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New Leaders Council

2014 Fellows

Scott Bernstein, Director of Operations, Capital Innovators

 Scott Bernstein Scott Bernstein is currently the Director of Operations at Capital Innovators, a St. Louis based venture capital firm and business accelerator program specializing in early stage technology companies. At Capital Innovators, Scott manages operations and cultivates relationships with business incubators, universities, strategic partners and entrepreneurs both domestically and abroad. Scott is passionate about contributing to economic development and job creation in the St. Louis area, and is positioned to help by providing promising new companies with funding and support necessary to grow a business.

Scott’s diverse background also includes roles such as Director of Marketplace Strategy for Coolfire Solutions, a creative development studio; Program Manager for Omnium LLC, a technology forward hedge fund administrator; and Portfolio Analyst for MainStreet Advisors, a boutique investment advisory firm. Scott holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a BA in Economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Outside of work, Scott serves as Treasurer and Board member of the Friends of Arch Grants, President of the University of Chicago Booth Alumni Club of St. Louis, and Council Member for the Young Friends of the Missouri Botanical Gardens. A Chicago transplant, Scott relocated in June 2012 to the St. Louis neighborhood of Tower Grove South where he resides with his wife, Emily, and dog, Charlotte.

 Brian Flynn, Attorney, Flynn, Guymon, & Garavalia

I am an Indiana Hoosier fan, St. Louis Cardinals fan, and fan of all things from Belleville. I was born and raised in Belleville, IL which is 25 minutes from downtown St. Louis. I am a 2007 graduate of Indiana University and a 2010 graduate of St. Louis University’s School of Law. Upon graduation, I worked full time as a public defender in St. Clair County representing juveniles in delinquency proceedings as well as being appointed counsel in misdemeanor and felony cases. I entered private practice in August 2011 with a general practice firm where I concentrate on municipal law, business law and criminal law.

 Andrew Heaslet, Alternative Transportation Coordinator, Washington University in St. Louis

 Andrew Heaslet Andy Heaslet is a resident of St Louis, MO and a graduate of Butler University. The Alternative Transportation Coordinator at Washington University, Heaslet helps people learn to get to and around campus without the need of a personal car. He comes to this work following three years as the Owner and General Manager of Griffin Delivery, the first of several bike-based restaurant delivery services in the region.

Heaslet spent three years as the Director of the St Louis based Peace Economy Project, advocating for alternatives to the Military Industrial Complex. He was inspired to pursue this work as a Rural Economic Development volunteer in Peace Corps Paraguay where he worked to organize community groups and cooperatives, taught computer literacy, and drank lots of yerba mate.

As a youth, Heaslet was awarded his Eagle Scout for starting a recycling program at his high school and was later awarded the Vigil Honor within scouting’s elite Order of the Arrow. A former mascot for his college alma mater as well as a minor league hockey team in Indianapolis, Andy still seeks to bring humor and positivity to his community. In his free time, Heaslet can be found exploring his city by bus and bicycle! 

 Marius Johnson, Coordinator for Community Based Studies, Better Together

Marius Johnson currently serves as Coordinator for Community Based Studies for Better Together, a grassroots project of the Missouri Council for a Better Economy. With a strong commitment to civic improvement and social change, Marius has spent the past seven years working for progressive campaigns and not-for-profit organizations. He began his career in his hometown of Kansas City, working on Mike Sanders’ successful run for County Executive. In 2008, Marius served as a field organizer for Obama for America. In just a four-month span, Marius developed and implemented a plan to make contact with more than 50,000 voters. He also recruited and trained fifteen team leaders and more than 100 volunteers, preparing them for meaningful fieldwork.

In 2010, Marius joined the Organizing for America team as Regional Field Director. In this role, he created and carried out a detailed field plan, managed a broad GOTV effort, and established relationships with key elected officials and community leaders.

Before joining Better Together, Marius served as the Community Programs Coordinator for Beyond Housing, a not-for-profit organization providing ongoing support to low-income families. At Beyond Housing, Marius coordinated a yearlong health and wellness program for 170+ participants, assisted in grant writing to secure funds for health-related programming, and implemented a number of community engagement initiatives, among other achievements.

