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!



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.


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.

Good News Tuesday

GoodIn 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 congratulate these members of the RBC/YPN community:

New Jobs

  • Todd Stadnik, Compliance Consultant, Wells Fargo Advisors
  • Eydi Cavalieri Arriojas, Human Resources Coordinator, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals
  • Tasha Turner, Senior Analytical Chemist, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals

We’re proud of how hard our YPN members work to make St. Louis a better place to thrive. Join us in offering best wishes to this month’s YPN members.

We’d love for you to be part of Good News Tuesday, too. Tell us when you’ve been promoted, if you’ve landed a brand new position or if you’ve 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. Be sure to include full information, including pertinent names, titles, companies/organizations and contact information.

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.

10 Pieces of Advice for Graduates — and for Everybody

Tony Thompson, RBC

Tony Thompson receives honors after addressing Maryville University’s graduating class.

Regional Business Council leaders find wisdom in so many of their experiences. RBC member Tony Thompson, president and CEO of Kwame Building Group, recently shared some things he’s learned over the years with the graduates of Maryville University at their commencement exercises.

Tony tailored his remarks to the grads, but we think his advice applies to plenty of other life situations, too. Below, read Tony’s top ten pieces of advice. Continue reading