YPN Member Spotlight – February

YPN Member Spotlight

In our YPN Member Spotlight blog post, we highlight some of the accomplishments that members of our Young Professionals Network share with us.

This month, we’d like to offer congratulations to these members of the RBC/YPN community:


Achievements and Recognitions:

  • Congratulations to this year’s class of 2015 Young Leaders as honored by the St. Louis American Foundation! This year’s winners include the following YPN Leadership 100 Members: Sarajeni Hammond, Director of Talent Management at Monsanto, Matt Nelson, IT Security Analyst at Express Scripts, LaTanya Reeves, Community Development Officer at Enterprise Bank & Trust, Wale Soluade, Corporate Inclusion & Diversity Manager at Commerce Bank, Kimberly Burke-Thomas, Project Manager at US Bank and Founder of QKE 4 Growth, Kristin Thompson, Financial Advisor at Renaissance Financial Corporation and Nicole Woodie, Community Outreach and Player Involvement Manager at the St. Louis Rams.
  • Both Santiago Beltran, Logistics Planner / Business Analyst at Build-A-Bear Workshop and Arindam Kar, Partner at Bryan Cave, LLP were named as recipients of the St. Louis Business Journal’s esteemed 40 Under 40 recognition. Congratulations! Read more here
  • Sheena Hamilton, Litigation Associate at Armstrong Teasdale, will be recognized by the St. Louis County Bar Association as the Association’s Roy F. Essen Outstanding Young Lawyer, an honor awarded to an attorney licensed less than ten years who has shown excellence and distinguished unselfish service to the community. Congratulations! Read more here
  • Shertina Gillespie, Director of Systems Analysis – Data Quality & Analysis at MasterCard Worldwide, was recently appointed to the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri Board of Directors. Congratulations! Read more here

We’d love for you to be part of the YPN Member Spotlight, too. Tell us about your new promotion, if you landed a brand new position or if you launched another company. You can even announce your new baby, your volunteer efforts or your speaking engagements. Simply email the news to asinger@stlrbc.org by the last day of the month, and we’ll consider it for publication.

Be sure to include full information, including pertinent names, titles, companies/organizations and contact information.

We’re proud of how hard our YPN members work to make St. Louis a better place to thrive, and we’re excited to sound the trumpets in congratulations. Join me in offering best wishes to this month’s YPN members, and don’t forget to share your own good news by emailing asinger@stlrbc.org!

-Kathy

Good News Tuesday – October 2014

 

Good News Tuesday

In our Good News Tuesday blog post each month, we highlight some of the accomplishments that members of our Young Professionals Network share with us.

This month, we’d like to offer congratulations to these members of the RBC/YPN community:


Achievements and Recognitions:

  • Zundra Bryant, MasterCard, and Sarajeni Hammond, Monsanto Company, were featured in an article in the St. Louis Business Journal, highlighting their detailed results and goal-oriented plans to succeed in their company, as well as seeing results in the community. You can read the article in the newest edition of the Business Journal, or check out the article here. 
  • Nino Clarkin, Edward Jones and SiSi Beltran, Build-A-Bear Workshop, received their Diverse Leaders Awards from the St. Louis Business Journal for their promotion of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Both Nino and SiSi are strong leaders in the United Way Multicultural Leadership Society, the only one of its kind throughout the United States. Read the full list of award recipients here! 
  • Johnny Wang, Stinson Leonard Street LLP, was awarded the 2014 Spirit of Diversity Award by the St. Louis Diversity Job Fair for his efforts to advance diversity in the workplace and community.
  • Alicia Acklin, St. Luke’s Hospital, was nominated as one of 30 Leaders in Their Thirties by North County Inc. Regional Development Association. Read the full article here!
  • Wale Soluade, Commerce Bank, was the winner of multiple awards and honors at the St. Louis Fashion Blog Awards. Wale was selected as the winner and people’s choice for the Best Fashion Blog, the people’s choice for Best Personal Style Blog, the people’s choice for Best Blog Design and the people’s choice for Best Use of Photography.
  • Congratulations to all of the YPN Leadership 100 members who graduated from the St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative’s Fellows Cohort 8. These members include Roberto Garcia, Anheuser Busch, Norma Boozer, Bank of America, Andrew Turnage, Liv Consultants, Matt Nelson, Express Scripts, Sheldon Jackson, Equifax, and Shertina Gillespie, MasterCard.
  • Matt Nelson, Express Scripts, is now a Certified Incident Handler after receiving GCIH certification.
  • Kenya Leonard is now a Historian at the St. Louis Paralegal Association.
  • Raegan Johnson is now the Communications and Engagement Lead at Monsanto Company.
  • Shanika Silinzy was recently promoted to Corporate Supervisor of Patient Business Services at SSM Health Care – St. Louis.
  • George Kim is celebrating his five year work anniversary with the Keefe Group.
  • Antonnique Day is celebrating her sixth year at MasterCard.
  • Amber Simpson, U.S. Bank, and Candace Anthony, St. Vincent’s Home for Children, are celebrating their eighth years at their respective companies.

