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!



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.

Meet the YPN Leadership 100: Matthew Nelson

Matthew Nelson with County Executive Dooley, former RBC Member Mark Burkhart and RBC Member Tony Thompson.

Some of the St. Louis region’s most creative minds are part of the RBC’s Young Professionals Network Leadership 100. But who are they and how are they helping shape a stronger St. Louis?

Today’s featured YPN Leadership 100 member is Matthew Nelson, IT security analyst at Express Scripts Inc.

 Learn more about Matthew in our Q&A below!

  1. You wear many hats. How would you introduce yourself to a new YPN member?

I like to keep introductions pretty simple. To a new YPN member, after I welcome them, I would say that I’m in IT and I’m involved with a few community organizations. I am more interested in getting to know a new fellow member than talking about myself.

  1. What do you enjoy about belonging to the YPN? 

Kathy Osborn, Steven Harris, and the YPN steering committee have done a fantastic job providing not only premier networking opportunities at unique venues, but also development opportunities that are critical for career growth.

  1. Describe a favorite project that you’re currently working on. 

I have recently taken on a new role in Digital Forensics and Incident Response at Express Scripts.  I am really enjoying learning the methodologies for incident response as well as techniques that hackers use to harm organizations and steal data.  It’s extremely technical and I’m spending a lot of my time getting up to speed.

  1. Why should someone base their business in St. Louis? 

While I’m not a business owner, I do recognize that St. Louis is a great town to live in.  I’ve visited bigger cities and prefer the wide-open feel of St. Louis, as opposed to the congested nature of other cities. St. Louis has great food and many options for entertainment.

  1. What are your first three stops when an out-of-town friend visits? 

The Saint Louis Zoo and Grant’s Farm are fabulous to visit during the day. The Delmar loop is my all-time favorite for people watching and hanging out at night.

  1. What’s one St. Louis tradition that everyone must experience? 

Everyone should take a trip to the top of the Arch at least once.

Join St. Louis Area Professionals to Help Fight Local Hunger

T.C SlaterThe St. Louis Area Foodbank is hosting Friends of the Foodbank, a Networking Happy Hour, on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 from 5:00-8:30 p.m.

We had the opportunity to discuss Friends of the Foodbank with YPN member T.C. Slater and learn about his involvement with the organization.

  • What is Friends of the Foodbank?

Friends of the Foodbank is an organization that provides a great way to volunteer your time in small increments to a very worthy cause – hunger relief.  This group partners with the St. Louis Area Foodbank staff to help distribute hunger awareness information at fun events, including networking gatherings, concerts and happy hours.

  • How do the Friends of the Foodbank assist local families?

Hunger can be addressed. We can make a difference. The organization helps spread the word locally, encouraging individuals to become more involved in the cause. Each “Friend” brings something different to the table. Engaging them in the conversation raises awareness which is the critical first step. Many of the “Friends” events have a small fundraising element.  One simple factoid to remember: The St. Louis Area Foodbank can provide four meals for a local family with each dollar donated.

  • What is a surprising fact that local residents don’t realize about the St. Louis Foodbank?

When you say “St. Louis Area Foodbank,” people might visualize a small food pantry or soup kitchen.  Residents don’t always understand the size of the organization and the volume of food distributed. We try to schedule events at the Foodbank, whenever possible, to provide an opportunity to see just how massive the issue of hunger is in our community and what we are doing to address it. The Foodbank distributes food and personal care items to more than 500 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other nonprofit programs in 26 area counties (14 in Missouri and 12 in Illinois). Last year alone, the Foodbank distributed 35 million pounds of food.

  • How can YPN members get involved?

We’d love to see everyone at our first networking happy hour and encourage YPN members to sign up for the Friends of the Foodbank email list. This will keep you up to date on events and ways to raise awareness in our community.  http://www.stlfoodbank.org/friends

  • Do you have anything more you would like to share with YPN members?

Each week, more than 57,000 people count on the Foodbank for assistance. Kids make up the largest percentage of those in need (nearly 40 percent).  With the school year coming to an end, many children who were receiving free or reduced breakfast/lunch options will have to find those meals elsewhere or simply go without. This is a great time to become involved with Friends of the Foodbank!

Click here for more information or to register for tonight’s event

Congratulations, Johnny Wang!

Johnny Wang_Stinson Leonard Street LLPYPN Leadership 100 member, Johnny Wang, recently joined Stinson Leonard Street LLP’s St. Louis office as partner. Stinson Leonard Street LLP provides sophisticated transactional and litigation legal services to clients ranging from individuals and privately held enterprises to national and international public companies. 

                                                                                                                                   Wang is a member of the firm’s Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Division . He represents companies, nonprofit organizations, and public entities across all employment areas. He advises employers on day-to-day workplace matters, helping clients avoid employment controversies. Drawing from his litigation experience, he helps clients manage legal entanglements.He has first chair jury and bench trial experience, and has handled appellate matters before the Missouri Supreme Court including ERISA litigation and union issues.

Wang presents frequently on employment law and workplace-related subjects, including diversity and inclusion efforts. He is involved in diversity programming locally and nationally. He also helps employers build productive, sustainable diversity and inclusion programs. .

He was recently named a 2013 Up & Coming Lawyer by Missouri Lawyers Weekly and he received the Diverse Business Leader Award from the St. Louis Business Journal. Wang is active as founder and chair of the Missouri Minority Counsel Program. He is president of the Asian-American Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis, which he co-founded in 2012. He also served as president of the Missouri Asian-American Bar Association in 2012.

Wang earned a law degree from Washington University School of Law in 2005 and a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2002.

Meet the YPN Leadership 100: Roberto Garcia

Robert Garcia, RBC YPN

Robert Garcia can tell you the story behind Budweiser’s new “bow tie” can.

Some of the St. Louis region’s most creative minds are part of the RBC’s Young Professionals Network Leadership 100. But who are they and how are they helping to shape a stronger St. Louis?

That’s what we’re addressing in our blog series, “Meet the YPN Leadership 100,” where we introduce you to members of our YPN community who are providing exceptional leadership, service, culture and innovation to our area.

Today’s featured YPN Leadership 100 member is Roberto Garcia, associate brand manager for Budweiser at Anheuser-Busch InBev. Roberto earned his undergraduate degree in economics from University of Notre Dame du Lac and his MBA in global business strategy from University of North Carolina-Charlotte. He has been involved with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis, the Latino Leadership Institute, the Michelob Ultra running team and other organizations.

Learn more about Roberto in our Q&A below! Continue reading

Meet the YPN Leadership 100: Nate Johnson

Nate Johnson

Nate Johnson will lead you to your perfect home in St. Louis.

Some of the St. Louis region’s most creative minds are part of the RBC’s Young Professionals Network Leadership 100. But who are they and how are they helping to shape a stronger St. Louis?

That’s what we’re addressing in our blog series, “Meet the YPN Leadership 100,” where we introduce you to members of our YPN community who are providing exceptional leadership, service, culture and innovation to our area.

Today’s featured YPN Leadership 100 member is Nate Johnson, president and broker of Real Estate Solutions, a full service residential real estate brokerage with a commitment to helping clients achieve their real estate goals. Nate earned his Missouri real estate license from the American School of Real Estate and has been a member of St. Louis Association of REALTORS since 1999, serving as president in 2011. He is involved with 100 Black Men of St. Louis, the St. Louis Crisis Nursery, Boys Hope/Girls Hope and other organizations.

Learn more about Nate in our Q&A below! Continue reading