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Young Leader awardees chosen

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Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012 12:05 am

This year’s class of Young Leaders includes a senior corporate counsel for a global IT firm with more than 2,200 employees and presence in 45 countries. Another member is the DBE/workforce development manager for the $750 million Mississippi River Bridge project.

Another is the founding executive director of a nonprofit after-school program that serves urban public school students. One member has a PhD as well as a JD and teaches political science and law at two area universities.

One is the first African-American president in the 130-year history of the St. Louis Association of Realtors, an organization of nearly 8,000 members. Yet another recently saved the life of one of his colleagues by performing CPR.

What do they all have in common? They are high-performing, young African-American professionals who have distinguished themselves in their professional field and are also giving back to the community.

This diverse group of 20 outstanding African-American professionals, age 40 and under, has been selected as the 2012 class of Young Leader award recipients. The awardees will be honored at the St. Louis American Foundation’s 2nd annual Salute to Young Leaders Networking Awards Reception, Thursday, February 23 in the Starlight Room at the Chase Park Plaza.

They will also be profiled in the February 23 edition of The St. Louis American and on

Kevin Powell, nationally-celebrated activist, writer and speaker, will be the host presenter of the awards.

The 2012 Young Leader awardees are:


Lamar Agard

Director, Risk Management

Solutia Inc.


Lashanda R. Barnes

Credit Analyst, Assistant Vice President



Stefan M. Bradley

Assoc. Professor of History and African American Studies

Saint Louis University


Tasha Pettis Bonds

Vice President

Retail Network Senior Analyst

PNC Bank


Charla M. Claypool


The Stolar Partnership LLP


Desiree S. Coleman

Associate, Major Gifts and Planning Giving

United Way of Greater St. Louis


Craig Glover

President & CEO

Central Counties Health Centers Inc.


Carmen R. Guynn

DBE / Workforce Development Manager

Mississippi River Bridge Project

Kwame Building Group


Harlan B. Hodge, MSW

Youth Development Professional

The American Youth Empowerment Network


Nate K. Johnson


Real Estate Solutions


Raegan Johnson

Communications Manager

Monsanto Company


Kenya M. Leonard

Litigation Paralegal

Pitzer Snodgrass, PC


Kendra Neely-Martin, MA

Professional Sales Specialist-Medical Care



Richard T. Middleton, IV, Ph.D., JD

Assoc. Professor of Political Science and Pre-Law Advisor, Univ. of Missouri-St. Louis

Adjunct Professor of Law, Saint Louis Univ. School of Law


Serena Muhammad

Founding Executive Director

America SCORES St. Louis


Frederick J. Riley

Executive Director of Community Services & Government Affairs

YMCA of Southwest Illinois


Amber D. Simpson

Vice President & Manager

National Multicultural Markets, Community Affairs,

U.S. Bank


Oluchi Lisa Uwah, MBA

Field Perspective Consultant, AVP

Business Development Group

Wells Fargo Advisors


Michael T. Whitley

Director of Development & Alumni Relations

Missouri State University


Ronda F. Williams

Senior Corporate Counsel

Savvis, Inc.


More than 100 Young Leader nominations, representing varied professionals in the private, public and non-profit sectors throughout the region, were received for the 2012 event. A committee of their peers (seven local African-American young professionals) selected the 20 awardees.

According to St. Louis American Foundation President Donald M. Suggs, these young leaders have demonstrated a deep commitment to making a positive impact in our community by helping to serve others.

“These highly-motivated young people are indispensable to the growth of the region as a more attractive place to live and work,” Suggs said. “We are celebrating their dedication to excellence in both their professional work and community involvement.”

Tickets for the St. Louis American Foundation’s Salute to Young Leaders Networking Awards Reception, presented by Emerson, are $25 each and can be ordered though, by calling 314-533-8000 or emailing The recognition event will be held from 5:30-7:30, Thursday, February 23 and will include complimentary beer and wine, hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar for premium drinks.

Partner sponsors for the Salute to Young Leaders Networking Awards Reception are Ameren Missouri, Edward Jones, PNC Bank and St. Louis Community College.

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