Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life

2007 Faculty Affiliates Bios


Judy Baker

State Representative (D-District 25, Boone County )

Elected to the House in 2004, Rep. Judy Baker is an Adjunct Professor of Managerial Economics at Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri and a Healthcare Consultant and President of Cura Healthsystems Solutions. In addition to her legislative duties, Rep. Baker is a member of the Columbia Kiwanis Club and attends the First Baptist of Columbia where she is a Deacon. Originally from Chesapeake , Virginia , Rep. Baker received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Educational Psychology in 1981 from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She also received a Masters Degree in Divinity from Southern Seminary in 1986 and a Masters of Health Administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2002. Rep. Baker lives in Columbia with her husband John. They have three children: Sarah, Lauren and David.

Kay Barnes
Mayor, Kansas City, Missouri
Kay Barnes was elected in March 1999 as Kansas City's first woman mayor. In 1974, she became one of two women on the Jackson County Legislature. In 1979, she was elected to a four-year term on the City Council. She also served as chairwoman of the Tax Increment Financing Commission. Kay helped found the Women's Resource Service at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and developed multicultural women's speaking panels throughout the western United States. For 23 years, she was president of Kay Waldo, Inc., a human resources development firm specializing in communications, leadership development, management and supervision, team-building and time and stress management. She co-hosted and produced a cable television talk show, “Let's Talk,” focusing on multicultural issues, and co-authored the book “About Time! A Woman's Guide to Time Management. ”She has taught college-level classes at UMKC, the University of Kansas and Central Michigan University. Kay holds a B.S. degree in secondary education from the University of Kansas and master's degrees in secondary education and in public administration and organizational behavior from UMKC.

Mikki Brewster
Missouri Foundation for Health Board of Directors
Mikki Brewster is a past chairperson of the board for the Missouri Foundation for Health, and has experience as a volunteer for many health-related organizations throughout the St. Louis area. Brewster is a former licensed practical nurse who received an MSW from Washington University and has served as an administrator with the St. Louis Public Schools. She 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 is a breast cancer survivor who chairs the St. Louis Breast-Cervical Cancer Partnership and works on breast cancer awareness in the minority community.

Charles Bryson
Public Safety Director, City of St. Louis

Charles Bryson is the Director of Public Safety for the City of St. Louis.  He was appointed by Mayor Francis Slay in September, 2007 and supervises the St. Louis Fire Department, the neighborhood stabilization office, the building division, and two correctional facilities. Bryson also oversees over 1500 employees within the department. Before being appointed as the Director of Public Safety, Bryson was the neighborhood development executive and the deputy chief of staff.

Joan Burger

Circuit Judge, 22nd Judicial Circuit- St. Louis City

Joan Burger was an attorney in private practice when she was appointed Circuit Judge in 1994. She was educated at Loyola University in Chicago , and graduated cum laude from St. Louis University Law School in 1976. Burger served as Legal Officer for the St. Louis Juvenile Court and was an Assistant Circuit Attorney for the City of St. Louis before becoming a judge. She was also a Hearing officer for the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners. Judge Burger is a past president of the Women Lawyer’s Association. She is a member of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, the Valuing Diversity Task Force for Focus St. Louis, and the National Association of Women Judges.

Charles Burson

General Counsel, Secretary to the Board at Monsanto

Charles Burson received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Michigan . He also received an M.A. from Cambridge , and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School . Mr. Burson worked in private practice as a lawyer from 1970 until 1988. In 1988 he was appointed Tennessee Attorney General. During this time he was involved in politics as the Chairman of Al Gore’s Senatorial campaign and running for a seat in the House of Representatives in Tennessee . Mr. Burson has appeared before the Supreme Court of the United States several times. One notable example is Burson v. Freeman which established a state’s ability to regulate election advertising on voting day. He also led a formal investigation to establish once and for all that Elvis Presley is in fact dead. In 1997 Mr. Burson became the Legal Counsel to Al Gore and in 1999 assumed the position of Chief of Staff to Al Gore. He retired from his job as general counsel at Monsanto in St. Louis in 2007. He is the father of 2 daughters.

Sonny Buttar 
Clayton School Board
Sonny was a participant in the Pipeline to Local Office program before being elected to the Clayton School Board in April 2005.  An attorney, Sonny works as in-house counsel for a public company handling securities and corporate governance issues. 

Suzette Carlisle

Associate Administrative Law Judge

Suzette Carlisle graduated from St. Louis University Evening School of Law in 1996 while working for the State of Missouri during the day.  She has four children and one grandchild.  Ms Carlisle holds a bachelor and masters degrees in Business Administration from St. Louis University and Lindenwood College . In 1998 she was appointed by the late Governor Mel Carnahan as an Associate Administrative Law Judge/Legal Advisor with the Missouri Dept. of Labor and Industrial Relations, Division of Worker’s Compensation. She became an Administrative Law Judge for Workers’ Compensation in 2005. Ms Carlisle has served as a Member at Large for the Women Lawyer’s Association for two years.

Jean Carnahan

Former U.S. Senator

Jean Carnahan became Missouri ’s first woman U.S. Senator when she was appointed to fill the post following the death of her husband in 2000. In the Senate, she participated in hearings investigating the Enron scandal and proposed corporate reforms. She also sought legislation to aid laid-off workers and the uninsured. Since leaving the Senate in 2002, Carnahan has continued her longtime advocacy for women, children, education and violence prevention. In 2004 she delivered the keynote address at the national women's political conference in Pristina, Kosovo. She holds a degree in business administration from George Washington University and was the first in her family to graduate from high school and college. The author of three books, Carnahan continues to write and lecture.

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,District 72
Making a difference in the lives of Missourians has been a priority for Maria Chappelle-Nadal since she chose her double major of political science and sociology at Georgia State University.  Maria began her political career as the public information officer for Lt. Governor Joe Maxwell and later served as Missouri's Senior Advocate.  In November 2004, she was elected state representative for the 72nd District in St. Louis County.  Maria works for women's issues through the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and other various groups. She is a member of the Young Democrats of Missouri and Missourians Against Handgun Violence.  In 2002, Maria was one of twenty 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 for their first annual national program for women in public policy and politics. 