Marius majored in Political Science at Washington University. In addition to his educational and career achievements, Marius is involved in the community. He is the Politics and Policy Committee Chair for the Young Democrats of Greater St. Louis and is an advisor to the Alpha Iota Chapter of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. Marius is an Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America.

 Kyle Juvers, Deputy Director of Business Services, Missouri Secretary of State

Kyle Juvers serves as the Deputy Director of Business Services in the Office of the Missouri Secretary of State and is a Capital Fellow at the University of Missouri’s Truman School of Public Affairs, pursuing an MPA.

Kyle oversees Secretary of State Jason Kander’s Business Outreach Office, an initiative Kander put in place on day one of his administration to help entrepreneurs and small business owners navigate the registration and licensing processes in state government. Additionally, Kyle manages the staff and activities at the Secretary of State’s three branch offices in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield.

Prior to his work in Jefferson City, Kyle was the COO and Deputy Treasurer of Kander’s campaign, managing the day-to-day operations of a $1.6 million statewide race and filing financial reports in compliance with Missouri law. The bulk of Kyle’s campaign experience is in grassroots organizing, having served as the Get Out The Vote Director for Kansas City Mayor Sly James, field director on a DCCC targeted Red-to-Blue congressional race, regional field director in St. Louis city and St. Louis County for Organizing for America, and field organizer for President Obama’s 2008 campaign.

Kyle is a proud Illini, having graduated from the University of Illinois, double majoring in communication and political science.

 Kelly Kaufmann, Manager of Project Management Office, St Anthony’s Medical Center

Kelly Kaufmann has been exposed to entrepreneurship and service her entire life via a myriad of family businesses and a progressive non-profit organization formed by her grandparents 50 years ago for developmentally disabled individuals. Kelly served on this board for several years, participated in progressive political campaigns and organizations in Chicago, and formed a religious mentorship and support group in Chicago before moving to St Louis in 2013.

Kelly graduated from the University of Illinois in 2004 with a Bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems. After consulting on technical projects for several years with Hitachi Consulting, she focused on overseeing Health Care Reform projects at BlueCross BlueShield in Chicago. She now is setting up and running the I.T. Project Management Office at a local hospital in St Louis. Kelly has a passion for providing support to struggling individuals, for supporting leaders and organizations that will help all types of people thrive, and for fostering awareness and respect of people’s differences.

 Mark Keaney, Attorney, Bryan Cave LLP

Mark Keaney is an attorney with the law firm Bryan Cave LLP in St. Louis, Missouri. Licensed to practice law in Missouri and Illinois, Mark represents a variety of clients in complex and simple commercial lawsuits involving business tort, contract, real property, and telecommuncations law. Additionally, Mark has developed a pro-bono practice representing abused women in order of protection proceedings, minor children in guardian ad litem contests, and prisoners in habeas corpus actions. Mark graduated from St. Louis University School of Law in 2012 where he focused his studies on International and Comparative Law and Civil Litigation.

Prior to attending law school, Mark taught Social Studies to eighth graders as a Teach America Corp Member (’07) in Memphis, Tennessee. Between teaching and attending law school, Mark traveled to Ghana to teach at an orphanage for the summer. Moved by the abject poverty and lack of educational resources available to the children, Mark and a team of local volunteers created a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, Children of Africa Fund for Social Mobility, to build a new school and dormitories for the orphanage. Today, the charity has funded the construction of ten new classrooms, a library, and has provided critical educational and medical resources for the children.

Mark is a native of St. Louis and a passionate supporter of Celtic Football Club and The Ohio State University.

 Miriam Keller, Sustainability Assistant & Natural Resources Coordinator, City of St. Louis

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Miriam came to St. Louis to study architecture and urban design at Washington University in St. Louis. It was through her studies in this program that she developed a strong passion for and dedication to community and economic development in legacy cities, and she now seeks to invest her career in this work.

