Women’s History Month

Celebrate Women’s History Month with United Way as we honor the remarkable contributions of women! As part of this special time, we asked participants in the Women’s Mentorship Program to share the inspiring qualities of a special woman leader they admire.

Alexis Hershey
Chief Digital Officer
Midwest BankCentre

Stephanie Grise
Chief Strategy Officer, Midwest BankCentre

Confidence, Kindness, Service
I’m incredibly grateful that I get to work closely with many amazing women on our executive team at Midwest BankCentre. The newest executive deserves special recognition. Anyone who has worked with Stephanie Grise admires her and sings her praises. I’ve worked with her for seven short months, and she has quickly become a role model. Even though I’m older than her, I tell people, “I want to be like Stephanie when I grow up!” Stephanie carries herself with graceful confidence and pure kindness. She’s generous with her time and talents as she often provides insights and suggestions to help my team grow. Instead of offering criticism, she spends time with team members to coach and help them elevate their work. As Chair of the Board for ArchCity Defenders and mentor for people of color in the legal and financial services industries, she is supporting our community in key areas. I hope that others in our United Way community get to witness Stephanie’s awesomeness.

Larue Huachun
Senior Science Fellow
Bayer Crop Science

Jane Goodall

  • Love her quote, “The greatest danger to our future is apathy.” It is a great reminder for us to foster a sense of community, to serve our community, and to show care and love.
  • Admire her passion and dedication to wildlife conservation.
  • Inspired by her empathy and compassion for animals. Her advocacy for animal rights has inspired countless individuals to be more compassionate about all living beings. Her ability to connect with both animals and people on a profound level highlights the power of empathy in driving positive change.

Ruth Lee
Chief Marketing & Development Officer
CareSTL Health

Angela Claybon
President & CEO, CareSTL Health

• Her enduring fight for health equity for the voice-less.
• Longstanding leadership in Healthcare – 38 years
• Vision

Shalonda Webb
Chairperson, STL County Council

• Integrity.
• Will do what is right for her community despite the odds.
• Represents the county with grace. A trusted leader.

Takisha Lovelace
Vice President/Chief Operating Officer
Affinia Healthcare

Kendra Holmes, RPh, PharmD

  • Visionary: As a leader, she possesses a clear vision that inspires others to follow her lead. Setting ambitious goals and anticipating future trends, she motivates us to strive for excellence in pursuit of our common purpose. Fearlessly advocating for change, she makes decisions that prioritize the greater good of the organization.
  • Empathetic: Understanding that what matters anywhere, matters everywhere, she wholeheartedly supports causes aligned with fundamental values such as health equity, social justice, and economic equality. Recognizing the importance of addressing the needs of others, particularly in community healthcare, she actively champions initiatives that foster strong relationships within and beyond our organization, cultivating a nurturing and supportive environment.
  • Inclusivity: Embracing the richness of diversity, she promotes inclusivity, equity, and respect within our organization. By valuing diverse perspectives and ensuring that every voice is heard and valued, she fosters an environment where everyone feels empowered to contribute their unique talents and experiences.

Tanisha Luckett
Senior Analyst
HenRose Cares Founders

Karla Sutton

• Transparency
• Integrity
• Empathy

Valerie E. Patton
Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer and President
Greater St. Louis Inc. Foundation, Greater St. Louis Inc.

Frankie Muse Freeman (deceased)

• Integrity
• Tenacity and candor
• Grounding and steadfastness in social justice and equity

Susan Plank
Senior Manager, Organizational Development
McCarthy Holdings

Emily Warren Roebling
I just learned of an amazing woman I want to highlight. We are celebrating Women In Construction week here at McCarthy, and our CFO told us about Emily Warren Roebling who, in 1872, took over as the Chief Engineer on the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge after her ailing husband was bedbound.


  • Trailblazer – insisted on taking classes at Georgetown like math, history, and astronomy alongside of those deemed more appropriate for women like knitting.
  • Perseverance – ran the day-to-day business of the Brooklyn Bridge construction – managing workforce, overseeing inspections, ordering supplies, and more while taking care of her child and ailing husband.
  • Visionary – after completion of the bridge, got her law degree and continued fighting for women’s rights.

Tracy Sell, P.E., PMP
Manager-Software Asset Management

Jennifer Wischnowsky, CPA
Senior Director – Data Analytics and Transformation – Ameren

Jen does an amazing job with developing and sharing her strategic vision. She displays a growth mindset in her work and seeks diverse perspectives in decision-making. She does a great job in collaborating across internal digital teams and with groups/teams outside of digital. She mentors leaders and team members at various levels organizationally and is open to feedback/discussion. I appreciate her insight and enjoy having the ability to learn from her experience as I continue to evolve in my career at Ameren.

Mitzi Wesley
Experience Strategist
Edward Jones

Erin Gitau
Embodies a collaborative style that underscores the strength and impact of women in leadership roles.


  • Champion of Flexibility: As a working mom of 3, Erin prioritizes flexibility, safeguarding her team’s ability to balance various life demands while excelling at work. Her commitment to independence and respect for the multifaceted roles females play is a model for all.
  • Confidence and Empowerment: As a strong female leader, Erin’s self-assurance becomes a source of empowerment for her team. Her confidence becomes a catalyst, fostering a culture of self-assurance and emphasizing the impactful role woman can play in leadership.
  • Team-Centric Leadership: Erin’s leadership style shines through her dedication to her team’s success. From taking a backseat to allow others to shine to advocating passionately for the team in various forums, she exemplifies a leader who prioritizes her team’s well-being and achievements.

Morgan Williams
DE&I Program Manager
American Corporation

Sharon Harvey Davis
Retired Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion & Chief Diversity Officer, Ameren Corporation

  • She is tenacious. As long as I have known her (17 years) and worked alongside her, she has always exhibited a spirt of determination and resilience. “No’s” never seem to ruffle her feathers and she always looks at them as an opportunity to explore other possibilities and innovative strategies to accomplish goals.
  • She is a service-oriented leader. Every meeting, 1:1 conversation, or interaction always ends with “how can I support?” She makes everyone that encounters her feel like they matter, they are supported, and that they hold space in this world.
  • She strives for excellence in everything. Watching from afar, admiring the way she “shows up” in rooms, presents herself, and puts great detail into the service she delivers, charges me to elevate the way I move! She has set a high standard for young, professional women like me.

Take action now:

Ninette Querimit
Ninette Querimit