Wray Clay

Vice President of Community Investment, United Way of Greater St. Louis

Wray Clay has worked with the United Way of Greater St. Louis since 1984. In 1990, she was appointed Vice President of Allocations/Agency Relations, managing a department team and over 400 volunteers, annually facilitating the distribution of over $42 million to support health and human services. Ms Clay is currently Vice President for Community Investment, responsible for developing impact initiatives and community partnerships in line with the United Way ’s strategic vision. From 1997-2004, Ms Clay was elected to serve on the Edwardsville (IL) School Board. She volunteers with CollegeSummit, St. Louis Children's Hospital's Healthy Kids at Play Initiative, Parents As Teachers Advisory Board, and the Susan B. Komen Grants Committee. She was a participant in Leadership St. Louis and has also volunteered with the St. Louis Zoo Friends Association. She is a member of St. Peter’s A. M. E. Church, the NAACP and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Ms Clay attended Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, obtaining a B. S. in Human Services and a M. S. in Public Administration. She is the mother 2 boys, ages 21 and 23.

Darin Cline
Intergovernmental Relations Director, St. Louis County
Darin Cline is the Director of Inter-Governmental Affairs for St. Louis County. Cline joined St. Louis County government in January 2007. He is responsible for the coordination of the County's governmental relations at the federal, state, and local levels. His duties as the Director of Inter-Governmental Affairs include the preparation and execution of the county’s yearly federal and state legislative packages. He also oversees board and commission appointments.

Judge Patricia Cohen

Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District

Judge Cohen received a Bachelor of Arts with High Honors in 1978 from the University of Michigan and her Juris Doctor in 1982 from the Cornell University School of Law. Judge Cohen served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Judge Jean Hamilton, Missouri Court of Appeals and worked in private practice between 1982 and 1997. Judge Cohen served from September 1997 to September 2004 as a Circuit Judge in the 22 nd Judicial Circuit and was appointed to the Court of Appeals in September 2003. She was retained in office at the November 2004 general election. Judge Cohen is a member of several professional organizations, including the Missouri Bar, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, the Women Lawyers' Association of Greater St. Louis, the National Association of Women Judges, the Supreme Court Civil Rules Committee, the Chair of the Missouri Board of Certified Court Reporter Examiners and the Supreme Court Legislative Steering Committee.

Milly Cohn

Former Member, Appellate Judicial Commission, & Sue Shear Institute Advisory Board

A long time community leader, Milly Cohn has been an officer of the League of Women Voters and The American Civil Liberties Union. She has been honored by both groups for her commitment to good government and the Bill of Rights. In 1994, Governor Carnahan named her as one of two non-lawyer members of the 22 nd Circuit ( St. Louis City ) Judicial Selection Commission. Six year later, she was named to the 7-member Appellate Judicial Commission, which selects a three-member panel of candidates from which the Governor selects new Appellate and Supreme Court Judges. Ms Cohn also serves as a member of the Sue Shear Institute Advisory Board and is a Graduate of Washington University.

Kathianne Knaup Crane

Appellate Judge, Missouri Court of Appeals-Eastern District

Judge Kathianne Knaup Crane was appointed to the Missouri Court of Appeals in July 1990 and served as Chief Judge from 1995-96. Prior to joining the bench, Judge Crane was an assistant U.S. Attorney in St. Louis and has also practiced law with a St. Louis law firm. In 1991 and 2001, Judge Crane was appointed to serve on the judicial panel that resolved state redistricting issues. She earned her undergraduate degree at Washington University and graduated cum laude from St. Louis University School of Law. She also attended the University of Strausborg and served in the Peace Corps. Judge Crane is a member of the Metropolitan St. Louis, Missouri and American Bar Associations and the National Association of Women Judges. In 2006, she received the President’s Award from the Women Lawyer’s Association of Greater St. Louis.

Vanessa Crawford

2004 Shear Fellow, Legislative Assistant to State Rep. Rebecca Payne McClanahan

After graduating from Truman State University with her degree in Political Science in 2005, Vanessa Crawford moved to Washington D.C. where she interned in Sen. Edward Kennedy’s press office.  She then returned to Missouri to spend the 2006 legislative session working for State Senator Joan Bray.  She then went to work for the Missouri Democratic Party as a field organizer in northeast Missouri .  By the end of the campaign, Ms Crawford was made Regional GOTV Director and coordinated and executed get-out-the-vote operations in a fifteen-county region.  She now serves as legislative assistant to State Representative Rebecca Payne McClanahan.

Jane Darst

First Assistant Circuit Attorney, City of St. Louis

Jane Darst is the First Assistant Circuit Attorney for the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office. After graduating from Saint Louis University Law School , Ms. Darst served as a law clerk for the Eighth Circuit Bankruptcy Court. Ms. Darst has prosecuted more than 70 jury trials involving every class of felony, including charges of first degree murder, rape, sodomy, white-collar fraud and serious assaults. Prior to her appointment as First Assistant, she served as team leader for a felony trial team and supervised the Circuit Attorney’s Sex Crimes and Family Violence Units. Ms. Darst is a recurring faculty member for the National District Attorney’s Association at the National Advocacy Center . Ms. Darst is a member of the Missouri Bar, the Women Lawyers Association and the Mound City Bar Association. She is married and has three daughters.

Rita Heard Days
State Senator, District 14
Rita Days was elected to the Missouri State Senate in November, 2002, and represents the 14th District which includes the University of Missouri-St. Louis.  Sen. Days began her political career as a member of the Normandy School Board.  In November of 1993, she was elected State Representative of the 71st District.  Days served as majority whip from 1996 until she was term-limited out of the House in 2000.  Sen. Days previously served as executive director of Mid-County Partners for Progress.  She has served as president of the St. Louis Women’s Political Caucus and serves on many public and non-profit boards.  Originally from Louisiana, Sen. Days attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo.

Margaret Donnelly

State Representative (D-District 73, St. Louis County )

Rep. Margaret Donnelly was elected to the House in November 2002. In addition to her legislative duties, Rep. Donnelly is an attorney concentrating in family and juvenile law. Previously she worked as a school social worker. She was elected to the Ferguson-Florissant School Board in 1986, where she served two terms, with one year as president. She also served on the Board of Commissioners of METRO (Bi-State Development Agency); Regional Airport Governance Task Force and Beyond Housing (Ecumenical Housing Production Corporation). Rep. Donnelly chaired the Commission for Abused Women and Children Shelter, which established the first domestic violence shelter in St. Louis County . She was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1996. Rep. Donnelly received a Master’s in Social Work in 1977, and a Juris Doctorate in 1988, both from St. Louis University .

