Four trailblazers stood out as prominent leaders in their fields who exemplify the Greater Missouri Woman.

The Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation Board of Directors unanimously endorsed the 2021 Women of the Year honorees. Recognizing remarkable women is vital, especially during a crisis. At the very core of our humanity is our care for one another. Heartfelt appreciation provides sustenance for another day, especially in turbulent times. Each of the women selected has stepped forward to support and lift up others in their day-to-day roles as coworkers, leaders, and mentors. These special women have gone above and beyond over the last year to pull us through. 

Susan Block

2021 Community Leader of the Year

Susan Block, Attorney at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C.

Susan Block returned to the practice of law after retiring as a Circuit Judge in 2004, with 25 years of judicial service. Her current practice focuses on family law matters including adoptions, divorce and grandparent’s visitation.

Judge Mary Sheffield of the Missouri Court of Appeals and a GMLC graduate of the Class of 1991, shared why her mentor is a deserving recipient.

“(Susan) has served on both sides of the bench where she is the consummate professional who was a good judge to learn from. She became a Circuit Judge in St. Louis County in 1995 and then Administrative Judge of the Family Court of St. Louis County in 1997. In addition to her full list of affiliations and memberships, she has been extremely influential in promoting women in Missouri. She is well respected among her peers for her legal knowledge which is leavened by her life experiences. She has encountered and overcome substantial gender bias from colleagues and has been a mover and shaker in providing leadership, energy and enthusiasm. She is not afraid to speak for what she believes is right. She has been a lifelong inspiration for multiple generations. Susan also has served as an adjunct professor at Washington University, St. Louis University, and Emory University as well as assisting the United States Department of State as an educator on the rule of law, family law, and domestic violence in numerous foreign countries.”

Judge Block has received numerous awards for her work in child advocacy, prevention of domestic violence, and innovative programming for the family court. They include the St. Louis Bar Foundation Award, Missouri Coalition for Domestic Violence-St. Louis Region Person of the Year Award, Public Citizen of the Year award given by the National Association of Social Workers Missouri Chapter, Metropolitan St. Louis YWCA Racial Justice Award, CASA Community Award, World of Children Award, National Council of Jewish Women-St. Louis Section Founder’s Award and was honored by the Missouri Supreme Court for her outstanding service to the St. Louis County Circuit Court. To learn more:

2021 Inspirational Leader of the Year

Dr. Kimberly Beatty, Chancellor, Metropolitan Community College

Dr. Kimberly Beatty has been committed to workforce and academic education while establishing new partnerships throughout the Kansas City region throughout her career. As the eighth chancellor for the Metropolitan Community College, Dr. Beatty restructured the college’s five-year strategic plan; authored a new vision statement for the College and a new shared governance model, fostering a culture of innovation.

“Dr. Beatty is a woman leader in action and represents excellence and determination in her work every single day,” said Joni Wickham of Wickham James Strategies and a GMLC graduate of the Class of 2018. “She is the first African-American leader in the 105-year history of MCC, and the only African-American CEO in the Missouri Community College system. She frequently talks about how she ‘lives and walks in the truth of who I am each day’”.

Dr. Beatty has personally heard women of color in Kansas City express that seeing a woman of color lead MCC has been inspirational.

A champion of access and equity, she is devoted to the mission of providing access to higher education for all. With 30 years of teaching and administrative experience in California, Virginia and Texas, she also served as a tenured associate professor in English. Dr. Beatty is a member of Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and its Executive Women’s Leadership Council; the Kansas City Area Development Council; the Full Employment Council Board; and the Rotary Club of Kansas City. To learn more:

2021 Civic Leader of the Year

Anne Precythe, Director of the Missouri Department of Corrections

Anne Precythe has served for more than 32 years as a correction official and is the second woman to lead the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC), where she is responsible for 11,000 staff; 63,000 probationers and parolees; and more than 23,500 inmates in addition to all facilities throughout Missouri. She  has channeled her three decades of corrections experience into reinvigorating the Missouri DOC,  transforming the culture, and finding innovative ways to reduce risk and recidivism.

Director Precythe was nominated by Susan Pulliam who is a Division Director for DOC and a graduate of the GMLC Class of 2020. Pulliam sees Director Precythe daily and notes that she is “definitely accomplished in the corrections field, but the true reason for this nomination is due to the consistent leadership and passion she brings to every situation she encounters. Serving alongside her has made me stronger, wiser and encouraged me to find a strength inside to also lead in a male dominated industry. In the last four years, Director Precythe’ s primary focus has been changing the culture of corrections. She has met countless obstacles, however, her passion to create a better work environment for all has led to the development of The Corrections Way. This initiative prepares and equips staff to identify, teach, model and reinforce critical leadership skills.”

Carolyn Chrisman (GMLC Class of 2015) and Kellie Ann Coats (GMLC Class of 2018) also submitted a nomination for Director Precythe on behalf of the Missouri Women’s Council. “Her early and continued support of the ASPIRE MO women’s entrepreneurship training program has allowed the Missouri Women’s Council to provide personal and professional development and a business plan for women who want something better for themselves and their families. She has championed ‘outside-of-the-box’ thinking and continues to empower her team and DOC partners to achieve their greatest potential stating that no goal is too big”.

Director Precythe represents the State of Missouri through her leadership roles in various national organizations. To learn more:

2021 Alumna of the Year

Suzanne Rothwell, Vice President of Advancement, Columbia College

Suzanne Rothwell graduated with the GMLC Class of 2004 and has since served as a member of the Board of Directors (Past President), as interim Executive Director, and helped establish the newly formed Alumnae Advisory Council. She is in her ninth year with Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri, where she oversees the Advancement Division, which consists of the development, alumni relations, and public relations departments.

Nominated by several GMLC graduates, Suzanne “consistently demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in her profession. She brings those same skills to her work with the Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation where she has worked to create one cohesive, productive team. Not only does she demonstrate excellence in all she does, she encourages all around her to do the same”.

After transitioning from the Board of Directors of GMLF to become a member of the Board of Advisors, Suzanne was asked to work with the new Executive Director to create a strategic defined role for this group. She immediately jumped in and after communicating with many, helped to create a newly formed Alumnae Advisory Council, with clear objectives and a more well-defined purpose. The Board of Directors unanimously adopted her ideas during their final board meeting in 2020 and are moving forward with new members to this refreshed group of dedicated alumnae and supporters.  

In addition to her work with Greater Missouri and Columbia College, Suzanne is active in the community and is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Boone County Historical Society, the Board of Directors for the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, as a member of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Network Strategic Planning Committee, on the University of Missouri, College of Human Environmental Sciences Deans Advisory Council, and on the Robert W. Plaster School of Business Advisory Council, as an ex-officio member. To learn more

Event Details

The 2021 Greater Missouri Woman of the Year celebration is scheduled for Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Guests are welcome to attend in person or virtually during the hybrid event from Springfield, Missouri from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Attendees will be inspired to learn more about the honorees’ leadership experiences and contributions to the community. Carmelita Jeter, three-time Olympic medalist, world record holder and fastest woman alive will also be participating in the event as a keynote speaker and will be recognized for her outstanding accomplishments.

This event and awards have been presented annually since 2006 by the Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation to recognize prominent female citizen of Missouri who exemplify the Greater Missouri Woman.

“A Greater Missouri Woman is recognized as accomplished in her field of endeavor.  The maturity and professionalism realized by reaching her level of success are demonstrated by her leadership, civic contributions and ability to inspire and support others.  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.”

To learn more about previous honorees you can view the archive here