Women We Admire is pleased to announce The Top 50 Women Leaders of Missouri for 2022. The state, home to numerous parks and stunning natural landscapes, is home to countless women who are making waves in the workplace. These individuals are leading within some of the state’s major industries including aerospace, agriculture, education, healthcare, electricity, and more. Their success provides a visualization of the pathway for future women leaders in the community.
Among this year’s awardees is Kathy Pickering, Chief Tax Officer of H&R Block, who is responsible for the strategic direction and management for a team of the nation's top experts on tax issues. Awardee Sanjam Khurana, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Government Services for Boeing, leads a multi-site finance organization focused on partnering with the business to advance culture, strategy and execution. Also awarded is Kelly Gast
Senior Vice President and CFO Bayer Crop Science, who works with her team to ensure value creation for customers and continuous investment in world-class innovations, while driving strong financial performance for the $21 billion in annual revenue for the division.
Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Women Leaders of Missouri for 2022.
1. Sabine Roduit
CIO of Information Technology, Nestlé
Sabine Roduit is the CIO of Information Technology for Nestlé in North America. Beginning her career path with Nestlé in 1998, Roduit has moved from highly technical roles to now Global Leadership Team Member, based at the regional tech hub in St. Louis, Missouri. Originally from Switzerland, she has taken her dynamic career around the world through a variety of key roles, from change and release management to integration, program management, global application technology solutions, and service and delivery prior to assuming the role as head of the IT North America organization since January 2018. She has over 20 years at Nestlé shaping and leading IT teams, as well as gaining business experience outside of the organization, having influenced her people-centric approach to organizational change and management. In her current role leading IT for North America, she has enabled a diverse portfolio through digital transformation, carried out the consolidation of what was six distinct IT teams to a single IT organization, and continues driving the critical shift to new ways of working and winning.
Roduit is passionately involved in global diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives within Nestlé and remains a strong advocate for the organization’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Her connection and compassion for people is central to the energy she brings to Nestlé. Roduit earned an undergraduate degree from Boston University.
2. Kathy Pickering
Chief Tax Officer, H&R Block
Kathy Pickering is the Chief Tax Officer of H&R Block. In this role, Pickering leads the relationship-management strategy with the IRS and state taxing agencies and is responsible for the strategic direction and management for a team of the nation's top experts on tax issues. She oversees the enrolled agents, CPAs and attorneys who make up The Tax Institute and provide information and analysis on the real-world implications of tax policy and tax proposals.
Pickering serves on the boards of multiple tax industry associations, including serving as chair of the Council for Electronic Revenue Communication Advancement and co-chair of the Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud – Information Sharing and Analysis Center. She represents H&R Block on the Security Summit, the public-private partnership of the IRS, the states and the tax industry, and is a member of the Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee. Through these organizations, she leads the way towards improving tax administration through
industry and agency collaboration.
Pickering has more than 20 years of experience in tax operations. Prior to joining H&R Block, she was in information technology and worked with Sprint PCS, Olsten Health Services, Leprino Foods and various consulting firms where she focused on implementing large scale accounting and financial systems. Pickering speaks about taxes and tax administration policy issues to policymakers, journalists, tax policy experts and tax preparers. She has appeared in broadcast and print news from FOX News, CNN, CNBC, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA TODAY, HuffPost, the Los Angeles Times and more. Pickering received her undergraduate degree from The Catholic University of America and became an enrolled agent in 2017.
4. Alison Engelhardt
VP & Assistant Director of Asset Management, U.S. Bank
Alison Engelhardt is the Vice President and Assistant Director of Asset Management for U.S. Bank. In her roles, she manages a team of asset managers and reviews and approves the team’s equity installments and credit actions. She currently manages a portfolio of solar and wind assets, a $1bn commitment across 18 solar/wind developers. She has over a decade of experience with investment/production and new markets tax credits.
Before joining U.S. Bank, Engelhardt was an AVP of new markets tax credits at St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, and before that, a project manager and analyst at St. Louis County Economic Council. Engelhardt graduated from the University of Missouri-Saint Louis with an undergraduate degree in English and a certificate in economic development from Washington University and Economic Council of St. Louis County.