We’d love for you to be part of Good News Tuesday, too. Tell us about your new promotion, if you landed a brand new position or if you launched another company. You can even announce your new baby, your volunteer efforts or your speaking engagements. Simply email the news to ypn@stlrbc.org by the last Tuesday of the month, and we’ll consider it for publication. News received by October 29 is published November 5.

Be sure to include full information, including pertinent names, titles, companies/organizations and contact information.

We’re proud of how hard our YPN members work to make St. Louis a better place to thrive, and we’re excited to sound the trumpets in congratulations. Join me in offering best wishes to this month’s YPN members, and don’t forget to share your own good news by emailing ypn@stlrbc.org!

Kathy

Listen to the Members of the St. Louis Symphony and Raise Funds for Tuition at University City Childcare Center

deanna carrollJoin young professionals, civic leaders and members of the University City Childcare Center on Friday, August 22 at 6:30pm for the 9th Annual  Fairy Tales Concert to benefit the UCCC’s Tuition Assistance program. Deanna Carroll, Agent at State Farm and member of the YPN Leadership 100 and YPN Steering Committee, volunteers her time to help support and advance the mission and vision of the UCCC. Check out what she had to say about the UCCC, including a special offer for Friday’s concert, and how you can get involved.

 

Tell us a little about the mission of the University City Children’s Center. What sets UCCC apart from other childcare centers?

University City Children’s Center is committed to providing innovative, quality care and education to a racially, culturally, developmentally & socio-economically diverse population of children between the ages of 6 weeks and 6 years old.  We believe that Trust is the foundation of any value; Empathy & Compassion are found naturally in children; and that Joy is an essential element to creating and maintaining an emotionally healthy life.  As a result these core values are the basis for the learning environment created through the UCCC curriculum.  We focus on the whole child during these early years because we believe what happens early in life lasts a lifetime.

Two for One - YPNWhat can attendees expect from the 9th Annual Fairy Tales Can Come True Concert?

We are excited to hold our 9th Annual Concert for the benefit of UCCC’s Tuition Assistance program.  It will be held Friday, August 22nd, 2014 starting at 6:30pm. Because of our wonderful partnership with the Regional Business Council Young Professional Network in the past, we’d like to offer special pricing for YPN members. YPN members are eligible to purchase two tickets for $150 (Buy one, get one free). The evening will begin with a cocktail and passed Hors d’oeuvres reception followed by a concert by members of the St Louis Sympathy and will conclude with a dessert reception and more networking.  Attendees will be able to hear details and information about the UCCC program and mission. The artists performing include Melissa Brooks, Ruth Price and the Arianna String Quartet.

Can you talk about what the Lume Institute is, and how this approach is different from a traditional childcare center?

Lume Institute evolved from the values & methodologies developed by University City Children’s Center.  LUME Institute offers systemic & comprehensive approaches to early Childhood education.  Lume is dedicated to promoting innovative thinking, exploration, and knowledge sharing, while continuing to develop strategies that deepen the understanding of how children learn and grow.  The mission of LUME is to replicate the UCCC model by introducing teachers, administrators, families and other stakeholders to the integrative UCCC program that is transforming early childhood education and obtaining dynamic results.

How can YPN members get involved with and make a difference in childcare in St. Louis? Are there any volunteer opportunities or other ways to become engaged with UCCC?

