Erin Joy – Founder, Black Dress Partners

A third-generation female entrepreneur, Erin Joy understands the rewards and challenges of starting a company and fueling its success. She has made it her life’s mission to provide female business owners with the resources, services, and support they need to be successful in business and life.

After 15 years spent selling and consulting in the real estate industry, Erin founded Black Dress Partners in 2011 to help guide businesses in all sectors facing a variety of challenges–from underperformance to fast, unexpected growth. Erin’s consulting and executive coaching services have improved the productivity, efficiency, and profitability of organizations across many industries.

In response to market need, Black Dress Partners introduced Black Dress Circle®, facilitated, member-driven roundtables exclusively for female business owners. As a certified PeerSpectives facilitator through the Edward Lowe Foundation, Erin created this peer-based program in order to address the common challenges faced by women leading emerging and evolving organizations.

In 2015, Erin and her team conceived the Midwest Women Business Owners’ Conference—an educational, interactive event bringing powerful female business owners together to discuss relevant, provocative business topics. Annually, the event features high-performing business leaders addressing management, marketing, and operational challenges, and explores best practices for growth, mindset, corporate culture, employee retention, and more.

Black Dress Partners has been recognized several years in a row as a top consulting firm in the St. Louis area and Erin was designated one of the top 100 St. Louisans to know in 2016. Erin received her bachelor’s degree in marketing from University of Missouri-Columbia and her Master of Arts in human resources management from Washington University in St. Louis. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in business psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology .

Andrea Arco – Founder and CEO, Arco + Associates

andrea-bwAndrea is the founder and CEO of Arco + Associates, LLC, a marketing communications firm based in St. Louis, MO that serves clients nationwide. Prior to starting Arco, Andrea directed the marketing efforts at two Boston-based law firms, held senior copywriter positions at advertising agencies along the East Coast, and worked as the Marketing Director at The University of Virginia’s Engineering School.

She has been published in The Boston Business JournalWomen’s BusinessThe National Law Journal, and The Pittsburgh Business Times. She graduated summa cum laude from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC with degrees in communications and journalism. She was the only Master’s candidate to be awarded a full scholarship to the Corporate Communications program at Duquesne University. She holds advanced certifications in corporate communications, public relations, and business marketing.

Andrea also authored a children’s book in 2013 which, after publication, won a Mom’s Choice award and an honorable mention at the Paris Book festival. The book, Wally McBap Needs A Nap, was named Book of the Year by Creative Child Magazine in 2014.

Andrea is a member of the Public Relations Society of America and the American Marketing Association and has received awards for multiple campaigns she has conceptualized.

Kaysha Hanock, COO/Co-Founder of tSunela

kaysha-hanock-bwAn early study of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), tSunela co-founder, Kaysha Hanock continues to be at the forefront of internet marketing know-how. With over 10 years of industry experience, Hanock has helped clients such as St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Fontbonne University, Praxair, Scottrade, Royal Canin, and Aventis Pharmaceuticals enhance their online visibility. Kaysha’s expertise is in search engine optimization, social media marketing, local search engine marketing, and web analytics. Hanock is a member of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), is a Google AdWords Certified Professional, and a member of the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO). Prior to co-founding tSunela, Hanock worked at Outrider, The Selling Source, and Brighton Digital Marketing. She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Truman State University and an MBA with a services marketing specialty from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Stephanie Leffler – Chief Executive Officer, OneSpace

stephanie-leffler-bwStephanie took on her first CEO role in 2002 as founder of MonsterCommerce, a leading e-commerce storefront solutions company. Stephanie grew MonsterCommerce to more than 8,000 e-commerce clients before selling the company to Network Solutions in 2006. Most recently, Leffler co-founded OneSpace, a virtual workforce platform that brings businesses in need of flexible, scalable talent together with freelancers seeking assignments that match their skill-sets.