Following her graduation, Miriam served as a Fellow in the Administration at Washington University where she assisted Hank Webber, the Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration, on a variety of projects related to campus development, off campus real estate, community planning and economic development.

Miriam currently serves as the Sustainability Assistant and Natural Resources Coordinator in the Mayor’s Office, where she manages the City’s Sustainable Neighborhood Initiative and advances joint natural resources projects of the City of St. Louis, the Missouri Department of Conservation, and the Missouri Botanical Garden. She also coordinates the Sustainable Land Lab, a joint initiative of Washington University’s Office of Sustainability and the City of St. Louis that seeks to generate and test creative ideas for the use of vacant land. In a volunteer capacity, Miriam serves on the board of Invest STL and on the Rise Young Professionals Board.

 Megan Klenke-Isgriggs, Director of Wellness Initiatives, Child Care Aware of MO

Megan Klenke-Isgriggs is happy to be back in her native state of Missouri from Chicago, Illinois where she was a foundational staff person for Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) “Let’s Move!” campaign – First Lady Michelle Obama’s child obesity prevention initiative. At CPS Megan led the effort to adopt a new Local School Wellness Policy for the district, which was adopted in the fall of 2012. Megan has her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from University of Missouri-Columbia and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Chicago, focusing on social policy and community level interventions. Megan began her career as a service coordinator for tenants in New York City supportive housing and during her time in Chicago established Illinois’ first in-school food pantry program.

Throughout her career she has been dedicated to ensuring health-promoting community environments through education, participatory advocacy and effective partnerships. In her current role as Director of Wellness Initiatives for Child Care Aware® of Missouri she effectively launched the state’s “Let’s Move!” initiative for early childhood education programs, aiming to improve child care centers’ nutrition and physical activity practices with the young children in their care.
Originally from rural Missouri, Megan has grown to love the city as much as the country. She resides in St. Louis City, where she looks forward to being civically engaged for the foreseeable future. She enjoys cooking, exploring St. Louis’ culinary gems, biking and jogging in the beautiful city parks, and getting out to the country whenever she can.

 Keisha Mabry, Business Development Manager, Dot Foods

Keisha Mabry is a Business Development Manager at Dot Foods where she develops strategic relationships with partners to identify shared growth opportunities. Prior to joining Dot Foods, Keisha taught 8th grade science with Teach For America and was elected the 2012 Outstanding New Science Teacher of Missouri. Keisha is a native of Louisville, Kentucky; she received her B.S. from the University of Kentucky (Magna Cum Laude), her M.B.A. from the University of Louisville (Summa Cum Laude) and her M.Ed. from the University of Missouri, St. Louis (Summa Cum Laude).

Her academic, leadership and volunteer honors consist of the following: Bill Gates Millennium Scholar; Churchill Downs Winner Circle Scholar; Whitney M. Young Scholar; WHAS-11 Fulfill the Dream Scholar; Barack Obama Fellow; Who’s Who of America; Lyman T. Johnson Young Adult Leadership Award recipient; Rohm and Haas Volunteer of the Year; Today’s Woman Magazine Way to Go Woman and more.

Professionally, Keisha serves on the United Way’s Young Leadership Society Cabinet, the Magic House’s Young Professional Board and chairs Teach For America’s (TFA) Collective board a board of TFA alumni committed to the continuous development of alumni as transformational leaders, thought-partners and agents of change in the St. Louis area. She is also a graduate of the Focus St. Louis Emerging Leader Class of 2013 and a member of the Regional Business Council Leadership 100 Cohort.

Personally she enjoys volunteering, mentoring and tutoring youth, spending time with family and friends and yoga. Her personal mission statement is to change the world whether for one person or the entire population. 

 Chelsea Merta, Policy Analyst, Faith Aloud

Chelsea Merta is a third-year law student at Saint Louis University, focusing on health law, policy, and advocacy. She is part of the Missouri Medicaid Coalition, working to pass the Medicaid Expansion portion of the Affordable Care Act to increase health care access to low-income and underserved communities.

