Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation is pleased to announce the addition of 38 Challengers in the class of 2015. Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation is the state’s premier leadership organization designed to bring together women leaders from global corporations, small business, academia, government agencies and non-profit organizations. The mission of Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation is educating and inspiring women leaders to make a difference.
Shannon Alvis is an Auto Claim Team Manager at State Farm Insurance Companies. Shannon has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science from Columbia College.
Amber Bourek is the Volunteer Services Manager for Harvesters – The Community Food Network in Kansas City. Each month, her department is responsible for engaging over 6,000 volunteers in the fight against hunger. Last year, Harvesters volunteers contributed nearly 200,000 hours of volunteer service, valued at $4.3 million. She is passionate about nonprofits and focused her professional career on working in the sector. She has 16 years of nonprofit experience including volunteer management, special event planning, communications, grant writing, donor relations, board leadership, and AmeriCorps service. Amber earned her Bachelors degree in Journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 2001, Amber moved to Missouri to pursue a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Amanda Brittingham is currently the Superintendent of Electric Operations for the Mackenzie Operating Center with Ameren Missouri. She has been with Ameren 26 years and has spent the last 10 years in key leadership roles within the management team of Talent Acquisition, Supply Chain Operations and Labor Relations. Amanda has a Master of Science in Human Resource Management from Lindenwood University. Amanda also holds post-graduate certificates in Advanced Supply Chain Management from St. Louis University and Contract Administration Studies from Cornell University. She currently sits on the Lindenwood College for Individualized Education (LCIE) Accelerated Degree Program Advisory Board.
Diane Burnette is the Executive Director of the Main Street Corridor Development Corporation (MainCor), Chief Administrator of the Main Street Community Improvement District (CID), the Managing Staff of the Penn Valley Park Conservancy and of the 39th and Main Business District Association in Kansas City. Currently she is implementing over 20 million dollars of public improvements in the Midtown area, including design and construction of streetscape and parkland improvements. The Missouri Chapter of the American Planning Association has honored Diane’s contributions to the planning field with the Dwight D. Davis Award for a Citizen Planner and The Whole Person has honored her with the Civic Leader Award. Diane has worked and lived in Kansas City in the area of Main Street from Crown Center to the Country Club Plaza since 1987 and began working with MainCor in 2003. She also serves as the Mission Advancement for the Kansas City District Council of the Urban Land Institute, Chair to the Trustees of the Jackson County Land Trust, Kansas City Land Bank and she sits on the Jackson County Tax Increment Financing Commission.
Julie Catron is Director of Communications and Public Relations for Ameren Missouri. She has worked in marketing communications her entire career, but from a variety of perspectives including agency, non-profit and corporate environments. The common thread has been connecting people and brands in memorable ways through experiences and stories. At Ameren Missouri, she manages the communications team focused on paid, owned and earned spaces including paid advertising, social media and website, issues management and proactive publicity. The team supports customers – our friends, family and neighbors – with communications to inspire engagement, education and understanding.
Julie Cavenaile is the Supply Chain Global Quality Control Lead at Monsanto. Julie leads a global team accountable for Genetic, Physiology, Seed Health and Chemistry testing. Julie has degrees in Chemistry & Criminal Justice from Truman State University. She attained an MBA from Maryville University.
Kristy Chastain is the Commercial Loan Officer/Vice President of Metropolitan National Bank in Springield, Missouri. She has worked in commercial lending for 7 years and has been in the banking industry for over 15 years. Kristy works mostly with business owners to help them with their loan and banking needs. She also is a Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan expert. Kristy has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Missouri State University. She is currently board President of the Springfield Regional Arts Council.
Carolyn Chrisman is in her fourth year as the Economic Developer for Kirksville Regional Economic Development, Inc., a 501c3 public private partnership. Her job entails working on business retention and expansion and business attraction. She works with the major industries in town and is also a leader for workforce development. Her interest in economic development started when she was elected at the age of 26 to serve on the Kirksville City Council. Her role there also had her serving on the Regional Planning Commission, Planning and Zoning, Kirksville Downtown Improvement Committee, and the Sesquicentennial celebration.