Natalie DuBose  Founder & Owner, Natalie’s Cakes & More

bio-pic_bwNatalie’s Cakes and More was founded in 2010 by Natalie DuBose. Natalie started off selling dessert cups and cake slices at a local St. Louis Flea Market. The more cakes she baked, the more she sold. Popularity for her signature caramel cakes and sculpted buttercream iced cakes grew and Natalie was able to start selling her cakes full-time. Her dream was solely to be able to provide for her children and their futures by pursuing her cake dream. After much hard work, Natalie was finally able to establish Natalie’s Cakes and More in Ferguson, Missouri in June 2014 and started to grow an already established customer base. In the coming weeks after opening, the city faced unexpted turmoil. There was protesting, rioting, and vandalism which caused physical damage and severe decline in the business’ traffic. Fortunately, she was able to overcome these events and rebuild her bakery in the same space with the support, love and donations of good-hearted people all across the world. Since that time, Natalie has gone on to support the Ferguson community through a social enterprise, Natalie’s Sweet Success. In partnership with Connections to Success, 100% of Natalie’s Sweet Success cookie sales will equip at-risk youth with evidence-based personal and professional development instruction, paid culinary and customer service training, and access to college scholarships so that they may achieve their dreams and break the cycle of poverty and incarceration. It doesn’t get any sweeter than that!

Mary Houlihan – Principal, Houlihan Development

mary-houlihan-bwMary Houlihan has a stellar, life-long career developing people interested in reaching their highest potential. In leadership roles at Anheuser-Busch, where she oversaw the world famous Clydesdale Operations, Hospitality Centers, Promotional Products, and Training and Development, and as the Chief Operating Officer for St. Louis Public Schools, leading Operations and Finance for over 70 schools and 25,000 students, Mary honed the strategic planning, organizational development, and coaching skills she uses with clients.

Mary currently serves as a director and facilitator for Executive Connections, a local membership organization that supports executives in transition. She is also a board member of the Chesterfield Montessori School.

Today, Mary coaches clients, working one-on-one to increase their success. She is dedicated to helping ambitious business people envision and create the career success that they want to make their professional dreams come true.

Deanna Daughhetee – President/CEO, American Equity Mortgage, Inc.

deanna-daughhetee-bwDeanna Daughhetee stands out as a leader in the mortgage industry with over two decades of experience. She founded American Equity Mortgage, Inc. in 1992 in St. Louis, Mo., and has grown the company into one of the nation’s leading mortgage bankers.

Daughhetee’s leadership as well as her straight-forward approach to business, have gained her multiple recognitions. In 2013, she was named one of the 100 Most Influential Mortgage Executives by Mortgage Executive Magazine. She was named one of the St. Louis Business Journal’s Most Influential Business Women, Businesswoman of the Year by the National Association of Female Executives and Entrepreneur of the Year in the St. Louis region of Ernst & Young’s prestigious awards program. She also has been listed among the top women business owners by St. Louis Small Business Monthly and has been on the Working Women 500 list of top women-owned businesses in the country.

Daughhetee’s career highlights her ability to break through barriers, as she is one of a small number of female CEOs in the industry. She has a proven track record of helping her company embrace challenges and opportunities, which has enabled the company to grow at a time when other mortgage companies were folding and Americans were most in need of financial assistance.

One of the hallmarks of Daughhetee’s leadership is her passion to help Americans get to a better place financially. She has built a team of long-time home loan experts who partner with customers to help them achieve their financial goals.

Known for its dedication to customers, American Equity Mortgage has been recognized for excellence in customer service and named Best Overall Company in the American Business Awards.

A CPA with an undergraduate degree in business from Eastern Illinois University, Daughhetee received her MBA from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. She is a member of the Regional Business Council (RBC) and the Mortgage Bankers Association. She also served as the Chair for the St. Louis Social Venture Partners (SVP), Old Newsboys’ Day and has served on the boards of the Ronald McDonald House Charities, YWCA and the Advisory Board of United Missouri Bank and the School of Business at Eastern Illinois University.

Lorenza Pasetti – President/CEO, Volpi Foods, Inc.

lorenza-pasetti-bwLorenza Pasetti is President and CEO of Volpi Foods, Inc., a family business located in the heart of St. Louis, Missouri’s, “Hill neighborhood”– the historic Italian-American community of the city. Founded in 1902, the company has flourished for over four generations of family ownership. The company is best known as a producer and marketer of dry-cured and specialty meat and food products. Patience, a passion for high quality foods, love of family and respect for the art of dry-curing meat are among the primary reasons for the longevity of the business and the success behind the brand.

