Roz Cochran & Jan Beckett
photo provided by Wally Pfeffer

Mission accomplished!  The 2022 Greater Missouri Leadership Alumnae Reunion and Women of the Year Luncheon were a HUGE success.  ENERGIZING and EXCITING are just a few sentiments that come to mind.  Meeting, reconnecting, HUGGING my fellow alumnae and board members (some for the very first time) was nothing short of incredible.   There is something to be said about the presence and relationships forged in these spaces; we create community, trust and vision.

The Greater Missouri Women of the Year Planning Committee willingly contributed their time and talents to these events with an impressive emergence from the pandemic with our first FULL IN PERSON celebration for the members and those who support us since 2019.  It did not disappoint!  Brava to Katie Steele Danner, Karen Miller, Gina Gervino, Samantha Potter, Ann Merrifield, Robin Wenneker, Jan Beckett, Dr. Julia Gaines, Mindy Mazur our incomparable MC, Meg Judy and other dedicated Alumnae for crafting an exceptional experience highlighting EXCELLENCE.

July 19th: We hit the road in Greater Missouri Leadership style to enjoy presentations and learn more about the multigenerational talent and creative placemaking from nationally acclaimed civic and cultural dynamos Vicky Riback Wilson and David Wilson.  We were uplifted and engaged with the motivational rousing of our very own Kristy Jackson, Ed.S. – Author, Speaker, and Serial Entrepreneur.  I think I can speak for everyone when I say touring the University of Missouri Research Reactor facility was scientifically and medically intriguing…I walked away feeling an immense sense of wonder!  MURR is an unsung GEM! We ended the day with an awe-inspiring introduction to Desiree Reed-Francois, Mizzou Director of Athletics who continues to break ceilings as “the first” in the role of Athletic Director for multiple colleges and conferences. 

July 20th: What better way to begin the day than with Dr. Dianne Lynch, President of Stephens College and a champagne breakfast buffet? J. Scott Christianson brought us up to speed with his insight and research for the emerging technologies of bitcoin and blockchain to ponder while we prepared for the PIECE DE RESISTANCE – our annual Greater Missouri Women of the Year (WOY) Luncheon. 

WOY is such a special event! I was overwhelmed with joy and the truest sense of gratitude as the room filled with our Honorees and Outstanding Leaders: Jan Beckett – Civic Leader, Sabrina McDonnell – Community Leader, Valerie Nicholson-Watson – Alumna Leader and Dr. Kristin Sohl, MD – Inspirational Leader.  It made me PROUD to be a Challenger; watching the families, friends and colleagues who traveled from hundreds of miles away to share Greater Missouri’s recognition of these four DISTINGUISHED women.  Listening to the journey of each Honoree brought me close to tears.  The adoration and accolades they gave back to their loved ones and communities was a Masterclass in servant leadership. I would encourage you to revisit their innumerable contributions and accomplishments on the Women of the Year tab and our YouTube Channel. 

Until we meet again, I’d like to leave you with a thought about fruition and Greater Missouri Leadership. Katie shared with us at WOY that since her class experience in 1993, she has seen just how powerful it can be when someone steps into their power – applying for the C-Suite position, running for office, serving on boards and commissions, drafting policies.  My experience began in 2013 and I’ve witnessed this organization being the catalyst in creating that next level confidence and network of executive presence that is second to none, building the assurance and support for stepping into her power. 

I want to thank our Alumnae, Sponsors and Supporters for supplying us with the necessary resources and talent that makes Greater Missouri THE PREMIER statewide leadership experience for EXCEPTIONAL women leaders across the state of Missouri.