Steering Committee, 2008 – present); Hearing Board member for the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission; Missouri Minority Counsel Program (Steering Committee 2012 - present); Association of Law Firm Diversity Professionals; Jack & Jill of America (St Louis Chapter Treasurer); Association of Legal Administrators; as well as, multiple affinity group bar associations. For her efforts, Danielle has been honored with the St. Louis American Foundation, Excellence in Business Performance Award (2015) ; the St. Louis Business Journal, Diverse Business Leaders Award (2013); Mound City Bar Association, Legal Services Award (2013); Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, Community Awareness Award (2010); and, the Washington University Black Law Students Association, Professional Mentorship Award (2010).

Marquita C. Chapman Marquita C. Chapman is first and foremost a loving wife of 8 years to Darius Chapman, “Tee-Tee” to a host of nieces and nephews, and loving daughter to Mr and Mrs. Clinton Jones. She is a recent 2014 honors graduate of Webster University with a M.A. in Management & Leadership. She’s also a proud honors graduate from Harris-Stowe State University where she earned her B.S. in Business Administration in 2005. Marquita began her career with the Department of Defense in 2004 as a Contracts intern and is now a Lead Program Manager over software. She has been responsible for a variety of projects totaling $50 million annually. Marquita is the CEO of Intended Images, which brings out the very best in people in regards to image and self-presentation. Marquita is also an Independent Distributer for a leading global health and wellness company, the social media manager for DeMay Furs, Ltd., and a freelance columnist for the Sparkman Magazine. Marquita is a worship leader and Education Coordinator at the Mind of Christ Church. Marquita aspires to be an author and return to her alma mater to teach entrepreneurship courses.




Allie Chang Ray Allie Chang Ray joined Deaconess Foundation in February 2014 as Vice President, Programs. In this role, Ms. Ray leads the community investment strategy of the organization. She is responsible for implementing and evaluating the foundation’s organizational and community capacity building programs, specifically, the Deaconess Impact Partnership. Prior to joining the staff at Deaconess, Ms. Ray served as principal for Mutare Network, a consulting practice specializing in capacity building for nonprofit organizations. In this position, she advised and acted in roles that helped agencies create and manage change at the internal, external and systemic levels. Prior to Allie’s consultative career, she worked in the field of foster care for more than 13 years as Director of Development and Executive Director for CASA of St. Louis County, a Deaconess Impact Partner in Round 2. She first learned about fund development  at Children’s Miracle Network of Greater St. Louis, where she helped raise more than $2 million annually for Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Before stepping into fundraising, she was a children and families legislative aide for Governor Roger B. Wilson. As part of the Governor’s staff, she assisted in the founding of the Missouri Community Service Commission and introduced the AmeriCorps program to Missouri. Outside of her Deaconess work, Ms. Ray is serving as President of the Junior League of St. Louis. Allie also volunteers as a Boy Scout Adult Leader and Merit Badge Counselor. Beginning in the spring semester of 2016, Allie will become a member of the adjunct faculty at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.  On the weekends, she can frequently be found at a youth soccer game as the team manager. Ms. Ray received her Bachelor’s degree in Child Life Therapy and Master’s degree in Human Services Administration from the University of Missouri – Columbia. She is an alumna of Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority and resides in West County with her husband, two sons and Havanese rescue dog.

Ruben Chuquimia Ruben Chuquimia practices law as a Shareholder at Polsinelli, P.C., in the Securities and Corporate Finance Group. He received his J.D. from Washington University, St. Louis School of Law in 1995 and his undergraduate degree from Duke University. Ruben has represented a variety of corporate clients, including large publicly traded corporations, privately held entities, private equity funds, start-up companies, and entrepreneurs. His practice includes a broad range of corporate, securities and transactional work, with extensive experience in counseling boards of directors and audit committees, technology licensing agreements, technology joint venture agreements, internet-related agreements, and general commercial agreements, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, takeovers (negotiated and contested), and cross-border transactions, public and private equity and debt offerings, among other matters. His recent engagements have included representing an aerospace manufacturer with a $37 million IPO and listing on the NASDAQ; and representing a NYSE listed company in its $72 million follow on public offering. Ruben has been included in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Corporate/M&A (St Louis & Surrounds) from 2011-2015 and named a “Client Service All-Star” by BTI Consulting Group in 2009. Additionally, Ruben was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers In America® from 2012-2016.

who’s who diversity in color

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Khalia Collier A pioneer and trailblazer Khalia Collier, is the owner & general manager of St. Louis’ own women’s professional basketball team, the St. Louis Surge. Khalia has taken on the challenge of building the first sustainable women’s franchise in St. Louis. Her team is now in its fifth season; finishing as National Champions in 2014 and second in the nation this past season. Khalia Collier is a recent recipient of 30 under 30, Glamor Missouri Woman of the year awardee and as a prestigious Jack Buck Awardee for her community impact. Through this journey, she has maximized corporate and organizational relationships, developed supporter and donor programs, as well as positioned the organization for eminent growth. A St. Louis native with a deep commitment to the city, Collier is an entrepreneur dedicated to her new franchise. She is a strong believer that St. Louis can support a women’s franchise, and is working hard to see her vision through. She finished her basketball career at Missouri Baptist University. Collier obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Missouri Baptist University and currently works for the St. Louis Surge full-time as the Surge Owner and General Manager as well leading the Saint Louis University Institute for Private Business.

Akif Cogo Akif Cogo, founder and president of the St. Louis Bosnians, Inc., a St. Louis based non profit that fosters relationship between Bosnian and other communities in St. Louis. In addition, he is a community adviser to the Bosnia Memory Project at Fontbonne University, and works as an Assistant Director of Facility Services at Saint Louis University. A native of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Akif immigrated to the U.S. in 2001. He completed his high school, bachelor, and master studies in St. Louis. For over a decade, he has worked extensively with the Bosnian refugee populations in St. Louis and other parts of the U.S. In addition to founding St. Louis Bosnians Inc., he cofounded Sehara, a magazine for Muslim Bosnians living in the U.S. He has also served on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee to the St. Louis Treasurer’s Office, as a presiding officer of general assembly at the St. Louis Islamic Center, and as an ambassador for St. Louis Mosaic Project, which promotes increasing immigration to St. Louis.




