YWCA Metro St. Louis

Meet The 2013 Leaders of Distinction






Marilyn Bush has worked at Bank of America for 29 years. Currently, she serves as the Senior Vice President responsible for Public Sector Banking for a six state region.
Marilyn is extremely involved in the Greater St. Louis Community. Currently, she serves as the Women's Leadership Society Chair. Through this role, Marilyn leads the initiative of 3,000 women who raise over $6.5 million dollars for United Way.

Marilyn has been an active supporter of United Way for almost 30 years and a member of the Women's Leadership Society Cabinet for 5 years. Marilyn has held the roles of Market Champion, Financial Market Chair, de Tocqueville Society Chair and now her current role of Women's Leadership Society Chair.

Marilyn also serves on the board of the Hawthorn Foundation, which raises funds to support economic development in the state of Missouri. In this organization, Marilyn serves as Membership Committee Chair and Chair-Elect. 



After graduating from Murray State University with a B.S. degree in Accounting, Lisa Nichols started her career working in several business units of McDonnell Douglas and later became an Account Executive at Ceridian. From there, she, along with her husband Greg, co‐founded their first company that specialized in software development. In May of 1994, the software development company became a stepping stone to cofounding their current company, Technology Partners, Inc., a WomenBusiness Enterprise IT staffing and solutions firm that services clients nationwide.

 Lisa has created a company that is extremely involved in service projects, community involvement, and philanthropy. She has helped to create a workplace that leaves employees feeling valued, respected, and inspired. Lisa’s purpose in life is to make a tangible as well as an intangible impact on the people she encounters. There is no question about the truth in this statement as Lisa leaves her mark on the world.




Vice President and Controller
Monsanto Company

Nicole Ringenberg is the Vice President and Controller for Monsanto Company.  She has more than 25 years of Monsanto experience.  During her tenure, Nicole has made significant contributions in terms of driving global financial process improvement, setting a high standard of commitment to compliance and internal controls, and driving business results by establishing effective strategic and operational partnerships with the global business teams.  Nicole’s breadth of experiences coupled with her commitment to people leadership, integrity and mentoring is a strong asset to the company

Prior to assuming her current role, Nicole served as Lead for Global Commercial Finance and Operations; Commercial Lead for the Asia Pacific Business based in Singapore; International Business Finance Lead; and General Auditor.  

Nicole earned a Bachelor’s Degree from University of Michigan and a Master’s Degree in International Business from the University of South Carolina.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Monsanto Fund, the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Zoo Association and the Women’s Leadership Forum Advisory Board of the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis.  She previously served on the Board of Directors of the
St. Louis YWCA.




Suzanne Sitherwood is the president and chief executive officer of The Laclede Group.  She joined Laclede in 2011.

Prior to joining Laclede, Suzanne was president of Atlanta Gas Light, Chattanooga Gas Light and Florida City Gas, natural gas subsidiaries of AGL Resources serving more than 1.6 million customers. She brings more than 30 years of expertise in engineering, interstate pipeline relationships, gas control and measurement and asset management to The Laclede Group. Suzanne believes that customer service, community service and employee engagement are always top priorities. 

Suzanne was recently named one of the “Most Influential Business Women” and “Who’s Who in Energy” by the St. Louis Business Journal. She currently sits on the boards of: St. Louis Regional Chamber, Civic Progress St. Louis, United Way of Greater St. Louis, American Gas Association, Southern Gas Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.




Gail Elizabeth Taylor is an award winning shopper marketing manager at Energizer Holdings Inc., a global leader in the dynamic business of providing power solutions with a full portfolio of products covering broad categories of household lighting, portable power and personal care products.  Mrs. Taylor is a creative and relentless problem solver, who is an accomplished team and consensus builder with a strong background in the development of customer marketing strategies, setting cross functional go-to-market priorities as well as driving customer insulation at top accounts such as Wal Mart, The Home Depot and Target. She has over fifteen years of experience in diverse leadership roles that include operations management, human resources and sales and marketing. 

