The Top 50 Women in St. Louis in Media, The Arts, Business, Education and More…










In recognition of March as Women’s History Month, our editorial team has curated a diverse list of extraordinary women who show tremendous courage in their daily lives to overcome adversity and make their mark. Women’s History Month is an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.

All 50 women featured below are in Gazelle STL’s March edition. We distribute to more than 40 Schnucks, Dierbergs and Straubs stores in the St. Louis region. Scroll down to find a location near you. Click here for the digital edition.



President/Treasurer, Hispanic Arts Council of St. Louis

In addition to her duties at the Hispanic Arts Council, Virginia Braxs is

a senior lecturer in Spanish at Washington University. The Argentine

native is also in charge of the school’s Department of Romance

Languages and Literatures’ Outreach programs, overseeing tutoring

and mentoring services for underprivileged Hispanic youth in south

St. Louis. Through the UniversidadYA!/CollegeNOW! initiative, Braxs

advocates for higher-education access for underserved students. Her

campaign for advancing the arts through the years includes hosting a

bilingual radio program; sponsoring exhibits, concerts and festivals; and

co-founding Upstream Theater, a local theater company that promotes

international works.



Pastor, Kingdom Embassy International Church

An ever-present activist, St. Louis native Cori Bush is a registered nurse

who has supervised health services for mental health facilities that

serve the city’s homeless, uninsured and underinsured. Her fight for

justice and advocacy for the youth of her community thrust her onto

the front line during the 2014 Ferguson protests, where she participated

as demonstrator, clergy and medic. She is an organizer with Ferguson

Frontline, the co-director of the Truth Telling Project, and is a recipient

of the 2015 Woman of Courage Award from the Emmett Till Legacy




Founder, Build-A-Bear Workshop

Until her retirement in 2013, Maxine Clark was the appropriately titled

“Chief Executive Bear” of the multi-million-dollar, publicly-traded

company she founded in 1997, a success story that established her as

a role model for female entrepreneurs far and wide. Under her watch,

Build-A-Bear expanded across the country and around the world, and

currently has more than 400 workshops worldwide. After handing over

the reins of the company, Clark took on another one of her passions

– improving public education. Her wide-ranging advocacy includes

serving as a member of Teach for America national and regional boards,

as well as the board of trustees for Washington University. She and

her husband, Bob Fox, are founding donors of KIPP Inspire Academy,

where she also is chair of the charter school’s advisory board.



Professor, Saint Louis University Department of Neurology

Pakistani-born neurologist Dr. Ghazala Hayat has been on the faculty

of Saint Louis University School of Medicine since 1986. In recent

years, she has taken on a more visible role, speaking on behalf of the

Muslim community – most notably after 9/11 and recently, in protest

of the immigration and refugee ban – as spokesperson for the Islamic

Foundation of Greater St. Louis. Her social justice involvement also

includes serving as president and board member of the Interfaith

Partnership of Metropolitan St. Louis, an organization that encourages

dialogue and understanding among people of different faiths. Hayat is the

first woman to lead a major U.S. mosque, the Islamic Center in west St.

Louis County, which serves many of the area’s 100,000-plus Muslims.



Vice-President, National Community Alliances for Teach for America

The daughter of educators, Brittany Packnett gained local prominence

as executive director for Teach for America St. Louis, but it was her

fervent activism in recent years that propelled her into the national

spotlight. In 2015, “Time” magazine named her among its “12 New Faces

of Black Leadership” for her role in the Black Lives Matter movement

in the wake of the 2014 Ferguson unrest. She was appointed to the

President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing by President Barack

Obama, and is one of the founders of Campaign Zero, a mobilization

effort aimed at ending police violence in America.




President/CEO, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

Marie-Hélène Bernard came to St. Louis in 2015 to take the helm at

the country’s second-oldest professional orchestra. Born in Quebec,

she grew up in a musical family, learning to play the violin and viola da

gamba as a child. Bernard, a graduate of the University of Montreal’s

law school, worked as an attorney for several years before turning her

attention to arts management. She most recently served as executive

director for the prestigious Handel and Haydn Society in Boston.