Peter Corsale Peter Corsale is a Shareholder at Polsinelli, P.C. in the Commercial Litigation Group. He received his J.D. from the University of Illinois College of law where he received cum laude honors. He earned his bachelor of arts degree, with cum laude honors, in History and Legal Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. Peter has successfully worked both sides of the courtroom, representing his clients in a broad range of complex disputes from commercial contracts to shareholder disputes. Recognizing that a courtroom win is not the only path to a best outcome, Peter enjoys partnering with his clients to develop a sound strategy that not only makes legal sense but business sense too. Peter endeavors to find business solutions that not only resolve a conflict, but also contribute to the client’s larger business goals. Peter has assisted clients in a variety of industries and in courtrooms across the country, with significant experience in defending officers and companies against claims of securities fraud, representing large manufacturers in the interpretation of requirements contracts, and representing minority shareholders in shareholder disputes and claims of malfeasance. Peter serves as a Board Member of the Hispanic Bar Association of St. Louis and also as a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis.

Danyal Davis-Hurd Danyal Davis-Hurd is a Sr. Project Manager in Supply Chain at Express Scripts, and manages large size strategic planning projects and corporate initiatives in over $5M gross margin. She has over 15 years of leadership, budgeting, financial analysis, strategic planning, and process improvement experience. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Mathematics from Webster University. After graduation, Danyal worked as a Microbiologist, testing antibiotics for common illnesses, such as ear infections, flu, strep, and pink eye.  It was her time as a Cardiologist Analyst; conducting research on hearts, Danyal enrolled in graduate school and pursued a Master’s degree in Health Service Management at Webster University. Danyal has been engaged with medical economic analysis, strategic cost reductions, initiatives, mergers and acquisitions for large corporations, such as BJC, Whirlpool, Reynolds, Tenet, WellPoint, Centene, and Medco. Danyal is the Vice President of an Employee Resource Group at Express Scripts called Cultural Connection. Danyal currently holds a position on the Volunteer Committee for HBA (Healthcare Business Women’s Association) and Finance Committee for Almost Home, a St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative Alum, and volunteers for the Boys and Girls Club and Habitat for Humanity.

who’s who diversity in color

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Latosha Davis, MSW Latosha Davis, MSW, has joined Guardian Angel Settlement Association as the Director of Social Services and will oversee the operations of programs and resources for thousands of individuals and families living in the 63104 and 63118 zip codes. The Community Services Davis will oversee include self-sufficiency programs including skills training, financial literacy education and employment referrals and support; emergency support programs that provide short-term assistance ranging from a food pantry to financial assistance; and, oversight of Guardian Angel’s Angel Boutique, a social enterprise that offers gently used clothing and household goods and work experience for youth and adults. Last year, over 3,000 households were served by the food pantry; hundreds of households received assistance for rent, utilities and medications and participated in self-sufficiency workshops. Davis earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Illinois State University and has an extensive background in mental health, HIV, and housing. Davis often shares her expertise with several Universities in Illinois and Missouri as she serves as a preceptor for interns for the School of Social Work. Davis is also currently a member of the St Louis Business Diversity Initiative, class of 2016.

Elton “Trey” Dean, III Elton Dean, III is an Associate at Polsinelli, P.C. where he is a member of the Science and Technology Group. He received his J.D. in 2008 from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He received his Bachelor of Science degree the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to entering law school, Elton was a Platform Engineer for Harvard Medical School. As an attorney, Elton’s natural curiosity and desire to figure out how things work make him invaluable to clients who develop inventions. He enjoys the opportunity to work with a variety of clients ranging from garage inventors and technology startups to universities and Fortune 500 companies. He works on all aspects of the inventive process from patentability searches to prosecuting international patent applications. Elton helps clients assess the risks of patent infringement and provides invaluable technical insight to investigate and prepare legal opinions regarding a client’s freedom to operate in crowded technology areas. In addition, he and his colleagues develop effective solutions to address the risks, including responding to demand letters, designing around patents, assessing the validity of patents, and obtaining patent licenses. Besides patent prosecution, Elton works with to enforce and defend patent rights through re-examination and litigation.




Vickie M. Denson Vickie Denson, President and CEO of St. Louis Black Pages Business Directory and The Transformational Agenda Magazine leads all aspects of its operations. They have published their 25th Anniversary Edition. They have a state-of-the-art interactive website and a multi-platform mobile edition. St Louis Black Pages is the annual directory and magazine for the African American community. Vickie has been president of the Deaconess Board of Washington Metropolitan AME Zion Church for over 11 years. She leads the COPE ministry which aids ex-offenders returning to society. Vickie is president of the Blackberry Hill Neighborhood Association. Denson has received numerous awards such as the Salute To Excellence In EducationStellar Performer Award from the St. Louis American Foundation with her husband Howard. They also received the North American Council on Adoptable Children National Child Advocate Award. Vickie received the Top Ladies Of Distinction Unsung Heroine Community Service Award, Professional Organization Of Women (POW) Women of Distinction Award and more. Vickie is a graduate of Herbert H. Lehman College in Bronx, New York. She and Howard are the proud parents of three Ivy-League daughters and grandparents to six.

Howard D. Denson For almost three decades, Howard has done two things. One is to publish, with his wife, the St. Louis Black Pages. He loves African American entrepreneurs and upset that so many have given up on doing business with their own people; even when the product and its cost are exactly the same. Yes, slavery was a mental institution, created and maintained by terror and horror. The terror and horror are over, yet the mental damage remains. The other? Owning the Black Pages allowed him to pretend to be a one man self-directed think tank, spending 50,000 unpaid hours focused on but two things. Why we African Americans do the wacky self-destructive things which we do, and exactly how can the African American community heal its self. His wife, Vickie, calls him the only Harvard Business School MBA who chose to be poor— and she’s right. He says he was put on planet Earth to seek, receive, and communicate a body of knowledge which is taught in a workshop entitled The Transformational Agenda—so that African Americans can finally heal! Almost a thousand have been transformed via this two-day workshop experience. He expects that 10,000,000 will experience the transformation within a decade; so that the African American community can heal and completely transform itself, in but 20 years. If you desire to become a better you, to aid a loved one, to help transform your community, or simply to finally understand the madness, then visit TheTransformationalAgenda. com—and be Transformed! who’s who diversity in color

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Lilian Doan Davis Lilian Doan Davis is an Associate at Polsinelli, P.C. As a labor and employment law attorney, she focuses on helping private and public corporations, individuals, and municipalities identify and address potential workplace liabilities. Lilian counsels clients on management, compliance, and regulatory issues and investigates and responds to charges of employment discrimination. Her practice includes litigation of whistleblower claims, wage and hour disputes, workplace discrimination, and wrongful termination. She is committed to aggressively representing clients’ needs from case inception through resolution and strategically approaches every step of the litigation process to ensure a cohesive defense. Lilian received her law degree in 2010 from the St. Louis University School of Law where she was a Dean’s Scholar from 2007-2010, She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame. Lilian was honored by the St. Louis Business Journal for its 2013 Class of “30 Under 30”. She currently serves as Vice President of the Missouri Asian-American Bar Association, in addition to serving as a Member on the Board of Directors of Girls on the Run, St. Louis.