UCCC is always looking for professionals interested in serving as volunteers at the center.  There are opportunities to volunteer with the children in the classrooms, in an administrative capacity as well as in several beautification projects held throughout the year on the campus.  We are also always interested in speaking to individuals interested in Board Service.  We periodically have openings for Board Members and seek qualified and interested candidates.

 

For more information about the UCCC and the Lume Institute or to purchase tickets for the concert, visit www.uccc.org. If you are interested in volunteering or serving on the Board, please contact Kris Schwetye at kschwetye@uccc.org or Deanna Carroll at deanna.corroll.icj7@statefarm.com.

The YPN works to provide its members with access to unique social experiences, volunteer opportunities and networking with other young professionals in the region. If you would like to feature your organization or an event on the YPN blog, please email rbccoordinator@stlrbc.org.

YPN Event Recap: Biotech and Beyond – Monsanto Through Your Eyes

20140731_154605Members of the Regional Business Council’s Young Professionals Network were given an exclusive opportunity to get a behind the scenes tour of agricultural and biotechnology leader Monsanto Company‘s labs, greenhouses and chemical production facilities, as well as hear a presentation on topics including industry technologies such as plant breeding, demystifying myths about the company, and how Monsanto is committed to shaping the future of agriculture.

This event was sponsored in part by the Monsanto Young Professionals Network, a group of Monsanto employees that collaborates to do community service, networking events, and professional development outside of the workplace.

The tour and presentation ended in the Monsanto main lobby where attendees  enjoyed a networking reception with members of the RBC YPN, Monsanto YPN, BMO Harris Young Professionals as well as senior leaders of RBC and Monsanto.


We were able to catch up with two of the organizers of this event that are helping to connect Monsanto young professionals to the community, as well as help shed any confusion about the global vision of Monsanto: Raegan Johnson, Environmental Safety & Health Project Manager, and coordinator for the Monsanto Young Professionals group, and Linda Jing, Director, Global Breeding Strategy & Operations. Here’s what they had to say about how Monsanto is making a difference in the agribusiness industry and in local communities:

Monsanto is obviously one of the region’s largest and most visible corporations. For a company with thousands of employees, personal development and growth must be a key to success. What exactly is the Monsanto Young Professionals Network and what does it do?

20140731_172237Johnson: The Monsanto Young Professionals Network was launched in 2012, and currently has more than 700 members within St. Louis. It is one of nine diversity networks at Monsanto. The network’s purpose is to connect young professionals—both in age and at heart—to Monsanto’s global business, leadership opportunities, the community, and their peers.

How is the MYPN benefiting young professionals in your company and other companies in the region? What are they doing to make an impact in the community?

Johnson: The network provides unique professional, personal and networking opportunities individuals might not otherwise experience.  For the past three years, we have hosted a Career Expo on campus. All company functions and diversity networks are represented during the event. Hundreds of employees attend, network, and learn more about different facets of the company.

In addition to professional development, our network is adamant about connecting to the communities where we live and work. Almost monthly, we host a service project.  The list of projects is diverse—from participation in World Food Day and community gardening to partnerships with the St. Louis Arc and the Queen of Peace Center.

By providing a range of opportunities, we are able to address the diverse interests of our network members and connect with a variety of organizations.  The hope is that beyond the network’s projects, individuals will get more involved in their community through volunteerism.

What are three things that Monsanto is doing to change the way we think about biotech in our society? How is Monsanto demystifying the preconceived ideas of GMOs and plant breeding?

Jing: 1) We are committed to engaging in broad dialogue about our business with many stakeholders. The nearly 23,000 people who work at Monsanto have strong values that drive our business in agriculture, and we are dedicated to providing transparency about what we do.

2) We partner and collaborate with farmers and organizations around the world, like Conservation International, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative and the U.S. Agency for International Development. We believe in approaching global challenges like food security holistically and in collaboration with others to achieve the best solutions for today and tomorrow.

3) We strive to play a positive role in the communities where we work and live. The Monsanto Fund is the philanthropic arm of Monsanto Company.  The Monsanto Fund provides basic education support designed to improve education in farming communities around the world, including supporting schools, libraries, science centers, farmer training programs and academic programs that enrich or supplement school programs.

20140731_164737

Monsanto plays a large role in the overall production of much of the world’s food supply. Are foods or crops that are produced through biotechnology (or GMOs) safe to consume? Are there any known long-term health effects of crops with GMOS?