Chairman of the Board, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

As a young girl, Noémi Neidorff and her parents fled from the Hungarian

Revolution of 1956, making their way to America penniless with only

two knapsacks to their name. Once here, the family settled in New

York, where Neidorff later attended the Manhattan School of Music.

An accomplished musician who began playing piano by ear at age 4,

Neidorff believes in nurturing and supporting young talent. She and

her husband, Michael, have become among the area’s top arts patrons,

supporting national and local institutions such as the Kennedy Center,

Manhattan School of Music, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Saint Louis

Art Museum and Radio Arts Foundation through the years.



Executive Director, Regional Arts Commission

St. Louis native Felicia Shaw spent almost four decades in San Diego,

where she developed a career as a respected arts administrator. In

part, she made the decision to return to her hometown after seeing the

devastation of Ferguson. As the head of the largest funder of the arts in

St. Louis, she is focused on taking the organization to the next level by

using the arts to unite and help the city heal.



President, K Period Media

Recently named as one of “Variety” magazine’s “10 Producers to

Watch,” Kimberly Steward is only the second African-American woman

(after Oprah Winfrey) to receive an Academy Award nomination as a

producer. With $8 million, she financed her first movie, “Manchester by

the Sea,” which has been widely acclaimed since its debut at Sundance.

A 2003 broadcast journalism graduate of Webster University, Steward

moved to New York and worked for several national magazines like

“Women’s Wear Daily” until establishing her production company, K

Period Media in 2013.



Jazz Vocalist

Hailed by a top jazz aficionado as “like Ella and Sarah born all over

again,” Denise Thimes has established herself as St. Louis’ jazz

songstress, gracing the stage of intimate venues like Jazz at the Bistro, as

well as benefit concerts and top-dollar galas. But Thimes’ appeal goes

beyond her hometown. She’s as at ease with singing for Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin, as she is performing before Queen Elizabeth II at a

White House state dinner. Ten years ago, she established the Mildred

Thimes Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer to honor her late mother,

raise awareness and support research.



President/CEO, Graybar

Kathleen Mazzarella is a trailblazer as the only female CEO of Graybar

in its nearly 150-year history. Mazzarella overseas the operations of the

company’s 250 distribution facilities located in North America, with more

than 8,000 employees. She is also one of only 24 female CEOs of a Fortune

500 company. To put it into perspective, the heads of the other 476 Fortune

500 are men. In addition, Mazzarella serves on several boards, including the

St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association, NAW Institute for

Distribution Excellence and Saint Louis Club.



CEO, Spire (Formerly Laclede Gas Company)

Suzanne Sitherwood shies away from the media, but her work speaks

volumes. She oversees all aspects of Spire, including two natural gas

utilities in Missouri and Alabama, a natural gas marketing company

and an emerging technologies group. Sitherwood believes that being

involved in the community is a responsibility and a privilege, which is

why she is immediate past board chair and serves on the board of the

St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association. She recently co-

Chaired the 2015 United Way campaign and sits on the boards of the

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Civic Progress St. Louis, and United

Way St. Louis’ executive committee and board.



CEO/President and Chairman of the Board, Caleres

It has not been easy getting used to the new name in the fashion world,

but under Diane Sullivan’s leadership, the Caleres (formerly Brown Shoe

Company) multi-billion-dollar brand is forging forward. This is accomplished

by strategically pulling back from brands like Dr. Scholl’s and investing in

new acquisitions, like the recently purchased high-end men’s shoemaker,

Allen Edmonds Shoe Corp. Prior to Caleres, Sullivan was vice chairman

of the Footwear Group at Phillips-Van Heusen, and president and COO at

Stride Rite Corporation. She sits on the boards of Enterprise Holdings, BJC

HealthCare, and the board of trustees of Washington University.



Executive Vice President/COO, Enterprise Holdings

Chrissy Taylor-Broughton, a third generation member of the Taylor

family (auto industry royalty), has spent more than 30 years getting

to know every aspect of the family business. The car rental giant,

which owns Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo

Rent a Car brands, generates revenues of more than $15 billion. With

tremendous work ethic and a passion for business, Taylor-Broughton

holds her own as one of the highest-ranking female executives in the

global car rental, automotive and travel industries. In addition to an

MBA, she holds an undergraduate degree in sociology with a minor

in business from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where she was a

member of the Women’s Division I field hockey team, serving as co-

captain and earning All-American honors.