Shay L. Gillespie As Corporate Supplier Diversity Manager for World Wide Technology, Inc., a multibillion dollar corporation, Shay is responsible for their global supplier diversity program which includes managing millions of dollars in procurement activity and advocating and mentoring small and diverse businesses. In addition, Shay is vice chair of the St. Louis Minority Business Council’s board as well as on the board of directors for the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis. Shay has received the Phenomenal Woman Award presented by Old School 95.5 and First Bank and St. Louis American’s Salute to Young Leaders Award. She is also an active member of her sorority Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated serving as Delta GEMS co-chair. Shay received her Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Studies from Saint Louis University and her Master of Arts in Communications Management from Webster University. She is also a graduate of Eureka Senior High School, class of 1995. A native of St. Louis, Shay is an avid reader and loves to run. She lives in St. Louis County, with her husband James and two boys, Grant and Dylan (Diggy).




Rolanda Robinson-Finch Rolanda Robinson-Finch is the founder of It’s Your Birthday, Inc. Their mission is to create fun and memorable birthday experiences for children ages 5-12 that reside in homeless and domestic violence shelters. Rolanda was featured as a character profile in the St. Louis Business Journal and received the Reaching Out Award from Town & Style Magazine; in addition to the back cover of St. Louis Jewish Parents Magazine and interviews on Fox2Now, ShowMe St. Louis, and KEZK Radio. In addition, she is currently employed as a Leadership Development Business Leader with Boeing, where she is responsible for the development of 300 Vice Presidents, globally. Prior to this role, she was a Global Manager, Leadership Development with Anheuser-Busch InBev where she developed various leadership programs for leaders in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Rolanda has a BS in Textiles and Clothing in Business from the University of Central Missouri and an MA in Marketing from Webster University. She is also an alumni of the St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative Fellows and the Consortium for Leadership Development Programs. When she is not giving smiles to children and developing leaders, Rolanda enjoys traveling with her husband.

Ed Gallegos Ed Gallegos has worked in the healthcare industry for over 25 years, with 15 of those years leading and managing large scale claims and call center operations. He joined Centene Corporations in 2010 and currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Business Operations, leading the operational functions in Farmington, MO, Tyler, TX, Great Falls, MT and the new claims center in Ferguson, MO. Ed has held various key executive positions that include Vice President National Accounts, Vice President of Human Resources and Vice President of Diversity and Cultural Competence at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF). His efforts lead to BCBSF being ranked nationally among the top 50 companies leveraging diversity as a business strategy. His experience in leading national accounts such as General Motors, Ford, Federal Employee Program (FEP) and others resulted in strong rankings in operational performance. He successfully led BCBSF to national recognition in customer service as measured by J.D. Powers for three consecutive years and has made significant improvement in driving results at Centene. Ed holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Florida.

who’s who diversity in color

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Angela Grady Angela Grady is Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Mercy, serving 45 hospitals and 40,000 co-workers. She is a dynamic leader with responsibilities including development and implementation of a system-wide strategy to educate, engage and stimulate a diverse and inclusive workforce. Angela is the organization’s pioneer, occupying her newly-created position for 18 months. As a result of her leadership, Mercy earned a prestigious $460,000 grant to expand disability and inclusion services.  Angela thrives in networking community partnerships, supporting co-worker engagement, inclusion and leadership development for minorities and women. Angela is a proud “Dance Mom” of a 14-year-old daughter. To her credit, she is an alumni of the St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative, has progressive professional experience within Human Resources and a master’s degree in Human Resources from Webster University. She currently serves on the advisory board for the National Association of Health Service Executives (NAHSE) local chapter and is a Corporate Diversity Roundtable member for the Diversity Awareness Partnership (DAP). Angela is passionate about youth education, serving on a parent committee within the Ladue school district and is a member of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

Naretha Hopson Naretha Hopson is the Founder and Executive Director of Ever-Appropriate Etiquette Institute, which offers Leadership, Dining/Business Etiquette, and Impression Management programming for youth and professionals. Since 2011, Ms. Hopson has helped thousands with professional soft skills refinement. She is the author of, “Ever-Appropriate Etiquette: 5 Steps to the Professional Presence that Pays”. Ms. Hopson’s dynamic client track record includes K-12 schools, universities, non-profit organizations, and corporate executives. Ms. Hopson remains active in civic and business leadership development programs. Naretha is a proud 2010 graduate of the Focus St. Louis Leadership St. Louis program. In 2012, she was selected for the inaugural cohort of the Consortium for Leadership Development, led by former Fortune 500 CEO’s, high-profile corporate executives. Naretha’s board involvement includes the United Way, Urban League – St. Louis, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, St. Louis Regional Business Council Young Professional Network, the St. Louis Crisis Nursery Young Professional Board, and Mayor Slay’s Vanguard Cabinet. Her most recent appointments are to the Board of Directors of Vernare Learning (schools incorporating STEM curriculum and sustainability, slated to open in 2016) Special Friends Mentoring, and the Missouri Ethics Commission.




