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Nikki Doughty is Chief Operating Officer of City Academy, an independent school in the city of St. Louis that offers scholarship support to 100% of its students. Nikki served as Director of Placement and Alumni Relations and Director of Admissions at the school from 2005 – 2016. Nikki serves as a Board of Trustee for Hawthorn Foundation. Additionally, Nikki serves on the following boards or committees: ISACS Equity and Justice, Women’s Society of Washington University, and Magdalene House. Nikki volunteers her time with the Changing Prisms program at Great Circle. In 2016, Nikki was recognized as a “40 Under 40” by the St. Louis Business Journal. Doughty received her bachelor degree from University of Missouri – St. Louis 2002. She earned her Master in International Relations from Webster University 2005 and her Master of Social Work degree from the Brown School in 2014.
Edes Powell Gilbert began her teaching career in the public elementary schools of Amherst, Massachusetts, moving into independent education through a variety of teaching and administrative positions in schools in the Boston area. She served as Headmistress of Mary Institute, an all-girls’ school in St Louis, for 7 years and was then Head of School at The Spence School in New York City for 15 years. Some of her volunteer work included serving on the Board of Lesley University, including a 4-year term as President; serving on the New York Advisory Board of Teach for America for 10 years; and fulfilling leadership roles in several professional, educational associations. Edes served as Acting President of Independent Education Services and was one of the founders of Resource Group 175, an educational consulting firm, of which she was President for 5 years and to which she still belongs. Edes currently serves on the Board of MICDS and Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
Sara Goellner has been employed with World Wide Technology for almost two decades, leading different teams and enterprise-wide initiatives. World Wide Technology began as a small technology start up and now is a global systems integrator for Fortune 100 clients. Sara’s roles have focused on establishing the company as a thought leader in technology and innovation. She has served in positions including Director of IT Governance, Senior Business Development and Marketing Manager, and now Chief of Staff to the CEO. Sara received her undergraduate degree and MBA from Washington University in St Louis.
Jason Hall is civic entrepreneur who is currently forming an innovation-focused economic development collaborative. Prior to being asked to create and lead his latest venture, he was Vice-President of Entrepreneurship & Innovation with the St. Louis Regional Chamber, a member of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s cabinet leading economic development, and the founder of the current Missouri Technology Corporation, a public-private partnership that leads Missouri's first comprehensive statewide entrepreneurship programs. Jason began his career in the St. Louis office of Bryan Cave LLP, one of the largest global law firms, where he served clients across a range of technology sectors in high-stakes matters. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Bates College and Vanderbilt University Law School. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Missouri Technology Corporation, and serves on the boards of Tarlton Corporation, Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls, Arts & Education Council, Invest Midwest, and the Missouri Biotechnology Association. Jason has been recognized as a “40 Under 40” by the St. Louis Business Journal; 100 St. Louisans You Should Know to Succeed in Business by Small Business Monthly; an “Up and Coming Lawyer” by Missouri Lawyers Weekly; and was in the inaugural class of 35 “STL Innovators” selected by Alive Magazine. In 2017, the St. Louis County NAACP selected Jason to receive their Legacy Award.
Kathryn Love Board Chair, is a partner in the business law section of Bryan Cave LLP. She is the co-Leader of the firm’s Higher Education Team, and she works primarily on transactions and with non-profits, entrepreneurs and growth-oriented businesses. She has served on the Boards of Directors of The Magic House - St. Louis Children's Museum (Chair 2010-12), Forsyth School (Independent school PreK-grade 6), Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, Pedal the Cause and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. In 2003, Kathryn was recognized as a “40 Under 40” by the St. Louis Business Journal. Kathryn attended a girls’ school from first through twelfth grade and is a graduate of Princeton University and Hastings College of Law.