Jing: GMO foods or crops that are de-regulated by government agencies for commercialization are safe to consume. Over 600 independent studies by scientists from around the world have resulted in broad consensus that GMO crops are as safe as any other crops.  Currently, only eight GM crops are available to farmers. These crops are: corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, alfalfa, sugar beets, papaya and summer squash. The vast majority of fresh food available in your produce aisle is not derived from GMOs. There is no known long-term health effect of GMO crops.


For more information about Monsanto, you can visit Discover.Monsanto.com to learn more, or submit your own question to the scientists and medical professionals at GMOAnswers.com.

Keep up to date with the latest news from the YPN by visiting our Facebook and LinkedIn pages!

 

Good News Tuesday – August 2014

 

Good News Tuesday

In our Good News Tuesday blog post each month, we highlight some of the accomplishments that members of our Young Professionals Network share with us.

This month, we’d like to offer congratulations to these members of the RBC/YPN community:


Achievements and Recognitions:

  • Adewale Soluade, Commerce Bank, passed the Certified Diversity Professional exam sponsored by the Institute for Diversity Certification with the highest score in the certification organization’s history! Click here to read the full press release.
  • Sheena Hamilton, Armstrong Teasdale, was quoted in the American Bar Association Journal for her expertise involving worker and labor communication. Read the full article here!
  • Raegan Johnson, Monsanto Company, was recently featured in the St. Louis American for her community outreach efforts and work as a project manager of Environmental Safety and Health at Monsanto. Click here to read the article! 
  • Zundra Bryant, MasterCard, was inducted into the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) Academy of Leaders, Class of 2014! Read the YWCA Newsletter and check out Zundra’s induction photo here!
  • Ninoska Clarkin, Edward Jones and SiSi Beltran, Build-A-Bear Workshop were announced as recipients of the St. Louis Business Journal’s 2014 class of  Diverse Leaders for their promotion of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Both Ninoska and SiSi are strong leaders in the United Way Multicultural Leadership Society, the only one of it’s kind throughout the United States. Read the full list of award recipients here!
  • Henry Johnson, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, was recently awarded the 2014 Young Leaders Award from the St. Louis American Foundation. Henry also completed the Consortium for Leadership Development, a one year leadership program sponsored by Harris Stowe State University.
  • Charles Brown, Atelier3 Design, was appointed by Mayor Slay to the Civil Rights Enforcement Agency commissioned by the City of St. Louis to monitor and investigate fair housing discrimination complains, equal employment discrimination and assist City departments with affirmatively furthering fair housing. He also received the Urban League Young Professionals 2014 Distinguished Young Professionals Award in the area of Civic Engagement and Social Justice Empowerment.
  • Cory Clines, Centene, was recently promoted from Talent Acquisition Specialist to Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist. Congratulations, Cory!
  • Kewana Regans, UMB Bank, organized a very successful food and clothing drive for local charity Kingdom House. The drive sponsored by UMB raised over $700 in cash donations and over $2,000 in food donations. Awesome job, Kewana!

We’d love for you to be part of Good News Tuesday, too. Tell us about your new promotion, if you landed a brand new position or if you launched another company. You can even announce your new baby, your volunteer efforts or your speaking engagements. Simply email the news to ypn@stlrbc.org by the last Tuesday of the month, and we’ll consider it for publication. Here’s a tentative schedule:

  • News received by August 27 is published September 3.
  • News received by September 24 is published October 1.

Be sure to include full information, including pertinent names, titles, companies/organizations and contact information.

We’re proud of how hard our YPN members work to make St. Louis a better place to thrive, and we’re excited to sound the trumpets in congratulations. Join me in offering best wishes to this month’s YPN members, and don’t forget to share your own good news by emailing ypn@stlrbc.org!

Kathy

What Can Leadership 100 Do For You and Your Career?

In 2008, a small group of motivated and talented St. Louis college graduates of the RBC’s Mentor Network program were looking for a way to get involved with the city’s diverse network of business and community leaders. While making connections and exchanging business cards was one important piece to this idea of deliberate involvement, to attract and retain young talent in the region would demand more than building strictly professional relationships. The Young Professionals Network was hence established to provide a forum for young leaders in the St. Louis community to engage with each other socially, as well as having a shared passion for making the community they work in a better  place to live. These leaders believed that providing young professionals in St. Louis with unique opportunities for networking, professional development and community involvement would only enhance the business and social climate in the region.