Lorenza joined Volpi Foods in the mid-1980’s after earning her Master’s in Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis. Lorenza holds Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology and History from the University of Michigan. A life-long learner, Lorenza has been responsible for the majority of growth of the company, its continuity of ownership and new and innovative products introduced in the category.

Kara Turner Newmark – Founder/CEO, Sweetology

kara-turner-newmark-bwKara Turner Newmark is a graduate of University of Michigan and Washington University Law School. Kara is a serial entrepreneur. In her professional career, Kara ran multiple venture backed companies and consulted with high tech and biotech companies. In her last position she was Chief Operating Officers of a company in the healthcare space. Currently, Kara is the founder and President of Sweetology, the first of its kind entertainment retail store dedicated to the decoration of cakes, cookies and cupcakes. Think Build a BearTM meets Cake BossTM with a little Willy WonkaTM magic thrown in. Outside of her professional work, she is a wife and mother of three teenagers. She believes firmly in work life balance and is committed to giving back to the community. She sits on several nonprofit boards, travels with her family and loves spending time with her friends when her busy schedule allows.

Kathy Jordan – Founder and CEO, Jordan Search Consultants

kathy_1_square_bw-1Kathy Jordan is the founder and CEO of Jordan Search Consultants, a search firm providing innovative healthcare, executive, and higher education recruitment to clients throughout the nation. With almost three decades of professional recruiting experience, Kathy has a thorough understanding of the changing dynamics in the healthcare and higher education industries and has gained a national reputation for her unique recruitment and retention initiatives. By partnering with hospitals, medical groups, academic institutions, and healthcare organizations to develop recruitment models designed to meet their goals, Kathy has effectively helped clients reduce time-to-hire, increase retention rates, and reduce recruitment costs.

Under Kathy’s leadership, Jordan Search Consultants has experienced unprecedented growth (100% year-to-date) and was recognized by the St. Louis Small Business Monthly as one of the 50 fastest-growing companies in the region in 2016. This year, Kathy was also selected to be part of—and graduated from—the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Emerging Leaders training program in St. Louis. This selective program is an intensive, executive-level training initiative designed to further catapult thriving businesses like Jordan Search Consultants.

Prior to her three-decade career in recruitment, Kathy received her Bachelor’s degree in Business and Marketing from Lindenwood University in St. Louis, MO, and has completed multiple hours towards a graduate degree in professional counseling. She is also an active member of the Medical Group Management Association, American College of Medical Practice Executives, the National Association of Physician Recruiters, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. When Kathy is not absorbed in solving client recruitment challenges, she enjoys traveling, gardening, spending time with family and friends, volunteering, and mentoring young women in personal and business growth and development.

Diane Butrus – Chief Operating Officer, Diba Imports, LP

diane-butrus-bw2Diane Butrus is currently the COO of several international fashion accessory companies. She has been in the fashion footwear business since 1996 and has successfully led her businesses through extreme growth as well as the economic downturn. The current brands are Diba, Diba True, Luichiny, and Testosterone.

Previously, she was a technical sales representative with Leica, Inc. selling laser and optical measuring equipment to the automotive & aircraft industries. She also worked at Boeing writing software programs & evaluating new technology for the QA department of the Tooling Division. Diane started, successfully operated, and sold Clean Cuts and More, Inc., a lawn care and landscaping company.

Her education includes an MS in Management from Maryville University and a BS in Computer Science from Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Diane is currently a member of the Academy of Miner Athletics and the Dean’s Leadership Council at Missouri S&T. She has held several non-profit board positions.

Diane lives in Clayton and can frequently be found riding her bike around St. Louis. She regularly gives presentations on various topics, including leadership, living a great life, and interviewing for a job

Shaun Hautly – catalyst, boom. reactive.

shaun-hautly-bwShaun is a Videographer and Social Media Marketer from St. Louis. He worked as a video producer for CNN leading up to the 2008 Election and started his own Content-Based Marketing company soon after. He spend his free time coaching and playing Ultimate Frisbee and hanging out on The Hill with his fiancee and dog.