6. Sanjam Khurana
VP & CFO of Government Services, Boeing
Sanjam Khurana is Vice President and CFO of Government Services business. Government Services is a large multi-product portfolio comprising the international and US government services business. She leads a multi-site finance organization focused on partnering with the business to advance culture, strategy and execution. Khurana joined Boeing in 2009 as CFO for Boeing Defense, Space & Security Global Operations and international finance and was based out of London, UK. She had overall P&L responsibility for the UK, Australia, India and KSA region as well as management of an international finance team of +400 employees.
Before joining Boeing, Khurana was CFO of customer service agreements in the services business of GE Aviation and before that CFO of materials in the services business. She received CFO of the year award in 2018. Prior to her services roles she was executive CFM senior finance manager for GE Aviation. She was part of the launch of the LEAP engine which powers the 737 Max, NEO and COMAC aircraft. Sanjam is a graduate of the EFLP (Experienced Financial Leadership Program) program in GE. Prior to joining GE, she worked at Michigan National Bank. Sanjam has a MBA in accounting and finance from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts with an undergraduate in economics from University of Delhi.
7. Kelly Gast
SVP & CFO of Crop Science, Bayer
Kelly Gast is a high-energy, Fortune 200 executive with over 30 years of financial, and global operations leadership. As a Finance executive, she fits SEC requirements to serve on the Audit Committee of a public company board. Currently she is a public company board director for Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc. (ADS). Founded in 1966, ADS operates a global network of approximately 60 manufacturing plants and over 30 distribution centers.
As CFO of Bayer Crop Science, Gast leads the global Crop Science finance team to drive strong financial performance for the $21 billion in annual revenue for the division. She also works with her team to ensure value creation for customers and continuous investment in world-class innovations. Prior to that she was Bayer’s US CFO where she led all financial and administrative operations for Bayer across businesses in the country, representing ~$13 billion in revenue. She had responsibility for finance, tax, treasury, accounting, controlling, commercial support, procurement, risk management, facility/office management, security, real estate and post-merger integration.
Previously, Gast was the VP for commercial finance at Monsanto Company where she led an international team of approximately 600 and supported more than $13 billion in annual revenue. She graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with an undergraduate degree in economics and accountancy.
10. Kristine Ziegler
VP of Strategy & Clinical Program Development, Centene
Kristine Ziegler is the Vice President of Strategy & Clinical Program Development of Centene. She is a well-diversified health care executive with nearly two decades of experience ranging from hospital, managed care industry and government lines of business. She has served in the managed care organization industry for the past sixteen years in a broad range of disciplines including medical management, quality, operations, finance, contracting, and provider relations. Her successes include acquisition of business lines in order to expand external clientele, incremental growth, substantial increase in operational efficiencies, optimal staffing performance level, and service metrics. She specializes in oversight of revenue growth and financials, customer delight, expansion of service and product offerings, budgetary responsibility including G&A management and positive contribution, technology advancements, competitive intelligence and streamlining business units and processes.
Ziegler first got her start in 1995 as a compliance care coordinator, patient care coordinator and charge nurse at Tenet Health System. From there, she went on to Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Arkansas-MO Medicare Services, before eventually rising to concurrent review case manager and contracting specialist at Coventry Health Care-HealthCare USA, her most recent position prior to joining Centene. Ziegler graduated from Regis University with an MS in organizational leadership and in nursing administration, and with an undergraduate degree in nursing.
11. Marsha Fischer
VP for Human Resources, Chief Equal Opportunity Officer & CHRO, University of Missouri System
Marsha Fischer is the Vice President for Human Resources, Chief Human Resources Officer, and Chief Equal Opportunity Officer for the University of Missouri. She joined the university in May 2014. Fischer currently leads the Office of Human Resources (OHR), which serves the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of Missouri System. Her areas of expertise within the OHR include retirement, benefits, compensation, service center/shared services, employee and labor relations, learning and organizational development, recruitment, HRIS and data analytics, academic HR, and HR partners.