Market President, Bank of America

Jackie Yoon’s impact in the St. Louis community extends beyond her role

as president of St. Louis’ Bank of America where she oversees about 1,800

employees at 53 branches. She works with public and private organizations

to improve the lives of people in St. Louis. Among her various efforts, she

recently launched the first St. Louis Bank of America Innovation Center,

focusing on the area’s growing biotech, fintech, and agtech businesses.

Yoon is also raising awareness of the importance of financial education for

young adults and veterans who are re-engaging to civilian life. She serves on

boards of Youth in Need, the Contemporary Art Museum, Civic Progress

and Concordance Academy of Leadership, and has held leadership roles in

other organizations, including the United Way of Greater St. Louis.




President, Marian Middle School

Born into a family of educators, Mary Elizabeth Grimes is particularly

honored to lead St. Louis City’s only all-girls, Catholic middle school.

She believes “an educated girl will change the world,” and has applied that

mantra in guiding the school’s approximately 70 young women to realize

their dreams. Prior to joining Marian Middle School, Grimes was state

director for the Greater Missouri Chapter of March of Dimes. She also

worked as a host and associate producer for an Atlanta television station.



Superintendent of Schools, School District of University City

North St. Louis native Sharonica Hardin-Bartley is an alumnus of local

schools, graduating from Lafayette High School, and earning degrees

from Harris-Stowe University, Saint Louis University and University of

Missouri-St. Louis. Following a 15-year career in St. Louis Public Schools

and most recently serving as assistant superintendent in the Ritenour

School District, Hardin-Bartley has been superintendent of University City

schools since 2016. Tasked with the management of a district with 3,200

students, Hardin-Bartley implements a culture of social justice awareness,

encouraging dialogue and inspiring students to have a voice.



Founder/President, OASIS Institute

Marylen Mann has long championed the concept of healthy aging. In

1982, with the help of a group of educators and volunteers, she founded

OASIS, a trailblazing approach that uses educational, wellness and

volunteer programs to help older adults stay healthy and engaged in their

communities. Since then, OASIS has established itself as a nationally-

acclaimed organization, with nine partner cities, including St. Louis,

Baltimore, Los Angeles and Cleveland. Through the years, OASIS has been

recognized by the AARP, the U.S. Administration on Aging, and the U.S.

Department of Health and Human Services, among other distinctions.



President, Webster University

Even with decades of experience in higher education, lifelong learning is

of the greatest importance to Beth Stroble, who has promoted a culture

of diversity and inclusion at Webster University. Under her leadership,

Webster positioned itself as a true global institution, expanding to

Africa and Greece, and building other partnerships around the world.

She is also growing the home campus in Webster Groves with a new

Interdisciplinary Science Building set to open this year. A record of

financial stability is another distinction of her tenure, with the university

more than doubling its endowment, as well as increasing its scholarship

funding and net assets by $100 million, among other achievements.



Professor Emeritus/Chancellor Emeritus, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Born and raised in St. Louis, Blanche Touhill always wanted to teach. She

attended Saint Louis University and received her master’s in geography,

and undergraduate and doctorate degrees in history before moving to

New York City. There she taught history at Queens College, the first-

Ever woman tenured in the department. Returning to St. Louis to teach

at the newly founded University of Missouri, she became the first woman

to successfully go through the tenure process, as well as the first to chair

the University Senate, UMSL’s governance body. The university grew

significantly under her leadership as chancellor, adding to the faculty,

expanding academic programs and adding 138 acres of land to the

campus. She was successful in raising tens of millions of dollars in private

gifts, grants and contracts. Touhill, who served as chancellor from 1990

to 2002, was the first woman to be named St. Louis’ Citizen of the Year

in 1997.




