Kathy Osborn, head of Regional Business Council, named Citizen of the Year December 20, 2018

Kathy Osborn

Kathy Osborn

Persons of Interest: Blanche Touhill

Ladue News Piece April 19

Not too many people living in St. Louis can say they have a world-class theater named after them. As a matter of fact, I can think of only one: Blanche Touhill, former chancellor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Read more...


Mann, Jacobs receive annual Harris Award 

St. Louis is teeming with selfless citizens dedicated to ensuring that a thriving cultural, civic and educational environment exists for the entire community, including such generous philanthropic leaders as Marylen Mann and Franklin A. Jacobs. Together, their efforts in support of successful aging, education, entrepreneurship and health care have enriched the lives of countless not just locally, but far beyond our region.  Read more

Rest in Piece Frankie Freeman

Longtime civil rights activist, attorney and leader Frankie Muse Freeman passed away Jan. 12, 2018 at the age of 101. A few days before her 101st birthday, Frankie sat next to her statue and greeted visitors who came to celebrate her, from U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill to former Washington University Chancellor Dr. William Danforth. The St. Louis City chapter of the NAACP dedicated a bronze statue in her honor near the historic Old Courthouse. More than half a century ago, this  attorney became the first woman appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. At that point, she’d already opened her own private legal practice and helped end legal segregation of public housing in St. Louis. Since that momentous day in 1964 she continued to fight for human rights and was a beloved and treasured member of IWF-Missouri. Read more here.

Cortex Startup Innovation Beacon Award


Marcia Mellitz was recently honored by the Cortex Innovation Community with its Cortex Startup Innovation Beacon Award. Her early efforts with the Center for Emerging Technologies were pivotal in putting Cortex on a path to success. Marcia continues to be active in the startup community, supporting early-stage advanced technology companies regarding strategic direction and sources of funding. She is pictured on the left with MWF members St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, Blanche Touhill, and St. Louis City Alderman Joe Roddy.

Event Calendar

January 14
Dine Around: Juli Niemann

February 26
Dine Around: Co-Host Bonnie Barczykowski/Adrian Bracy

March 14 Dine-Around: Marylen Mann

April 16
Dine Around: KC Carroll/J.J. Stupp

May 6
Dine Around : Betsy Cohen

Dine Around: Emily Pulitzer

July 19 - Lunch
Dine Around: Blanche Touhill/Sandra Vantrease

Bring Along: Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge

Dine Around:

Dine Around: Co-Hosts: Deb Hollingsworth, Sue Cejka,Barbara Turkington

November 13
Dine Around: Joan Briccetti/Marie-Helene Bernard/Francis Levine/Jane Sauer

December 19
Holiday Party: Pat Whitaker

Missouri History Museum Gathering

St. Louis Mosaic Project


MWF's first event of the New Year began with a private tour the Panoramas of the City exhibit. Most of the images were taken in the 1920s and are enlarged to the point that new details can now be seen. Check them out here.
Front Row: Constance Gully, Frances Levine (President and CEO of the History Museum), Emily Pulitzer, Marylen Mann and Kelly Pollack. Back Row: Catherine Hanaway, and President Chris Chadwick.

Betsy Cohen, Executive Director of St. Louis Mosaic Project, is featured in Advancing St. Louis that highlights leaders who are impacting the St. Louis region from a variety of industries. Mosaic's goal is to promote regional
prosperity through immigration and innovation. St. Louis is in the top 20 regions for population in the United States even though we have less than five percent foreign-born in the region. Read more here.

Members Among Top 50 Missourians


Cindy Brinkley, President and COO of Centene Corp., (pictured left) and June Fowler, senior vice president of communications for BJC Healthcare, (pictured right) have been named by Ingram's 50 Missourians You Should Know. Cindy, a native Missourian, began her career with Southwestern Bell, rising to President of SBC/AT&T in St. Louis. She also served a stint as VP of for Global Human Resources for General Motors in Detroit. She returned to St. Louis in 2014 when hired by Centene as EVP of international operations and business integration, a new role at the company. She was named CEO in November. June began her career with a job in urban planning for St. Louis County, followed by a stint at pharmaceutical giant Mallinckrodt. Now at BJC, she currently serves on numerous advisory boards, is past chair for the St. Louis Girl Scout Council and always reserves time to teach Sunday School classes at her church. Read more here.

Honored as Pillar of the Community


To Retire as head of MICDS in June 2019


Receives Lifetime Achievement Award


Maxine Clark, Chairman and former "Chief Executive Bear" of Build-A-Bear Workshop, was honored as the Pillar in the Community for 2017 by the Clayton Chamber of Commerce. Maxine is well-known for her philanthropy in education, entrepreneurship and social work. She serves on the national Board of Trustees of Teach For America the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of Washington University in St. Louis, as well as Beyond Housing, Parents As Teachers and the Nine Network of Public Media. Other board memberships include Footlocker, Inc. and Gymboree.. She and her husband Bob Fox are founding donors of KIPP St. Louis.


Lisa Lyle is leaving MICDS after a career of 18 years. She is the first woman to hold the position and has many accomplishments to her name. During her tenure, Lisa brought significant diversity to the campus both in terms of enrollment and curricular initiatives. She also led a $90 million capital campaign that funded six construction projects at the school, including a new sports stadium, aquatic center and science, technology, engineering and math building. The school's endowment doubled to more than $115 million during her tenure. Read more here.

