Meet Our Fall 2023 Class of Emerging Leaders

Becky RasmussenNews

FOCUS St. Louis has selected 30 talented early-career professionals for the Fall 2023 cohort of Emerging Leaders. This civic leadership program provides participants with an increased sense of engagement in the region, as well as the tools to take an active role as the next generation of St. Louis regional leaders.

Since its launch in 2012, FOCUS Emerging Leaders has trained more than 600 young professionals from across the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

“Emerging Leaders is the perfect opportunity for any early-career professional who wants to take on a greater leadership role in our region,” says FOCUS President & CEO Dr. Yemi Akande-Bartsch. “Participants leave the program with a better understanding of themselves and our community and a clearer vision for their future.”

During the four-month program, participants meet with area leaders to gain a better understanding of the inner workings of St. Louis, explore their personal, professional and civic leadership styles and gain a diverse network of peers. Upon graduation, participants become part of the FOCUS network of more than 11,000 leadership program alumni.

The Emerging Leaders program is presented with support from Ameren Missouri, Big League Impact, Dierbergs Markets, Kwame Charitable Foundation, the Asian-American Chamber of Commerce – St. Louis, and RGA Foundation.

Learn more about Emerging Leaders and the other FOCUS civic leadership programs at

Fall 2023 Emerging Leaders Class

Jimmy Abbott
Commercial Banking – Relationship Manager, SVP
Regions Bank

Patrick Battaglia
Director of Health Policy and Interdisciplinary Care
Logan University

Josh Brettmann
Senior Scientist

Juwanna Brown
Project Manager – Neighborhood Transformation
St. Louis Development Corporation

Myron Burr, Jr.
Coordinator of DEI Initiatives
University of Missouri – St. Louis

DeAna Carter
Senior Project Manager
Kwame Building Group

Lin Cheng
Associate Director Technology Strategy

Justin Diller
Team Leader – Trading
Edward Jones

Paige Dunk
Communications Specialist II
Washington University in St. Louis

Ashley Edwards
Performance Improvement Manager
BJC HealthCare

Chelsea Filbert
Business Analyst

Kiara Fite
Communications and Outreach Coordinator
Flance Early Learning Center

Madeline Galdámez
Saint Louis Public Schools

Curtis Griggs
Multimedia Consultant
ConsulTech Media Management LLC

Ronita Herron
Director of Program & Performance
Almost Home

Meghan Jendusa
Data and Performance Analyst
St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund

Emily Johnson Pickel
Charitable Relations Specialist
Busey Bank

Abbey Jones
Performance Improvement Manager
BJC HealthCare

Yatina V. Katunga
Digital Banking Systems Specialist
First Community Credit Union

Rabia Khan
Release Train Engineer

David Maia
Alumni Support Coordinator
City Academy

Stephanie Matt
Team Leader: Wealth Management Enablement
Edward Jones

Shelby McNeil
Sustainability Program Specialist

Travis Newberry
Senior Planner
City of Wildwood Department of Planning and Parks

Jordyn Norde
Clinical Pharmacist
Affinia Healthcare

Sophia Ochs
Brand & Innovation Lead
Hoffmann Brothers

Jill Salinas
Events Manager
Special Education Foundation

Hannah Talley
City Clerk
City of Warson Woods, MO

Kristina Vidovic
Early Learning Initiative Manager
Nine PBS

Lewis Washington
Procurement Agent
The Boeing Company