James “Otto” Ottolini – Chief Brewing Officer, Brew Hub

james-ottolini-bwAs Chief of Brewing Operations, Jim “Otto” Ottolini is responsible for the brewing and packaging operations at Brew Hub’s brewery in Lakeland, Florida as well the design and construction of the company’s second brewery which is scheduled to open in St. Louis in summer 2017. Jim is also responsible for Brew Hub’s brewing innovation, technology and quality control.

Ottolini joined Brew Hub after spending more than 22 years at The St. Louis Brewery, makers of Schlafly beer, where he was responsible for the brewing and packaging operations of the company’s two facilities in St. Louis. Jim also was responsible for planning and coordinating activities related to the design and expansion of production equipment and resources to meet Schlafly’s growth objectives.

Ottolini received the 2012 Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Craft Brewing and serves as an adjunct professor at Washington University in St. Louis. He holds a B.A. in French Literature from the University of Kansas and an Executive M.B.A. from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in Saint Louis. Jim also has earned several certificates from the Siebel Institute and Master Brewers Association of the Americas.

Patrick Barry – President, Saint Louis Football Club & St. Louis Scott Gallagher

hs-pbarry-bwWith more than 15 years of executive experience, Patrick Barry serves as the President for Saint Louis FC (professional soccer franchise), St. Louis Scott Gallagher Soccer Club (youth soccer club) and the World Wide Technology Soccer Park (multi-sports facility). He serves as the Saint Louis FC’s representative on the USL Board of Governors, and provides club management oversight.

Barry’s previous sports experience includes serving as President of River City Sports, an organization that operated the St. Louis Steamers (indoor soccer), St. Louis Swarm (basketball) and River City Renegades (indoor football). Prior to River City Sports, Barry was the Director of Operations for the highly-successful St. Louis Ambush for more than six years. During his time in the sports industry, he and his organizations have received various executive, marketing, and organizational awards. Since 2010, Barry has served as the Executive Director/President of St. Louis Scott Gallagher Soccer Club – one of the nation’s largest and most respected youth soccer clubs. From day one, his focus was business and financial operations in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the organization. The club has enjoyed significant growth in membership, services, and facilities, including the purchase of the historic St. Louis Soccer Park. In 2014, St. Louis Scott Gallagher purchased a professional soccer franchise – Saint Louis FC – in the United Soccer Leagues and began play in 2015. In just two years, Saint Louis FC has been elevated to among the best clubs in the league in the areas of revenue, ticket sales, sponsorship and fan experience.

Outside of the sports industry, Barry spent nine years (2001-2009) as Director of Business Development for The Meyer Company. As a leading contractor and home-builder, The Meyer Company leveraged private and public funding sources to create quality housing in many of St. Louis’ most challenging and deteriorated neighborhoods. Through these efforts, more than 500 families were able to upgrade their living conditions and begin the process of improving their lives. During his time with The Meyer Company, Barry was able to grow revenue significantly and launch a market rate division – TMC Homes – to serve more stable, thriving areas of the community.

Barry is married to Carrie and has four children: Ethan, Olivia, Maren and Cailin.

Catrina Cook – Director of Operations & Marketing, Spellman Brady & Company

catrina-cook-bw2Catrina’s 14+ years working in the interior design industry gave her a wide variety of design experience.

After so many years choosing finish pallets and project managing, Catrina changed hats to the business side of her industry, taking on operations and marketing for Spellman Brady & Company. She received her Master’s in Management and Leadership in order to better understand the people aspect of the business. Just a few of Catrina’s non-stop duties include overview on all company operations and marketing, business development, proposal submissions and presentations, and hiring team members. Her passion is creating a great working environment for her team so they can provide the best design for their clients.

Catrina also teaches interior design courses at her alma mater, Maryville University, and enjoys mentoring students as well as being on the board of SMPS.

Cileia Miranda-Yuen – President, GenWay International

View More:éia Miranda-Yuen is an acclaimed speaker, leadership coach and workplace innovator. A talented executive with keen professionalism, visionary spirit, and charisma, she is the President of the leadership development and diversity consulting company GenWay International.

Ciléia’s work is grounded on her vast corporate experience in marketing and finance in conjunction with her expertise in the field of Hispanic Market, Cross-Cultural engagement, Emotional Intelligence, Neuroscience and Human Consciousness which she uses to advance authentic leadership and diversity & inclusion in the workplace.

