Next week is Session IV for the Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge Class of 2023. It has been a another remarkable year with an amazing group of women leaders. We’ve seen each challenger grow personally and professionally. The bonds they have formed as a group will serve them well as they network into the future. It is inspiring to see this play out each year as the Challengers experience each session and get to know each other, share their perspectives, and learn more about their opportunities. Next week the Class travels to St. Louis with a focus on Global Perspectives. We do this with these objectives in mind:
- Gain a global perspective on Science, the Green Business Movement (the Environment), Life Sciences – how these industries have shaped St. Louis, and the role St. Louis plays in them today.
- Expand understanding of the issues faced by global businesses.
- Learn how various corporations employ technology to manage their business activities.
- Explore ways to get involved in the various issues facing Missouri and its citizens.
Challengers will begin Session IV with a visit and immersive tours at the Danforth Plant Science Center where we will gain fresh insights and perspectives from area experts. Featured panelists include Emily Lohse-Busch, Executive Director of 39 North AgTech Innovation District and Andy Dearing, President of Spatial St. Louis Advisors and lead for the GeoFutures Initiative. Danforth Center leaders will also lead the group in a discussion about bridging the urban/rural divide through their education, outreach, and innovative efforts.
Tours will also be a highlight as we journey to Bayer Crop Science R&D Facility learning about their operations, enjoying a panel discussion of their business resource groups. Their Bayer Leadership Panel will include insights from distinguished alumnae of our program and an informal reception for all to network.
Our second day will focus on “Next Gen” as we start with a tour of the $240 million newly revamped America’s Center. The group will delight to meet Kitty Ratcliffe, President of Explore St. Louis and Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge – Director of Airports – Lambert International Airport. These two women are charting the path forward for not only St. Louis but the entire region. We will then be off to Delmar Divine to see first hand how innovation and collaboration = transformation. We will be immersed in Ameren’s renewable energy operations and learn more about their work while leading the way to a sustainable energy future. Highlights will include special insights from Mark Birk, Ameren Missouri Chairman and President; Ajay Arora, Ameren Missouri’s Senior VP & Chief Renewable Development Officer; and Gwen Mizell, Chief Sustainability, Diversity & Philanthropy Officer for Ameren Corporation. Following a panel discussion including distinguished alumna who will share their perspectives on leadership, sustainability, and real life, the cohort will mingle with other Ameren alumnae during a private reception including the leaders from the panel.
Our final day of the session will conclude at Boeing, where we will learn more about their global business and gain insights on their perspectives. Tours of the final assembly ramp and active engagement with the flight simulator are always a highlight of this session. Speakers will share details on the manufacturing and safety aspects of their corporate systems and air dominance. The session will conclude following the Class of 2023 graduation with a special send-off message from Board Chair Rosalind Cochran.
Thank you to all of our speakers, tour guides and hosts, as well as GMLC alumnae leaders at each of these locations. We are looking forward to connecting each with the esteemed women in the Class of 2024!