President and CEO, Baue Funeral Homes, Crematory, Cemetery

Lisa Baue stepped up as a third-generation owner of Baue Funeral

Homes, Crematory, Cemetery when her father died unexpectedly in

  1. Under her leadership, Baue has grown from one funeral home to

three locations, offering a wide range of unique services for families,

while ushering in a new era of life-honoring tradition and compassionate

support. Baue is passionate about giving back to her community. Over

the years, she has served on numerous community boards, and has been

involved in organizations as diverse as the St. Charles Crime Stoppers

Program, the St. Charles County Salvation Army Council and the

Economic Development Council of St. Charles County.



CEO, Prosper Institute/Managing Partner, PWE Startup Accelerator/

Founder, Prosper Women Entrepreneurs

Jennifer Ehlen has received various recognitions for her work in

mergers and acquisitions, and the entrepreneurship community. As

head of Prosper Institute and Prosper Women Entrepreneurs Startup

Accelerator, she spearheads the nonprofit’s efforts to help growth-

Seeking women entrepreneurs advance their businesses to create

economic prosperity. Before making the entrepreneurial leap to focus

on Prosper full-time, Ehlen was a director at Thompson Street Capital

Partners, where she worked with senior management to help source

and evaluate investment opportunities for the St. Louis-based, $1.5

billion private equity firm. Ehlen also serves as a coach, mentor, and

advisory board member to several early stage entrepreneurs and CEOs.



Author/Healthy Lifestyle Expert

Emily Frisella is a healthy-living chef, entrepreneur, co-host of the

“Food in Session” podcast, co-creator of Savage and Frisella Apparel,

wife, bulldog momma, and a health and fitness enthusiast. She is proud

to have been born and raised in rural Missouri on a cattle and row crop

farm, which she says instilled in her the ethics of hard work and the

appreciation of food. Frisella’s passion for health and fitness, combined

with her culinary knowledge and love of farmhouse recipes, sparked the

inspiration for her new clean-eating comfort food cookbook, “Fresh

Farmhouse Kitchen.” She shares her passion for healthy living with her

husband, Andy, owner of Supplement Superstores.



Owner, Sweetie Pies Restaurant/OWN Network TV Star

Miss Robbie’s made-from-scratch soul food is so good that it has made

her brand a global sensation. Sweetie Pie’s restaurants have become St.

Louis landmarks and must-visit destinations for people from around the

world. Her hit show on Opera Winfrey’s OWN Network, “Welcome

to Sweetie Pie’s” is in its seventh season, proving that Miss Robbie has

star power that extends beyond her time as a backup singer for Ike and

Tina Turner back in the 1960s. She shares some of her best recipes in

her cookbook, “Sweetie Pie’s Cookbook: Soulful Southern Recipes, from

My Family to Yours,” that she hopes helps keep soul food cooking in

mainstream American culture for decades to come.



Author/Fitness Expert/Creator of GreekGirl Beauty Protein

Kathryn Demas Sansone is a fit, active mother of 10, established author

and a positively motivating force for women to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Best known for being celebrated by Oprah Winfrey as an “unforgettable

mom,” Sansone has changed women’s lives by helping them create

healthier, balanced lifestyles. Her latest endeavor is GreekGirl Beauty

Protein, a post-workout all-natural Greek yogurt and protein powder.




President of Healthcare Operations/COO, Ascension Healthcare

Patricia Maryland will take on her new role as executive vice president

and CEO of Ascension Healthcare in July. She will be responsible for

the strategic and operational aspects of the healthcare system, which

has more than 141 hospitals and 2,500 sites of care in 24 states. She has

served as president of healthcare operations and chief operating officer

of Ascension Healthcare since 2013, and has held roles as a healthcare

executive for more than 20 years. Maryland holds a doctorate degree in

public health from the University of Pittsburgh.



Senior Vice President/Chief Administrative Officer, Mercy Health

Cynthia Mercer joined Mercy, one of the nation’s largest Catholic health

systems, in 2011 as senior vice president of human resources. In the past

six years, she elevated the human resources function by collaboratively

developing Mercy’s “People Promise,” as well as introducing science

and rigor to sourcing, selecting and succession planning talent. Her

responsibilities have expanded to include government relations,

philanthropy and co-worker wellness, to name a few. As a breast cancer

survivor and mother of two, Mercer’s passion to bring hospitality to

health care is a very personal mission.