Tonia M. Compton is assistant professor of history at Columbia College, where she teaches courses on women’s history, African American history, the American West and Latin America. She is the advisor for several student organizations, including the History & Political Science Club and the college’s top academic honor society, Alpha Chi. In addition to her teaching and advising, Compton chairs the Women’s History Month committee at the college. She is currently the chair of the Curriculum and Academic Proposals committee and certifies student athlete eligibility in her role as the Faculty Athletic Representative. In 2011 Compton was named Faculty Member of the Year by Columbia College Students and was recognized as Advisor of the Year in 2013. Compton’s research interests are in women’s history and she has recently published an article in the Great Plains Quarterly. She is finishing a book manuscript on women’s property rights in the nineteenth-century American West and beginning a new project on suffrage and political activism in Missouri in the early twentieth century.
Shelly Doucet is the Director of Development for Starlight Theatre, Kansas City’s oldest and largest performing arts venue. She is most proud of raising $6.4 million to renovate a former hotel into a domestic violence shelter. She obtained her Juris Doctorate from Louisiana State University. In her four years of law practice, she was admitted to the Louisiana and Mississippi bars and worked in a variety of settings, from solo practitioner to medium-sized firm, to government lawyer. Her areas of practice included personal injury, workers compensation, insurance defense, mediation, and medical malpractice. After moving to the midwest in 1999, she obtained her MSW from KU with a focus on administration.
Carolynne Huether is the Senior Program Manager leading Advanced Learning within The Boeing Company’s Defense, Space & Security organization. She manages a 200+ person organization across 5 Boeing sites and multiple business units supplying computer based training, courseware, instructional design and instructor services. The team supports more than 25 platforms and customers both international and domestic representing Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and Special Ops programs. Most recently, she led a team of 60 software and hardware engineers to deliver military simulator products. In 2013 and 2014, Carolynne led Boeing enterprise teams responsible for the rollout of a companywide safety programs, the Go For Zero Safety Promise and the Chairman’s Safety Award. In that role, she led enterprise teams responsible for all aspects and successful execution of the project including the CEO led event, training development, video development, website development and site logistics for simulcast for over 12,000 managers at 100 locations domestically and internationally.
Barbara Hodges is the Executive Director for True North (formerly The Shelter and The Front Door). She was with True North for four years in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, but left for seven years to do court advocacy in northern Missouri for counties that did not have advocacy resources. In 2009, Barbara returned to True North as the Executive Director. Barbara has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Missouri and a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College. She has been active in the Columbia community for many years, including having been president of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, Leadership Columbia, and Metro Rotary Club. In 2014, she was awarded the coveted Athena Award, presented by Women’s Network.
Heather Hunt is a junior faculty member in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Missouri whose research and teaching focus is primarily materials science and engineering. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Iowa State University (2004). She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology (2007, 2009). She was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for her doctoral work. Since joining the University of Missouri faculty, she was chosen as a University of Missouri Faculty Scholar, which recognizes her leadership and commitment to academic excellence in both research and teaching, and has been awarded the 2014 Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award. She is also the faculty advisor for the Mizzou Women Mentoring Women program, a program for female engineering students.
Malvika Jhangiani is a Human Resources Lead, US Commercial Operations for Monsanto. In this role, Malvika provides HR Leadership across the Sales, Distribution, Licensing and Strategic Accounts businesses in the US. Malvika is responsible for developing and implementing the HR strategy and direction in alignment with the business needs and coaching leadership on change management, culture and people development. She has 15 years of experience in the field of Human Resources in the areas of HR Consulting, HR Business Partnership, Global Compensation and Organization Development with multinational companies such as Monsanto, Cadbury Schweppes, Andersen and Ernst & Young. She has broad multicultural experience through direct work experience in three countries: US, India and Oman; with exposure to multiple world areas through global/regional roles.