Dr. Shawni Jackson-Triggs Dr. Jackson leads the Community Program Team for Faith Initiatives, Education & Support, and Early Initiatives programs and is leading the initiative for Diversity & Inclusion Outreach for the Association. She serves on the Washington University School of Medicine Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center African American Advisory Board (ADRC). Shawni is a Diamond Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and is currently a member of St. Louis Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter. She is also a member of the St. Louis Chapter of Kappa Silhouettes and the St. Louis Chapter of Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. Dr. Jackson is a Parent Asthma Advocate serving on the Washington University School of Medicine Asthma Symptom Based Adjustment of Inhaled Steroid Therapy (ASIST) in African American Children Advisory Board and Asthma Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) out of Washington, DC as a parent and patient participant. Dr. Jackson received a BA in Sociology & Anthropology from Truman State University in 1996, a MBA from Webster University in 1999 and a PhD in Organizational Management from Capella University in 2007. Shawni is a native of St. Louis and is happily married to Kevin and have one son Charlton.

Amir Hotich Amir specializes in the sale and purchase of homes and estates in Saint Louis City and Saint Louis County. With a reputation for placing clients’ needs, goals and objectives at the forefront of every transaction, Amir Hotich provides communication, negotiation and management skills in combination with indepth knowledge of the Saint Louis area’s neighborhoods and real estate market. Amir is known for his patience, listening skills, caring and understanding. He is esteemed by his clients and colleagues alike for his attention to others’ needs in even the most challenging property purchase or sale . Amir is praised for client satisfaction and effectiveness as counselor, facilitator and liaison – from property search or listing, through market analysis, to negotiations, escrow and closing. Amir earned a bachelor of science in marketing from Maryville University -St. Louis Amir is a founding member of the Bosnian American Professional Network, BAPN ( In his spare time, Amir enjoys the time with his family, wife Melisa and twin daughters Aila and Selma. He loves to swim, read, play various sports, coaches girls soccer team, but most of all he loves his two boxer dogs, Pasha & Lela.

who’s who diversity in color

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Carmen Jacob Carmen Jacob is the CEO and Owner of NextGen, Information Services, Inc., a national staffing, recruiting and consulting firm headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri with satellite offices throughout the US. NextGen is a Certified Minority-Owned Enterprise and Certified Woman-Owned Enterprise and has been awarded by DiversityInc. com and, the City of St. Louis and the St. Louis Minority Business Council. NextGen was named Hispanic Company of the Year 2013 and Carmen was named Hispanic Businessperson of the Year 2014 by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis. Carmen was named one of Enterprising Women Magazine’s Women of the Year 2014, and an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist in 2014. Next-Gen was most recently awarded by Governor Nixon as the Minority Business of the Year. A community activist, Carmen is involved in numerous professional groups and organizations.

Ailey Pope Ailey Pope serves as the Community Liaison for U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.). A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Ailey graduated from Wiley College with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Religion and Philosophy and a Master’s from Southern Methodist University Perkins School of Theology in Theological Studies. Ailey previously worked on Capitol Hill for Senator Blunt before moving back to Missouri to begin a new path working with communities in each region of the state. While working on Capitol Hill, she was a member of the Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus and the Women’s Congressional Staffer Association. While at Wiley College, Ailey was the Captain of the Wiley College Speech and Debate team and also acted as the Student Body Vice President. While at Perkins, she served as the president of the Black Seminarians Association. Ailey has traveled to over 20 countries, speaks fluent French and has studied in Dubai. As a member of People to People Student Ambassadors, Ailey traveled on behalf of the United States to China and Europe and has also taught American Speech and Debate at the United States Embassy in the Republic of the Congo.




Theron Morgan Theron Morgan currently serves as the Director of Business Development at Ballpark Village in St. Louis. His role and responsibilities are spread among several areas that include: operations, community relations, sponsorships and sales. Theron has spent over 20 years as an account manager and director in sales and sponsorships in a variety of industries including dining and entertainment, sports and consumer goods. He understands how the relationship between sports and entertainment ties-in with the relationship to corporate branding and consumer goods. Among his previous positions, Theron served as Sr. Account Executive with the St. Louis Cardinals. He was a Retail Account Manager and Geographic Marketing Manager for Anheuser-Busch, and Director of Sales and Sponsorships at Saint Louis University. He is currently involved with several organizations including a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., and National Sales Network-St. Louis. He also serves as a board member for Connection to Success and on the Workforce Development board. Theron is a member of Victory Church-St. Louis, located in Cahokia, IL. He resides in O’Fallon, IL with his wife Sheila (formerly Billups) and three children, Theron Jr., Sydney and Myla. Theron holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from Southeast Missouri State University and a Master of Business Admission degree from the University of Phoenix.

Mary E. Nelson A St. Louis native and Missouri attorney, Mary E. Nelson received her B.A. from Princeton University and J.D. from University of Missouri School of Law. With extensive experience in real estate, construction, and business law, Nelson has enjoyed a number of private and public sector positions. Before joining St. Louis Community College in 2014 as its General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer, Nelson was the first African American woman to serve on the state’s Administrative Hearing Commission. She served two mayoral administrations, most recently as General Counsel for St. Louis Development Corporation; as General Counsel and Legislative Director to Speaker of the Missouri House Steve Gaw; as Governor Bob Holden’s appointee to the Missouri House Reapportionment Commission; and as Governor Jay Nixon’s Director of Boards and Commissions. A past president of the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners, Nelson has been recognized by Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly with a 2010 Women’s Justice Award, named an Honorary Initiate of the Order of the Coif by her law school, and was listed among St. Louis Business Journal’s Twenty-five Most Influential Business Women.

who’s who diversity in color

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Cecilia Velazquez Cecilia Velazquez is the definition of a strong working Hispanic woman. The media mogul was born in Mexico City, Mexico where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology  and received her Master’s degree in Mass Communications and Journalism. “I noticed the lack of informational paperwork in our language” Velazquez said and decided to launch Red Latina in July 2000. Latin Network has many informational articles, from local businesses as well as job opportunities for Hispanics in the region. Fresh Bilingual news daily online & The biweekly print newspaper; its distribution extends all the way from Jefferson City into Illinois. She has ventured into other media sources, as co-host of “Ahora St. Louis” and Radio Cucui (WEW-AM 770). In 2009, she received The Hispanic Business Person of the year by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Furthermore, Velazquez has been part of a music promotions team, which was recognized with a star on Las Vegas strip in 2010. In 2013, St. Louis Business Journal recognized Velazquez as a Diverse Business Leader. Her most recent project is in progress as Red Latina will be affiliated locally with Mundo Fox and Estrella TV.