CEO, St. Louis Crisis Nursery

Armed with a compassionate heart, DiAnne Mueller has been committed

to saving babies’ lives for more than 20 years. When you look around

in any one of the restaurants participating in Crisis Nursery’s annual

Celebrity Waiter Night, you can see the influence that Mueller has on

the St. Louis community. She has shared and brought to life a vision to

help children that inspires news anchors, reporters, politicians, business

and community leaders and professional athletes to don an apron and

help raise money for children. Under her guidance, the organization’s

nine outreach centers provide top-notch crisis care, 24 hours a day, seven

days a week, serving more than 7,500 children in crisis. The newest center

opened in Ferguson in February.



Surgeon, Mercy Hospital/Co-Founder, Gateway to Hope

Dr. Marlys Schuh is revered in her field as a surgeon specializing in breast

cancer. As co-founder of the non-profit Gateway to Hope, she is saving

lives, fighting every step of the way to help individuals struggling to

afford breast cancer treatment. She created the nonprofit in 2005 after

witnessing needless suffering – and in some cases, death – of patients who

delayed treatment because of lack of insurance. Every day, Schuh carries

out Gateway to Hope’s mission through her actions and advocacy for

women in need.



Founder/Executive Director, Meds & Food for Kids

Dr. Patricia Wolff currently splits her time between St. Louis and Haiti.

Her passion and advocacy for children’s health led her to Haiti, where she

founded Meds & Food for Kids, an organization focused on prevention

and treatment of malnutrition. After a residency at Washington

University Medical School, she worked as a pediatrician for 35 years in

St. Louis and was president of Forest Park Pediatrics until 2011, when she

resigned to devote herself full-time to Meds & Food for Kids.




Radio Personality, KMOX Radio

Carol Daniel remains an influential on-air personality who understands

the real issues in our neighborhoods. She began her career at the “Voice

of St. Louis” in 1995 as an anchor, reporter and talk show host. Daniel was

hired when the program director was driving to Memphis with his family

and heard her on the air at a radio station in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Two weeks later, Daniel moved to St. Louis and was working at KMOX

Radio. Later, she was the co-host of KMOV’s Emmy Award-winning

“Great Day St. Louis.” She is an author, motivational speaker and award-

winning columnist, who believes in the biblical verse, “To whom much is

given, much is required.”



News Anchor, KMOV-TV

Emily Rau is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, on the air weekdays

on “News 4 This Morning.” In 2016, she was nominated for two regional

Emmys, winning one for a story on St. Louis-area artist, Ray Harvey.

In 2015, Rau received her first Emmy win, and was awarded Best News

Anchor by the Missouri Broadcasters Association. A Washington,

Missouri native and graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, Rau

started at KMOV in 2012, after working at WVEC in Norfolk, Virginia.

She serves on the Saint Louis Crisis Nursery’s Young Professionals

Board, and is a board member for Girls In The Know.



General Manager, KSDK NewsChannel 5

Alicia Elsner’s commitment to KSDK led her to the role of general

manager in 2016 after 19 years at the NBC affiliate station. Elsner started

as a marketing consultant in 1997, and was named director of business

development in 2000. She then served as the station’s local sales manager

for nearly six years before being promoted to director of sales. She began

her career at KMOX/CBS Radio in St. Louis as an account executive.

Elsner serves on the board of trustees at Visitation Academy, where she is

also president of the Alumnae Association.



Journalist, The St. Louis American

Whether it is a piece about a minority who is making a difference in

the business world, or a story about social justice, Kenya Vaughn’s gift

for capturing the essence of the subject has earned her recognition as

a journalist with a voice that can inspire change. Her work for The St.

Louis American has been republished numerous times nationwide, and

her expertise on race and cultural issues has been sought by national and

international media. She has served as a social justice expert on national

panels where she reiterates the importance of media being mindful to tell

the whole story when sharing news events that vastly impact America’s

racial and cultural landscape.