Prior to leading human resources, Fischer was in the General Counsel’s office for the University of Missouri System. She primarily represented the University in litigation and employment law matters. She was also the system-wide point of contact on Title IX related issues. Before joining the General Counsel’s office, Fischer was in private practice for almost 16 years with Walther, Antel, Stamper & Fischer, PC in Columbia, Missouri. Her focus was employment law and litigation. Prior to joining the firm, she served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorary Scott O. Wright, US District Judge. While clerking for Judge Wright, she developed an interest in employment law matters. Fischer is a cum laude graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of law where she was honored as an initiate to the Order of the Coif, and Note and Comment Editor of the Missouri Law Review. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Southwest Missouri State University.
View the complete list of awardees.
13. Nicole Hite-Heleniak
VP of Greetings Product Development, Hallmark Cards
Nicole Hite-Heleniak is the Vice President of Greetings Product Development of Hallmark Cards. In this role, Hite-Heleniakleads all business and creative product development for Hallmark's total greeting card portfolio. She is responsible for driving the growth of the greetings business, including new commercialization models, implementation of new innovation strategies and increasing brand relevance and consumer preference of greetings products.
Hite-Heleniak originally joined Hallmark in 1996 as a typography artist. She left to work as an art director at Kiku Obata + Company, a research and design practice in St. Louis, and at Zipatoni, a marketing company also located in St. Louis. She rejoined Hallmark in 2001 as a designer in gift wrap and party, and held positions of increasing responsibility since, including design studio manager of gift wrap and party, creative director of party, visual merchandising director of mass channel, creative studio director of packaging, and later VP of creative marketing and photography studios prior to assuming her current role. Hite-Heleniakholds an MBA from Ottawa University and an undergraduate degree in graphic design from the University of Kansas.
14. Lisa Blake
VP & Wealth Management Consultant, Commerce Trust Company
Lisa Blake has built her career advising both high net worth individuals and some of the country’s largest institutional investors. At Commerce Trust Company, she enjoys helping clients with their complex financial affairs so that they can attain more peace in their lives. Blake advises clients around matters including generational transitions of wealth, employee-owners’ financial strategies, women in transition, and planning for retirement decumulation. She has more than two decades of professional investing and wealth management experience.
Prior to Commerce Trust Company, Blake was with New York Life where she held life and health insurance licenses and multiple securities licenses. She also served as VP of national accounts for American Century Investments and executive director for UBS Global Asset Management. She earned her undergraduate degree in management and human relations from MidAmerica Nazarene University and is currently obtaining her RICP designation.
16. Beth Wade
Global Chief Marketing Officer, VMLY&R
As VMLY&R’s Global Chief Marketing Officer, Beth Wade is responsible for facilitating the growth of the VMLY&R brand and marketing strategy across the agency’s global network. She has been an integral part of the agency’s expansion and is pivotal to the ongoing evolution of the network. As a part of the executive leadership team, she drives consistency in brand strategy, leads a dynamic and connected culture, and ensures client service team connectivity, as well as discipline integration among the VMLY&R network offices.
Before the establishment of VMLY&R, Wade worked at VML for 15 years, including her time in a previous role of chief client officer. As chief client officer, she worked alongside each department lead on agency service offering evolution and company growth and achieved impressive results on the behalf of VML’s client base. In addition to her role as VMLY&R’s global CMO, Wade is extremely passionate about giving back to her community and helping mold the next generation of female leaders. To that end, she serves on the board of the BMA Foundation and is a founding member and proud supporter of Women@VML. Wade is a graduate of University of Missouri-Columbia with an undergraduate degree in business administration.