Emily Kiser is an attorney practicing in the business litigation group of Lathrop & Gage LLP, a national law firm comprised of more than 350 attorneys. Emily’s practice focuses specifically in the areas of commercial, banking and real estate litigation, loan enforcement, employment, title disputes, and mechanic’s liens. She currently serves on the steering committee for the firm’s Women’s Affinity Network and also sits on the Diversity Committee. Emily has a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) and Bachelor of Science (Public Relations) from the University of Florida. She received her law degree from Saint Louis University School of Law. She is currently a board member of the Clayton Chamber of Commerce and a District Representative for St. Louis County for the Young Lawyers Section Council of the Missouri Bar. In 2014, she was named as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers for the Missouri/Kansas region, an award honoring only 2.5 percent of attorneys either 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less. She plans on being involved in the newly-created Pacesetters program for Girls on the Run-St. Louis, a program designed for women leaders in the community to serve as role models for program participants.
Jeannette Koster is 5-year employee with Crittenton Children’s Center; Saint Luke’s Health System. She has worked in Child Welfare for the majority of her career, including the areas of school-based programs, fosters care, development, and community relations. Jeannette is currently managing the Foster Care and Adoption program, a performance-based contract with the State of Missouri, for the agency. Jeannette has a Bachelor of Science from Missouri Western State University and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Kansas. She is currently serving on the Jackson County Community Quality Assurance Committee and served as a Family Team Leader for March of Dimes/March for Babies Walk for 6 years.
Sarah Kovaleski is the Director – Engineering Design at the Callaway Energy Center for Ameren Missouri. She has worked in the nuclear power industry since 1998. Sarah is passionate about promoting women in STEM careers. Sarah holds a Masters degree in Radiological Health Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelors degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Wisconsin.
Donna Leonard is a 20-year employee with the University of Missouri. She has worked in the University’s Business Development Program for her entire career. For 18 years, Donna was a Center Director for the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) where she counseled businesses on how to contract with federal, state and local government agencies. During this timeframe, Donna assisted Missouri businesses win 5,888 government contracts totaling more than $1 Billion, which created or retained 23,281 jobs. For the last two years, Donna has been the Program Director for the Mid-America Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (TAAC) where she manages a program offering technical and grant assistance to manufacturers in Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas who have been negatively impacted by import competition. TAAC conducts a comprehensive company assessment to identify and prioritize opportunities for increased profits, job creation and long-term financial stability.
Kristin Lurk is a Lean Strategist on the Operations and Supplier Management Lean+ Organization at The Boeing Company. She is currently supporting St. Louis manufacturing operations, F/A-18, F-15, C-17 and MUAS. Kristin received B.S. Engineering Management and M.S. Engineering Management degrees from the University of Missouri – Rolla.
Jessica Macy applies her passion for helping seniors as the Deputy Director for Services for Independent Living (SIL), a non-profit organization that helps people live with independence and dignity in their homes. Prior to joining SIL she was the Executive Director of Boone County Council on Aging (BCCA). With her leadership BCCA gained a strategic vision and experienced growth in a challenging time. For the last six months, she has spent her time orchestrating and completing a merger been the two agencies to increase access to services, improve the quality of those services, and to become better stewards of community resources. Jessica earned a BA in Political Science from Westminster College in Fulton, MO where she continues to volunteer for campus activities and her sorority Kappa Alpha Theta. She is also actively involved in Columbia Rotary Club, Columbia Chamber of Commerce, is Women’s Network President-Elect, and is a board member for Family Health Center.
Gabrielle Malfatti has served as director of international and intercultural initiatives for the University of Missouri College of Education. Gabrielle has been an educator for 20 years. As director of international and intercultural initiatives she designs and implements reciprocal learning programs in the U.S and abroad aimed at enhancing the cultural understanding of all participants. Gabrielle has conducted intercultural communication presentations and training in various countries around the world and for professional and military groups in the U.S. Gabrielle is chair-elect of the Leadership Development Committee of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the premier organization for the profession with over 10,000 members worldwide. She received her doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Missouri.
Mindy Mazur is a public affairs professional with Groundswell Public Strategies (GPS) who, throughout her career, has provided management and leadership to large, established public organizations and also brought vision to smaller, start-up entities with complex missions. Prior to joining Groundswell, Mindy served as Chief Operating Officer and Director of Public Affairs for non-profit Missouri Health Connection, which oversees Missouri’s statewide health information network. Mindy served for several years as Chief of Staff for Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and as a legislative aide for Congressman Ike Skelton in Washington, DC. She also created and manages www.HiredUpMissouri.org, a headhunting service for those looking to make a difference by entering or advancing their careers in public service.