Nedim Ramic Nedim Ramic is a people person, a husband, a community activist, and on top of that a lawyer who cares about people. He is an avid soccer fan and (long time ago) a player himself. Born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he came to St. Louis after living as a child refugee in Germany for 7 years. He has called the St. Louis area his home since 1999. He is fluent in German, Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian. Professional: He received his law degree from St. Louis University-School of Law, after receiving his undergraduate degree at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He was a member of various student groups, most notably the President of the International Law Society at St. Louis University School of Law. Since obtaining his law degree, he has practiced in the areas of personal injury, workers compensation, and medical negligence. He has spent his career in the courtrooms of Missouri fighting for the injured. Nedim also helps individuals charged with serious traffic offenses as well as criminal charges in the St. Louis region. Since the start of his career, Nedim has recovered millions of dollars for the injured. Clients tend to refer to Nedim as a lawyer who is tireless and compassionate, who cares not just about the case, but about the clients and their individual needs.  He shows this compassion through numerous activities in the community as well as pro bono work for community organizations. He works for various Bosnian-American organizations in the St. Louis region. He was recently appointed by Mayor Slay to the St. Louis City Crime Commission.  




Kira Van Neil Kira Van Niel is a self-starting project engineer with a diverse technical background in engineering, infrastructure design, and construction. Kira currently works for The Boeing Company, and her current responsibilities include defining requirements and writing design specifications, working collaboratively with international customers, and managing the health and progress of each project. In addition, Kira serves as the Operations Leader to the Division Director. Kira attended Elon University and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, earning a dual degree in Engineering Physics and Civil Engineering. Kira served as President of the Urban League Young Professionals from 2010-2012. She is the recipient of the St Louis Business Journal’s 30 Under 30, National Urban League Young Professionals Young Professional’s Central Region Young Professional of the Year, St Louis American Foundations Salute to Young Leaders Award, and many more. Her board experience includes the National Urban League Young Professionals Executive Board, Urban League of Metropolitan St Louis Board of Directors, Regional Business Council Young Professional Network Steering Committee, Women’s Society of Washington University and The Sophia Project. Born and raised in the Washington DC area, Kira now lives in St Louis, Missouri. Kira enjoys music, travel and yoga.


Errin Braddock is an Assistant Vice President at Enterprise Holdings, Inc. In that role, he supports the company and its subsidiaries on all aspects of labor and employment law. Braddock joined Enterprise in 2008. He has broad experience in labor and employment issues, having worked for more than 16 years as an in-house counsel and practicing attorney. He began his career as an associate at the law firm of Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin (now Husch Blackwell). Braddock also has served as an adjunct professor at the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis Missouri. He has been recognized as the St. Louis Business Journal “30 under 30” Young Leaders Award, Washington University Black Law Students Association Alumni Award and the Blackwell Sanders LLP Top Flight Award for Excellence in Lawyering. Braddock earned his J.D. degree from Washington University and his B.A. in political science from Hampton University. He is a member of the board of directors for the First Tee of Greater St. Louis and Girls, Inc., which inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through direct service and advocacy.

who’s who diversity in color

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Luis Rivero Luis Rivero is the co-founder and CEO of Huga Foods. A native of Venezuela, Luis moved to the US in 2003 to pursue a masters degree in business at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. After a 10 year career with DuPont in marketing and business development, Luis left the organization to start Huga Foods in 2015. Huga Foods is a new line of nutrition bars inspired by international recipes and flavors. A believer in the Lean Startup approach and developing brands that connect emotionally with consumers, Luis oversees all operations at Huga Foods, including innovation, operations and sales & marketing.  Luis is passionate about traveling, cooking, politics and golf. Luis is a supporter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation local chapter in St. Louis through the Great Strides Walk. Luis and his wife, and their five children have made St. Louis their home since 2009.

Dr. Dwyane Smith Dr. Dwyane Smith is Provost at Harris-Stowe. He is a product of the St. Louis Public School system. He has a B.S. in Psychology and an MA in Education Administration from Truman State University. Dr. Smith received his doctorate from the University Missouri-Columbia. Since he arrived at Harris-Stowe in the 2006-2007 academic year, he has helped to develop academic programs along with the university’s exceptional faculty and staff. When asked about the Harris-Stowe administrative team, Dr. Smith called them “not only the best in the metropolitan area, but the entire state.” He takes pride in furthering the University’s mission to provide high-quality education and opportunity to students who are currently underrepresented in higher education institutions. Harris-Stowe realized record enrollment and exceeded its fundraising goals last year. The University has recently expanded degree offerings by 108 percent and is one step away from offering graduate degrees. Dr. Smith has conducted research across the United States on issues of race, diversity and multiculturalism. He cites this research as a “necessity for growth.” Dr. Smith is an avid listener of jazz and uses the music as a muse for his “Words of Wisdom,” which he uses to begin faculty and staff meetings.




Terrence Rogers Terrence Rogers is a St. Louis born and based banking professional. Over the past eighteen years, he has worked in a wide variety of financial capacites with both consumers and businesses. He earned his degree in 1996 from the University of Missouri St. Louis. Terrence is a partner at Carrollton Bank, a $1 billion privately held, employee owned bank that has been led by the same family for five generations. His role is Vice President of Mortgage Lending which includes leading the origination of consumer home loan programs including Conventional, FHA, VA, and Jumbo Loans. Prior to joining Carrollton Bank in 2012 Terrence worked at Wells Fargo for thirteen years as a Sales Manager in St. Louis and Illinois, and District Manager in Colorado. In addtion, he worked at Regions bank in Chesterfield as Vice President and Samll Business Banker from 2010 to 2012. Terrence is a member of National Sales Network and along with their Backpacks to Breifcase Programs sponsors an annual internship program. He is also a board member for Little Urban Smiles, LLC as well as member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Terrence is a financial educator, teaching home buying class and finanical education classes in the St. Louis community. He believes that knowledge is power and is committed to paying if forward whenever he can.

