Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge

The Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation has selected 41 women professionals to participate in its 2024 Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge program.

The Class of 2024 will be the 35th Class of the program with challenge participants totaling over 1,300 participants since its inception in 1990. The Challenge program is the premiere women’s educational and professional development program in the state.  This one-of-a-kind experience is designed to provide a unique, statewide traveling symposium composed of emerging and established women leaders to join together for insightful symposium sessions, personalized tours, issues discussions about each community, and receive training to further their leadership development within their organizations, communities and our state.

Cohort members attend twelve full-day educational & professional development sessions in four different regions of the state. The Challenge participants meet community leaders throughout the state and study aspects of each community including city, county, and state government, history, economic development, not-for-profit partnerships, education, public policy, various industries, and current issues impacting the local community, region, and state.

A sustained goal for the Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation is to increase the return on investment for organizations that have empowered their women leaders to take “The Challenge” by utilizing an evolving Strengths-Based Leadership component plus utilizing metrics to track progress and results amplifying GMLF’s GuideStar/CANDID Platinum Status. Upon graduation, each challenger joins an alumnae network that remains an empowering experience for proven women leaders and continues to offer lasting rewards for both employees and employers.

Individuals selected for the 2024 Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge Cohort are:

  • Allie Bennett, Manager of Economic Development and Member Services, Northeast Power, Monroe City

  • Miranda Burks, Financial Planner II, Commerce Bank, DeSoto, KS

  • Amanda Burt, F/A-18 Sensors Program Manager, Boeing, Chesterfield

  • Jodi Clinton, Sr. Vice President/Sr. Group Manager, Commerce Bank, St. Louis

  • Kim Cochran, Director of Early College Partnerships, Asst. Professor of Mathematics, Missouri Baptist University,  O’Fallon

  • Morgan Coers, Asst. Director of Sales, The Royal Sonesta Chase Park Plaza, St. Louis

  • Ivy Crigler, Director, Columbia College, Collinsville, IL

  • Nisha Dharna, HR Partner Lead, Bayer, Chesterfield

  • Jessica Davenport, Global Lead, Customer Analytics, Bayer, St. Louis

  • Deletta Dean, Vice President Midwest Region, Neighborworks America, Kansas City

  • Jewel Elegino, Operations Senior Manager, Boeing, Creve Coeur

  • Ann Fazzino, Sr. Project Manager of Retail Strategy, Commerce Bank, Overland Park, KS

  • Tanzeena Francka, Sr. HR Manager – Fighters & Phantom Works, Boeing, St. Louis

  • Theresa Garza, Regional Manager- Government Affairs, Spire, Raytown

  • Kimberly Gerlt, Director- Business Recruitment & Capacity Building, Missouri Partnership, Tebbetts

  • Lesley Hane, Director of People Operations, Shelter Insurance, Columbia

  • Megan Hegger, Manager-Data Analytics, Ameren Missouri, Kirkwood

  • Kisha Hines, Director- Sustainability & Energy Equity, Ameren Missouri, Chesterfield

  • Monica Horton, CEO & Founder, Lenica Consulting Group, Springfield

  • Jenn Jennings, Senior Director – Advancement Gift Planning, University of Missouri, Columbia

  • Emily Kalmer, Missouri Government Relations Director, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Richmond Heights

  • Allison Kurzejeski, Senior Accountant, Veterans United, Columbia

  • Takisha Lovelace, Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, Affinia Healthcare, O’Fallon

  • Katherine Lueker, Field Operations Senior Quality Manager, Boeing, Ballwin
  • Judith Martinez-Garcia, Director of Faculty Mentoring Program & Assoc. Professor of Literature, Missouri State University, Springfield

  • Heather McGee, Director of Marketing & Development, Alternative Community Training, Columbia

  • Stephanie Mills, Manager of Communications, Tri-County Electric, Kirksville

  • Rachel Niemeier, Director, Corporate Counsel, Missouri American Water, Fenton

  • Racheal ‘Dami’ Odunewu, CEO & Founder, Purpose Connect, Republic

  • Cinthia Pedreros, Manager, Centene, O’Fallon

  • Nia Ray, Missouri State Government Affairs Director, Cigna Healthcare (Express Scripts), St. Louis

  • Jackie Rogers, Planning & Project Specialist, University of Missouri Healthcare, Columbia

  • Catina Shannon, Sr. Director- Government Relations, Ameren Missouri, St. Louis

  • Sally Siebert, Executive Director-Program Management, Boeing, St. Charles

  • H. Nicole Slusser, Executive Assistant, Central Trust Company, Centertown

  • Kathlyn Cockrell Smith, Commercial Banking Portfolio Manager Team Lead, Commerce Bank, Rocheport

  • Julie Steenson, Co-Founder, Porchlight Insights, Kansas City

  • Melanie Swanson, Digital Lead Biotechnology, Bayer, Lake Saint Louis

  • Courtney Thomas, President & CEO, Newhouse, Kansas City

  • Sarah Tucker, Digital Pipeline Insights Lead, Bayer, Ballwin

  • Krissi Zappia, Acquire to Retire Process Owner, Ameren Missouri, St. Louis