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.

Kathleen DuBois

Managing Attorney, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri Family Court Project

Kathleen DuBois is the managing attorney of the Legal Services of Eastern Missouri Family Court Project, where she represents parents in cases involving allegations of child abuse or neglect. She received her J.D. from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1987. Since graduating from law school, Ms DuBois has represented clients ranging from multi-national financial institutions to inmates on Arizona ’s death row to homeless mothers. She briefed and argued felony appeals for six years for the alternative public defender in Tucson , Arizona . Later, she prosecuted investment fraud cases on behalf of the state of Arizona , and practiced at Bryan Cave ( St. Louis ) in the securities client service groups before starting the Family Court Project. In 2005, Ms DuBois received the Women Lawyers' Association President’s Award for her work with women at risk for losing their children. 

Monica Durrwachter

Chair, Missouri Federation of Young Republicans

Monica Durrwachter 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.She interned for U.S. Senator Jim Talent and Congressman Todd Akin, in addition to serving as a Staff Assistant to Congressman Todd Akin upon graduation.  Currently, she is an assistant in the Legal and Legislative Affairs Department at Enterprise Rent-A-Car's corporate headquarters in St. Louis. Ms. Durrwachter was the youngest Missouri delegate elected to the 2004 Republican National Convention and currently serves as Chair of the Missouri Federation of Young Republicans. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Missouri Federation of Republican Women and has volunteered for candidates at the local, state, and federal level.   

Joan Esserman
Webster Groves City Council
A graduate of the 2005 Pipeline to Politics program, Joan ran for the Webster Groves City Council in the April 2006 election.  She secured one of the three seats from a field of five candidates in an all at-large election in the city of more than 23,000 population.  Since 1997, she has been working as an evaluator of school and museum programs and as a facilitator for nonprofit groups

Kathlyn Fares

State Representative (R-District 91, St. Louis County )

Rep. Kathlyn Fares is serving a third term in the Missouri House and chairs the appropriations committee for higher education. She has worked in the family business, Fares Interior Furnishings, which specializes in upholstery and antique furniture restoration, as well as various other business settings. Rep. Fares was a secondary school teacher from 1964-1978 in both the Riverview Gardens and Webster Groves school districts. She is a member of numerous community organizations and has received several awards for her work in the legislature. A graduate of Carrollton High School , Rep. Fares attended Central Methodist College and received a Bachelor of Science in education from Central Missouri State University .

Major Antionette Filla

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

One of the senior women in the St. Louis Police Force, Major Filla directs criminal investigations. She was the first female to be appointed Secretary to the St. Louis Police Board. Her current responsibilities include serving as liaison between the police department and the Missouri legislature. Major Filla holds an annual lunch during Women’s History Month for female members of the police department, to recognize the contributions of women on the police force.

Audrey Fleissig

U.S. District Magistrate Judge

Audrey Fleissig is a United States magistrate judge for the Eastern District of Missouri.  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. As the U.S. attorney, she formed a regional Computer Crimes Task Force and served a leadership role in numerous community-based programs focused on reducing violent crime and addressing the issues of hate crimes and neighborhood revitalization.  From 1991 to 1999 Fleissig served as assistant United States attorney, where she prosecuted criminal white-collar cases. She was the head of the bankruptcy fraud coordination group and a member of the National Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group. A practicing attorney for 20 years, Fleissig graduated magna cum laude in 1976 from Carleton College 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.

Genevieve (Gen) Frank

St. Louis County Clerk and Administrative Director, St. Louis County Council

Gen Frank began working at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (LSEM) as a law student intern.  From 1999-2005, she was the director of LSEM’s St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers Program, and coordinated volunteer staffing of the civil legal services office in the Family Justice Center in St. Louis City .  In 2006, Ms Frank was a candidate for State Representative in the 93 rd District: first in a special election in February, and in the general election in November.  She currently works as the St. Louis County Clerk and Administrative Director for the St. Louis County Council.  Ms Frank is the president of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL), is a member and past officer of the Women Lawyer’s Association of GSL, and holds membership in a number of other legal and community organizations.  She is a 2005 graduate of FOCUS’ Leadership St. Louis Program and was the recipient of the2005 CORO Community Leadership Award.  Ms Frank earned a B.A. and a J.D. at Washington University in St. Louis .

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 .

Theresa Garza
Jackson County Legislator
A Kansas City native, Theresa was elected to the Jackson County Legislature in 2006, after attending the Pipeline to Local Office program in 2005. She is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and holds an Associate's Degree in Criminal Justice from Del Mar College located in Corpus Christi, Texas and a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. She is currently working on a Master's Degree in Public Administration through Park University with emphasis on Government Business Relations and Public Management.

Susan Glassman

Senior Vice President, Urban Strategies

Susan K. Glassman is Senior Vice President of Urban Strategies where she is responsible for helping revitalizing communities to develop and implement economic and human capital strategies and plans. Ms. Glassman formerly served as CEO of the American Lung Association of Eastern Missouri (ALAEM). Prior to joining the Lung Association, she worked for many years in local government as community development administrator, assistant director of planning and finally deputy city manager of the City of University City, Missouri. She has also been a teacher of college English in the U.S. and in Asia and worked as an intern for the Regional Commerce and Growth Association. Ms. Glassman has served as Chair of the Planning Commission for the City of University City, Missouri. Susan Glassman received an M.A. in Urban Affairs from Washington University in St. Louis , an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in English and Literature and Social Science from the City College of New York.

Beth Griffin

Executive Director, Citizen’s for Missouri ’s Children

Beth Griffin has been an advocate for children and families both nationally and in her home state of Missouri for 25 years. She has represented numerous not-for-profit and public interest organizations in public policy development on a wide range of issues including health care, early care and education and child protection. Since 1994 she has served as Executive Director of Citizens for Missouri ’s Children (CMC), a statewide, not-for-profit organization supported by foundations, business, private human services agencies and individuals. CMC’s goal, to safeguard the rights and well-being of Missouri children, is accomplished by identifying the problems facing children and advocating with decision-makers for effective solutions. Ms Griffin currently serves on the Board of Directors of ARCHs and has served on the Board of Directors of Voices for America ’s Children, the St. Louis County Housing Authority, Grace Hill Settlement House and on numerous councils, advisory committees and task forces of government.