Angela M. Tate Angela M. Tate is the Vice President of Operations at Behavioral Health Response (BHR). BHR, the community’s behavioral health safety net, ensures compassionate and immediate barrier free access to behavioral health services. BHR does this by providing 24/7 crisis intervention services for the Eastern Region of Missouri. Angela has been with BHR since 2007. Angela is responsible for several departments including Clinical Operations, Client Services, Community Relations and Organizational Development. She conducts multiple trainings around the topics of mental health, suicide intervention and is a Master Trainer in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) through LivingWorks. Angela is a member of Paraquad’s Board of Directors as well as a member of Great Circle’s Regional Council. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Maryville University in St. Louis Missouri and a Master’s of Education in counseling from University of MissouriSt. Louis and is a licensed professional counselor. She is a past participant of St. Louis Business Diversity Fellows program as well as a current participant of Leadership St. Louis. She is happily married to Stephen Tate and they are the proud parents of 2 daughters, Ashley and Amber.

who’s who diversity in color

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Dr. dela Peña leads the work of Washington University’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion, which provides support and advocacy for students from traditionally underrepresented or marginalized populations and creates collaborative partnerships with campus and community members to promote dialogue and social change. An experienced leader in higher education, Dr. dela Peña has spent more than two decades as an administrator and teacher. She served as Assistant Dean of Student Life for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Harvard College. She graduated from the University of California – San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in ethnic studies, earned her master’s degree in education from San Diego State University and her doctor of education through a joint program of UC San Diego, San Diego State and California State University – San Marcos. She received the Harvard University Faculty of Arts & Sciences Dean’s Distinction Award, and was recognized by UC San Diego three times – in 2001, 2006 and 2010 – with its Diversity Champion Award.

Reverend Starsky D. Wilson Reverend Starsky D. Wilson is a pastor, philanthropist and activist pursuing God’s vision of community marked by justice, peace and love. He is president & CEO of Deaconess Foundation, pastor of  Saint John’s Church (The Beloved Community) and co-chair of the Ferguson Commission. Through Saint John’s, Wilson has led congregational activism on myriad issues, including youth violence prevention, Medicaid expansion, public school accreditation, voter mobilization, capping payday lending and raising the minimum wage. In 2014, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon appointed Rev. Wilson co-chair of the Ferguson Commission, a group of sixteen citizens empowered to study the underlying conditions and make public policy recommendations to help the region progress through issues exposed by the tragic death of Michael Brown, Jr.  On September 14, 2015 they released the ground-breaking ‘Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity” Report, calling for sweeping changes in policing, the courts, child well-being and economic mobility. 





Alonzo Byrd is assistant vice president of government and public affairs for Enterprise Holdings. He is responsible for the development and execution of corporate citizenship initiatives nationwide. He joined Enterprise in May 2002. Prior to joining Enterprise, Byrd was a vice president at Fleishman-Hillard Inc., an international public relations agency. He managed a wide range of media relations, corporate relations and diversity related initiatives for Fortune 500 companies. A native of East St. Louis, Ill., Byrd has worked for more than 30 years in public affairs and communications, including director of public relations for the St. Louis Chapter of the American Red Cross, where he served as principal spokesman for the agency’s health, safety, and disaster awareness programs. As a journalist, Byrd has worked for the Kansas City Times, the Oakland Press in Pontiac, Mich., and the Belleville (Ill.) News Democrat. He began his career in journalism as a stringer with The Associated Press in St. Louis. Byrd is married and has one child. He is a 1981 graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

Dr. Quincy Rose D E A N O F T H E C O L L E G E O F E D U C AT I O N Dr. Quincy A. Rose is the Dean of the College of Education at Harris-Stowe State University. A graduate of Delaware State University, she earned her Bachelor Science degree in Elementary Education and a Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Dr. Rose received her Doctorate of Education Degree in Innovation and Leadership with a concentration in Organizational Leadership from Wilmington University. In addition, she completed the Women in Education Leadership Program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Dr. Rose came to HSSU from Grambling State University where she served as Department Head and Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction. Additionally, she served as Director of Teacher Education and Department Chair of the Bachelor of Science Interdisciplinary Studies Program and Master of Arts in Teaching program at Tusculum College in Greenville, Tennessee. Dr. Rose. has served on numerous committees related to education and creating healthy and safe communities. In 2001, she was appointed by the Governor of Delaware to serve as a board member of the Children’s Trust Fund and was also presented the esteemed Jefferson Award for outstanding service.

who’s who diversity in color

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Dan Cranshaw Dan Cranshaw is a Shareholder at Polsinelli, P.C. in the Commercial Litigation Practice Group. He has been involved in class actions in state and federal courts throughout the United States and has successfully dealt with all aspects of class action litigation, including pre-certification dismissals and summary judgments, class discovery, class certification and de-certification, and claims administration. Whether through litigation, alternative dispute resolution, strategic consultation, or a simple assessment of an insurance policy, Dan works collaboratively with corporate clients and/or their boards to ensure companies can successfully defend claims, secure coverage, and grow their businesses. Dan received his J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law in 2003 and his undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Ranked in Benchmark Litigation and recognized by the American Board of Trial Advocates Award for Outstanding Performance in Trial Advocacy, Dan also places a high importance on giving back to his community. Additionally, Dan has recently been selected as a member of the 2016 Class of Fellows, participating in a landmark program created by the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD). Dan also plays a key leadership role at his law firm as Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Angel Recci-Gonzalez Angel Recci-Gonzalez was born and raised in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. He moved to St. Louis in 2009 with a baseball scholarship at the University of Missouri – St. Louis where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Information Systems in 2013 and completed his baseball career. Currently, Angel is working at Emerson, as a Security Application Engineer for Threat and Vulnerability Management. He joined Emerson in 2011 with a Co-Op opportunity which led him to be a full time employee as an IT Security Analyst and since then he has worked very hard to get to the position where he is today. Angel Recci-Gonzalez is very passionate about helping others and is very involved, especially with the Hispanic community. Angel has been actively serving the Puerto Rican Society for St. Louis as the Vice President and now, as the President of the organization. Additionally, Angel dedicates his time to a Spanish sports broadcasting show, where he is able to make local sports more accessible to the Spanish-speaking community. This is exactly what motivates Angel to continue growing as a professional and as a leader, so he can truly serve the community.




Patricia Fong S E N I O R T R U S T O F F I C E R – W E A LT H M A N A G E M E N T

Pat Fong serves as the Senior Trust Officer for Midland States Bank Wealth Management. She has provided Wealth Management guidance and expertise to clients nationwide and has more than 30 years of experience in trust and estate administration. She is knowledgeable and skilled in assisting clients with fiduciary matters, as well as the administration of trust and investment services, and is recognized as an expert in charitable gifting strategies. Prior to joining Midland States Bank in 2010, Pat was Senior Vice President and Senior Trust Relationship Officer for a major Midwestern regional bank holding company. She received her J.D. from the University of Iowa and her Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and holds a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA) designation from Cannon Trust School Association.