Nancy Pechloff has been recognized with a 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women Leaders in Consulting. Nancy is Protiviti's Regional Managing Director for the U. S. Central Region, reporting to the CEO. Her distinguished consulting career began with Arthur Andersen in 1973, where she became one of the first women partners. She subsequently held several global positions, including leading the Enterprise Group's IPO segment that specialized in serving entrepreneurial middle market companies. Nancy joined Provitii in 2004 and has grown the office from eight to 60 professionals during her 10-year leadership.


Welcome to Our Newest Members


Alison Ferring, Philanthropist Extraordinaire, is presently working on the Northside Development Project with the purpose of building new and stronger communities. She has been recognized as a Woman of Achievement and Variety Woman of the Year, and received both the Grand Center Visionary Award and Leffingwell Award. Board memberships include the St. Louis County Library as well as the St. Louis Public Library Foundation, Laumeier Sculpture Park (Vice-Chair), Flance Early Learning Center (Development Chair), and The Campaign for the Contemporary Art Museum (Co-Chair). She is on the Founding Board of the St. Louis Women's Fund.

Constance Gully, President and Chief Executive Officer of Parents as Teachers, is responsible for leading the strategic direction of the organization while ensuring the overall growth and maintaining the fiscal stability and impact of the organization's efforts. Prior to joining Parents as Teachers, Constance held several leadership roles during her 16-year tenure at Harris-Stowe State University, most recently serving as its interim president and executive vice president for business and financial affairs. She is a a member of the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants and the National Association of Black Accountants.

Wendy Henry, Managing Partner of BKD St. Louis and Decatur offices, oversees the administration, planning and operations for approximately 125 personnel serving more than 4,500 business and individual clients. Board membership includes the United Way of Greater St. Louis, St. Louis Zoo Association and Mercy East Foundation. Wendy has been honored as one of the 2011 YWCA Corporate Leaders of Distinction and 2012 St. Louis Business Journal’s Most Influential Businesswomen. Since she became manager, BKD’s financial contributions to charitable organizations have risen 43 percent at the local office. Wendy also chaired the American Heart Association’s 2012 Go Red for Women Campaign, which increased its fundraising by 13 percent under her leadership.


Nina Leigh Krueger, President of Nestlé Purina, U.S., assumed the position in 2016. She began her career with the former Ralston Purina Company in 1994 in the Cat Food Marketing division. She went on to hold various positions of increasing responsibility within the company, working on key global brands and initiatives. When Nestlé acquired the Purina business in 2001, Nina Leigh was selected to help lead the Marketing organization integration. She has been instrumental in bringing innovation to market for a number of successful brands, including Beneful brand dog food, soon to be a billion dollar brand.

Cheryl Norton, President of American Water, began her career as a research technician. She has served as the laboratory director, VP of operations for Illinois American Water and president of Kentucky American Water. She was awarded the Professional Service Award from the Illinois Section of AWWA in 2006 and was named one of the Most Influential Businesswomen of 2017 by the St. Louis Business Journal. She currently serves on the boards of the Financial Research Institute, the Hawthorn Foundation, the Missouri Partnership and the St. Louis Regional Chamber.

Lisa Melandris, Executive Director of the Contemporary Art Museum, is charged with the leadership, administration, and management of the region’s premier contemporary, non-collecting institution. Since Joining CAM in 2012, Lisa has reshaped the exhibition program and launched such initiatives as: Street Views, a monumental exterior façade exhibition series; Audible Interruptions, a guest-curated sound art series which activates the interstitial spaces of the Museum; and a landscape design project for CAM’s internal courtyard. In 2012, she published Mickalene Thomas’ book. Origin of the Universe.


Kathy Osborne, Executive Director of the Regional Business Council, which unites and civically engages executives from large and middle-market businesses. Formerly, Kathy was Vice Chancellor of University Relations at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She spearheaded the establishment of the Regional Business Council in 1999 while serving as a senior vice president at the RCGA. Recognitions include the Links Excellence in Service Award for Outstanding Women Leaders, 2009; the Hellenic Spirit Athena Award, 2009; the St. Louis Business Journal’s Most Influential Business Women, 2004 and 2007; and the UM-St. Louis Distinguished Alumni Award in 2000. She also serves on a variety of business and civic boards.

Kelly Pollack, Executive Director, COCA-Center of Creative Arts, has been a leader in the field for over 20 years. She is currently leading a $40 million capital effort to expand COCA’s facility and build its financial reserves. ALIVE Magazine has called her one of the 35 “bold minds creating a better St. Louis,” and in 2014, she was one of 50 international arts & culture CEOs selected to participate in the National Arts Strategies’ Chief Executive Program. Kelly serves on the Board of Directors for Missouri Citizens for the Arts and LUME Institute of University City Children’s Center. Additionally, she is an Adjunct Faculty at Webster University, teaching in the Master of Arts Administration Program.

Susan Sherman, Chair of the Saint Louis Fashion Fund, heads a non-profit dedicated to supporting emerging designers and promoting fashion education and outreach. The fund’s signature project is the 7,500 square foot Saint Louis Fashion Incubator, located in the heart of St. Louis’ former Garment District on Washington Avenue. The mission is to turn talented fashion designers into successful entrepreneurs during their two-year residency in St. Louis. The Inaugural Class of designers moved to St. Louis from Dallas, New York, Delaware, and Chicago. She is a former Chair of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, a recipient of a 2006 Woman of Achievement Award, and Grand Center’s Visionary Award.