Jean C. Hamilton

U.S. District Court Judge

Since 1990, Jean Hamilton has served as a federal judge in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri. She served as chief judge from 1995-2002. Prior to joining the federal bench, Judge Hamilton was a state appellate judge for the Missouri Court of Appeals. In addition, she has served as a circuit judge in the 22 nd Judicial Circuit in St. Louis . Judge Hamilton began her legal career as an attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. She has also served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, and as an attorney for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. Judge Hamilton is a member of many professional organizations, including the Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater St. Louis, and the National Association of Women Judges. A graduate of Wellesley College, Judge Hamilton earned an A.B. in History and served as president of the Wellesley Young Republicans. She earned her J.D. from Washington University and was a graduate fellow at Yale Law School in 1982.

Catherine Hanaway

United States Attorney, Eastern District of Missouri

On April 24, 2006, Catherine Hanaway as officially sworn-in as the 46th United States Attorney –the second woman - since 1814 to serve the Eastern District of Missouri. Prior to being nominated by President Bush to become U.S. Attorney, Ms. Hanaway was served 3 terms in the Missouri House of Representatives, representing part of St. Louis County . In 2003, she was elected as the first woman Speaker of the Missouri House. She ran for Secretary of State in 2004. Ms. Hanaway was named as one of the Missouri Lawyers of the Year by Missouri Lawyers Weekly and was recognized as one of the St. Louis Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” in addition to being named by the Journal as a “Leader to Watch.”  Ms. Hanaway earned her law degree from the Catholic University of America, where she graduated in the top 10 percent of her law school class, and worked in the law firm of Peper, Martin, Jensen, Maichel & Hetlage. She currently resides in Warson Woods with her husband Christopher, daughter Lucy and son Jack.

Mary K. Hoff

Appellate Judge, Missouri Court of Appeals-Eastern District

Judge Hoff was appointed to the Court of Appeals on December 15 th , 1995 after serving as a Circuit Judge in St. Louis for six years. Prior to joining the bench, she was an assistant public defender in St. Louis City and was engaged in private practice. She went to the University of Missouri–Columbia for her B.S. in Education and then received her Juris Doctor at St. Louis University . She is a member of the Metropolitan St. Louis Bar Association, Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater St. Louis, and the National Association of Women Judges.

Monica Huddleston

Faculty in Residence

Monica Huddleston served as mayor of Greendale , MO from 2003-2007, and was the first female and first African-American to be elected to this position in her municipality.  She earned a B.A. in Economics at the George Washington University and a M.A. in Telecommunications Management from Webster University.  A former business executive, Ms. Huddleston retired in 2000 after a 25 year career with Southwestern Bell .  She is a member of the Catholic Charities Board of Directors and the St. Louis County Municipal League Program Committee.  In the past, she has served as President of the National Association of Black Telecommunications Professionals.  Monica has been awarded the KPLR-TV St. Louis Community Leadership Award, the St. Louis Sentinel newspaper Signal Award, and has been named Volunteer of the Year by the United Negro College Fund. 

Anna Jinkerson

Jefferson County Field Coordinator for Congressman Russ Carnahan

Anna Jinkerson is a Congressional Outreach Coordinator for Congressman Russ Carnahan.  In particular, her work focuses on outreach with constituency groups in the policy areas of health care, education, science and innovation, women's health, and LGBT advocacy.  She also serves as the Congressman's top advisor on matters as they relate to Jefferson County , Missouri , and its constituency, both electoral and legislative. Prior to working for the Congressman, 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 academic career, she worked as a policy intern for Gloria Steinem's organization, Choice USA. Currently, she serves on the Jefferson County Dental Health Partnership, Midwest Model United Nations Executive Board, and the First Tee of Greater St. Louis/Jefferson County Junior Golf Volunteer Committee.

Maria Kerford

Student Curator, University of Missouri Board of Curators

In August 2005, Maria Kerford was appointed by Governor Matt Blunt as Student Representative to the University of Missouri Board of Curators. She has been an active member of the UMSL campus, serving in the UMSL Student Senate from 2002 to Spring 2005. She has also been a member of the 2002 UMSL Chancellor Search Committee, a New Student Orientation Mentor in 2004 and 2005, and was a member of the University Singers from 2001 to 2003.  Ms Kerford graduated from UMSL in December 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree in English and a certificate from the Pierre Laclede Honors College, and is pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Policy with an emphasis in Nonprofit Business Management. Ms Kerford was honored as a UMSL Trailblazer and recognized for her service to the university in 2006. She has volunteered at Camp Penuel , a rural camp for underprivileged inner-city children, and is active in her church in St. Louis, Jubilee, where she has taught children’s church for three years.

Amy Lewis

Career Advisor, Career Opportunities Center , University of Missouri– Rolla

A native of Rolla, Amy Lewis graduated from Drury University in 2002 with a degree in Psychology. Before accepting her current position with UMR as a Career Advisor, Ms Lewis was a Regional Manager for a non-profit employment agency serving individuals with disabilities. After joining the University in August of 2006, she received Etiquette and Protocol training from the The Protocol School of Washington in Washington, DC. In addition to providing career advising and etiquette training, Ms Lewis also conducts all alumni Services at the Career Opportunities Center.

Jackie Lukitsch

Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Jacqueline A. Lukitsch has served as Executive Director for the St. Louis Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness since 2003. She has a Masters Degree in Public Policy Administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. As an advocate for positive public policies for people with mental illness for 13 years, one of her most valued experiences was serving as a member of the Joint Interim Committee on Mental Health Insurance Availability appointed by the late Governor Mel Carnahan in 1997. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Community Alternatives (a non-profit agency that serves the homeless); the Behavioral Health Initiative Steering Committee for the St. Louis Regional Health Commission; and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Community Advisory Board.

Betty Knight
Platte County Presiding Commissioner
Platte County Presiding Commissioner Betty Knight was first elected to office in 1995 and has won reelection for three subsequent terms. She currently serves as Director of the National Board of Association of Regional Councils. She is also Past President of the Missouri Association of Counties and Past Chair of Mid-America Regional Council, an organization of city and county governments in the Kansas City metropolitan area. In 2002, the Missouri Chapter of the American Planning Association selected Knight as the recipient of the "2002 Excellence in Planning Award.” Under her leadership, Platte County has completed four comprehensive planning projects beginning with a 20-year strategic plan that eventually led to the development of land use, road and bridge and parks/storm water plans.

