A Look at The Gateway’s Extraordinary and Pioneering Female Leaders
This article highlights several St. Louis women who were recently honored by the Royal Vagabonds Foundation, Inc. for leading the way on taking the non-profit, public and private sectors to greater heights. The Leadership Medallion was bestowed on each as a symbol of their vision, commitment and outstanding leadership.
Mayor Tishaura Jones is the first African American female to be elected Mayor of the City of St. Louis. Prior to being elected Mayor, she served as Democratic Committeewoman of the 8th Ward, member of the Missouri House of Representatives, and the first African American in state history to hold the position of Assistant Minority Floor Leader. In 2012, she was elected the first African-American Treasurer for the City of St. Louis.
Nancy Kranzberg and her husband Ken are Co-Founders of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation. Formed in 2006, the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, a philanthropic organization, is dedicated to promoting music, the Arts, orchestra, jazz, theater and culture throughout major communities of the St. Louis metropolitan area. Nancy also remains busy as a supporting board member with numerous cultural arts organizations such as the Missouri Arts Council, Sheldon Arts Foundation and Jazz at the Bistro.
Dr. Kendra Holmes became President/CEO of Affinia Healthcare in January 2023. She is the first African American to be selected as the organization’s President and CEO in its 117-year history. Dr. Holmes joined Affinia Healthcare in 2003 as a pharmacist. She has served the organization also as Director of Pharmacy Operations, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
Sharon Price John has served as President and CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. since 2013. She delivered the most profitable year in the company’s history in 2022 following its previously most profitable year in 2021. In 2023, she Sharon Price John was number six on the Forbes 20 Customer-Centric Companies Led by Women.
Martha Garcia Kampen has served as President and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis since February 2023. She formerly served as the Chief Diversity Officer of St. Charles Community College. Kampen is also the immediate past Chair of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation Board. In 2015-2016, she led the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis as Board Chair.
Michelle D. Tucker, is the second female CEO of the United Way of Greater St. Louis in its century-long history. She previous served as Senior Vice President of Bank of America and became the first female and African American CEO of Epworth Children and Family Services. The St. Louis United Way remains one of the top United Ways in the nation, contributing more than $80 million in support across our 16-county region to help over one million people annually.
–Dr. Joylynn Pruitt-Adams is Superintendent of the Riverview Gardens School District. Her commitment to students has spanned forty-five years as an educator including serving as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent. Dt. Pruitt-Adams is a former superintendent for the School District of University City, Oak Park, and River Forest High School.
Susan Block is a successful interior designer and owner of The Designing Block. She has actively participated in providing support to numerous charitable organizations and has served on over 20 boards. Susan Block is a co-founder and board member of The Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund (SOS). She has been an advocate for multiple causes especially art and dance. Block has chaired several Galas and hosted thousands for events.
Shelby Schagrin is Managing Director and Group Head, Investment Banking at Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. She has expertise in mergers and acquisitions, strategy, finance and business development. She is the founder, past president and current board member of The Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund which is devoted to improving the quality of life in St. Louis by providing financial support to urgent and critical needs throughout the community.
Commissioner Attorney Anne-Marie Clarke (ret.) served the 22nd Judicial Circuit for more than 33 years, making her one the longest serving judicial officers on the City Bench. She also is the first African American Woman to serve on the Board of Police Commissioners and was elected President of the Board. Attorney Clarke is a past president of the Mound City Bar Association. In 2023, Mayor Jones appointed her to serve on the St. Louis Airport Commission which oversees the St. Louis Lambert International Airport.
Attorney Sandra M. Moore is Managing Director and Chief Impact Officer at Advantage Capital, a growth equity firm founded in 1992 with over $3.6 billion AUM. Prior to joining Advantage Capital, Attorney Moore was the president of Urban Strategies, a national non-profit corporation. She formerly served as the CEO of the Missouri Family Investment Trust and served as Senior Vice President of St. Louis 2004, Inc. She has been elected to serve as Chair of the Missouri Historical Society becoming the first African American to serve as Board Chair.
Attorney Deborah L. Price is Vice President of Business Recruitment & General Counsel for the Missouri Partnership.
As an experienced attorney and economic developer, she has spent her career serving the people of Missouri. She is Past-President of the Women Lawyers’ Association of St. Louis, Chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and Vice Chair of the Harris-Stowe State University Board of Regents.
Nominate a Doer: To keep readers informed on who’s who in the community, Shirley A. Brown’s column highlights a community “Doer.” A “Doer” is an individual or organization committed to making St. Louis a better place to live and work. Readers are invited to send “Doer” recommendations to Ms. Brown. Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org