Ready, Set, Leading: Women’s History Month Breakfast

Becky Rasmussen

Ready, Set, Leading: Women’s History Month Breakfast

Date(s) - March 07, 2019
7:30 am - 9:00 am

Edward Jones Headquarters – West Atrium
12555 Manchester Road
Des Peres, MO 63131

Registration is now closed for this event.

If you need to update your reservation, or have questions, please contact Katie Carpenter at or (314) 657-4033.

The 116th U.S. Congress kicked off 2019 with a record-setting number of women sworn into office. But even with gains in the public sector, women still make up a relatively small share of top leadership roles throughout the private and nonprofit sectors, including:

  • 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs (2018)
  • 18% of CEOs for nonprofits with annual budgets over $50 million (2015)
  • 22% of Fortune 500 board members (2017)
  • 30% of university presidents (2016)

In honor of Women’s History Month, join us for an engaging panel discussion with four prominent St. Louis business, nonprofit and military leaders. We’ll discuss how they got to where they are in their careers, tips for navigating power structures and achieving change, and leadership in community and civic spaces. Learn strategies to improve your leadership effectiveness in any situation and help pave the way for future women leaders. This event is open to all FOCUS members and alumni.

  • Adrian Bracy, CPA, Chief Executive Officer, YWCA Metro St. Louis
  • Cynthia Brinkley, Chief Administrative & Markets Officer, Centene Corporation
  • Colonel Leslie Maher, Commander, 375th Air Mobility Wing, Scott Air Force Base
  • Penny Pennington, Managing Partner, Edward Jones

FREE for FOCUS members (join/renew now)
$30 for non-members

Advance registration is required. To receive complimentary member registration, you will need to log-in to your account. Registrations are nonrefundable, but attendee substitutions are allowed.


7:30-8:00 a.m. – Check-in/Networking
8:00-9:00 a.m. – Program

About Our Panelists

Adrian Bracy, YWCAAdrian Bracy, CPA, Chief Executive Officer, YWCA Metro St. Louis
Bracy has served as Chief Executive Officer for YWCA Metro St. Louis since August 2009. She previously worked as an executive for the St. Louis Rams, then left to become Chief Financial Officer for the Arizona Cardinals. She has more than 18 years of senior management finance experience with professional sports teams.

Bracy graduated from Morgan State University with a degree in Accounting and has a Master’s in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She has received numerous awards, including the St. Louis Business Journal Most Influential Business Woman Award, Black Enterprise 50 Most Powerful Blacks in Sports and St. Louis American Non-Profit Executive of the Year Award.  Bracy is married to Vernon, has a son Donovan and attends Shalom Church (City of Peace).

Cynthia Brinkley, CenteneCynthia Brinkley, Chief Administrative & Markets Officer, Centene Corporation
Leading up to her planned retirement in February 2019, Brinkley serves as Centene’s Chief Administrative & Markets Officer, overseeing markets, government relations, international operations, transformation, project management and business integration activities. She has over 20 years of executive leadership experience in large global organizations, previously serving as Vice President of Global Human Resources for General Motors. Before that, she held various senior roles at AT&T, including Senior VP of Talent Development & Chief Diversity Officer at AT&T, President of SBC/AT&T Missouri, and President of SBC-Arkansas.

Brinkley currently serves on the boards of Forest Park Forever, the Nine Network, University of Missouri Trulaske School of Business Strategic Advisory Board, Schnucks, Energizer Holdings, and is a Commissioner of the St. Louis Zoo. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a bachelor’s in political science from Truman State University.

Colonel Leslie MaherColonel Leslie Maher, Commander, 375th Air Mobility Wing, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.375th AMW
As Commander of the 375th AMW, Colonel Maher leads more than 3,100 personnel, oversees assets totaling more than $4 billion, and controls an annual budget exceeding $130 million. A native of Gregory, South Dakota, she enlisted in the Air Force in 1987. After her enlistment ended, she attended Wichita State University and joined the 184th Fighter Wing, Kansas Air National Guard. Upon completion of
her degree, Colonel Maher was commissioned through the Officer Training School, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, and reported to NAS Pensacola, Florida, and Randolph AFB,
Texas, for Joint Undergraduate Navigator Training.

She earned her wings in 1997, and has participated in numerous operations including Operations Southern Watch, Allied Force, Noble Eagle, Desert Fox, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and the relief efforts in support of JTF-Matthew. She is a Master Navigator with more than 1,900 hours in the T-43, T-34C, and the KC-135R/T. Prior to her current position, the Colonel was the Chief, Special Access Programs Division, Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Scott AFB Illinois.

Penny Pennington, Edward JonesPenny Pennington, Managing Partner, Edward Jones
Pennington joined Edward Jones in 2000 as a financial advisor in Livonia, Mich. In 2006, she was named a principal and relocated to the firm’s St. Louis headquarters where she held leadership roles in New Financial Advisor Training, Branch Office Administrator Development and Branch and Region Development before leading the Client Strategies Group in 2015. In January 2019, she assumed the responsibility of Managing Partner, the sixth in the firm’s 97-year history. Penny is also is a senior executive sponsor of the firm’s LGBT+ and Allies Business Resource Group.

A native of Nashville, Tenn., Pennington attended the University of Virginia, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce with a concentration in finance. She holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, is a graduate of Wharton’s Securities Industry Institute, and earned her MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She serves on the boards of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Saint Louis Fashion Fund, and Whitaker Foundation.