Sister Berta Sailer

Sister Berta Sailer

2010 Woman of the Year

The Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation has named Sister Berta Sailer as its 2010 Woman of the Year.

A Well Deserved Award

The Woman of the Year award recognizes a Missouri woman who has shown outstanding leadership and has served as a role model and inspiration for other women. Sr. Berta is a tireless example of a Greater Missouri woman who identifies an issue and addresses it head on. In 1971, she and Sister Corita Bussanmas recognized needs in their community and co-founded Operation Breakthrough to provide childcare and other social services for working-poor families in Kansas City. This not-for-profit agency is now the largest single-site childcare center in Missouri, caring for more than 600 children each weekday who come from homeless shelters, foster homes and struggling single parent families.

Sister Berta Sailer“She’s a Bit of a Bulldog… And Will Stop at Nothing”

Sr. Berta has addressed the Greater Missouri class for several years, sharing compelling true stories of the low income families in the 31st and Troost neighborhood in Kansas City, and suggesting very specific steps to address those problems. She and co-founder Sister Corita have gone beyond their work at Operation Breakthrough and are licensed foster parents to and have adopted four children ranging in age from 9 to 16. “Sr. Berta is a bit of a bulldog. She knows what needs to be done and will stop at nothing to ensure it happens. She has made the children of Operation Breakthrough her life: personally and professionally. That’s why we wanted to recognize her” said Greater Missouri board president, Carol Wilke.

A Humble Woman of The Year

Upon hearing about the upcoming recognition, Sister Berta shared, “Greater Missouri brings together an incredible group of women each year. These women are just the sort of leaders we need to take up the cause of low-income children and families and work on issues that affect them. I am honored that they keep inviting me back to hear about the work that Sister Corita and I do and that they want to recognize it with this award.”

Many Greater Missouri alumnae have been motivated by Sr. Berta to act on behalf of children in the state of Missouri through grassroots action. “Our mission is to educate and inspire women leaders to make a difference,” said Greater Missouri executive director, Gretchen Pettet. “While Greater Missouri is not a political organization, one way our alumnae can and do make a difference is within the political landscape.”

Sister Berta joins a distinguished group of Greater Missouri Women of the Year, including Linda Arnold, the late Duana Dralus and Claire McCaskill. She will be honored at a luncheon on Friday, June 4 at The Central Exchange in Kansas City.

Kristin Sohl

Kristin Sohl, MD

2022 Inspirational Leader of the Year

Dr. Kristin Sohl is a pediatrician and the Board President of the Missouri Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, a statewide membership organization for pediatricians. During the COVID-19 pandemic Dr. Sohl provided steady leadership to ensure information about COVID-19 and kids was shared with families. Her leadership during the pandemic has been nothing short of amazing. In addition to advocating for children’s health across the state, she is also doing ground-breaking work in the area of autism.

Dr. Sohl is a pediatrician with extensive experience in medical diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of children with a concern of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. She is an expert in quality and process improvement for comprehensive autism diagnostic and longitudinal services.

Dr. Sohl is the founder of ECHO Autism, an innovative framework to increase community capacity to care for children with autism and other developmental/behavioral concerns. ECHO Autism is considered a national model for expanding autism diagnosis and treatment to underserved and rural populations. Her team has established partnerships with healthcare entities in more than 15 states and five countries.

Dr. Sohl’s research focuses on systems change to improve health care and services for individuals with autism and focuses on understanding underlying medical conditions in individuals with autism.