Frank Smith serves as a Banking Center Manager II for Midland States Bank and has been a part of Midland since 2015. With over 30 years of experience with branch management, Frank provides a vast knowledge of finance, regulatory requirements and general bank operations. In his current role with Midland, he is responsible for individual business development goals, as well as leading, managing and coaching a team of sales and service professionals to meet and exceed performance targets, ensure the operational excellence of the banking center and create an excellent customer experience. Frank received his Bachelor of Science in Business Adminstration from Washington University.

who’s who diversity in color

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Marcela Manjarrez Hawn S E N I O R V I C E P R E S I D E N T, C H I E F C O M M U N I C AT I O N S O F F I C E R

Marcela Manjarrez Hawn serves as the Senior Vice President, Chief Communications Officer for Centene Corporation. In this capacity, Marcela oversees all strategic communications for the company, including the planning and development of programs that effectively describe and promote Centene, its services, and its products. Marcela oversees all media and public relations across the Centene enterprise, including all health plans and specialty subsidiaries, in addition to serving as its main media spokesperson. She also manages the Centene Charitable Foundation, which makes substantial contributions to initiatives that improve the quality of life and health in our communities. Marcela has more than 20 years of experience in economic research, analysis, and strategic communications. Prior to joining Centene, Marcela was Vice President, Public Affairs for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. She led the external communications, industry relations, and public outreach functions for the bank, headquartered in St. Louis and serving all of Arkansas and portions of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. Marcela earned her bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of MissouriSt. Louis and her master’s degree in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis. She serves on the boards of the Boy Scouts of America Greater St. Louis Area Council, the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and the Arts and Education Council. She also serves as an advisory board member for Washington University in St. Louis’ Center for Finance and Accounting Research and as an advisory council member for the National Alliance for Hispanic Health.

Erika McConduit V I C E P R E S I D E N T, D I V E R S I T Y A N D I N C LU S I O N

Erika McConduit, Esq. recently joined Centene as its Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, bringing over 15 years of experience with large and midsized companies. Her specific areas of expertise include policy, government affairs, diversity and inclusion, strategic planning, economic and business development, communications, organizational strategies and continuous process improvement. In her new role, Erika will localize the Diversity & Inclusion strategy within target markets around the country, enhance talent and policy development, activate our supplier diversity strategy, and enhance our engagement with external partners. Erika most recently served as the President and CEO for the Urban League of Louisiana, where she led the expansion of what was then the Urban League of Greater New Orleans, to a statewide organization, distinguishing it among the network of affiliates around the country. Prior to the Urban League of Louisiana, Erika was Chief Operating Officer of the YWCA of White Plains and Central Westchester County New York. Earlier in her career, Erika was an attorney with Frilot, Partridge, Kohnke & Clements in New Orleans and worked in Production Management and On-Air Promotions at MTV Networks – Nickelodeon and VH1 in New York. Erika has served as an adjunct faculty member of Dillard University and Monroe College in New York. Her current and past service includes the Louisiana Community and Technical College System Board of Supervisors, the New Orleans Advocate newspaper, and the Pahara-Aspen Institute fellowship, among others. Erika graduated summa cum laude from Howard University with a BA in Communications, and cum laude from Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans, Louisiana with a Juris Doctorate.




Claudio Abreu Claudio Abreu is currently the Executive Vice President for Specialized Markets, Business Operations and Shared Services, with full accountability for all new strategic markets offerings including all Management Services Organization services at Centene Corporation. He is also responsible for Business Operation and Shared Services including - Enterprise Claims Operations, Call Centers Operations, Provider Data Management, Corporate Contracting/Network Development, and Innovation for all of Centene. Prior to Centene Corporation, Claudio served for 4 year as the Senior Vice President for Regional Technology and Operations for Kaiser Permanente supporting all of the company’s Regions totaling almost $65 Billion in revenue with more than 200,000 employees and serving 11 million members. He drove significant merger, acquisition and divestiture initiatives, development of business capability services, innovation, analytics, workforce development, and process and quality improvements. Prior to Kaiser Permanente, Claudio served as the President and CEO of Bayer’s Shared and Managed Services division - Bayer Business and Technology Services LLC – leading all internal and external services for Bayer Corporation. During his 20 years tenure at Bayer, he streamlined governance processes focusing on value-added business solutions to support growth, process excellence, and customer satisfaction; implemented a fully-integrated business services area which included IT, procurement, accounting, customer services, order entry, facilities, business consulting, and HR; and led key change-leadership initiatives to help the executive team, and ultimately the workforce, embrace significant change. He also led Global Information Technology Operations at Bayer, where he had full responsibility for all Bayer information technology operations and infrastructure in more than 150 countries, supporting $50 Billion in sales and more than 100,000 employees. As Chief Information Officer of Bayer Corporation, Claudio oversaw unparalleled change to the business portfolio at Bayer, effectively managing more than $60 billion in acquisitions and divestitures. Claudio also brings key experience in guiding significant business investments, implementing mega programs, managing transformative change, and implementing key mergers and acquisition initiatives. His collaborative approach and leadership style makes him a strong partner across all areas in setting enterprise strategy, leading development, and ensuring the delivery of innovative, leading edge capabilities in each market. Claudio holds a Ph.D. in management intelligent systems from the University of Pittsburgh where he also received an MBA in strategic planning and finance, and a Master’s degree in management information systems. He also holds a Master’s degree in computer systems analysis and a bachelor’s degree in electrical/electronic engineering. Claudio was also selected to attend Senior Executive Programs at Harvard Business School and INSEAD, France.

who’s who diversity in color

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HELP PUT OUR LEADERS IN THE HANDS OF OUR YOUTH! Who’s Who Diversity in Color’s BUSINESS & BOOKS program is your company or organization’s way to provide this publication for the region’s youth. Call 314.473.5257 today to make your contribution.



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Apollo Carey

LEGAL DIVERSITY Congratulations to Apollo Carey and all leaders striving to improve our community through diversity and inclusion. The choice of a law firm is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. © 2019 Lewis Rice LLC

who’s who diversity in color

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who’s who diversity in color

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Posh Limousine Service










Biographical Index Claudio Abreu .....................................143

Patricia Fong ....................................... 141

Debra Parrran..................................... 102

Rhonda Carter Adams.......................... 64

Kristi Franklin..................................... 117

Emelyn dela Peña, EdD...................... 138

Nadida Amatullah-Matin..................... 74

Temeka Gauss..................................... 102

Emily Pitts.............................................91

Kathryn Banks...................................... 95

Ed Gallegos..........................................129

Sekhar Prabhakar................................. 48

Frances Barbieri .................................. 50

James Gillespie.................................... 114

Jose Ponce........................................... 116

Santiago Beltran................................... 46

Shay L. Gillespie................................. 128

Ailey Pope............................................132

Rebeccah Bennett............................... 120

Lisa Glover-Jones................................ 112

Jeffery Rodgers..................................... 79

Angelia D. Bills, M.S.W.......................110

Angela Grady...................................... 130

Gabriela Ramirez.................................107

Larry H. Blue, Jr.................................. 121

Demetrius Grooms............................... 89

Karlos Ramirez.................................... 116

Sara Yang Bosco................................. 104

Angel Jimenez-Gutierrez.................... 106

Nedim Ramic.......................................134

Barbara Bowman................................ 120

Lusnail Rondon Haberberger............. 108

Georgina Randazzo..............................107

Errin Braddock....................................135

Marcela Manjarrez Hawn....................142

Allie Chang Ray...................................123

Kevin Bryant......................................... 52

Dr. Kendra Holmes............................. 109

Lu Reames............................................ 74

Kiara Bryant......................................... 117

Naretha Hopson................................. 130

Angel Recci-Gonzalez......................... 140

Yvonne M. Buhlinger...........................110

Amir Hotich......................................... 131

Destiny Reddick.................................... 84

Denise Bursey..................................... 106

Haniny Hillberg.................................. 108

Abraham Rezex....................................118

Dr. Lakesha M. Butler......................... 121

John Inazu ........................................... 96

Aaron Rios........................................... 119

Alonzo Byrd.........................................139

Darrell Jackson..................................... 78

Dr. Will Ross......................................... 42

Danielle Carr........................................122

James & Kristy Jackson....................... 115

Dr. Quincy Rose...................................139

Apollo Carey......................................... 54

Dr. Shawni Jackson-Triggs................. 131

Rolanda Robinson-Finch....................129

Marquita C. Chapman.........................122

Carmen Jacob......................................132

Luis Rivero...........................................136

Reshma Chattaram Chamberlin........... 44

Qiaoni “Linda” Jing.............................. 24

Terrence Rogers...................................137

Ruben Chuquimia................................123

Everett Johnson....................................90

Ronald Sakai, CFA................................ 76

Ninoska Clarkin.................................... 66

Kam Johnson........................................ 79

Anthony Santirojprapai........................ 84

Betsy Heller Cohen............................... 24

Adella D. Jones.....................................111

Beverly Jo Slaughter..............................77

Khalia Collier.......................................124

Otha Jones............................................ 76

Leah Spinks.........................................118

Akif Cogo..............................................124

Arindam Kar......................................... 56

Dr. Dwyane Smith...............................136

Peter Corsale........................................125

Dr. Sudarsan Kant............................... 113

Peggie R. Smith..................................... 96

Dan Cranshaw.................................... 140

Ruth Kim.............................................. 58

Frank Smith......................................... 141

Adrienne Davis..................................... 94

Orvin T. Kimbrough........................... 104

Susan Stith............................................60

Danyal Davis-Hurd..............................125

Caitlin Ladd.......................................... 83

Angela M. Tate.....................................137

Latosha Davis, MSW...........................126

Chris Lewis...........................................88

Karen Tokarz........................................ 94

LaToya Daughrity................................ 112

Ronald C. Long..................................... 75

Larry Thomas.......................................88

Elton “Trey” Dean, III.........................126

Charles Mallett................................... 105

Edgar Umana........................................ 78

Vickie M. Denson.................................127

Jessica Mendez.................................... 115

Sal Valadez............................................ 62

Howard D. Denson..............................127

Erika McConduit.................................142

Kira Van Neil.......................................135

Konrad Dias.......................................... 82

Theron Morgan....................................133

Cecilia Velazquez.................................134

Major Deberry.................................... 109

Crystal Morris...................................... 119

Daniela Velázquez............................... 113

Lilian Doan Davis............................... 128

Darius Miller..........................................77

Dr. Qi Wang..........................................40

Irasa Downing......................................90

Mary E. Nelson....................................133

Kel Ward...............................................111

Karlla Dozier......................................... 82

David Noble.......................................... 24

Rodnée Warr......................................... 75

Guangwei Fan....................................... 83

Kimberly Norwood............................... 94

Reverend Starsky D. Wilson............... 138

Sha’Neco Fennoy................................ 105

Vanessa Okwuraiwe.............................. 89

Dr. Fatemeh “Fara” Zackery................ 114 who’s who diversity in color

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Advertisers’ Index Affinia.........................................................145 Anheuser Busch.......................................... 84 Ballpark Village.......................................... 98 Bayer............................................. Back Cover Black Pages................................................. 92 Centene......................................................... 3 Cigna........................................................... 20 Edward Jones............................................. 87 Emerson...................................................... 22 Enterprise Holdings, Inc...........................145 Explore St. Louis.......................................... 8 iHeart Media.............................................. 151 Lewis Rice..................................................145 Maryville University....................................81 Midland States Bank...................................31 Midwest Bank............................................... 9 Missouri History Society............................ 30 MSD............................................................ 23 Posh Limousine Service............................148 St. Louis American......................................21 St. Louis Cardinals...................................... 99 St. Louis University ................................... 36 Tiffany Russell Photography.......................37 The Muny...................................................146 UMSL.......................................................... 38 UPS............................................................. 95 Urban League............................................144 Washington University.....Inside Front Cover Wells Fargo Advisors.................................. 70



who’s who diversity in color

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Who's Who Diversity in Color 2019  

Who’s Who Diversity in Color (WWDIC) is an annual publication with the mission of documenting and celebrating the achievements of all people...

Who's Who Diversity in Color 2019  

Who’s Who Diversity in Color (WWDIC) is an annual publication with the mission of documenting and celebrating the achievements of all people...