President, U.S. Central Region, Fleishman Hillard

Fleishman Hillard is ranked third among the top 250 public relations

agencies in the world. Susan Veidt oversees its St. Louis headquarters

and serves on the firm’s senior management committee, counseling

multinational companies from a wide array of industries. Among her

previous roles, she was director of public relations for St. Louis-based

Christian Health Services, and communications coordinator for a local

school district. In addition, she has served as a board member of Forest

Park Forever, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and the United Way of

Greater St. Louis.



President/CEO Greater St. Louis Community Foundation

Following a 30-year career in the securities industry, Amelia Bond uses her

finely honed skills to lead the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation,

which manages 550 charitable funds worth $350 million. Founded in 1915,

the foundation’s goal is to increase the impact of charitable giving, and

Bond’s ability to develop partnerships with donors, wealth advisors and

nonprofits has helped to fulfill that mission.



Co-founder, Dennis M. Jones Family Foundation

Together with her late husband, Dennis, Judith Jones established the

Dennis M. Jones Family Foundation in 2000 with one million shares

converted into cash when they sold their company, Jones Pharma, to

King Pharmaceuticals. The Joneses, neither of whom had the benefit

of a college education, wanted to focus on fostering the growth and

education of children in need by providing scholarships. Other notable

contributions include donations to Connections to Success, Junior

Achievement of Greater St. Louis and the Saint Louis Zoo.



Board President, Five Acres Animal Shelter

Ruth Anne Scheidegger and her husband, Jerry, are active community

supporters and have given millions to educational institutions and

community organizations over the years. Together, they were honored

with the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Inspiration Award for philanthropy

from The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation – Gateway Chapter. The couple is

involved in a number of benevolent organizations, including The Child

Center, which helps children of abuse. Scheidegger became involved with

Five Acres Animal Shelter a decade ago to help the “no-kill” shelter expand

and offer more local dogs and cats a second chance at life. After becoming

president, Scheidegger and the board worked together, increasing 60

annual adoptions to more than 900 a year. The organization has since

built state-of-the-art canine and feline shelters and made executive

building improvements. One of Five Acres’ major events, “Uncorked – A

Cause for the Paws,” raises tens of thousands of dollars each year.



Vice President, Board of Directors, Variety the Children’s Charity

Thelma Steward, a former Sunday school teacher and trained registered

nurse, credits her mother for lessons in the art of giving, humility and

faith. Along with her husband, World Wide Technology’s David Steward,

she has enriched the community with her volunteerism and philanthropy.

Among her top causes are advocating for children and families, and the

arts. Next on her agenda: Chairing the Variety Runway Lights Fashion

Show on April 22 at Union Station to benefit local children with physical

and developmental disabilities.



Community Volunteer

Add another accolade for Carol Voss, whose tireless efforts recently

earned her the title of Variety’s 2017 Woman of the Year for her support

of children with special needs. The St. Louis native – a retired English and

religion teacher – has been lauded through the years for her work with

organizations such as the Arts and Education Council, STL 250, South

Side Early Childhood Center, Dance St. Louis and the NAACP of St.

Louis, to name a few. Together with her husband, Tom, Voss has set the

standard for charitable giving and volunteerism throughout St. Louis.




Secretary, Washington University Board of Trustees

Through the years, Ida Early has established an impressive resume of

volunteerism, earning her a Woman of Achievement recognition in 2014. She

was the first African-American to be elected president of the Junior League of

St. Louis, a position that provided a path for her to pursue other means of public

service, and eventually led to her appointment to the Missouri Community

Service Commission by Gov. Mel Carnahan in 1998. Early’s volunteer work

throughout the community has focused mainly on organizations that help

children, families and education. She is a longtime advocate of Washington

University, serving as secretary to the board of trustees and coordinating the

school’s Women’s Society, among other responsibilities.



Mayor, City of St. Charles

Sally Faith’s name is synonymous with St. Charles. The two-term mayor

has overseen the city’s most prominent development projects, including

the mixed-used Streets of St. Charles community, beautification of the Fifth

Street Gateway and building of University Commons at Lindenwood. Prior

to City Hall, Faith served as state representative for St. Charles County, and

as chair and vice chair of the St. Charles County Council.