C.J. Larkin
Washington University School of Law
C.J. Larkin is a lecturer at Washington University School of Law where she also is affiliated with the university's Alternative Dispute Resolution Program. She teaches alternative dispute desolution and mediation theory and practice and is a trainer and mediation supervisor. She directed DARES, a land use and development mediation service, founded and directed Community Mediation Services and has worked in intercultural conflict resolution leadership training. Larkin consults with and provides training for local immigrant-refugee agencies and in 2004 she was selected as a cultural competence trainer on Arab, Muslim and Sikh Americans for the U.S. Department of Justice's Community Relations Services.

Mindy Mazur

Chief of Staff, Missouri Secretary of State’s Office

Mindy Mazur is from St. Charles and graduated from UMC.She then went to George Washington University in Washington, DC, for a graduate Public Affairs program.While in Washington, Ms. Mazur worked for Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton and then joined Congressman Dick Gephardt's 2004 Presidential Campaign as the campaign director in Oklahoma. Following the end of that campaign, Ms. Mazur joined Robin Carnahan's Secretary of State campaign staff. Since 2004, she has served as Secretary Carnahan’s Chief of Staff.

Claire McCaskill

United States Senator

Claire McCaskill received both her Undergraduate and Juris Doctorate degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia . Following her graduation Senator. McCaskill spent one year as a law clerk on the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District and then served in the Jackson County prosecutor’s office. In 1982 Senator McCaskill was elected to represent the Brookside neighborhood of Kansas City in the Missouri House of Representatives. Senator McCaskill became the first Missouri State lawmaker to give birth while in office. In 1990 Senator McCaskill was elected to the Jackson County Legislature and in 1992 became the first woman to serve as the Jackson County Prosecutor. In 1998 Senator McCaskill was elected as Missouri State Auditor, only the second woman to serve in the position. In 2004 she ran for Governor, becoming the first individual in Missouri history to defeat an incumbent Governor in a primary. Senator McCaskill lost to Missouri Governor Matt Blunt. In 2006 she was elected to the United States Senate. Senator McCaskill currently sits on several committees, including the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate Commerce Committee, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, and the Senate Aging Committee.

Angel McCormick Franks
Director, Office of Supplier and Workforce Diversity for the State of Missouri

Angel McCormick Franks is currently the Director of the Office of Supplier and Workforce Diversity for the State of Missouri and a member of Governor Blunt’s senior staff.  In this position, she is charged with promoting a diversified workforce within state government and assisting women and minorities in developing opportunities to contract with the state. Angel serves on the state’s Personnel Advisory Board, State Training Advisory Council, Workforce Diversity Council and Contract Compliance Council.  She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Fontbonne University and a master’s in Gerontology from Webster University.

Emmy McClelland

Director of Governmental Relations, St. Louis Children’s Hospital

Emmy McClelland is an active leader in government, politics and her community. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri at Columbia with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Missouri Life Teaching Certificate. She is a graduate of Leadership St. Louis. Ms McClelland currently serves as Director of Government Relations for St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Previously, she served as Governor Bob Holden’s Assistant Director of Legislative Affairs for two years concentrating on education issues. She served in the Missouri House of Representatives for ten years, and holds the distinction of succeeding a woman and being succeeded by a woman. Ms McClelland was also the Director of Secretary of State Roy Blunt’s Corporation Division Field Office in St. Louis . As an advocate on behalf of the developmentally disabled, McClelland has worked on the local, state and national level. She and her husband Alan have lived in Webster Groves for more than 30 years. They have two adult children, Mike and Karen.

Alberta Meyer

Community Citizen

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.

Nancy Mogab

Attorney at Law and Member, Appellate Judicial Commission

Nancy Mogab is a St. Louis attorney with over twenty years of trial and appellate experience.  In 2005 she became the first woman elected by the Bar Association to serve on the Appellate Judicial Commission. Her many contributions to the legal profession and the community include service as President of the Lawyers' Association, Chair of the Workers Compensation Committees of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and the Missouri Bar, governor of Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, President of the non-profit Kids' Chance, board member of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, and speaker for countless legal education seminars.  In recognition of her outstanding achievements and contributions, Ms Mogab received the Women's Justice Award from the St. Louis Daily Record in 2002. She is a graduate of Saint Louis University .

Sandra Moore

President, Urban Strategies

Sandra Moore is president of Urban Strategies, a not for profit corporation that develops comprehensive revitalization plans and sustainable implementation systems for distressed urban core communities. Urban Strategies is a companion company to the McCormack Baron family of housing development and housing management companies and, as such, works in partnership with the McCormack Baron companies’ in 22 locations around the country. Moore formerly served as the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Missouri Family Investment Trust and vice president of St. Louis 2004, Inc. She is the former director of the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DOLIR), where she served as a member of Gov. Mel Carnahan’s cabinet. Prior to her position at DOLIR, Moore served as an administrative judge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She is a former member and Vice President of the Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents. Moore is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis . She received her J.D. degree from the School of Law in 1979 and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Urban Studies in 1976.


Mary Nelson

Attorney at Law

Mary E. Nelson is a St. Louis attorney who practices corporate, business and real estate law. The first African-American partner in the law firm of Lashly & Baer, P.C., Ms Nelson formerly served as general counsel of the St. Louis Development Corporation, the city of St. Louis ' real estate and economic development agency. She also worked in the state capitol as legislative director and general counsel to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Ms Nelson was appointed to the Board of Police Commissioners for St. Louis City in February 2002 (earning the title of Colonel), and served as the Board’s president during her term. She was also appointed by Governor Holden to serve on the House Reapportionment Committee, which had the responsibility to redraw the House district lines to balance them after the 2002 U.S. Census. She holds a Bachelor's Degree from Princeton and earned a Law Degree from the University of Missouri–Columbia.  