18. Pam Bax
Principal, CSG Government Solutions
“Loving what you do” is how Pam Bax describes her passion for working in the information technology field. Pam serves as a project manager in CSG’s Healthcare and Human Services Practice and has been with CSG since 2013. Pam’s expertise is managing complex Information Technology projects for both the public and private sectors for over twenty five years. She specializes in providing business process reengineering, Independent Verification and Validation, Quality Assurance, procurement support, Advanced Planning Development for federal projects, operations and maintenance oversight, electronic records management, organizational change management, and enterprise architecture planning. Her passion in leading teams to channel and efficiently harness technology innovations is always at the forefront when serving clients and their customers.
Previously, she worked as an information technology consultant for Rose International, served the citizens of Missouri as Project Manager for the Office of Administration, Deputy Division Director for Water Protection and Soil Conservation with the Department of Natural Resources, and various management roles at the Secretary of State’s Office. Pam is also co-owner of a sportsman hunting business and various real estate properties with her husband Charles in Jefferson City, Missouri.
22. Rebecca Baumgartner
VP of HR, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
Rebecca Baumgartner serves as Vice President of Human Resources for the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. In her current role, she is responsible for leading the KC Chamber’s overall human resources strategy, talent acquisition, leadership development, diversity, equity, and inclusion, organizational design and cultural development, employee education and development, compensation and benefits, employee relations, strategic planning, and overall operations for the organization. Baumgartner has worked across all departments and functions to build and manage an HR organization that reflects and supports their dynamic needs. During her time there, Baumgartner has overseen efforts that resulted in: more aligned compensation structure; a new fully functioning HRIS; initiatives to improve diversity in candidate pools; a redesigned performance cycle which includes a comprehensive talent management and development program; and a more welcoming and staff-focused internal culture.
Baumgartner is a Certified Diversity Executive, ICF Certified Executive Coach, and a SHRM-certified Senior Human Resources Professional. She is also co-founder and principal partner at Thrive360, a professional services firm that provides holistic business solutions. She is skilled in professional and leadership development, coaching, and the strategic planning and implementation of diversity and inclusion programs, initiatives, and efforts. Baumgartner is a proud member of CHIEF, an invite-only network focused on connecting and supporting women executive Leaders. Baumgartner has been a featured speaker for organizations such as Association for Talent Development, Women of the Channel, Kansas City HR Executives, National Association for Legal Professionals, Association of Law Firm Diversity Professionals, Tulane School of Law, Central Exchange, Anheuser-Busch, Hallmark, and the Professional Development Consortium. Additionally, she has contributed to and written for publications such as Forbes, The American Lawyer, Working Mother Media, and The Good Men Project. Baumgartner was featured by InsightsSuccess as one of the “10 Most Inspiring Business Women in 2021.”
24. Mandi Sonnenberg
Director of STEAM Projects & Education, St. Teresa's Academy
Dr. Mandi Sonnenberg is the Director of STEAM Projects and Education at St. Teresa's Academy. She came to STA as a professor from the School of Education at Rockhurst University. Sonnenberg earned an MA from the University of Missouri, St. Louis in education administration, and her doctorate from Saint Louis University in educational leadership. As a former master classroom teacher and student-centered administrator, she brings both vision and empathy to her passion for transforming today's education models. She continues as an adjunct professor at Rockhurst University teaching Design Thinking, Educational Assessment and Technology Leadership courses to professionals. She was the co-creator of STEAM Masters in Education Cohort at Rockhurst University that launched successfully in Summer of 2019.
Simultaneously, she is the Co-Founder and a board member of the STEAM Studio, where she infuses this living laboratory as a learning platform for her graduate, college and high school students, as well as a model to implement the design thinking process. STEAM Studio is a nonprofit innovative space which serves students and educators in the Kansas City metropolitan area and beyond. In 2020 Sonnenberg co-authored the published STEAM Studio Curriculum for K-8. All Design Thinking Activities are designed and written for learners to feel frustration and failure as they figure it out and have fun during the process. She co-authored the remarkable, research-based book, Unleashing Creative Genius: STEAM Studio's Impact on Learning in 2017. She was awarded the 2016 Educator of the Year award by the American Institute of Architects, earned by innovative educators using design to improve learning for students. She was presented with the 2015 Excellence in Community-Based Teaching & Scholarship Award through Missouri Campus Compact. She continues to seek ways to improve the teaching practices and learning experiences specifically in STEM/STEAM programming.
