Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life

2008 Faculty Affiliates


Judge Patricia Breckenridge
Missouri Supreme Court Judge
Judge Patricia Breckenridge was appointed to the Missouri Supreme Court in September, 2007.  She began her judicial career at the age of 25, when she was appointed Associate Circuit Judge of Vernon County.  Breckenridge was a member of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, before becoming the third woman on the current Supreme Court, setting a new record.  She earned a B.S. degree and a law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is a Fellow of the American Bar Association, and has been the recipient of several awards including The University of Missouri–Columbia School of Law’s Citation of Merit in 1996, and The Missouri Bar President’s Award in 1994. 

Mikki Brewster
Former Missouri Foundation for Health Board Member

Mikki Brewster was elected to the St. Louis Community College Board of Trustees in 1993 and served as vice president and president during her six year tenure on the Board. She has held numerous appointed positions, and is a founding member (and former chairperson) of the Board of Directors for the Missouri Foundation for Health.

Rachel Bringer
State Representative
(D-District 6, Palmyra)
Rep. Rachel Bringer was elected to the House in November 2002. In addition to her legislative duties, Rep. Bringer is an attorney. She served as the assistant prosecutor in Marion County from 2000-02 and was a law clerk for Judge Reinhard with the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District from 1995-97. A member of the South Union Baptist Church in Maywood, Rep. Bringer teaches Sunday school and is a pianist. She is also a member of numerous community organizations.  Rep. Bringer graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. with honors in English from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1992 and received her J.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia Law School in 1995, where she served as a member of the Missouri Law Review.

Connie Burkhardt
Former Curator, University of Missouri Board of Curators
Connie Burkhardt served on the University of Missouri Board of Curators from 1999-2005 including a term as Board President.  She retired last fall after 20+ years with Edward Jones where she held leadership roles in the Product Development and Customer Segments, Market Development and Banking Services divisions.  In 1994, she became the first woman named to the firm’s Management Committee, a group of nine principals who served as key advisors to the managing partner. An attorney, Burkhardt has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Missouri –St. Louis, and earned her J.D. at the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.  She is a member of the board of Alliance Francaise. 

Rashda “Sonny” Buttar
Clayton School Board
Rashda (Sonny) Buttar is a graduate of the Institute’s “Pipeline to Local Office” program.  She was the mother of three young children when she decided to seek election to the Clayton School Board in 2005. As one of four candidates for three spots, she campaigned hard, taking advantage of her maternity leave from her work as a corporate attorney.  Now in her second term, she is Vice president of the Board.  Professionally, she is Assistant General Council with Patriot Coal Corp. and volunteers as a member of the Clayton Sports and Wellness Commission.

Robin Carnahan
Missouri Secretary of State
Robin Carnahan was elected as Missouri's 38th Secretary of State in November, 2004.  Prior to running for office, Secretary Carnahan managed Global Ventures, LLC, a St. Louis-based international trade consulting firm.  She has also served as an executive at the Export-Import Bank of the United States. During the 1990s, she helped draft voting laws, train new political leaders and monitor elections in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Since then, she has worked in six countries to promote democracy and free elections.  Secretary Carnahan holds a degree in Economics from William Jewell College, and a law degree from the University of Virginia Law School, where she served as Executive Editor of the Virginia Journal of International Law.  Today, Carnahan continues to manage her family's 800 acre farm and Angus cattle operation outside of Rolla, and run marathons.

Maria Chappelle-Nadal
State Representative
(D-District 72, St. Louis County)
Maria Chappelle-Nadal is serving her second term in the Missouri House where she serves on the Ways and Means Committee, and Special Committees for Immigration and Senior Citizen Advocacy.  In addition to her legislative duties, Rep. Chappelle-Nadal is a member of Young Democrats of Missouri, Women in the Neighborhood, the Olive Business Association, and the Democratic National Committee.  Rep. Chappelle-Nadal began her political career as the public information officer for Lt. Governor Joe Maxwell and later served as Missouri's Senior Advocate.  In 2002, she was one of 20 national fellows chosen by the National Organization for Black Elected Legislative/Women (NOBEL/Women) and the Center for American Women in Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University to attend a national program for women in public policy and politics.  Rep. Chappelle-Nadal is a graduate of Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA.

Maida Coleman
Missouri State Senator, District 5

Senate Minority Leader Maida Coleman was elected to the Missouri Senate in a special election in February, 2002.   Her district includes downtown St. Louis and areas south and west.  Prior to her election, Sen. Coleman served just over a year as State Representative for the 63rd District.  She was elected Assistant Minority Floor Leader in November of 2002, and has served as Minority Floor Leader since 2004.  She sits on a variety of boards, many non-profit, and is a member of Central Baptist Church in St. Louis.  She graduated from Lincoln University in Jefferson City with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism.