Mary Hoemann Newell

1998 Shear Fellow, Clerk for the Hon. Mary Rhodes Russell, Missouri Supreme Court

Mary Hoemann Newell is a law clerk to the Honorable Mary Russell at the Supreme Court of Missouri. She is a 2000 honors graduate, Phi Beta Kappa, of the University of Missouri–Columbia with a Degree in Political Science, and a 2003 graduate of the University of Missouri–Columbia School of Law. As an undergraduate, Ms Newell completed internships with the joint constituent services office of Senators Bond and Ashcroft and with the Missouri House of Representatives. During law school, Ms Newell served as president of the Women Lawyers’ Association and was a member and Associate Managing Editor of the Missouri Law Review.


Jennifer Olmstead

Missouri Coalition for Historic Preservation and Economic Development

Jennifer Olmstead is the communications director for the Missouri Coalition for Historic Preservation and Economic Development, a statewide coalition of business leaders, developers, and private citizens who work together to ensure the continued success of the Missouri Historic Tax Credit program. Prior to her current position, Ms. Olmstead worked for the metropolitan parks district and also worked at Development Strategies, an urban planning and economic development firm in St. Louis. Since moving to St. Louis in 1995, Ms. Olmstead has been actively involved in many community efforts. She is the founding member of Metropolis St. Louis, a grassroots effort to attract and retain young people in the City of St. Louis , and is a past member of Citizens for Modern Transit. Currently, she serves on the Skinker DeBaliviere Housing Corporation Board. Ms. Olmstead received her Undergraduate Degree from the University of Michigan and her Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Chicago. A native of Detroit, she has also lived in Washington, DC, Chicago and Boston. Ms. Olmstead and her spouse have two daughters under the age of four. Both parents work flexible hours to spend more time with their children. They reside in the City of St. Louis in the Skinker DeBaliviere neighborhood.


Jeanette Mott Oxford

State Representative (D-District 59, St. Louis City )

Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford was elected to the House in 2004. She was executive director of the Reform Organization of Welfare (ROWEL) from 1991-2000 and Grassroots Coordinator for the American Lung Association 2001-04. In addition to her legislative duties, Rep. Oxford is a member of the Coalition Against Public Funding for Stadiums, Missourians for Tax Justice, Women’s Political Caucus of Metro St. Louis, PROMO, and the United Church of Christ’s Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns. Throughout her career, Rep. Oxford has received numerous awards and honors. She received an Associate of Arts degree from Southeastern College in 1974, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 1986, and a Masters in Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary in 1989.

Megan Phillips

Law Clerk for the Hon. Ronnie White, Missouri Supreme Court

Megan Phillips is currently law clerk for the Honorable Ronnie White, Missouri Supreme Court. Previously, she practiced in the law firms of Coudert Brothers in Paris, France, and Bryan Cave in St. Louis, specializing in international transactions and commercial contracts.  She also completed a teaching fellowship at the University of Missouri–Columbia School of Law where she served as a supervising attorney in the Family Violence and Child Protection program. Ms Phillips is former president of the Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater St. Louis. She is also an active member of the Missouri Bar. Ms Phillips earned her J.D., a B.A. in Sociology, and a B.E.S. in Educational and Counseling Psychology from the University of Missouri–Columbia.


Angela Turner Quigless

Circuit Judge, 22 nd Judicial Circuit- St. Louis City

Angela Turner Quigless was appointed Circuit Judge in the City of St. Louis in March, 2003, after over eight years as an associate circuit judge in the court. She received her Undergraduate Degree from the University of Missouri–Columbia and her Law Degree from Saint Louis University. Before becoming a judge, she was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, an Assistant City Counselor and an Assistant Circuit Attorney for the City of St. Louis. Her other public service includes working for the Missouri Public Service Commission as Assistant General Counsel, as well as working for the Missouri Department of Revenue. She is the mother of a son, Charles, who was born in 2001.


Patricia Redington

County Counselor , St. Louis County

Patricia Redington is the first woman to hold the job of County Counselor in St. Louis County . Her appointment to the top legal counsel position in Missouri ’s largest county culminates over 14 years of work within this office. Ms Redington received her Undergraduate Degree from Bradley University and her Law Degree at University of Notre Dame. Prior to working for St. Louis County , she clerked for Federal Judge William Hungate. In 2000 Ms Redington was President of the Missouri Municipal Attorneys Association.

Leslie Reed

Vice President of Health Policy, Missouri Foundation for Health

Leslie Reed joined the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) as senior program officer in the spring of 2002 and has led the Foundation’s health policy agenda since 2003. She is currently vice president for health policy. The MFH health policy area focuses on issues of the uninsured and health care coverage expansion, health disparities and community-based health prevention. Previously, Ms Reed carried out health policy research for The California Endowment, where she was a founding staff member. During her time in Los Angeles , she also served on the staff of Blue Cross of California in the corporate benefit area as well as on the staff of the Whittier Family Foundations. Ms Reed began her work in health related philanthropy at the HMSA Foundation in Honolulu, Hawaii. She holds a B.A. in Russian Studies from Colgate University and an M.A. in French Literature and Civilization from Middlebury College .


Lynn Ricci

President, Women Lawyer’s Association

Lynn Ricci enjoys a civil law practice at Garnholz & Ricci, LC, focusing primarily on family law, business law, and business litigation.  She received her B.A. from the University of Missouri–Columbia and earned her J.D. from Rutgers University in 1989, where she was a member and associate editor of the Law Journal.  She was appointed to the University City City Council last summer, and was elected to a full-term in April 2007.  Ms Ricci has been a community volunteer for many years and serves on the Board of Dance St. Louis, the Missouri Bar Mentoring Committee, and is a volunteer for Legal Advocates for Abused Women.  She is the president of the Women Lawyer’s Association of Greater St. Louis.

Jessica Robinson

Governor’s Press Secretary

Jessica Robinson has served as press secretary in the office of Gov. Matt Blunt since March, 2005. She previously worked as Public Information Officer for the Missouri Department of Revenue and as Public Relations Director and Legislative Coordinator for the Columbia Board of REALTORS. Before stepping into the public policy arena, Robinson worked for FOX 4 News in Fort Myers , Florida . She serves as a Daniel Boone Regional Library Trustee and is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism. She has been featured as a speaker at the Journalism Education Association/National Press Association convention. She and her husband have one son.

