FOCUS St. Louis Announces Staff Promotions

Becky RasmussenNews

FOCUS St. Louis, the region’s premier leadership organization, is pleased to announce the promotion of several staff members to new roles.

Shalia FordShalia Ford has been named as Director of Leadership Programs, where she will assume additional oversight for FOCUS’ programs as well as serving as Director of Women In Leadership (WIL) and Youth Leadership St. Louis (YLSL). Shalia joined the FOCUS team in 2017 and has been leading the Emerging Leaders and YLSL programs. She has more than 15 years of experience in nonprofit administration, program design and youth development and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in African American Studies from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Business Administration from Fontbonne University. Shalia is a graduate of Coro Women In Leadership – Class 52.

Matthew KernsMatthew R. Kerns has been promoted to Director of Emerging Leaders and Member & Alumni Relations. He has been with FOCUS since 2019 as Associate Director of Member and Alumni Relations. In his new role, he will lead the Emerging Leaders program, aimed at young professionals ages 22-35, as well as overseeing alumni and membership programming. Matthew holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Eastern New Mexico State University and Master of Fine Arts from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.

Kayla Dix has been promoted to Project Coordinator and Executive Assistant. In addition to providing executive board, office administration and data management support, she will take on additional responsibilities for membership and marketing. Kayla has been with FOCUS since 2018. She holds an associate’s degree from St. Louis Community College and is completing her bachelor’s degree from Maryville University.

“Even with the challenges of the past year, FOCUS St. Louis continues to grow and evolve,” says FOCUS President & CEO Dr. Yemi Akande-Bartsch. “These staff promotions reflect the commitment and contributions these individuals bring to our team as well as help position our organization for continued success.”