Chelsea also is the policy analyst for St. Louis-based nonprofit Faith Aloud, and has worked for both for-profit and nonprofit legal organizations in the Midwest. In addition to her legal education, Chelsea has received grassroots organizing and advocacy training from Groundswell Foundation, Camp Wellstone, and UMSL’s Sue Shear Institute. Chelsea has her degrees in both political science and biology from Indiana University – Bloomington. Although she is Indiana born-and-raised, Chelsea loves living in St. Louis with her two dogs, Coral and Kilroy.

 Tom Nagel, Communications Coordinator, CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation

Tom Nagel is the Communications Coordinator for the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation. Nagel assists the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation’s story telling as it helps implement the transformative plan to physically connect downtown St. Louis, the Gateway Arch grounds, and the Mississippi River. Nagel has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri- Columbia with an emphasis in photojournalism and minors in fine arts and philosophy. He is a published reporter and photographer.

 Jason Pierce, Architect, HOK

Jason Dale Pierce is an architect at the St. Louis headquarters of the global architecture firm of HOK. Practicing for over 13 years, his design experience includes single-family homes, schools, libraries, government centers, airports, healthcare facilities, and high-rise office buildings. As a Project Architect, he is responsible for leading teams of architects, consultants, and other professionals to develop and coordinate design solutions for clients.

Jason has been widely recognized for his work both in and outside the office, including named to Engineering News Record’s Top 20 under 40 and recipient of the National American Institute of Architect’s Young Architect Award. In addition to being one of the 2014 NLC Fellows Jason is involved in numerous organizations in the St. Louis community such as the Regional Business Council’s Leadership 100 Young Professional’s Network, Re-Plant St. Louis, Revitalize St. Louis, and the AIA St. Louis Mentorship Program (chair) just to name a few. Jason was also a past chair of the Next City’s Vanguard Conference that took place in St. Louis.

Originally, from Missouri, Jason spent several years working in architecture firms in San Francisco, California before moving back to the St. Louis area. In California, he was Vice President of the Academy for Emerging Professionals at the American Institute of Architects California Council. He has also served as the Regional Director Advisor for the National Young Architects Forum and is a currently sits on the Board of Directors for AIA St. Louis. Jason received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Drury University.

 Michelle L. Watley, Director Kansas City Office, Missouri Secretary of State

Michele L. Watley is the Director of the Kansas City office of Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander. In this role, she is responsible for the establishment and maintenance of relationships with key members of the business community, managing constituent services, and the oversight of daily office operations and personnel. In this capacity she also serves as legislative staff for Secretary Kander, providing briefs on official visits and recommendations for future outreach opportunities. Prior to her time in Secretary Kander’s administration, Michele was selected by Rotary International to act as an ambassador of goodwill to The Hague in the Netherlands. As a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, she was invited to be the keynote speaker on topics including American culture and politics for Rotary audiences composed of top-level executives representing a multitude of industries and cultures. She presented at over 50 Rotary engagements in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Missouri.

Michele’s initial career as a Carpenter Apprentice with the Kansas City Carpenter’s District Council and Vicinity sparked her interest in public policy, political campaigns, and advocacy. She made the transition from skilled labor and went on to provide strategic communications, public relations, graphic design and event planning for organizations including the Missouri Department of Transportation, Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, the city of Kansas City, various local and national political campaigns, and the Hague Conference on Private and International Law. She is also the recipient of numerous top industry awards for excellence in communication, including the Women in Communication Clarion Award, four Bronze Quill Awards from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) of Kansas City, and most recently, IABC’s Silver Quill Award. Through her engagement and memberships with professional and service-oriented organizations such as Rotaract, the Central Exchange, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Michele maintains a solid network with diverse sectors of the community. Michele is a graduate of Avila University’s School of Visual and Communication Arts in Kansas City Missouri, where she was awarded the Ariston Award, the university’s highest honor. She recently completed coursework in Public International Law and Politics at Leiden University in The Hague, Netherlands.

Michele is a longtime resident of Kansas City. When she isn’t working or volunteering in the community, she can be found watching movies, skydiving, playing in makeup and cosmetics, nurturing a borderline-obsessive shoe habit, or traveling.

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