25. Theresa Shaw
SVP of Finance & Chief Accounting Officer, Ameren
Theresa Shaw is Senior Vice President of Finance & Chief Accounting Officer, of Ameren Corporation, which powers the quality of life for 2.4 million electric and more than 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area through its Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois rate-regulated utility subsidiaries. In this role, Shaw is responsible for leading corporate controller functions, tax, treasury, investor relations, financial planning and analysis, and the Ameren Services Center.
Before her current position, Shaw was SVP of regulatory affairs and financial services for Ameren Illinois Company. She was responsible for leading power and gas supply, energy efficiency, financial services, and regulatory accounting and regulatory affairs for Ameren Illinois. Prior to joining Ameren, she worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she attained the position of experienced audit manager, providing audit services to private and Fortune 500 public companies. A certified public accountant, Shaw earned an undergraduate degree in accountancy with a minor in German from the University of Missouri – Columbia, where she graduated summa cum laude, and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants.
View the complete list of awardees.
26. Melissa Myrick
Chief of Staff to Chief Executive Officer, HomeWAV
Melissa Myrick has over twenty years of progressive leadership experience in various roles and industries. In her role as Chief of Staff to HomeWAV’s Chief Executive Officer, she acts as the liaison between the CEO and other key leaders/stakeholders to ensure consistent communication to project manage and execute strategic initiatives led by the CEO. Operating on a tactical, strategic, and operational level, she handles the oversight of initiatives by researching action plans for operational excellence. Prior to her current role, she began her career at HomeWAV as a proposal manager in 2019, then was later promoted to director of business initiatives where she was instrumental in the inception of the firm’s Proposal Development Department where she implemented protocols that improved efficiency in the department. Her key accomplishments include developing the department framework and procedures, building a robust content library, creating standard templates for proposals and contracts, and much more.
Myrick graduated top of her class from St. Louis College of Health Careers. In addition to the above, she is fully active in the local community. She has served as a National Helpline Volunteer for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association for over ten years. During this time, she also advocates for the infertility community by sharing her story about infertility in various publications and she also served as an ambassador for the St. Louis Walk of Hope.
Founded in 2011, HomeWAV LLC has remained the industry leader in providing safe, secure inmate communication and technology solutions to correctional facilities across the country. Headquartered in St. Louis, their all-in-one patented platform is the first of its kind to satisfy the growing demands in the correctional industry. Through organizational pillars of Integrity, Innovation, and Impact, they are disrupting the industry standard by leading with fairness and developing transformative technology while keeping facilities safe and communities connected.
29. Jennifer Pangborn
Assistant Vice President & Senior Technical Principal, WSP USA
Jennifer Pangborn is an Assistant Vice President and Senior Technical Principal with WSP USA, based in St. Louis, MO. Pangborn has dedicated her career as a transportation planner and engineer who focuses on people and their experiences in our built environment. She manages complex, people-focused projects across the country, working to build diverse teams in experience and skill set. Her mobility work is based on the idea that transportation is mobility and everyone has a right for access to mobility. Pangborn also leads a technical team across the central US and is dedicated to empowering and building their skills and networks in the industry. She is a thought-leader, people-leader, and participates in key initiatives with WSP focused around equity, inclusion and diversity, Future Ready, Vision Zero, active transportation, and mentoring.
Pangborn’s passion for transportation stems from her love of places. She is dedicated to connecting people to places – live, work, play – in the safest, best experience possible. She brings logical problem solving to her clients and teams that are human-centric and sustainable. She is sought out on projects to provide engagement in unique ways and make processes and project management fun. She values the relationships she has built both within WSP, with her clients, and in her community. Some of her work has garnered state and national recognition. Pangborn is equally passionate about public education and is serving her second term as a director for the Kirkwood School District R-7. Through her two terms, she has been an advocate for advancing education resources, enhanced safety, curriculum updates, policy updates, and bringing her engineering problem solving to the district. She volunteers for STEAM programs and hopes to encourage more women into engineering in the future. She is the proud mother of three boys who keep her active, laughing, and wanting to do more in her community and cities to create a better future for them. Pangborn’s career and community involvement were recognized by ENR where she was awarded the Top 20 under 40 across the US in 2022.