Civil Rights Pioneer/Attorney

Groundbreaking civil rights attorney Frankie Muse Freeman made her

mark in American history as counsel to the NAACP, when she successfully

challenged school segregation and race discrimination in public housing. In

the 1960s, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed her as the first woman

on the United States Commission on Civil Rights, a position she held for

16 years. She served as inspector general for the Community Services

Administration under President Jimmy Carter, and on the Commission on

Presidential Scholars under President Barack Obama. Freeman turned 100

years old in 2016, and the celebration continues this spring as the NAACP

unveils a life-size statue in downtown St. Louis in her honor.



U.S. Senator

Claire McCaskill paid her way through law school at the University

of Missouri by working as a waitress, and said the lessons she learned

by waiting tables – keep calm, don’t raise your voice, be a good listener –

prepared her for a life in politics. Prior to rising to the ranks of the U.S.

Senate as the first woman elected from the state of Missouri, McCaskill

established herself as a dynamic prosecutor, state legislator and state

auditor. As a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee,

her efforts led to sweeping changes in the way the military handles sexual

assaults, making it a priority to protect and empower survivors, and hold

offenders and commanders accountable.



Congresswoman, 2nd Congressional District of Missouri

Ann Wagner worked her way through the ranks of the Missouri

Republican Party to serve as its chair in the late 1990s, the first woman

to hold the position. She set her sights on Washington, assuming the role

of Republican National Committee co-chair under President George W.

Bush, who later appointed her U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg. Following

her win in the 2012 general election, Wagner headed to the Capitol as a

member of Congress, only the third Republican woman to serve from

Missouri. She has made combating sex trafficking and online exploitation

of minors among her legislative priorities, recently introducing the bipartisan

Trafficking Survivors Relief Act.




News Anchor, KSDK NewsChannel 5

Anne Allred is an inspiration to all as she recovers from a life-threatening

health scare. Allred’s medical journey began when she delivered her baby

at 28 weeks, due to severe pre-eclampsia. She went into renal failure and

underwent dialysis. At one point, her kidneys were functioning at only 3

percent. Allred has shared her journey on social media, inspiring thousands

of people. She received a lifesaving kidney transplant in February after a

friend donated one of his kidneys. Though her road to recovery is a long

one, Allred is facing it all with bravery, while enjoying special moments with

her newborn baby, Nora, and her husband, Drew.



Inspirational Speaker

Colon cancer advocate and world-class athlete Teri Griege remains an

inspiration to millions. Despite being diagnosed with Stage IV colon

cancer, Griege continued to pursue her life’s dream to compete in the

Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. Throughout the months

of chemotherapy, radiation treatments and surgeries, she continued to

train, overcoming exhaustion, nausea and naysayers, determined to show

the world that cancer wasn’t going to stop her. Griege is in her sixth year

battling cancer and continues to spread a message of hope. Among her

passions is the nonprofit Pedal the Cause, which helps raise funds for

cancer research.



Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist

Olympic gold medalist and East St. Louis native Dawn Harper Nelson is

the epitome of perseverance. Even after a few setbacks due to injury, she

is not slowing down. She continues to compete at a world-class level and

is working on her doctorate in psychology, while also studying French.

Locally, she is a community ambassador for United Way of Greater St.

Louis and supports the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation.



Owner/CEO, The Kelly Hager Group Real Estate Services

Kelly Hager’s story from coma to CEO of Kelly Hager Group Real Estate

Services and Kelly Hager International, and manager of the U.S. operations

of The Go Set, began when she was faced with an illness and near-death

experience in 2010. She awoke from a coma with organs shutting down, on

a ventilator; she could not walk, could barely speak, could not see, and had

very limited memory. Her husband left her and their 3-year-old son the first

day Hager came out of the ICU. But she worked hard to regain her health,

and became the architect of her own economy.



Morning Personality, Y98 FM

Radio personality Jen Myers went public with her breast cancer diagnosis

last year, when she told her listeners and social media followers that she was

scheduled to undergo a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.

There were many setbacks during her treatment, including word from

her doctor that her cancer, which was originally diagnosed as Stage I, was

Stage III and had spread to her skin. She underwent her last chemotherapy

treatment in early December, seven months after her diagnosis. To keep up

with her journey, visit