Black women Catholic Charity

According to a Harvard 360 review from 2019, women – particularly women of color – are underrepresented in senior leadership roles, with only 29% of such positions held by women worldwide. 

At Catholic Charities of St. Louis, human resources departments for its three largest agencies are led by African-American women.  

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Ritter Rhea Irvin

Rhea Irvin is director of human resources at Cardinal Ritter Senior Services, South St. Louis County’s largest senior independent and assisted living nonprofit community. Irvin has more than 25 years of HR experience and serves as an adjunct professor at Webster University, teaching graduate and undergraduate HR courses. 

Anitra Lee-Cole is senior director of human resources at St. Patrick Center. Located in Downtown St. Louis, St. Patrick Center assists approximately 3,700 individuals and families who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, each year. Lee-Cole is a dual-certified HR professional with more than 13 years of related experience.

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Anitra Lee Cole

Cameshia Covington is director of human resources at Marygrove. Covington has more than 20 years of management experience overseeing operations/personnel. Located in Florissant, Marygrove is one of the largest youth therapeutic residential treatment programs, providing shelter, care and mental health services for children who have experienced significant trauma.

“Rhea, Anitra and Cameshia add a wealth of professionalism to their respective agencies and to our organization as a whole,” said Catholic Charities of St. Louis President Theresa E. Ruzicka. “They are also leaders in Catholic Charities’ focus on increasing diversity, equity and inclusion, especially in developing more diverse leadership teams.”

More than 1,400 people are employed by Catholic Charities of St. Louis, a federation of eight social services agencies that impact the lives of about 100,000 people annually within the City of St. Louis and 10 counties within the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

For more information, including employment opportunities, visit

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