Jane Drummond
Director, Department of Health and Senior Services
Jane Drummond became Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) in November 2006 after serving six months as Governor Matt Blunt’s Chief Legal Counsel.  Prior to that appointment, she served as the General Counsel for DHSS. Ms Drummond attended the University of Missouri-Columbia Law School, where she served as the associate managing editor of the Missouri Law Review.  She graduated in 2001 and was awarded Order of the Coif.  Prior to her work in state government, Ms. Drummond was an associate in the Jefferson City office of Husch & Eppenberger, LLC.  She was a member of the firm’s Health Care and Labor & Employment practice groups.  Ms. Drummond is active in the Missouri Bar and was chosen as a member of the 2005-2006 Leadership Academy.  She has chaired the Significant Decisions Subcommittee of the Bar’s Labor & Employment Committee since 2003.

Barbara Fraser

St. Louis County Councilwoman (D- District 5)

Barbara Wall Fraser was elected to the County Council in November of 2006. Before her election to the County Council, Councilwoman Fraser represented District 83 in the Missouri House of Representatives. During her tenure in the legislature, she sponsored and supported legislation that centered on safeguarding issues of education, children and health care including the legislation that reauthorized the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIPs). She worked passionately and effectively for funding of primary and secondary education as well as higher education. Prior to entering politics, Councilwoman Fraser was a teacher for 22 years. She taught at Mary Institute and Country Day School (MICDS), Francis Howell and Clayton among others. Councilwoman Fraser entered politics when she was elected to the University City School Board, where she served four terms, one as president. She is one of the Missouri Directors for Women in Government and a board member of the Independence Center. She is a 2002 graduate of Leadership St. Louis and a 2004 graduate of John F. Kennedy Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program at Harvard University.

Jamilah Nasheed
Missouri State Representative, District 60

Rep. Jamilah Nasheed was elected to the House in November 2006, and represents part of the City of St. Louis.  She serves as the Vice-Chairperson of the Women in the Democratic Caucus and Vice-Chairperson of the Freshman Democratic Caucus.  In addition to her legislative duties, Rep. Nasheed is a small business owner in St. Louis City.  She is a member of the 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 attended Roosevelt High School in St. Louis. She currently attends Florissant Valley Community College in Florissant, Missouri.

Pier Scott
Communications Manager, Anheuser-Busch

Pier Scott has been a Communications Manager with Anheuser-Busch since 2000. She has more than 15 years of strategic public relations planning and research experience. Pier was the Community Relations Coordinator at KSDK-TV News Channel 5 and has also worked in the area of educational fundraising, serving as the Assistant Area Development Director for The United Negro College Fund. In April of 2000, she was appointed by Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan as the Public Member of the Committee for Professional Counselors. In addition, Pier was a member of the Missouri Ethics Commission and served as its chair. An alumna of University of Missouri-Columbia, she is a graduate of Coro Midwestern Center’s Women in Leadership Program.

Kristina Starr
Former Meramec Valley School Board Member

A graduate of the Local Pipeline program, Kristina Starr was the top vote-getter in her race for the Meramec Valley School Board in 2005.  It was her first run for office and she was one of three winners out of a field of seven to win a three-year term.  Kristina resigned her post in December when she moved out of the district.

Cheryl Walker
President, University of Missouri Board of Curators

Cheryl Walker of St. Louis was appointed to the University of Missouri Board of Curators by Gov. Bob Holden in 2003, and currently serves as the Board’s Chair.  She is President and General Counsel of Obasi Enterprises, LLC. She formerly served as a counsel in the St. Louis office of Bryan Cave LLP, and she remains Of Counsel for the firm. Curator Walker is a member of the Tower Grove Park Board of Commissioners and of the boards of The Newberry Group, St. Louis Social Venture Partners and The United Way of Greater St. Louis. She received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1986 and a Juris Doctor degree from Washington University in 1990.

Gerry Welch

Mayor, Webster Groves, Mo. & Sue Shear Institute Advisory Board

An economist by training, Gerry Welch began her political career in 1994 as a member of the Webster Groves’ City Council. She was elected Mayor in 1998. Mayor Welch is a past president of the St. Louis County Municipal League, and represented the League on the East-West Gateway Board of Directors. She is a founder of Metro Mayors, an organization for mayors of large cities on both sides of the Mississippi River, and serves on the Sue Shear Institute Advisory Board.