30. Melanie Ashby
VP of Business Development, MariCorp US
Melanie Ashby is the Vice President of Business Development for MariCorp US. She first joined the company in 2010. MariCorp U.S. is one of the largest manufacturing and consulting firms in the United States, specializing in galvanized steel floating docks and boat lift systems. With projects spanning coast to coast, MariCorp U.S. operates on an 11-acre facility centrally located in Missouri. Ashby serves as a member of the executive team responsible for creating and implementing B2B marketing and business development initiatives. She has managed lead generation, referrals, and repeat business channels to ensure continued revenue growth, utilizing data-driven sales strategies to determine new prospecting and marketing campaigns. Ashby has also directed sales representatives, providing mentoring and coaching to reach sales goals. She has been a key contributor with conducting negotiations with federal, state, and local/municipal bodies.
Previously, Ashby was a broker at CJR LLC and before that a president at A & A Tree Incorporated, an arboriculture company. She has served as an independent business development consultant conducting analytical market research and offering business growth strategies for companies in the maritime industry. Ashby attended Missouri State University.
32. Ashley Rath-Melton
Director of Business Solutions, Cushman & Wakefield
Ashley Rath-Melton is the Director of Business Solutions for Cushman & Wakefield where she leads project management and core system management for Asset Services, with a team of highly skilled project managers and quality assurance and user experience test experts. Cushman & Wakefield is among the largest real estate services firms with approximately 50,000 employees in over 400 offices and 60 countries. In 2021, the firm had revenue of $9.4 billion across core services of property, facilities and project management, leasing, capital markets, valuation and other services.
Rath-Melton holds an MBA from Park University, an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and has over 12 years of project and program management experience, along with extensive experience in event planning. She is a recent breast cancer survivor and RAD Athlete/active fundraiser for Barbells for Boobs, an organization which aims to help keep women active during and after a breast cancer diagnosis.
33. Evangeline Sutton
Chief Marketing Officer, Clement Auto Group
Evangeline Sutton is the Chief Marketing Officer of Clement Auto Group. From trucks to sedans and family friendly SUVS, their expert staff fits the perfect new or pre-owned vehicle for each of their customers. They work tirelessly to remove the pressures that come with shopping at other dealerships in the St. Charles, O'Fallon, Bridgeton, St. Louis and Wentzville MO areas. Sutton has 20 years of experience. She began her career in 2002.
Sutton is also the Co-Founder of Regenerative Marketing, LLC, a firm that works primarily within the digital marketing space. Regenerative Marketing has served over 60 clients to-date. They have worked with over 24 industries in 5 countries. Sutton is also a contributor for Forbes, Christian Examiner, and several other publications. She represents Millennial entrepreneurship on several fronts, including sitting on the board of directors for several organizations including Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis. Sutton graduated from Thomas Edison State University with an undergraduate degree in accounting and business and management.
34. Lisa Schaberg
Senior Director & Client Accountable Executive for Client Relationships, Oracle
Lisa Schaberg is a Senior Director and Client Accountable Executive for Client Relationships with Oracle. Currently, she has been involved with developing and managing many large client projects ensuring that deliverables and events are executed and delivered in alignment with client strategic/project initiatives, the highest quality, and industry best practices. In addition, Schaberg is responsible for strategic business planning, business development, business case analysis, technology and support services, and industry guidance on key healthcare topics.
Prior to joining Oracle, Schaberg held several leadership roles with Cerner, including client service and support, engineering application development, reference client operations and strategic client planning initiatives. She managed various associate teams with the largest comprised of over 80 associates. Before she joined Cerner, Schaberg was a software developer and analyst with Chevron Information Technology Company, responsible for developing and implementing enterprise-wide solutions supporting financial business operations. Schaberg received undergraduate degrees in computer science and mathematics from the University of Missouri – Columbia. She completed her MBA in health care management from MidAmerica Nazarene University. Most recently, she achieved Fellow status with the American College of Healthcare Executives.