Mary Rhodes Russell

Missouri Supreme Court Justice

At age 36, Judge Mary Rhodes Russell was the youngest person, and only the third woman, to be appointed to the Missouri Court of Appeals in St. Louis . In December 2004, she was tapped by Governor Holden to become the third woman appointed to the Missouri Supreme Court. She received her B.S. and B.A. Summa Cum Laude from Truman State University in 1980. In 1983, she graduated from law school at the University of Missouri–Columbia. After serving as a law clerk in the Missouri Supreme Court, she engaged in private practice in Hannibal , Missouri . Governor Carnahan appointed Judge Russell to the Court of Appeals in May, 1995, and she served as presiding judge of the Court in 1999-2000. Judge Russell has served on many state boards and commissions, including the Board of Governors of Truman State University and the 1991 Senate Redistricting Commission. She is active in Bar and Judicial organizations and devotes much time to mentoring young women interested in the legal field.

Vicki Schneider

State Representative (R-District 17, St. Charles County)

Rep. Vicki Schneider was elected to the House in November 2002. In addition to her legislative duties, Rep. Schneider is president of Schneider Properties and Schneider Custom Homes in O’Fallon. She is also a member of Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Charles, Cancer Society, Judevine Center for Autism, Leukemia Society, St. Louis Ambassadors, Home Builders Charitable Foundation and Assumption Outreach. She was named Woman of the Year in 1996 and 1998 for the Leukemia Society. A 1976 graduate of Fort Zumwalt High School , Rep. Schneider attended St. Marys College . Born August 12, 1957, Rep. Schneider lives in O’Fallon with her husband, Michael, and their two children, Bradley and Andrea.

Kimberly J. Shields

2000 Shear Fellow, President, Women Lawyer’s Association of Mid-Missouri

Since her graduation from Southwest Missouri State in 2000 and from the University of Missouri-Columbia Law School in 2003 she spent three years practicing with Armstrong Teasdale LLP.  This last year she joined the Public School and Education Employees Retirement System of Missouri as in-house counsel.  She is currently licensed to practice in both Missouri and Illinios.  In May of 2004 Kimberly formed the Women Lawyers' Association of Mid Missouri and served as President. She currently serves as vice-chair for the Gender and Justice Committee for the Missouri Bar.  She was a 2004-2005 member of the Missouri Bar Leadership Academy and chaired the Academy's Domestic Violence project.

Katie Smith

Director, Department of Agriculture

Katie Smith was appointed Director of Agriculture by Gov. Matt Blunt on May 2, 2007. She is the first woman ever to serve in this position. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Smith served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Department of Energy’s Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs. She has also worked in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), where she served as the Special Assistant to Agriculture Undersecretary Bill Hawks, and was an agriculture policy advisor for Missouri Senators Jim Talent and Kit Bond, and Congressman Sam Graves. Ms. Smith received a B.A. in Agricultural Journalism from the University of Missouri–Columbia.


Sarah Steelman

Missouri State Treasurer

Sarah Steelman is a working mom who has dedicated her career to public service.  She was elected Missouri State Treasurer in 2004, after completing two terms in the Missouri Senate. As a Senator, Treasurer Steelman served on numerous committees and was chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Environment. Previously, she served as deputy director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources – Division of Geology and Land Survey, as an economist for the Missouri Department of Revenue, and as an adjunct professor in economics at Lincoln University . In addition, she worked as Executive Director of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program in Rolla. Treasurer Steelman holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a Master of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Missouri at Columbia.

Sue Stepleton
President and CEO of Parents as Teachers National Center

Susan S. Stepleton is currently co-chair of the National Advisory Committee for Family Support and Family Preservation for the Child Welfare League of America. She is also active with the St. Louis Mayor’s Commission on Children, Youth and Families and serves on the Missouri Coordinating Board for Early Childhood Development. Stepleton holds three master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in public policy analysis focusing on nonprofit management and governance. She is a licensed clinical social worker and a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers, and holds a lifetime Missouri Teaching Certificate in social studies.

Rachel Storch

State Representative (D-District 64, St. Louis City & County)

Elected to the House in 2004, State Rep. Rachel Storch currently serves as Deputy Whip for the Democratic Caucus. Following her first year in office, Rep. Storch was named “Best Local Politician” by the Riverfront Times. She was also designated as “Up-and-Coming Politician” in St. Louis Magazine’s 2005 A-List Awards. Rep. Storch previously worked for former Senator Jean Carnahan as Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor on the issues of education, crime and public safety. Before working in politics, she 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 and the Women Lawyers Association. She received an Undergraduate Degree, with honors, in American History and Literature from Harvard University . She received her law degree from Washington University in St. Louis where she was awarded the Olin Fellowship.


Sherri Sullivan

Appellate Judge, Missouri Court of Appeals-Eastern District

Judge Sherri Sullivan received a B.A. from the University of Missouri–St. Louis with a focus in Administration of Justice. She also received a Juris Doctorate form Saint Louis University . She worked for the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office prior to her appointment as Associate Circuit Judge in March 1989. In October 1994 she was elevated to Circuit Judge, and in August of 1999 she was appointed to the Court of Appeals. She was retained in 2000. Judge Sullivan is a member of several professional organizations including the Metropolitan St. Louis Bar Association, the Women Lawyer’s Association of Greater St. Louis, and the National Association of Women Judges.


Kathryn (Kathy) Swan

Chair, Coordinating Board for Higher Education

Kathryn Swan currently serves as chair of the Coordinating Board for Higher Education. She is president and owner of JCS/TEL-LINK, a small wireless communications company based in Cape Girardeau , Missouri . Ms Swan is involved in numerous professional organizations as well as community groups. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chair of the Leadership Council of the NFIB and member of the Education Council Administrative Committee of the Missouri Chamber. She is committed to community involvement, and serves on the board of the United Way of Southeast Missouri, is a member of the Cape Girardeau Planning & Zoning Commissioner, and holds leadership roles within the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce. In addition she serves as Lieutenant Governor-elect of District 7 Zonta Club International. Governor Blunt reappointed Ms Swan to serve a second term on the CBHE in February 2005. She earned an Associate of Arts and Bachelor of Science Degrees in nursing from Southeast Missouri State University.