Chris Motley is Founder and CEO of Better Weekdays, the first inbound recruiting platform that powers brand-driven campus hiring. Its flagship application, The Whether, matches top talent with personalized career pathways and reduces college hiring cost. Prior to Better Weekdays, Chris spent 6 years as an EVP & Director at 1888 Mills, a global textile manufacturer, where he led its expansion into Ghana, Africa and headed its Apparel Division. Previously, Chris spent 4 years at Goldman Sachs as a Commodities and Interest Rate Products trader. He is a graduate of Columbia University with a B.A. in History and the Kellogg School of Management with an MBA, concentrating in Entrepreneurship. Chris resides in St. Louis and is actively civically and within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. He is a member of Pipeline, Entrepreneurs Organization Accelerator, and Young Entrepreneur Council, invite only organizations that provide access to a national network of experts in technology entrepreneurship. Chris was recognized the Top 35 under 35 business leaders by Chicago Scholars, and was recently awarded the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.
Jessica Portis is a Partner and leads the Not-for-Profit Investments Business for Mercer. Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Jessica is responsible for the development and delivery of investment related services for our non-profit client base in the US. Prior to taking this role, Jessica served as a consultant where she was responsible for advising non-profit clients on asset allocation design, investment manager selection, and strategy implementation. Prior to joining Mercer, Jessica was with Summit Strategies Group for 15 years serving in a number of capacities. Most recently, she was the Director of Consulting and also served as a lead investment consultant for the firm. As a member of the investment consulting team for nearly a decade, Jess was actively involved in the daily management and administration of client relationships. Her clients included non-profits, corporations, and public pension funds. Before joining the consulting team, she was a valued member of the firm’s Manager Research group, where she was responsible for conducting manager due diligence for both domestic and international equity asset classes. Jessica received her BS in Accounting with honors from the University of Missouri–St. Louis, and she is a CFA charterholder. She is a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of St. Louis. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Visiting Nurses Association. Jessica was previously the chair of the Investment and Audit Committee for the St. Louis Area Foodbank and served on their Board of Directors for six years.
Arvetta Powell is the Director of Diversity and Associate Experience for Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. She has more than 18 years of experience in retail Human Resources. She is responsible for the development, implementation and management of the company wide diversity initiatives. This includes the recruiting and development strategy to achieve the company’s goals of quality diverse talent at all levels within the organization. Prior to joining Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc., Arvetta was a Senior Human Resources Director for Walmart Stores, Inc., where she led the Real Estate Division’s long term strategic human capital plan. Under her leadership, the division’s associate engagement scores increased four years in a row. As Regional Personnel Manager for the SAM’S Club division, she was named RPM of the year. She held several other roles within the company such as Human Resources Director, Senior Manager of Recruiting and Recruiter. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Webster University. She is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management, the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources, St. Louis Chapter. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.
John S. Ross is CEO of Summit Real Estate and Vice Chairman- St. Louis of Colliers International. Summit is a vertically integrated commercial real estate investment, development and management company while Colliers is a leading global commercial real estate services company. Currently, John serves on the Board of Directors of Parkside Bank & Trust, which he helped found. His philanthropic interests are centered on children and education. He has been on the Board of Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls since its founding and helped oversee the acquisition and renovation of the current 60,000 square foot school building. He has previously served as President and Chair of the Grounds Committee of the Churchill Center & School, a nationally recognized school for children with learning differences, where he helped oversee the development of a 40,000 square foot new school on 12 acres, was on the Board of The Magic House during its expansion, and provides real estate consulting advice and guidance for numerous not for profit organizations.
Tim Rowbottom AIA, LEED AP, NCARB leads Lawrence Group’s higher education practice. Tim joined Lawrence Group in 2003. Since joining the firm, he has focused on academic projects encompassing early childhood programs through complex higher education platforms. He serves as a board member at the Forsyth School and is a past member of the board of Confluence Academy, a charter school in St. Louis. Tim has managed over $350,000M in academic projects encompassing programs ranging from 2,500 s.f. to over 250,000 s.f. He recently completed the design for renovation of Grand Center Arts Academy, a 120,000 s.f. Charter School for the Arts. Tim is currently directing the efforts to restore the 1904 Academic Hall at Southeast Missouri State University and is leading the design of John Burroughs School Performing Arts & Athletic Center.