July 21st, 2021

We were joined by an outstanding group of honorees for the 2021 Woman of the Year event.

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 provide that “sustenance for another day” in our day-to-day roles as coworkers, leaders, and mentors. We appreciate all of the nominations to help us to find these special women who have gone above and beyond over the last year to pull us through. 

This event and awards have been presented annually since 2006 by the Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation to recognize prominent female citizens 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.”

Read more about our 2021 Honorees:

Susan Block

Susan Block

St. Louis, Missouri Attorney

Susan Block returned to the practice of law after retiring as a Circuit Judge in 2004, with 25 years of judicial service. In her last judicial assignment, she was appointed to serve as the Administrative Judge of the Family Court with the authority to manage the policies and practices of this division, while maintaining a full caseload of abuse, neglect, delinquency and adoption matters. Recipient of the Andrew Jackson Higgins Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice, her work in the area of family law and child advocacy has been recognized locally and internationally. Currently, she focuses her practice in family law matters, including divorce, modifications, juvenile, guardianships, school law, juvenile law, adoptions, paternity matters, grandparents’ visitation requests, and domestic partnership conflicts.

The unique combination of having been on both sides of the bench makes Judge Block an invaluable resource to her clients and her colleagues. Since becoming an active trial lawyer, she has quickly built a reputation as a compassionate and zealous advocate for her clients, taking on the most complex cases and thinking “out of the box” for creative solutions and impressive results.

Judge Block has received numerous local 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.

An innovator and visionary, she was a founding member of the Washington University Project for Children and Youth, 2002-2005, and served on the first Board of Directors for the National Truancy Prevention Association and Lawyers for Equality. Judge Block was appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court to its Committee on Racial and Ethnic Fairness, juvenile sub-committee, with a special focus on referrals to the court and alternative to detention and commitments to the Department of Youth Services.

Well published, Judge Block authors the “Bench to Bar” monthly column for the St. Louis Lawyer magazine published by the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. Recently, she co-authored “Grandparent Visitation Rights: History, Constitutionality, and Practice,” in the April 2009 St. Louis Bar Journal. Following her presentation at the First International Conference on Domestic Violence in Rome, Italy, she wrote “Domestic Violence: A Problem Concealed. A Civil Response to Domestic Violence in the United States,” California Western School of Law, Journal of Law, 1997. She has been a contributing writer for the St. LouisPost-Dispatch on Family Law Issues from 1997-2003, authoring “In Search of Safety Coordination Efforts.”

Judge Block’s teaching experience ranges from law school instruction to international forums. She has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at Washington University, St. Louis University and Emory University Schools of Law, specializing in pre-trial practice, trial practice, and trial technique courses. She has been sent abroad by the United States Department of State to instruct and advise countries on domestic violence laws and procedures, including the countries of Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Macedonia, and Russia. Locally she has given presentations on family law to the United States Arbitration and Mediation, Inc., the American Jewish Congress, and the Midwest School of Paralegal Studies. She was a veteran faculty member of the Missouri Judicial College and the National Judicial College. In addition, she provided private tutoring for law graduates preparing to take the Missouri Bar Examination in all areas of the law.

Judge Block’s community involvement ranges from having served on the boards of Food Outreach, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Caring for Kids, the Missouri Children’s Service Commission, the National Association of Women Judges and the St. Louis County Domestic Violence Council. Most recently, Governor Jay Nixon appointed her to serve on the board of the Missouri Children’s Trust Fund, which seeks to prevent child abuse and educate the community on this important issue.

Judge Block is a graduate of Penn State University and the St. Louis University School of Law. She was also a participant in the John F Kennedy School of Government for Senior Executives in Local Government. She is the mother of four children and the grandmother of four. Her colleagues view her as a lawyer’s lawyer and often seek out her advice in dealing with the Family Court.

Dr. Kimberly Beatty

Chancellor, Metropolitan Community College

Kimberly Beatty, Ed.D., began her tenure as Metropolitan Community College’s eighth
chancellor on July 1, 2017. She was formally installed as chancellor at an inauguration
ceremony on Aug. 24, 2018. Dr. Beatty came to MCC from Houston Community College, the
nation’s fourth-largest community college system, where she served as vice chancellor for
instructional services and chief academic officer.

As the first African-American leader in the 105-year history of Metropolitan Community
College, and the only African-American CEO in the Missouri community college system, “I live and walk in the truth of who I am each day,” Dr. Beatty says. A champion of access and
equity, she is devoted to the community college mission of providing access to higher
education for all. “I am passionate about the community I serve and excited about the ability
to provide higher education access to the underprivileged and underrepresented,” Dr. Beatty

At 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;
and is fostering a culture of innovation, including the creation of the MCC Innovation Council.
In 2019 she penned “The Path Forward,” a vision of the future that calls for MCC to align
programs with current industry needs in the region; to increase diversity, access and equity
across MCC’s workforce programs; and to enhance and align existing College facilities with a
21st century teaching and learning environment. One component of this vision is relocating
workforce programs currently housed at the MCC-Business & Technology campus.