Vetta Sanders Thompson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Saint Louis University School of Public Health

Dr. Vetta Sanders Thompson is an Associate Professor of Community Health in Behavioral Science and Health Education at Saint Louis University. Her primary research interests are in cultural competence and its application to health and mental health service delivery and the elimination of health disparities. Dr. Thompson is a licensed clinical psychologist with fifteen years of licensed practice. She is active in numerous professional associations including the American Psychological Association, Missouri Psychological Association, and the Midwest Sociological Society. She has served as a member of the State Board of Psychology, and is currently an associate editor for Contemporary Psychology. Dr. Thompson graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Psychology and Social Relations from Harvard University. She earned a Master’s Degree and a PhD in Psychology from Duke University.


Kathy Tofall

Director, Victim Services Unit, St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office

Kathleen Tofall is the Executive Director of the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Victim Services Unit and administers direct service programs provided to victims of crime.  Her experience includes child protective services casework, management of two residential facilities serving individuals with developmental disabilities, and advocating and assisting crime victims. Ms Tofall is also a Certified Community Crisis Responder through the National Organization for Victim Assistance.  She served as faculty instructor for the Missouri State Victim Assistance Academy, is a presenter/trainer on numerous victim-related topics, and is active in numerous community organizations, including the St. Louis Family Violence Council and the St. Louis Area Council on Child Abuse and Neglect.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in public justice from St. Mary’s University of San Antonio, Texas and earned a Master's in Counseling at UMSL. In addition, Ms Tofall is a graduate of the FOCUS Leadership St. Louis Class of 2005-06.

Kacie Starr Triplett
City of St. Louis Alderwoman

Kacie Starr Triplett  became the youngest member of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen when she was elected in April 2007 at the age of 26.  A graduate of the Pipeline program, Alderman Triplett worked for U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan and former U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt before running for office herself.


Kayla Vaughan

Attorney at Law

Originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, Kayla Vaughan came to St. Louis to attend Washington University where she obtained her Undergraduate Degree in History and J.D. from the law school. She was a staff attorney for the Missouri Public Interest Group (MoPIRG) following her graduation from law school and was a partner in the firm Hollander and Vaughan until joining the staff of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri in 1980. She specialized in representing low income tenants and homeowners and later undertook representing clients in domestic relations matters. In 1993 she was appointed to serve a four-year term as a municipal judge for the city of St. Louis where she presided over dockets involving building code violations and other urban environment concerns. Following this term, she returned to Legal Services of Eastern Missouri as the managing attorney for the Family Law unity and the Director of the Lasting Solutions Program which represents victims and survivors of domestic violence in a variety of civil matters. Ms Vaughan very recently resigned from this position and is presently very much enjoying a respite from the practice of law. She is the 2007 recipient of the Citizenship Award, presented by the St. Louis Daily Record.


Patricia “Trish” Vincent

Chief of Staff, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt

Trish Vincent was Governor Matt Blunt’s first female cabinet-level appointee as the Director of the Department of Revenue. Prior to this appointment, Director Vincent was the deputy secretary of state for business services. She had also served as the in-state director for former U.S. Senator John Ashcroft. Director Vincent received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Lincoln University. Gov. Matt Blunt named her as his chief of staff in November, 2007.

Bev Wagner
Former Clayton Alderwoman

Bev Wagner was elected to the Clayton Board of Aldermen in a special election in November, 2001, and served until April, 2007.  Alderman Wagner was a founding member of the Good Neighbor Coalition, an organization of 15 neighborhoods working together to address common concerns. She also served on the Housing Council in Clayton

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.


Hope Whitehead

Attorney at Law

Hope Whitehead led the Missouri Division of Liquor Control as State Supervisor from June, 1997 until the end of 2000 when she became an associate administrative law judge for the Division of Worker’s Compensation. In 2006, she joined a private law practice. Formerly, she was Associate General Counsel for the St. Louis Housing Authority where she enforced housing regulations. Ms Whitehead has also worked as a prosecutor in the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office. Prior to receiving her law degree from Washington University in 1990, she worked as a social worker in her native New York City where she developed youth programs that would serve as alternatives to violence, drugs, and alcohol. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Fordham University and was president of the Mound City Bar Association, Missouri ’s oldest African-American lawyers association. She serves on the Board of Governors for the Missouri Bar (she was one of 33 candidates on the ballot). She is a member of the Women’s Political Caucus and the Women Lawyer’s Association. Hope is married and has 2 sons, nearly 10 years apart in age.

Vicky Riback Wilson

Service-Learning and Fellowship Coordinator, University of Missouri–Columbia

Vicky Riback Wilson served four terms in the Missouri House and was Sue Shear’s seat mate. First elected in 1996, she served on seven committees, including the Budget, Tax Policy, and Appropriations for Health, Mental Health and Social Services committees. She chaired the Appropriations Committee for Health and Mental Health for three years and the Children’s Services Commission. Wilson currently serves as the Service-Learning and Fellowships coordinator at UMC.  She has held local and statewide leadership positions in arts, service, business, professional and neighborhood organizations and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Uganda.  She has also lived in Indonesia.  Her work in diversity and community development has been recognized with state and national awards.  She earned a B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master’s Degree in Higher and Adult Education from the University of Missouri – Columbia

Yvonne Wilson
Missouri State Senator
Sen. Yvonne S. Wilson was elected to the Senate in August 2004 following five years in the Missouri House of Representatives, and now holds a leadership position as Senate Minority Caucus Secretary. Sen. Wilson represents part of Jackson County and serves on the Senate Appropriations, Education and the Health Facilities Review committees. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Lincoln University, a Master of Arts degree in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and an educational specialist degree in School Administration. Prior to being elected to the legislature, Sen. Wilson spent 35 years with the Kansas City, Missouri, School District as a teacher, consultant, principal, and retired from the position of Director of Elementary Education in 1985. She was the first African-American to serve as President of the Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals.

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." 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, ages 15 and 18.

Hillary Zimmerman

Senior Vice President and General Counsel, McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc.

Hillary Zimmerman is responsible for coordinating and managing all of the legal work for McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc., which specializes in the development of low and moderate-income housing.  Prior to joining McCormack Baron in 1984, she was a partner at the St. Louis law firm of Greenfield & Davidson. She currently serves as an officer on several community boards, including the Girl Scout Council of Greater St. Louis, and the Missouri Botanical Garden Subdistrict Commission. A graduate of the Coro Women in Leadership program, she has served as a mentor for the Women's Leadership Training Institute at Washington University . Zimmerman is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Cincinnati , and studied at The Sorbonne University of Paris. She earned a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.