Gail Metz is a 20-year employee with State Farm Insurance Companies in the Columbia Operations Center. She has worked in Human Resources, Fire Claims, and Administrative Services. She served in an Enterprise capacity for a Workforce Strategy Team and in a Learning & Development Dean Team role. Gail currently has responsibility for technical services management, facilities management, fleet management, catastrophe operations, purchasing & distribution, loss prevention, document storage, contracts & leasing, and general office operations for the States of Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Gail has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She also earned her designations as a Chartered Life Underwriter and a Chartered Financial Consultant from The American College.
Kimmecia Parker is the Program Quality Engineer Lead at The Boeing Company. She leads a diverse team executing quality system engagement across full scale Program Management Lifecycles for Weapon & Missile System programs. The majority of her 10-years at Boeing have been within Quality Systems including areas of Supplier Quality and Boeing Military Aircraft Operational Execution. Her continuing development positions have spread across business groups and platforms including Training Systems & Government Services, Tactical Aircraft, Cruise Missile Systems and Direct Attack Weapons. Kimmecia has a Master of Science degree in Quality Management Systems with Six Sigma Black Belt Certification from National Graduate School, as well as a Master of Science in Engineering Management and Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, both from the University of Missouri – Rolla.
Melissa Patterson is an Angecy Field Specialist Manager with State Farm Insurance Companies. She has worked in the Agency Department for the majority of her career, including marketing, training, sales, sales services and management of sales support. Melissa has a Bachelor of Science degree from Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield. She has earned her Chartered Life Underwriter, Chartered Financial Consultant and Chartered Advisor for Senior Living designations from the American College of Financial Services.
Lana Poole is the Executive Director of Marketing at Columbia College where she serves on the college’s Enrollment and Marketing leadership team. In her position, Poole oversees marketing strategy, marketing intelligence, web and SEO services and business development for the college’s 36 nationwide campuses, including the main campus in Columbia, Missouri, and Online Campus. In her six years as ED, Poole has successfully centralized the marketing function for the college, established a marketing intelligence infrastructure and launched award-winning campaigns that have supported growth in recent years.
Robin Potts is the Director of Finance for Haversters – The Community Food Network in Kansas City. The focus of her career has been to provide meaningful financial data to external clients and internal customers. Robin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting, and she is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant. She serves on the Feeding America National CFO Steering Committee, a committee that addresses financial matters impacting the nation’s food banks.
Randa Rawlins has worked with Shelter Insurance Companies since 2002, and before that spent 20 years in the private law practice in Kansas City. She leads the Corporate Law Department, as well as overseeing Government Affairs and Customer Communications departments. The Law Department oversees legal operations for Shelter Mutual Insurance Company and its twelve subsidiaries and affiliates. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Truman State University and a JD degree from the University of Missouri. She currently serves as a member of the Missouri Supreme Court Civil Rules Committee.
Lily Ren is a Group Manager for BJC Healthcare. She has managed multiple IT projects, and planned IT capital spending for Barnes Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. She is currently managing three Clinical Information Services departments for Missouri Baptist Medical Center, Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital, and Boone Hospital Center. In addition to her managerial duties, Lily leads the Diversity Steering Committee for BJC Information Services Department, an organization of 700 employees. Lily also serves as a member on BJC Executive Diversity Steering Committee. Lily received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Maryville University in St. Louis, and Master of Science in Healthcare Informatics from St. Louis University (SLU).
Amy Schneider is the Director of the City of Columbia’s Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). Amy began working at the Bureau in 2007 as their Sales Manager and was promoted to Director in November 2011. Prior to working for the CVB she worked in the hotel industry where she held a variety of positions, including sales manager, catering manager, assistant general manager and general manager. Amy received her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Missouri in Hotel and Restaurant Management. Amy has been active in several industry organizations including the Society of Government Meeting Planners, Missouri Society of Association Executives, Missouri Travel Council and Columbia Hospitality Association.