35. Wendy Wright
Senior Director of Learning & Org Effectiveness, Grant Thornton
Wendy Wright began her professional career 26 years ago. Today, she is a Senior Director of Learning & Org Effectiveness of Grant Thornton. With extensive talent management experience and a passion for leading people, Wright infuses every engagement with an innovative strategic plan coupled with spot-on execution. She approaches each program with an intent to impact business performance through the increase of employee performance. By designing with the end in mind, she has a proven track record of measurable business outcomes as a result of intentionally designed and implemented industry-leading talent, culture, learning, and organizational effectiveness practices.
In her early external consulting years, Wright gained a foundational skill for marrying functional expertise with business needs – both in terms of desired business performance outcomes and varying company cultures. Whether leading an initiative focused on training curriculum design or organizational effectiveness, every program includes a comprehensive communication and change management approach to ensure stakeholder adoption.
With 20 years of experience across Fortune 500 companies leading organizational effectiveness and training transformation, Wright has been recognized by every employer as a high-performing leader who is utilized as an innovative strategist to provide progressive ideas that are operationally executable and relevant to the business. She embraces the opportunity to lead, coach, mentor, and develop team members by approaching each as talented individuals who contribute as part of a high-performing team. Wright graduated from the Minnesota State University of Mankato with an MA in industrial and organizational psychology and from Simpson College with an undergraduate degree in management marketing.
View the complete list of awardees.
38. Glenda Bullock
Director of Research & Business Administration, Washington University School of Medicine
Glenda Bullock currently serves as the Director of Research and Business Administration for the Divisions of Hematology, Rheumatology, Pharmacogenomics and Allergy & Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine. Her responsibilities include the overall management of the Divisions’ research enterprise, including strategic and space planning, personnel management, administration of all research and training grants, contracts and federally funded clinical studies. She also manages the Hemophilia Treatment Center 340B prescription drug program for the Division of Hematology.
Prior to her tenure in the Department of Medicine, Bullock spent six years as the contracts and grants manager in the Research Office. She also received valuable experience as the research services coordinator at the University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri S&T University) where she worked extensively with faculty and other administration offices on research proposal submission, award acceptance and contract negotiations. Her broad knowledge of research administration from both the central and departmental perspective is invaluable in the training of new administrators and in writing and implementing new policies and procedures. She has given numerous presentations and workshops on a variety of research administration topics including but not limited to: training grant management, applicable charges to research grants, departmental and central office communications and quality metrics. Bullock earned an undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis.
39. Amy Blume
Director of the Mid-Central Region, ICF
Amy Blume serves as Director of the Mid-Central Region for ICF, a strategic consulting firm that works with hundreds of companies and governments to plan, design and implement transformative projects. She has been running energy efficiency and environmental programs for over 19 years, with a focus on streamlining processes in program implementations. Operating from Kansas City, she supports clients and teams in Kansas, Missouri and Illinois.
Previously, Blume was a sustainability program manager at Vanir Construction Management where she managed a team of program managers and programs with an emphasis on energy efficiency, water conservation and environmental sustainability programs on a consulting contract for Los Angeles County. Before that, she served as an administrator at Institute for Research and Technical Assistance where she managed over 30 contracts and grants for over seven years from private companies, local governments and state or federal agencies. Blume earned an undergraduate degree in English language and literature from the California State University of Northridge.
42. Mara Woody
Senior Partnerships Director, Wadhwani Foundation
Dr. Mara Woody is a Senior Partnerships Director with the global Wadhwani Foundation. The foundation’s U.S. strategy is to work alongside innovative community colleges and workforce development leaders to fulfill its mission to equip learners with skills and credentials necessary for high-demand, sustainable family-supporting jobs and improved career opportunities.
Previously, she served as assistant commissioner for postsecondary policy with the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development, where she led initiatives through partnership and collaboration to connect higher education and workforce development to serve adult learners in the state, and changed the culture to focus on educational innovation, strategic projects, and change management. While in this role, she founded the Missouri Adult Learner Network, bringing together higher education institutions, workforce development, and community organizations to focus efforts on serving adult learners more successfully, and hosted the first Student Journey Mapping workshop in the state for higher education institutions.
Mara has served higher education for almost 20 years through public and private higher education institutions in several capacities: international credentialing, Academic Affairs, LEAN process improvement, and updating technological advances so offices became fully digital. She has an EdD in educational leadership and policy from Vanderbilt University, a master’s degree in criminal justice from Columbia College, and an undergraduate degree in criminal justice. During the summer of 2012, she was a fellow in the Peabody College Institute of Higher Education Management at Vanderbilt University.
44. Marsha Laird-Maddox
Federal Program Director, Artera
Marsha Laird-Maddox is the Federal Program Director of Artera. She first joined the organization in 2021. Artera delivers a platform-level patient communications solution that integrates across a health system’s tech stack to deliver patients a simple, cohesive communications experience while reducing workload for healthcare staff. By unifying disjointed communications and information into a single channel for patients, Artera fuels healthcare providers to deliver healthier patients, more efficient staff and more profitable organizations. The Artera platform helps 500+ unique health systems facilitate 1.1 billion messages for 40+ million patients.
Prior to joining Artera, Laird-Maddox served with Cerner Corporation for over 18 years. Her most recent position was manager and lead upstream marketer where she led the upstream product marketing team focused on assessing opportunities in the public sector healthcare market. Prior to Cerner, she served as a team leader and trainer for Alliance Data. Laird-Maddox graduated from the University of North Texas with an undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry.
45. Amy Jo Miller
Director of Policy & Market Strategy, Qcells USA Corp
Amy Jo Miller is Director of Policy and Market Strategy at Qcells USA Corp. Qcells USA is a utility-scale solar and energy storage developer, EPC provider (engineering, procurement, and construction) as well as Independent Power Producer. Miller spearheads Qcells USA Corp.’s involvement in Federal, State, Utility/RTO/ISO, and some local affairs regarding utility-scale solar and storage. She has developed Qcells USA Corp.’s regulatory policies, collaborated with the Development Leadership Team regarding greenfield campaigns, and has initiated corporate wide programs to further develop employee professional development. Miller serves on the Solar Energy Industries Association board of directors.
Prior to Qcells, Miller led the Energy Team at Charter Communications (Spectrum – Fortune 67 Company) in Scope 2 reporting and developed strategies to meet the company’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2035. Thus, she has firsthand experience of being a corporate buyer of energy and advocate of sustainability. Miller also worked at a Fortune 300 Company – Ameren where she spent 7 years in policy and worked in enterprise risk management. She has in-depth knowledge of risks and opportunities that utilities face today. Miller also chaired the MISO Supply Adequacy Working Group to move to the zonal construct that exists today.
Prior to Ameren, Miller worked at both MISO and ACES Power Marketing with experience in client relations, day ahead scheduling and settlements. She has three children and a loving husband. She resides in St. Louis, MO. She enjoys being a den leader to her oldest son’s cub scout den and being the liaison to the cub scout pack and the chartering organization of the elementary school PTO. Miller’s passions are to be a role model to her kids, and foster a positive working environment, and transition to a clean and reliable grid.
48. Sara Clark
Vice President, TranSystems
Sara Clark heads the Midwest Transportation Planning Team at TranSystems, headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. In this leadership position, she draws on her understanding of both rail and highway issues to leverage the firm’s expertise, shaping strategies that deliver sound policy, plans or programs to both the public and the private sectors of transportation. Clark joined TranSystems in 2001 where she has worked with states and municipalities, freight railroads and private developers on planning and corridor studies, feasibility and market assessments and freight planning.
Clark earned an MS in civil engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from Purdue University.
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