Today, members have the opportunity to attend social, philanthropic, cultural and professional development opportunities throughout the year. Some of St. Louis’ most creative minds are part of the RBC’s Young Professionals Network Leadership 100, a group of 100 upper-echelon leaders that not only commit to being positive representatives of their companies, but of the St. Louis region and the YPN brand. Leadership 100 members receive numerous benefits of membership, including targeted leadership development opportunities, special invitations to events with major business and civic leaders and elected officials, as well as connections to non-profit boards of local organizations doing good for the community.

We asked a few of our Leadership 100 members to share their thoughts on what the program has done for them, not only from a professional standpoint, but from a personal one as well. Here’s what they had to say:

Sarajeni Hammond is the Talent Management Leader of Global Supply Chain for Monsanto. As active member of the YPN Leadership 100, she has taken full advantage of the leadership group’s networking possibilities.

“Because of the Young Professionals Network, I have participated in unique professional development opportunities throughout the year, like a conversation with the President at Webster University that encouraged me to step up and go for the next challenge in my professional life by leaving a very good job and joining Monsanto.  In addition, I was named to the FOCUS St. Louis board where I am proud to support the development of others.”

Jason Pierce, an architect for HOK, echoes Hammond’s thoughts on getting involved outside of your own personal network.

“The YPN Leadership 100 will give you the necessary push to get your head out of your computer monitor and your smartphone and get out there in the community and learn all you can about other industries and help you build your network.  Most, if not all of us, are really in the people business, and the only way to grow is become better at interacting and connecting with others.  YPN has the resources and opportunities to make this help you kick start your professional connectivity.”

SiSi Beltrán Martí works at Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. as the Senior Manager of International Bear Marketing. For SiSi, the variety of programming and exposure to different cultural and professional institutions are what drives her to stay committed to this wonderful program. She encourages young leaders:

“Don’t wait!  YPN Leadership 100 is an incredible gateway and can only help you – both in your professional development as well as your civic involvement. I’ve formed strong relationship with other members that have allowed us to collaborate on different projects to help our community.”

To apply for this year’s cohort of the YPN Leadership 100, click here.

For more information about the Young Professionals Network, click here.

Managing in the Middle—A YPN Professional Development Opportunity with Alesia Latson

As part of a collaborated effort between the Regional Business Council’s Young Professionals Network and the St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative to provide unique professional development opportunities to its members, a group of over 50  YPN members, Leadership 100 members and SLBDI Fellows Alumni sat down for an engaging meeting on the topic of managing up to superiors and managing down to those you are in charge of. The event was hosted by RubinBrown, LLC in Clayton on Friday, June 27, 2014.

alesia_photoAlesia Latson, Senior Consultant and Facilitator of The Personal Brand Company, was the guest speaker for the event. Latson has held management and organizational development positions in financial services, healthcare and government industries and has been studying the application of leadership skills for over 17 years. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA and is a return guest speaker of the YPN and SLBDI.

She facilitated the discussion by delivering insight on the topics of the art of active listening and how it can truly enhance both professional and personal relationships, how to deal with confrontation and disagreement from superiors, and an in-depth approach providing a step-by-step method of communicating both positive and constructive feedback to managers and coworkers.
Managing in the Middle

Latson used specific and direct examples for how to utilize these concepts within a professional workplace. She noted that although it’s encouraging to hear from your manager that “You’re doing a great job,” not sharing the impact of the behavior on the organization being commended or citing concrete observations about why the job being done is great can ultimately be a detriment to the work level and productivity of a worker. Participants were broken up into small groups after covering each subject to exercise improved listening techniques and practice administering feedback to a supervisor or coworker. The session concluded after participants shared with the group what they had learned and how some of the challenges they might see in putting these skills into practice.

Be sure to look for more professional development opportunities like this, as well as community service connections, civic/cultural events and more in the YPN monthly newsletter and on our Facebook events page. For a brief overview of the topics covered in the session, click here. For more information on Alesia Latson and her studies of the science of leadership and development, click here.