Gail sits on the Board of Directors for the Professional Organization of Women, Inc. (POW). Taylor has been a lifetime member of the National Black MBA Association for 12 years and is a past recipient of the New Member of the Year and consecutive Member of the Year awards. She also has held roles as YWCA Board Member, and as a member of United Way of Greater St. Louis’s African American – Charmaine Chapman Society Cabinet. Gail is a graduate of the Focus Leadership St. Louis Program and the CORO Women in Leadership Program, a Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club young professional volunteer, a former leader in the Regional Chamber & Growth Association (RCGA) Young Professionals Talent group, and past president of the Wall Street Walkers Investment Club. Gail is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (28 years and counting).






Jane Eckert is a marketing professional with a lifetime of farm experience and a passion to help farms, ranches, and tourism professionals learn more about agritourism, and how to make their business profitable.

Jane is the founder and CEO of Eckert AgriMarketing, a full-service marketing and consulting firm that offers a variety of services to both the agriculture and tourism industries, helping them harvest the rewards of agritourism. As a public speaker and trainer, Jane has provided Keynote Presentations, Workshops, and Breakout Groups in 38 U.S. states and 8 Canadian Provinces. For the past seven years, Jane has led annual farm groups on international farm tours.

Jane has been featured in U.S.A. Today, Time and This Week in Agribusiness on RFD-TV and interviewed for hundreds of newspapers, magazines and radio shows throughout the country. Jane has been a featured columnist in two farm publications since 2002. In her speeches and workshops, she has helped thousands of tourism and ag professionals to see the financial benefits of promoting the niche product of agritourism.




gwen packnett
assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs
university of Missouri-st. louis


Dr. Packnett is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL). She was selected to participate in the very prestigious American Council on Education (A.C.E.) Fellows Program and is one of 50 college faculty and administrators chosen from national and international nominations each year. She spent the 2011-2012 academic year as an A.C.E. fellow intricately engaged in projects with top administrators from various institutions of higher education across the country.

 Dr. Packnett's civic activities and board involvements are numerous, including for the St. Louis Symphony, the United Negro College Fund, Missouri Historical Society and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.  She is a recipient of the FOCUS St. Louis Profile in Leadership and the Missouri Governor's Award for Performance Excellence in STEM Education.



Theresa has received numerous honors for her unique poverty reduction work. In 2013 she was honored as one of St. Louis Most Influential Women, and Humanitarian of the Year by Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Under Theresa’s leadership The Blessing Basket Project became the first and only nonprofit to win the Olin Cup business competition at Washington University. Theresa’s victory in that competition would go on to inspire a special competition just for social enterprises which still exists today. Theresa has been honored by FOCUS St. Louis, the World Trade Center St. Louis, the State of Illinois, as well as receiving the prestigious St. Louis Award. Theresa was also the inspiration and catalyst behind the St. Louis regions first ever Social Enterprise Day which was proclaimed by both St. Louis City and St. Louis County in 2011.

The organization has been featured in several national magazines and been the focus of hundreds of print, radio and television stories across the United States and around the world. Prior to founding The Blessing Basket Project Theresa was a journalist winning numerous honors including 9 Emmy awards throughout her 20+ year career. Theresa now uses her journalism skills to share the stories of determination, inspiration and joy of Blessing Basket Project Artisans from around the world reminding all of us one person can truly change the world.


Racial Justice





Sharon Harvey Davis is the Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for Ameren. She is the first Vice President for Diversity at Ameren and is responsible for diversity training, Employee Resource Groups, community partnerships, diversity recruitment, diversity communications and the Corporate Diversity Council. Sharon joined Ameren in September 2002 as Diversity Manager and was promoted to Diversity Director prior to her current position. Ameren’s diversity programs have received several awards including the 2013 Diversity Inc. Top 5 Utility Company Award, 2009 to 2012 Association of Diversity Council Top 25 Honors Award, 2009 - 2012 Top 100 Military-Friendly Employer by G.I. Jobs Magazine, Human Resource Management Association of Greater St. Louis Diversity Leader Award.  

Sharon Harvey Davis is extensively involved in the St. Louis community as a member of several organizations and serves on the board of directors of the National Coalition of Community and Justice as Vice-Chairman and Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation.