Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life

2010 Faculty


Lisa B. Althoff
Executive Director, Missouri Women's Council

A 1999 Shear Fellow, Lisa B. Althoff was appointed by Governor Jay Nixon to serve as Executive Director of the Missouri Women’s Council in May 2010.  The council promotes and increases women's economic and employment opportunities through education and training; occupational mobility; non-traditional careers; promoting women in small business; access to managerial jobs; and support service for families.  Prior to her appointment Lisa served as manager of health initiatives for the American Cancer Society's office in Jefferson City. She earned her master's in business administration from William Woods University and graduated summa cum laude from Lincoln University

At Lincoln University, Althoff was appointed to the Women’s Leadership Academy.  She interned for the Missouri Women’s Council and assisted in creating and publishing the Missouri Business Resource Directory.

Harriet Baron
Director of the January Program, Washington University in St. Louis
Harriet Baron taught elementary school for many years and now directs Washington University’s “January Student” program for those who begin their freshman year with the January Semester.  She and Judy Goodman are next door neighbors.

Alana Barragán-Scott
Director, Department of Revenue

Alana Barragán-Scott served as acting director of the Department of Revenue for four months before being appointed director by Gov. Jay Nixon in October 2009.  She had been the deputy director and general counsel.  She is also a 15-year veteran of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office.  A graduate of MU, Barragán-Scott holds a dual major in biological science and psychology, and a juris doctor from the School of Law. She served as an adjunct professor for the law school from 2004 to 2009.

Cenia Bosman
Senior Vice President, YMCA of Greater St. Louis

Cenia D. Bosman is Senior Vice President, Administrative Services, for the YMCA of Greater St. Louis.  In her role, Ms. Bosman provides leadership for Association Child Care Services, which includes early childhood, school age childcare and day camp.  She also provides leadership for Inclusion Services, International Partnerships, Public Policy, Diversity, and United Way Reporting.   Prior to joining the YMCA, her professional business experience includes over 15 years in industrial sales and global business management.  

Her volunteer leadership includes service on boards, committees and commissions where focus on women, youth and family development are high priority.  Currently, she serves on the Regional Health Commission Advisory Board, and in 2008, she was appointed to the Missouri Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.  Ms. Bosman holds an MBA from Webster University-St. Louis and a B.S. in Management from Maryville University-St. Louis.

Karen L. Branding
Associate Dean and Dir., Marketing and Communications, Olin School of Business, Washington University in St. Louis

As associate dean and director of marketing and communications for the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, Karen oversees the marketing strategy and brand development for the school. Prior to Washington University, she was corporate vice president at Busch Entertainment Corporation, the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch Companies. Karen was also chairman, president and CEO of Busch Creative Services, Anheuser-Busch’s marketing services subsidiary, which it sold in 2002.  Prior to Anheuser-Busch, she spent two years with Fleishman-Hillard public relations, and six years in Washington, DC as a public policy analyst at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and the Department of the Treasury as a presidential management intern.  Karen is a recipient of the YWCA of Metro St. Louis’ Leader of Distinction Award. Karen earned an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, a Masters of Public Affairs from Indiana University, and a B.A. from Drake University. She and her husband, Mike Schroeder, and their six-year-old twins live in Clayton, a suburb of St. Louis.

Sheilah Clarke-Ekong
PhD, Associate Professor,
UM– St. Louis
Sheilah Clarke-Ekong Ph.D. is an Anthropologist who is an Associate Professor at UMSL and also serves on the Sue Shear Institute Advisory Board.  She has also taught African Studies and done field work in West Africa (Nigeria and Ghana).  She has worked with the St. Louis Public Schools on Dropout Prevention and was the Public Member of the Missouri’s State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts.

Nicole Colbert-Botchway
Missouri Attorney General’s Office
As a unit leader in the financial services division of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, Nicole Colbert-Botchway manages 17 attorneys and 10 support persons across the State of Missouri handling child support modifications, paternity establishments, petitions for judicial reviews, income maintenance and other financial cases on behalf of the State’s Department of Social Services.  She also assisted with the Missouri Attorney General’s Consumer Division.  After graduating from law school in 1996, Colbert-Botchway worked in private practice for two years with a focus on family law. She then joined the city of St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office, where she prosecuted non-support cases in child support disputes.  In September 2009, she became the first African-American president of the Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater St. Louis.  Colbert-Botchway is a co-sponsor of the FOUNDation Nursery and Preparatory School in Accra Ghana and continues to provide educational tools and financial support for the students. In 2009, Nicole received the Women’s Justice Award for Public Service from the St. Louis Daily Record & Missouri Lawyers Weekly.  She earned a B.S. and J.D. from St. Louis University, and an MBA from UMSL.  She is married and has one son, Ismail Botchway.

Monica Combest
Legislative Specialist, Enterprise Holdings, Inc.
Monica Combest graduated in August 2004 with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from the Pierre Laclede Honors College at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL), where she currently serves as Secretary of the UMSL Alumni Association Executive Board, and also as a member of the UMSL Governing Board.  During college, she interned for U.S. Senator Jim Talent and Congressman Todd Akin, and upon graduation she served as a Staff Assistant to Congressman Todd Akin.  At the age of 20, Combest was the youngest Missouri delegate elected to the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, and in 2008, she was again elected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis.  She has attended the U.S. Senate Leadership Summit for Young Professionals and the U.S. Senate Women’s Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.  Monica traveled abroad to Romania in 2006 as a representative of the Young Republican National Federation and in 2009, Monica was nominated and selected to travel to Argentina with the American Council of Young Political Leaders.  Monica is a Legislative Specialist at Enterprise Holdings, Inc. corporate headquarters in St. Louis, the parent company of Alamo Rent A Car, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental.

Leanna Depue
PhD, MoDOT Highway Safety Director
Leanna Depue is the Director of the Highway Safety Division of Missouri Department of Transportation.  Dr. Depue is a graduate of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and holds a Masters and Ph.D. in Health Education specializing in safety.  She serves on a number of national committees including the Strategic Highway Safety Program Technical Coordinating Committee, Board of Delegates of the National Safety Council, and Vice-Chair of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Safety Subcommittee on Safety Management.  She was recently appointed by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to the 10-member Advisory Council on Transportation Statistics.

Margaret Donnelly
Director, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

Margaret Donnelly is the Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.  Prior to her appointment, she served three terms in the Missouri House (D-73), focusing much of her work on issues relating to families, seniors and health care. She started her public service career as a member of the Ferguson-Florissant School Board, and was a member of the
METRO Board of Commissioners from 1999-2002.  She currently serves on the board of directors of the Family Support Network.  In 2008, she was a candidate for Missouri Attorney General.  In addition to her public service career, Director Donnelly has been an attorney in private practice for 20 years.  Donnelly earned her JD and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Saint Louis University.

Sue Ekberg
Career Focus St. Louis
Sue Eckberg has 25+ years of experience in career counseling.  For 11 years she worked with undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni at Saint Louis University, to develop their career focus and to find rewarding work.  During the next 6 years, as Director of the Career Center at Webster University, her desire and skills for working with adults blossomed.  Sue launched her independent career counseling practice, Career Focus, in June 2000. Sue earned her B.A. in Psychology at Adrian College, M.S. in Psychology at S.U.N.Y Cortland, and Ph.D. in Education, Counseling emphasis, at Saint Louis University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a graduate of Coach University, a virtual training company for coaches.

Sally Faith
State Representative (R-District 15, St. Charles County)
Rep. Sally Faith was elected in 2004 and represents part of St. Charles County. She is Chair of the Fiscal Review Committee, Vice-Chair of the Transportation Committee, and a member of the Special Standing Committee on Government Accountability and Ethics Reform. Before running for the legislature, she served as Chair and Vice-Chair of the St. Charles County Council District 5. She is a not-for-profit fundraiser in the St. Charles area.

Laurie Feldman
St. Charles City Council
After more than 30 years in special education, Laurie defeated an incumbent and was elected to the St. Charles City Council in 2007. She represents Ward 3, and currently serves as President of the Council.

Audrey Fleissig
U.S. Magistrate, Eastern District of Missouri
Audrey Fleissig is a United States magistrate judge for the Eastern District of Missouri, and a current federal judicial nominee to the United States Federal District Court.  On March 4, 2010, the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary sent Fleissig's nomination to the full Senate, before which her nomination currently is pending.  Before her appointment to the bench, Fleissig was the first woman to hold the post of United States attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri.  From 1991 to 1999 Fleissig served as assistant United States attorney, where she prosecuted criminal white-collar cases.  An adjunct professor at Washington University School of Law since 1991, Fleissig teaches Pretrial Practice & Procedure and Trial Advocacy.

A practicing attorney for more than 20 years, Fleissig graduated magna cum laude in 1976 from Carleton College in 1976 and in 1980 from Washington University School of Law, where she served as a member of the Washington University Law Quarterly and was elected to the Order of the Coif.  She also clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Edward Filippine.

Jalesia “Jasha” McQueen Gadberry
Attorney at Law
Jalesia F. McQueen Gadberry was born in Tachikawa Air Force Base, Japan and has moved around her whole life.  Her mother is an immigrant from Lima, Peru and her father is a natural-born citizen of the U.S. As a result, Ms. McQueen Gadberry grew up in a bi-cultural household and is fluent in Spanish.
Ms. McQueen Gadberry is a veteran who reached the rank of Captain before leaving the active-duty U.S. Army in 1999.  She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Tampa, earned a master’s degree from Troy State University in Troy, Al., and attended law school at SIU-Carbondale.  She was an attorney with several St. Louis firms, including Thompson Coburn (the region’s largest), before launching her own firm, McQueen Gadberry LLC in December, 2009. She was appointed to the Missouri Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights in 2007, and also serves on the Hispanic Business Trade and Culture Commission.  She is also active in the Hispanic Republicans of Missouri.  McQueen Gadberry and her husband, Justin (who manages her law firm) have two-year-old twin boys.

Judy Goodman
Alderwoman, City of Clayton
Judy Goodman is a Public Relations and Communications professional.  Since 2004, she has served as an Alderman in the City of Clayton.  She is a graduate of Washington University’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work.  Judy’s Ward includes three higher education institutions as well as churches and private and public schools.  She has concentrated on balancing the concerns of the residents with the needs of these institutions.  She also is Harriet (Baron)’s next door neighbor.

Darlene Greene
City of St. Louis
The Honorable Darlene Green, Comptroller of the City of St. Louis, serves as the City’s Chief Fiscal Officer. She directs all the fiscal affairs of the City for a combined annual budget of more than $900 million.  As Chief Fiscal Officer, she is a member of the Executive Branch of City government, the Board of Estimate and Apportionment. Green is the first woman ever elected to the position. During her tenure in City government, first as Budget Director and now as Comptroller, St. Louis recorded nine consecutive years of multi-million dollar budget surpluses and seven credit rating upgrades.  Ms. Green has received many honors and awards; in 2008 she was named one of St. Louis Magazine’s “52 Most Powerful People in St. Louis. She is a member of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA); Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.; Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA); and Friendly Temple M.B. Church. She also is a member of the National Women's Political Caucus of Metro St. Louis.  Green earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Washington University.

Camille Greenwald
Richmond Heights City Council
Camille Greenwald has a degree in Library Science but has spent most of her professional life managing medical testing clinics in association with her M.D. husband.  She has been a member of the Board of the Metro Theater, an organization that presents original plays to children. She is serving her second term as a member of the Richmond Heights City Council.

Maggie Hales
Interim Director,
East West Gateway Council of Governments
Maggie Hales is the Interim Executive Director of East-West Gateway Council of Governments, a metropolitan planning organization for eight counties in the bi-state St. Louis metropolitan region.  Before her appointment to the Interim position in July 2009, Hales had been the Deputy Executive Director for East-West Gateway since April 2006.  At East-West Gateway Hales oversees a budget of $24 million and 57 staff who conduct long-range highway transportation and transit planning, environmental planning and regional security planning and coordination for the eight counties in Missouri and Illinois.  From 2004 until 2006, Hales was Deputy Director of the St. Louis Area Regional Response System, an organization within East-West Gateway that manages grant programs and coordinates planning for regional homeland security.  Before coming to STARRS, Hales was counsel for The May Department Stores Company from 1981-1994. She has a B.A. in History, with Honors, from Webster University and a J.D. from St. Louis University.  Hales is married to Paul Hales and has two daughters, 23 and 16.

Amy Hamilton
City Manager,
Richmond Heights, Mo
Amy Hamilton became the assistant manager of Richmond Heights in 2000, and was appointed city manager in 2004.  She worked previously for the City of Collinsville, Il.  Hamilton has been involved in a variety of complex, urban development projects including the Boulevard-Saint Louis, a $50 million public/private partnership.  She has also worked with the owner of the Saint Louis Galleria, a popular shopping center in Richmond Heights.  Hamilton received a bachelor’s degree and an MPA from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.  She is the past president of the St. Louis Area City Management Association (SLACMA), and is a member of several associations and trade organizations including Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW)-St. Louis.

Melissa Hattman
St. Louis Community College Board of Trustees
In April 2008, Melissa won 48 percent of the vote in a four-way election to win a seat on the St. Louis Community College Board of Trustees. It was her first run for public office. She is a graduate of the 2008 Pipeline to Local Office program and serves as Director of Community College Relations for the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Lora Iannotti
PhD, Assistant Professor, Washington University in St. Louis
Dr. Iannotti is an assistant professor at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, and a faculty scholar at the Institute for Public Health at Washington University.  Her current research focuses on program evaluation and impact modeling of nutrition, infectious diseases, and poverty with funding from the International Food Policy Research Institute. Iannotti has expertise in issues of infant and young child nutrition, maternal nutrition, and micronutrient deficiencies (zinc, iron, and vitamin A) in international public health.  Dr. Iannotti received her PhD in International Nutrition from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and her Master of Foreign Affairs degree from the University of Virginia. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute.  Prior to pursuing her PhD, she worked for over ten years with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and UN agencies on nutrition and food security programming and policy in the regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

Gina Jaksetic
Kirkwood City Council
Gina was one of three people elected in a six-way race for the Kirkwood City Council in April, 2008. A graduate of the 2007 Pipeline to Politics class, she was a trustee for the Kirkwood Public Library prior to her election and served as the organization's treasurer and secretary. Gina is a registered nurse.

Anna Jinkerson
Outreach Coordinator, Congressman Russ Carnahan
Anna Jinkerson is the outreach coordinator for Congressman Russ Carnahan’s office in St. Louis.  Her outreach work focuses on constituency groups in the policy areas of community development, education, science, environment and innovation, women's and LGBT health and advocacy.  During the 2008 election cycle she served as an advisor to the Women for Obama program and Field Director for the Congressman’s political efforts.  Prior to working in the Carnahan organization, she was the statewide volunteer coordinator for Claire McCaskill’s 2004 campaign for Governor.  Ms Jinkerson holds an Associate of Arts degree from Jefferson College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.  During her under graduate career, she worked as a policy intern for Gloria Steinem's organization, Choice USA.  She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy Administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and resides in the Benton Park area. 

Tishaura Jones
State Representative (D-District 63, St. Louis City)
Rep. Tishaura Jones represents downtown St. Louis City, and several neighborhoods south of downtown in the Missouri House. She is the secretary of the women’s caucus and serves on a number of committees including the Health Care Policy Committee, the Special Standing Committee on Health Issues, the Special Standing Committee on Urban Issues, and the Interim Committee on Autism Spectrum Disorders. In addition to her legislative duties, Rep. Jones is employed as Director of Public Policy and Sr. Human Resources Consultant at People's Health Centers.

Dee Joyce-Hayes
General Counsel, Metro

Dee Joyce-Hayes is the General Counsel for Metro, which owns and operates St. Louis’ public transportation system. From 1993-2000, she served as the elected Circuit Attorney for the City of St. Louis.  In this role she was the lead prosecutor for the City, and oversaw a staff of over 50 attorneys.  She has also worked in a private law firm, and is an adjunct professor at Washington University School of Law.  She is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Metropolitan Sewer District, and serves on the Missouri Sentencing Advisory Commission.  Joyce-Hayes is active in the community, serving on the Board of Directors for the Girl Scout Council of Greater St. Louis, St. Louis Children’s Advocacy Services and St. Louis for Kids.  She also serves as president of The Backstoppers.  She is a member of the Missouri Bar, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, the Mound City Bar and the Women Lawyers of Greater St. Louis.  Joyce-Hayes earned a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and her law degree from Saint Louis University School of Law.

Sue Kendig
Nurse Practicioner and Clinical Associate Professor, UM– St. Louis
In addition to her ongoing teaching at UMSL in the areas of Health Policy and Women’s Health Management, Ms. Kendig began practicing law in these areas after obtaining her law degree from the University of Missouri in 2007.  She was the only nurse appointed by Gov. Holden to the MO Commission on Patient Safety (2003-4) and has been appointed to the Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee.

Kris Kerr
St. Louis County Family Court Commissioner, 21st Judicial Circuit

Commissioner Kerr was appointed Family Court Commissioner in September, 2004.  She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from Brown University and received her Juris Doctorate from Boston University.  Commissioner Kerr clerked for the Honorable Kent Karohl, Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, from 1986 to 1987. She engaged in private practice from 1987 through 1988 and joined the Missouri State Public Defender System in 1988. She worked as an Assistant Public Defender in St. Louis City and defended death penalty cases with the Capital Litigation Division. She became First Assistant Public Defender in St. Louis City in 1993 and Assistant Public Defender in St. Louis County in 2003. From this position, she was appointed Family Court Commissioner.  Commissioner Kerr is a member of the St. Louis County Bar Association, the Women Lawyer's Association, the Lawyer's Association, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and the St. Louis Knitter's Guild.  She and her husband live in St. Louis County with their two children.

Jane Klieve
Klieve Group
Jane Klieve is President of Klieve Group and a member of the Advisory Board of the Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life.  She has more than 25 years of leadership development, management and human resources experience in corporate, political and non-profit organizations. Jane has served on numerous community and public service boards including the Missouri Housing Development Commission and the Missouri Women’s Council.  She is Past Executive Director of the CORO leadership organization and has served in various leadership positions in the Episcopal Church.  She is also a Board member of the Greater St. Louis Women’s Foundation.

Cynthia Kramer
Executive Director,
Cynthia Kramer is the founder and the visionary behind SCOPE: Science and Citizens Organized for Purpose and Exploration.  SCOPE is a grassroots statewide initiative, founded in 2007, focused on engaging people to relay the hope and positive force of science, technology, and innovation for today and the future. Diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma that chemotherapy couldn’t beat, Kramer participated in a successful clinical trial and has been in remission for 5+ years.  In 2006, she was a candidate for state representative in the 87th district (St. Louis County).  She lives in Creve Coeur with her husband and two sons.

CJ Larkin
Administrative Director of ADR Programs and Senior Lecturer,

Washington University School of Law
CJ Larkin is the Administrative Director of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Programs and Senior Lecturer in Law at Washington University Law School.  Professor Larkin has an extensive legal background as a public defender, appellate attorney, bank counsel, family lawyer and guardian ad litem. She has served as a lobbyist and as political staff for a county elected official and U.S. Senate party nominee. Professor Larkin has worked in intercultural conflict resolution leadership training, most recently for the Ethiopian Community Association of Missouri’s Workshop on Conflict and Peacemaking Across Cultures, co-sponsored by the International Institute and Washington University School of Law. She provides conflict resolution consultation and training for St. Louis immigrant-refugee agencies, such as the International Institute St. Louis, the African Mutual Assistance Association of Missouri and the Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma. In spring 2004, she was selected as a cultural competence trainer on Arab, Muslim and Sikh Americans for the United States Department of Justice’s Community Relations Services.  She is Vice-Chair of the Missouri Bar’s ADR committee and serves as trainer and mediator for the Missouri Bar Association. She also serves on the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute Advisory Board. 

Kathy Lass
Board of Directors, Immigrant & Refugee Women’s Program

Kathy Lass has long been a strong advocate for the poor and dispossessed. In elementary school, she started a drive to support a child in Europe under what was then the Foster Parents Plan.  In college, she worked in the South with Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, registering voters and doing community organizing.  She retired last year after almost 10 years as the Director of International Services for the Red Cross in St. Louis. Kathy continues to be active in issues of international interest, and serves on the board for the Immigrant & Refugee Women’s Program.  She holds master’s degrees in Sociology and Public Administration.

Julie Leicht
Senior Policy Director, Citizens for Missouri’s Children

Julie Leicht is the senior policy director with Citizens for Missouri’s Children (CMC).  In her current position, Julie is responsible for CMC’s advocacy efforts in Jefferson City as well as coordinating all other policy related activities of the organization.  In addition, she is charged with overseeing the production and publication of the KIDS COUNT in Missouri Data Book.  Prior to joining CMC, Julie was the executive director of the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, an animal welfare advocacy organization. In addition to her advocacy work, Julie has held positions with various governmental entities including: St. Louis County Council; City of St. Louis, Office of the Mayor; and the state of Missouri, Division of Family Services.  Julie has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Public Administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Brenda Stith Loftin
Associate Circuit Judge, 21st Judicial Circuit, St. Louis County

Judge Brenda Stith Loftin was appointed associate circuit judge in March 1993, and was retained by the voters in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006.  Judge Loftin completed her undergraduate work at the University of Missouri-St. Louis with a Bachelor of General Studies degree. She received her Juris Doctorate degree from St. Louis University School of Law in 1986.  After engaging in private practice, Judge Loftin served as an assistant prosecuting attorney in St. Louis County from 1989 to 1993 as a member of the felony trial staff.  Judge Loftin is a member of the Missouri Supreme Court Trial Judge Education Committee, the Missouri Supreme Court Coordinating Commission for Judicial Branch Education and the Supreme Court Chief Judge's Advisory Committee. She is a board member of the National Center for State Courts and past president of the National Association of Women Judges. Judge Loftin serves as the administrative judge for the associate circuit division. She and her husband live in St. Louis County. They have one child.

Alison Marischen
Attorney, Polsinelli Shugart PC
Alison Marischen is a 2000 Shear Fellow and graduate of Truman State University.  She is an attorney with Polsinelli Shughart PC in St. Louis where she handles real estate transactions and public law issues.  Prior to attending law school at Washington University, Alison spent a year in Washington DC as an intern for Sen. Christopher Bond.  She was a law clerk for the Honorable Jean Hamilton, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, and the Honorable Stephen Limbaugh, Jr., Supreme Court of Missouri.  Alison is a member of the Missouri Bar and Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), serves on the executive board  of the St. Louis District Council for the Urban Land Institute (ULI), and the Transportation Committee for the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis.  She is married with two sons, William (2 1/2) and Charlie (10 months).

Alberta Meyer
Community Volunteer
Ms. Meyer is a long-time activist for women’s rights and good government.  A Jefferson City, Missouri resident, she and Rep. Sue Shear worked on legislation together and became good friends during Ms. Meyer’s service to the Bond Administration.  She has been a generous supporter of the work of the Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life.

Dianna Meyers
2005 Shear Fellow
Dianna Meyers was a 2005 Shear Fellow and returned in 2006 as an intern for the Leadership Academy. Dianna graduated from Missouri S&T in May, 2009, with a degree in ceramic engineering in May.  As a student, Dianna was involved with ASUM (Associate Students of the Univeristy of Missouri), theatre, and College Republicans.  She did co-ops with the Kohler Company in Kohler, Wisconsin, (yes, she designed toilets), and with Dal-Tile in Dallas.   She is now works in IT Consulting at Accenture in St. Louis. 

Dr. Heidi Miller
Primary Care Physician, St. Louis Family Care Health Center

Dr. Heidi B. Miller attended Harvard Medical School and performed her residency in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She currently serves as a primary care doctor for uninsured and indigent patients at the Family Care Health Centers, a community health center in St. Louis City. Dr. Miller also works with the St. Louis Integrated Health Network on quality initiatives for the region’s most vulnerable patients, including a project to expedite access to breast care.  In addition, Dr. Miller is a governor-appointee to the MO HealthNet Oversight Committee that monitors Missouri’s Medicaid program.

Susan Montee
Missouri Auditor
Susan Montee, a St. Joseph native, was elected State Auditor in 2006. She is the first State Auditor to be both a CPA and attorney. Montee received an undergraduate degree from Drury College in Springfield, with minors in economics and business administration. She worked as an accountant and CPA in private practice and in one of the nation’s largest accounting firms. In 1985, she started a successful computer supply company that was sold in 1990.  Over the next six years, she stayed at home full-time until her children, Amanda, Andy and Austin, started school. Montee then went back to school, earning a law degree from UMKC – with distinction - in 2000. She was elected to the St. Joseph City Council in 1998, and served 2 terms as Buchanan County Auditor from 2000-2006. When she was elected State Auditor in 2006, Montee won by a wider margin than any previous state auditor. Gov. Matt Blunt appointed her to the position one week before her scheduled oath of office, filling the seat vacated by newly elected U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill.

Julia Muller
PhD, Sue Shear Institute Advisory Board

Julia Muller Ph.D. is a community volunteer, including her service on the Sue Shear Institute Advisory Board. Formerly, she was Dean of Student Affairs at UMSL and President of United Missouri Bank of Kirkwood. Julia was elected to the Board of Trustees of the St. Louis Community College and serves of its Foundation board.  She has been a Trustee at Stephen’s College and serves on the City of Clayton Economic Development Commission.

Viola Murphy
Mayor Cool Valley
Viola served two terms on the Cool Valley Board of Aldermen before being elected Mayor in 2008 with over 47 percent of the vote. She was just 12 votes shy of matching the combined total of her two (male) opponents. Though Cool Valley is a small community of 1,000 residents, it serves as the world headquarters for Express Scripts.

Lynn Mwaniki
2009 Shear Fellow
Lynn Mwaniki is a graduate student at the University of Central Missouri, working towards a Master of Arts in Sociology and a certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies. While pursuing her degree she has been working as a graduate teaching assistant and has been teaching her own section of general sociology. As a native Kenyan her area of interest focuses on women and development, specifically the role of education. She is active in various organizations including Alpha Kappa Delta – International Sociology Honor society, Phi Beta Delta - Honor Society for International Scholars, a member of the Midwest Sociological Society and a member of the International Students Organization. In 2009 she received the Riley H. Pittman award for Outstanding Graduate Student in the department. Upon completion of her master’s degree this summer she plans to intern for a year and then pursue a doctorate degree in sociology.

Jamilah Nasheed
State Representative
(D-District 60, St. Louis)
Rep. Nasheed, a Democrat, represents part of St. Louis City (District 60) in the Missouri House of Representatives. She was elected to the House in November 2006. Rep. Nasheed is a small business owner in St. Louis City. Rep. Nasheed currently serves as the Chairperson of the Dropout Prevention Task Force. In her efforts to help students who drop out of school, Rep. Nasheed is also a founding member of the “In It 2 Win” Coalition which finds and returns drop outs to the classroom.  In addition to her legislative duties, Rep. Nasheed is a member of the A+ Schools Program, the Anti-crime Initiative, St. Louis Public Schools Role Model Program, the African American Heritage Society and the Lexington Mentor Program. She is also an active member of the St. Louis Association of Colored Women’s Club. Rep. Nasheed was recently selected to be a Delegate to India in the upcoming American Council for Young Political Leaders trip. She currently attends Florissant Valley Community College in Florissant, Missouri.

Mary Nelson
Director of Boards and Commissions, Governor’s Office

Mary E. Nelson serves as Director of Boards and Commissions, overseeing the screening of applicants and nominations for the appointments to public boards and commissions for the Governor’s Office.  Ms. Nelson has practiced law in a variety of capacities in St. Louis for nearly three decades. Prior to joining the Governor’s Office in 2009, she was an officer in the firm of Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C., working in the construction and corporate practice groups.  From 2006 until March 2008, she was General Counsel for The Kwame Building Group Inc. In addition to positions with other private firms, Ms. Nelson served as General Counsel and Legislative Director for the Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives from 1996 to 1997; was General Counsel for the St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC) from 1993 to 1996; and was Director of Small and Minority Business Development for the SLDC’s predecessor organization from 1982 to 1986.  She is also a former president of the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners.  Ms. Nelson earned a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1977 and her juris doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1980.

Chris Nicastro
Commissioner, Elementary and Secondary Education

Dr. Chris Nicastro was appointed by Gov. Jay Nixon to serve as Commissioner of Education in August 2009.  She is the first woman to serve as Missouri’s Commissioner of Education since the office was created. From 2002-2009, she served as superintendent of the Hazelwood School District (St. Louis County), Missouri’s fifth-largest school district.  She was the first woman to serve as president of the Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA), and she was honored as MASA’s 2009 “Superintendent of the Year.”  She previously served seven years as superintendent of Riverview Gardens schools, and was an assistant superintendent in Ritenour School District for 11 years prior to that. She started her career as a social studies teacher and administrator at Northwest R-1 High School in Jefferson County.  Dr. Nicastro earned a bachelor’s degree in history at Indiana University; a master’s degree in educational administration at the University of Missouri-St. Louis; and a Ph.D. in educational administration at St. Louis University.  Dr. Nicastro and her husband, Charles, have four children and four grandchildren.

Jeanne Norris
2004 Shear Fellow, Science Teacher, Gateway IT High School

Jeanne Norris is a 2004 graduate of the Leadership Academy, and was an intern for the Academy in 2007.  She has also interned for Project 2010, which aims to guarantee college enrollment for the St. Louis Public Schools Class of 2010. Jeanne graduated from UM-St. Louis in 2009 with a degree in Secondary Education- Biology.  In addition to graduating with high honors, Jeanne was the recipient of the Noyce Scholarship for city science teachers.  She currently teaches life science at Gateway Institute of Technology in the St. Louis Public School District.

Linda Riekes
Development Officer,
St. Louis Public Schools
Linda Riekes has over 35 years of service in the St. Louis Public School system.  She began her career as a 7th & 8th grade social studies teacher at Hamilton Middle School in 1970.  Since then, she has directed a variety of projects including the Law and Education Project, the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Program, the St. Louis Consortium for Dropout Prevention, the Law and Citizenship Education Project and the St. Louis Internship Program.  She currently serves as the Development Officer and Liaison to the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation.

Dora B. Schriro
PhD, Commissioner of Correction,
City of New York
Dora B. Schriro is the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction where she oversees the City’s 13,500 inmate population.  Prior to assuming this role last September, Dr. Schriro served as Special Advisor to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Detention and Removal, and Director of the Office of Detention Policy and Planning for the Department. Previously, she served for six years as the Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections and, from 1993 to 2001, as Director of the Missouri Department of Corrections. In each state she was the first woman selected to lead the agency.  Dr. Schriro is a nationally recognized innovator in reentry, and is the only person in the nation to have led two state and two city correctional systems.

Jill Schupp
State Representative
(D-District 82, St. Louis County)
Jill Schupp was elected to the Missouri House in 2008. A Democrat, she represents the 82nd district which includes parts of Creve Coeur, St. Louis County, Town and Country and a very small amount of Chesterfield. In addition to her legislative duties, Rep. Schupp continues to serve as a community volunteer. Previously, she worked as an advertising executive for 20 years and worked for several years as an elementary school teacher.  Rep. Schupp was a member of the Creve Coeur City Council and served two terms as president of the Ladue School Board. She was named the 2008 Creve Coeur Citizen of the Year. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri – Columbia, and also completed graduate course work and received her teaching certification from the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

Rachel Storch
State Representative (D-District 64, St. Louis)
Rep. Rachel Storch, a Democrat, represents part of St. Louis City and County (District 64) in the Missouri House of Representatives. First elected in 2004, she currently serves as Deputy Whip for the Democratic Caucus.
Prior to running for office, Rep. Storch served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor for former Senator Jean Carnahan in the United States Senate. She also worked as Legal Counsel and Director of Policy for State Senator and Democratic Floor Leader Ken Jacob. Before entering politics, Rep. Storch was a public interest attorney with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri and served for a year after law school as an Americorps*VISTA attorney at Legal Services. Rep. Storch is a member of the Missouri Bar Association. Rep. Storch also participates on several statewide and local boards, including the Children's Trust Fund; the Missouri Women's Council; the Cultural Trust Fund board of the Missouri Arts Council; and Nurses for Newborns, among others.  She received her undergraduate degree, with honors, in American History and Literature from Harvard University and a law degree from Washington University in St. Louis where she was an Olin Fellow. In 2008, she was one of twelve Americans to be named an Eisenhower Fellow.

Mavis Thompson
Attorney at Law; President, National Bar Association

Mavis Thompson is an attorney specializing in Civil and Criminal Trial practice at the Law Office of Mildred Motley and Mavis Thompson.  She is also an adjunct professor of Nursing and serves as a prosecutor for the City of Berkeley, MO.  Mavis is the President of the National Bar Association and is Past President of the Mound City Bar Association.  In 1993 Governor Mel Carnahan appointed Mavis the Circuit Clerk for the City of St. Louis.  In that capacity, she was responsible for the supervision of more than 250 employees and management of a $62 million budget. She was subsequently elected the first female Circuit Clerk and the only African American female holding a citywide elected office in 1994. Mavis graduated from the University of Missouri at Columbia earning a BS in Nursing in 1979 and a JD degree in 1990. She is also a 1995 graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.  She has worked as a registered nurse, primarily in Labor and Delivery, in several hospitals in St. Louis, MO and Washington, DC.  Mavis is a certified diversity facilitator, youth speaker and election law advocate, conducting workshops across the United States and she spends a great deal of time mentoring law students and lawyers newly admitted to the Bar. Mavis enjoys international travel.

Vetta Sanders Thompson
PhD, Washington University in St. Louis

Vetta Sanders Thompson is an Associate Professor in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. She is a leading researcher in the areas of racial identity, psychosocial implications of race and ethnicity in health communications, access to health services, and determinates of health and mental health disparities.  She currently serves as a member of the Faculty Advisory Council of the Institute for Public Health at Washington University. A licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Sanders Thompson is active in numerous professional associations including the American Psychological Association, Missouri Psychological Association, and the Midwest Sociological Society; as well as an associate editor for the journal, Contemporary Psychology. She is a former member of the Sue Shear Institute Advisory Board, and the Missouri Mental Health Commission.

Anne U. Tolan
Webster Groves City Council

Anne Tolan is a member of the Webster Groves City Council and also serves of the Sue Shear Institute Advisory Board.  She is the President of the Board of Directors of the Miriam School, a private, non-profit institution that serves children with multiple learning disabilities.  Under her leadership, the focus has broadened so this 50-year-old organization also assists families in working with their challenged child.

Julie Warm
PhD, Manager, Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life, UMKC

Julie Warm has extensive experience in local government, non-profit management, and higher education administration. She originally trained as a city planner and city manager and served in those capacities in Ohio, Nevada, and Missouri. Her last position was as City Manager in Reno, Nevada. For the last 20 years, she has worked in academe as a community liaison, administrator, and researcher. Dr. Warm’s academic preparation focused on organizational drivers for social entrepreneurship. She is an advocate for people with disabilities and currently serves on the Board for the Jackson County Board of Services for the Developmentally Disabled, a county-level funding agency.

Gerry Welch
Mayor of Webster Groves

Gerry Welch is Mayor of Webster Groves and serves on the Sue Shear Institute Advisory Board. She began her political career in 1994 as a member of the Webster Groves, MO City Council. She was elected Mayor in 1998 and was re-elected in 2004 and 2006 and every election since. Mayor Welch is a past president of the St. Louis County Municipal League and served as a member of the Board of the East-West Gateway Development Council. She is currently President of the Missouri Municipal League. She has also been a faculty member in the St. Louis Community College system.

Hope Whitehead
State Representative (D-District 57, St. Louis City)
Hope Whitehead was elected to the Missouri House in a special election in February 2010. In addition to her legislative duties, Rep. Whitehead is an attorney who heads her own firm, Whitehead and Associates, L.L.C., where she practices criminal, civil and administrative law. She previously served as an Associate Administrative Law Judge for the Division of Workers’ Compensation and as the Director of the Division of Liquor Control. In addition, Rep. Whitehead has worked as the Associate General Counsel for the St. Louis City Housing Authority and as a prosecutor for the St. Louis City Circuit Attorney’s Office. Rep. Whitehead received a degree in psychology from Fordham University and a Juris Doctorate from the Washington University School of Law.  She is a former member of the Missouri Bar Board of Governors and former president of the Mound City Bar Association. In 2010, she and her husband, Jon, celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. They have two boys.

Eileen Wolfington
Community Educator
Eileen Wolfington has over 30 years of experience working in the public and private sector. Most of her career has been in the banking sector on the consumer side. She left the banking industry to work for a nonprofit organization as an AmeriCorp*VISTA in the area of economic development with immigrants and refugees. Upon completion of this two year assignment, Eileen joined the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis to become a community development specialist for four and one half years. Eileen has come full circle in her career and has recently decided to become a consultant in the area of asset development and economic empowerment for low income populations. She is a community educator and advocate of financial literacy.

Robin Wright-Jones
State Senator (D-District 5, St. Louis City)
Sen. Robin Wright-Jones was elected to the House of Representatives in a special election in March 2002. As a member of the House, she served as Chair of the Democratic Caucus from 2003 to 2007, and in 2004 also served as Chair of the St. Louis Regional Caucus. She was term-limited out of the House and elected to the Senate in 2008 and now represents a district in the City of St. Louis that includes downtown. She currently serves on several committees including Administration, Ways and Means and Gubernatorial Appointments.

Virginia Young
Jefferson City Bureau Chief, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Virginia Young has been a state capital reporter since June 1989. In November 2005, she became the Jefferson City bureau chief for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She covers state government including the Legislature, the executive branch and Supreme Court. She also covers elections and out-state news. Ms. Young has worked as an assistant professor at University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism and as a writer and editor for the Columbia Missourian and the Columbia Daily Tribune. She has won a number of awards for work in her field and is co-editor of "Women on Deadline: A Collection of America's Best," 1991, Iowa State Press. Ms. Young has a Master's Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri–Columbia and a Bachelor's Degree in English from William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. She is married with two children.