Tamara Sheffield is a versatile Business Operations Professional and CPA with broad leadership experience in finance, accounting, business management, human resources and organizational development projects. She has worked in or supported various business sectors including biotechnology, retail and public accounting. She is Senior Vice President of Finance and Operations for Forest Park Forever. She has led domestic and global teams and has made contributions at Monsanto Company, Venture Stores and Arthur Andersen LLP. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Saint Louis University and has served on the Board of Directors for Alexandra School of Ballet, Black Alcohol/Drug Informational Services Center and The Psychoanalytic Institute.
Jill Schlude is the Deputy Chief of Police with the Columbia, Missouri, Police Department. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia Law Enforcement Training Institute in 1999 and began her law enforcement career in a small town in Boone County, and then a state drug task force as an undercover narcotics detective. During her career at CPD she has worked various assignments including, midnight shift Patrol, Public Information Officer, Forensic Evidence Team, Public Relations Unit Sergeant, Assistant Chief of Police over Operations Support (Criminal Investigations, Vice/Narcotics/Organized Crime, Street Crimes, Evidence Unit, Traffic Unit, Special Events, and School Resource Officers) and now Deputy Chief of Police. Jill holds a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Columbia College and is finishing her Master’s Degree in Strategic Leadership this year at Stephens College. She is a 2014 graduate of the Police Executive Research Forum’s (PERF) Senior Management Institute for Police (Class #57) held at Boston University in cooperation with Harvard University.
As the Associate Vice President for Human Resources for the University of Missouri System, Kelley Stuck provides leadership for employee and retiree Total Rewards programs, as well as the HR Service Center, People Data and Internal Communications. Kelley’s educational background includes a master’s degree in administration from the University of Central Michigan with an emphasis in Human Resources and a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Truman State University. She is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) with the Society of Human Resource Management and a licensed health and life agent.
Loreli Wilson is United Initiator at Veterans United Home Loans, directing the diversity and inclusion initiative, appropriately named the “United Initiative”. She is dedicated to promoting an inclusive workforce conducive to Veterans United’s unique culture, and ultimately strives for each employee to feel comfortable in their own skin. With a background in Human Resources and Recruiting, she lends her skills and passions to such organizations as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Missouri as a Board Member, Human Resource Association of Central Missouri as the Diversity Chair, and is a Founding and Advisory Board Member of Diversity Awareness Partnership (DAP) – Columbia.
Bei Zhang is an 18-year employee with Monsanto Company. She has worked in the biotechnology research and development area for the majority of her career. Since 1999, she has held various leadership positions on research discovery, commercial product development, collaborations, and China site management. She currently serves as the Director of Regulatory Sciences. She is passionate about leveraging technology to deliver sustainable agriculture to produce more and save more natural resources. Bei has a Bachelor of Science in plant biology from Fudan University (China); a PhD in plant molecular biology from University of California, Los Angeles; and an EMBA from Washington University and Fudan University.
Michelle Zvanut is the Vice President, Human Resources for Boone Hospital Center, part of the BJC Healthcare System. She has worked in healthcare for her entire career, initially as a Psychiatric Social Worker, then as a Medical Social Worker, and for the second half of her career in Healthcare Human Resources. Michelle has two degrees from the University of Missouri, her B.S. and M.S.W.
Each year a limited number of outstanding women leaders are accepted into the year long training program. It is an honor to take part in such an inspiring and motivating program, where women such as [Name First, Last] will continue their education in leadership development, information and major discussion of state policy issues and exposure to the philosophies and thoughts of the state’s business, cultural, educational and political leaders. With the wealth of talented women across the state, Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge provides an enriching experience for both women leaders and the state, while providing new channels of communication to broaden the participation of women in addressing the critical issues facing Missouri.
For 2015, the Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge sessions are:
March 3-5 in Jefferson City/Columbia on government and education issues
June 3-5 in Kansas City on poverty and urban issues
September 16-18 in Kirksville on rural issues
November 4-6 in St. Louis on science and global impact issues
A Greater Missouri Woman
A Greater Missouri Woman is recognized as accomplished in her field of endeavor. Her leadership, civic contributions and ability to inspire and support others demonstrate the maturity and professionalism realized by reaching her level of success. She is intellectually curious, interacts well with others, and while passionate in her beliefs, is open-minded when confronted with new points of view. She is committed to a life of learning and personal growth.