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 If you are interested in volunteering or serving on the Board, please contact Kris Schwetye at or Deanna Carroll at

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


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.


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 to learn more, or submit your own question to the scientists and medical professionals at

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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 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!