She has founded the Empowerment Within Initiative and the Latino Legacy Project to promote personal, professional and organizational growth through Workshops, Lectures, and Individual or Group Coaching. In the same line, she promotes cross-cultural understanding, diversity and inclusion by producing Multicultural Events, Festivals and curating Art Exhibits with focus on Latino art.

A trailblazer, Ciléia has fomented several cross-cultural collaborative initiatives among prominent art, cultural, and business organizations and forged bridges between the Hispanic-Latino communities and the community in general. Ciléia is active with the St. Louis Mosaic Project and co-leads their 52-Weeks of Art; serves as a director of the Center for the Humanities at the University of Missouri-Saint Louis, and has served as the chair of the Hispanic Leaders Group of Greater St. Louis. She is a planning committee member of the International Institute STL-Festival of the Nations, was a steering committee member of the Moving Beyond Diversity Towards Cross-Cultural Engagement Conference, and co-founder of the Viva Brasil STL Association. An active member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce STL, she was instrumental to the development of their Hispanic Leadership Institute curriculum and teaches some of their classes on Emotional Intelligence and Authentic Personal Branding and Influence.

Her extensive knowledge, leadership, and business acumen have impacted several organizations environment and culture. Ciléia is able to forecast potential dynamic business scenarios and trends and to link insights into action plans tied to projects initiatives and objectives. Through tactful communication style and cultural understanding, she skillfully navigates cross-functional teams forging collaboration and partnership among diverse factions from government level to grass-root groups. Referred by the White House, Cileia has hosted high profile representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Labor among other dignitaries from Federal, State and Local levels as well as International government leaders and Corporate businessmen. Ciléia has acted as Mexico’s art and cultural affairs liaison and promoter. She also hosts the Brazilian Consulate in Saint Louis regularly.

Before becoming a social entrepreneur, Ciléia served as strategic business and marketing executive at Nestle Purina Petcare Company where she worked in a number of significant projects, including the design and implementation of strategy, structure and trade marketing programs for the sales division. In the marketing department, her responsibility included product development, marketing penetration, consumer campaigns, and the brand’s national Hispanic marketing initiative. Ciléia was member of Nestle Purina’s first diversity task force and under her leadership the company developed their Latino Leadership Group. She also contributed to the formation of Purina’s Seeds of Leadership- executive women leadership group.

Prior to joining Nestle Purina, Ciléia was a business partner at Soladur do Brasil, a solar energy subsidiary of the German Company Wülfing+Haulk; served as Finance Director and General Operations Manager at Fundação Logosófica; worked as Business Analyst at the Italian Automobile Company FMB- FIAT; and was a Mortgage Specialist at Caixa Econômica Federal, a Governmental Financial Institution in Brazil.

Ciléia’s unique style, leadership, and multicultural expertise have been recognized in the local and national levels. Her multicultural project at Belas Artes received the US Congress Proclamation in 2006 and her Latino Legacy Project received the St. Louis County Proclamation in 2011. She is the recipient of prizes such as the Most Influential Minority Business Leader Award by the St. Louis Business Journal in 2006; the Woman in Business Award by the YWCA in 2005, the Nestle Best Spirit Award in 2005, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce New Business of the Year in 2006 and Member of the Year in 2012. She was one of the awardees of Sister Salute in 2012 and named in the WHO IS WHO in St. Louis magazine. The National Football League-RAMS has given Ciléia their 2015 Hispanic Leadership Award. Ciléia is also the recipient of the “Torch-Bearer Award” given to those who have inspired communities through their own lives and deeds. She is a graduate of the FOCUS Leadership St. Louis and the CORO Women in Leadership.

Ciléia Miranda-Yuen holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and earned her master in business administration from Webster University where she co-founded their Latino Student Organization-LASO and was the recipient of the student leadership award in year 2000 and receive the prestigious outstanding graduate student award in 2001.

With passion and determination, Ciléia embraces causes that are driving forces for the betterment of our community. Her priorities dwell on bringing people together, capitalizing in the potential of collaborations and partnerships, and inspiring people to become better global citizens. She is a forefront force advocating for alliances that strengthen the overall region.

Ciléia Miranda-Yuen lives in Saint Louis, Missouri with her husband Andrew Yuen and their golden retriever dog, Guga.