Dr. Beatty’s commitment to workforce and transfer (academic) education has included
establishing new partnerships in the region. Under her leadership, MCC in Fall 2019
launched a satellite site at Hillyard Technical Center in St. Joseph. In addition to workforce
training programs such as certified nursing assistant and welding technology, this Buchanan
County location will offer general education courses and a path to a bachelor’s degree. The
initiative is a partnership with the St. Joseph School District, St. Joseph Chamber of
Commerce and Missouri Western State University. Dr. Beatty is a member of the 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.

At her inauguration in 2018, Chancellor Beatty and members of her family presented the
first Reggie Helms Memorial Scholarship. Named for her late father, an Army veteran
who served in Vietnam, the scholarship helps MCC student veterans achieve their
educational goals. A three-time graduate of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Dr.
Beatty received a B.A. in English, an M.A. in English, and an Ed.D. in higher education, with
a specialization in community college leadership. She brought to MCC 28 years of
teaching and administrative experience in higher education, including 21 years of
progressive leadership experience at community colleges in California, Virginia and
Texas. She has also served as a tenured associate professor in English.

Dr. Beatty has served on a number of boards at the state and national levels. She was
appointed to a two-year term on the American Association of Community Colleges’
Commission on College Readiness in July 2018. She has demonstrated a strong
commitment to student success and diversity, and a passion for strengthening the
pipeline of college-ready students entering community college.

In September 2019, U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II honored Dr. Beatty for her leadership
and service to the community. Each year, Cleaver and fellow Congressman William Lacy
Clay Jr. induct prominent individuals into their Missouri Walk of Fame, awards presented
during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference.
Cleaver described the chancellor as “an individual who has dedicated her life to inspiring
and empowering the next generation of Americans, making a profoundly positive impact
on countless lives.”

Dr. Beatty was inducted into the Black Achievers Society of Greater Kansas City in 2019.
She has also been the recipient of the 30 Most Influential Women of Houston Award by
the D-Mars Group, Houston; the Trailblazer Award by the Mason Lodge, Houston; the
Damiani Award for Commitment to Global Education, Tidewater Community College; and
the Regina Standback-Stroud Award for Commitment to Diversity in Higher Education,
California State Academic Senate.

Dr. Beatty is married to Kelvin Beatty. They are proud parents of three sons, Kelvin Jr.,
Michael and Ian. They also have five grandsons.

Anne Precythe

Director of the Missouri Department of Corrections

Anne L. Precythe is the Director of the Missouri Department of Corrections.

As Director of Corrections, Precythe is responsible for the 20 adult correctional facilities,
six community supervision centers, a community release center, and more than 40
probation and parole offices across the State of Missouri. This includes approximately
11,000 staff, 63,000 probationers and parolees, and more than 23,500 inmates.
Precythe brings over 32 years of service as a corrections professional into her role as
director. Before becoming the second woman director for the Missouri Department of
Corrections, Precythe served as the Director of Community Corrections in the North
Carolina Department of Public Safety.

Anne L. Precythe began her career with the Division of Community Corrections in North
Carolina as a Probation/Parole Officer in Duplin County in 1988. During her career in
North Carolina she served in many capacities and was appointed the first female
Director of Community Corrections in 2013.

Anne has served on various councils and commissions throughout her career. She was a
long-standing member of the North Carolina Probation/Parole Association and continues
to support the Correctional Peace Officer Foundation. In 2015, Anne was appointed by
United States Attorney, Eric Holder, and reappointed by United States Attorney, William
Barr, in 2020 to the National Institute of Corrections Advisory Board, representing all of
Community Corrections across the country.

In 2018, Director Precythe was elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the
Correctional Leaders Association. In 2020 she was elected to serve as the association’s
president. In 2019, Director Precythe was also appointed to the Council of State
Governments Justice Center Advisory Board. Director Precythe was nominated and
approved by her peers to serve as a member of the Inaugural Class of the Council on
Criminal Justice in 2020.

Director Precythe is married with two married daughters and four grandsons.

Suzanne Rothwell

Advancement Division of 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

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

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.

Carmelita Jeter, three-time Olympic medalist, world record holder and one of the fastest women alive participated in the event as a keynote speaker and was recognized for her outstanding accomplishments.

Event Photographs

A huge thank you to our sponsors!

Dr. Nancy O’Reilly and her daughters Lauren, Leigh and Ragan Family Foundation

Host Hotel and Event Location
Oasis Convention Center Hotel