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FOCUS St. Louis Announces Spring 2022 Cohort of Women In Leadership

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FOCUS St. Louis® is pleased to announce the 29 outstanding individuals selected for the spring 2022 cohort of Women In Leadership.

The Women In Leadership program, held each fall and spring, offers professionals the opportunity to refine their leadership competencies, gain a deeper understanding of the St. Louis region, and connect with other women from diverse backgrounds. Through interviews and field days, participants are able to explore different styles of leadership and tap into the wisdom of area business, community and civic leaders, while also honing their facilitation, negotiation and communication skills. 

“For 40 years the Women In Leadership program has been bringing together a diverse mix of women from across sectors for growth, learning and connection,” says Shalia Ford, WIL Program Director. “This experience is designed to help participants gain the tools, resources and network to lead more confidently and effectively in all their spheres of influence.”

Upon graduation, participants join the network of more than 10,000 FOCUS program alumni.

The Women In Leadership program is presented with support from Emerson, Regions Bank and PepsiCo Foundation. Learn more about Women In Leadership and other FOCUS programs at


Women In Leadership - Spring 2022

Octavia Monique' Thomas
Tax Associate
H&R Block

Crystal Crump
Managing Director, Company Relations

Melanie Davis

Michelle DiStaso
Contract Compliance Specialist
St. Louis Development Corporation

Sarah Dorlac
Manager, Transmission Project Management

Emily Elam
Senior Vice President, Assistant General Counsel

Deanna Finch
Executive Director
United 4 Children

Tori Gillespie, PE
Director of Operations - Healthcare
Ross & Baruzzini

Jasmine Hall Ratliff
Business Development Manager
Keecha Harris & Associates, Inc.

Daron Hendrix
Director of Corporate Relations
The Salvation Army-Midland Division

Laura Huff
Vice President
Gallagher Research & Insights

Lydia Huston
Director, Development & Marketing
Loyola Academy of St. Louis

Kathy Isaak
Senior Business Analyst and Project Lead
MSF&W Consulting, Inc.

Dana Jackson
Senior Specialist

Alfredia Johnson
Senior Regulatory Manager
Instinct Pet Food

Danielle Jones
Asset Building Counselor/Intake Associate
Justine Petersen

Dasha Kuzmina O’Grady
Department Leader, Business Improvement – Service Experience Enablement
Edward Jones

Danyelle Little
Senior Social Media Manager
Imo’s Pizza

Alexandria McCuien
Software Engineer

Benicia Nanez Hunt
Long International Middle School/SLPS

Shelitha “Lisa” Peppers
Assistant Dean – Anheuser-Busch School of Business
Harris-Stowe State University

Laura Roeseler
Chief Executive Officer
Epilepsy Foundation of Missouri and Kansas

Anjie Sanford
Manager, Inclusive Entrepreneurship Development

Christian Shields Cunningham
Founder and CEO
My Secret’s Purpose LLC

Lindsey Shinn, MSN, RN, CCRN-K
Clinical Program Manager, Pediatric Liver/Kidney Transplant
St. Louis Children’s Hospital

Jacqueline True
Director of Preconstruction
Roanoke Construction

Vanessa Vandergraaf, Ed.D.
Department Head, Advanced Graduate Programs
Lindenwood University

Amanda Weber
Supervisor – Loan Servicing

Candice Woolfolk, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Washington University School of Medicine


About FOCUS St. Louis

FOCUS St. Louis is the region’s premier leadership organization. It’s a nonprofit that prepares diverse leaders to work cooperatively for a thriving St. Louis region through its experience-based leadership training, civic issue education and public engagement initiatives. As a neutral convener and facilitator, FOCUS engages citizens to deliberate on critical regional community issues in a trusted, nonpartisan space. Find out more at


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