Introducing the 2019-20 Cohort of FOCUS Impact Fellows

Becky RasmussenNews

FOCUS St. Louis is pleased to announce the 21 individuals selected for the 2019-20 cohort of FOCUS Impact Fellows. Launched in 2016 and now entering its fourth class, the program represents FOCUS’ most advanced offering and gives leaders the opportunity to work together to address a specific issue in the St. Louis region.

This year’s cohort will focus on workforce development for justice-involved individuals. The goal is to develop employment opportunities as off-ramps from the pipeline to prison. The FOCUS Impact Fellows will meet with the area’s top experts and key players to gain a deeper understanding of the regional workforce development landscape. They will then design and complete a self-selected project in collaboration with those regional experts to make a sustainable and meaningful impact.

In addition to the knowledge gained, projects developed, and networks built, participants will gain considerable training and experience in change management, problem-solving, systems thinking, group dynamics and project management.

“The FOCUS Impact Fellows program is not just a leadership program but a leadership experience,” says Dr. Wally Siewert, Director of the FOCUS Impact Fellows program. “This year’s cohort is particularly impressive, bringing together all the required sectors: state agency leadership, nonprofit leadership, employers, concerned citizens, and the formerly incarcerated, to spend 10 months reviewing and revising this region’s infrastructure designed to put people to work instead of lock them up. I look forward to seeing they are able to accomplish.”

Past cohorts of FOCUS Impact Fellows have tackled regional issues including healthcare and racial equity.

2019-20 FOCUS Impact Fellows

Ellen Barnidge
Associate Professor
Saint Louis University

Marty K. Casey
Founder/Arts Director
Show Me Arts Academy

Jami Ballentine Dolby
Director of Development
Maryville University

April Foster
Director of Programs
Center for Women in Transition

Tom Grant
Senior Vice President/Director of the Concordance Employment Agency
Concordance Academy of Leadership

Jarrett Kendall
Director of Employment Services
Fathers’ Support Center

Dawn Kotva
Community Volunteer

Mardy Leathers
Director, Workforce Development
State of Missouri

Erin Magner
Manager, Adult Services
St. Louis County Library

Marge McClure
Lead Life Transformation Coach
Connections to Success

Michael J. McCoy
Co-Manager Managed Work Services/Ticket to Work
Employment Connection

Jennifer Richert
Manager, Talent Acquisition
Schnuck Markets, Inc.

Carlos A. Ross
Corporate Security Supervisor
Ameren Corporation

Haley Shoaf
Vice President of Impact

Alnita Smiley
Jobs and Financial Readiness Resource Manager
Community Impact Network

Gwen Smith
FIRST Services Manager
Criminal Justice Ministry

Doug Swanson
Coordinator for the Labor Studies Program and Field Specialist in Labor & Workforce Development
University of Missouri-St. Louis / University of Missouri Extension

Latrice Tate
ReEntry Coordinator
Missouri Department of Corrections

Leslie Tolliver
Coordinator of Employee Relations
St. Louis Public Schools

Anishika Ward
Packaging Operator
Jost Chemical

Josh Wilson
CEO/Executive Director
Mission: St. Louis