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Lisa Allen, State Forester, Department of Conservation, Jefferson City
As the Missouri Department of Conservation’s state forester, Lisa Allen serves as a leader for current and future forestry issues, overseeing the entire forestry division and its 222 employees. Lisa began her career in 1984 as a resource forester in southeast and central Missouri. After 10 years of professional field forestry assistance to private landowners and managing state-owned conservation areas, Lisa began her career in Jefferson City. She has held many positions including, primarily working forest management and overseeing forest, fish, and wildlife managers who assist private landowners with the conservation of their property. Lisa ‘s work in forest conservation has been recognized with two significant awards including the 2008 Missouri Conservationist of the Year Award presented by the Conservation Federation of Missouri and the 2011 Missouri Karkhagne Award, recognizing outstanding service to the profession of forestry and the Missouri Society of American Foresters.
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Cheryl Burnett, Former Womens Basketball Coach, Missouri State University, Springfield
The all-time winningest basketball coach in Missouri State University’s history, Cheryl Burnett guided MSU to 10 20-win seasons and 10 National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament berths in her 15 seasons as head coach of the women’s basketball team. During her time as coach, Cheryl had 319 overall wins, and her team won or tied for nine conference regular-season titles, claiming six league tournament championships. Today, Cheryl works as the director of development in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at MSU.
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Margaret C. Conrads, Senior Curator of American Art, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City
Margaret C. Conrads is the Samuel Sosland Senior Curator of American Art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Conrads has curated exhibitions and written extensively on American art from colonial times through World War II. Most recently, she organized the traveling exhibition Romancing the West: Alfred Jacob Miller in the Bank of America Collection (2010-11); contributed to American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765-1914 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009); led the major expansion and reinstallation of the Nelson-Atkins’ American collection (2009); and was the editor and primary contributor to The Collections of the Nelson-Atkins: American Paintings to 1945 (2007).
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Kat Cunningham, Owner, Moresoure Inc., Columbia
Kat Cunningham founded Moresource, a business offering human resource services to small business, in 1994. Kat mentors women in leadership and business development through her role as Secretary of the Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge and her past roles in Leadership Columbia, Leadership Jefferson City, and Leadership Missouri. She is extremely active in her community, having raised in excess of $4 million for various charities in Columbia and the surrounding areas. Her life commitment is to help families, children and individuals in need. In 2010, the Columbia Daily Tribune named Kat the 2010 Business Woman of the Year.
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Katie Steel Danner, Director of Tourism, Missouri Tourism Commission, Jefferson City
Kathleen (Katie) Steele Danner was named Director of Tourism by the Missouri Tourism Commission on November 10, 2009. With a Bachelor of Science in Business and Public Administration from Truman State University in Kirksville, Katie has had a long career in management and leadership roles, government, and civic affairs. In her career, Katie has been deputy director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, was appointed to serve in the Clinton Administration as the lead on many White House Projects including the establishment of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, Welfare Reform, and the National Tobacco Initiative. From 1988 to 1994, Katie served three terms as a State Representative in the Missouri General Assembly. Katie was included in the debut class of the “Fifty Missourians You Should Know” in 2011. She is married to Major General Stephen L. Danner, and they have four children and three grandchildren.
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Judith G. Haggard, Curator, MU Board of Curators, Kennett
In 2007, Judith G. Haggard was appointed by Gov. Matt Blunt to serve on the University of Missouri Board of Curators. She is a family nurse practitioner at the SEMO Health Network in Kennett as well as a certified substance abuse counselor, having been a past examiner for the Missouri Substance Abuse Board and a past board member of the State Alcohol Council. She founded the Dunklin County Caring Community Council, the hospital’s volunteer program.
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Dr. Adrienne Hoard, Artist and professor, University of Missouri, Columbia
Dr. Adrienne Hoard, a nationally known artist, is a professor of fine art at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Adrienne’s shaped canvas paintings and provocative paintings on paper have been shown in many gallery and museum exhibitions around the world, including: the Detroit Institute of Art, Rockefeller Center and The Studio Museum of Harlem in New York City, the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago, The American Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, the Hotel Park Palace in Florence, Italy, The University of Caen in France, and the Pretoria Art Museum in South Africa. Adrienne was a recipient of a Fulbright in Creative Arts to South Korea and a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Fine Art. Her artwork is also housed in numerous public and private collections, and she has been published in the New York Times and the Smithsonian Institution. Adrienne is also the owner of HOMEGIRL Inc., Creative Arts for Living, a community-based corporation which markets her artwork and the artwork from indigenous women creators worldwide.
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Dr. Beth Hussey, Owner, Horton Animal Hospital, Columbia
Dr. Beth Hussey owns Horton Animal Hospital-Central, in Columbia. She has been practicing small animal medicine and surgery since her graduation from the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine in 1989. She is also the host of “The Pet Place,” a weekly call-in radio show on KFRU 1400 AM. Dr. Hussey is the veterinary representative on the Vicious Dog Advisory Board of Columbia, and in her free time she is an avid horse racing enthusiast and dressage rider. She currently lives on a small horse farm in Rocheport with various cats, a Collie named Chief, and several Thoroughbred horses.
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Charlene Finck, Editor in Chief, Farm Journal, Mexico, Missouri
Award-winning journalist Charlene Finck took over the leadership role for editorial content produced by Farm Journal Media in 2007. In that role, she oversees the company’s five magazines and works closely with the editors of Farm Journal Media’s other outlets such as AgWeb, Pro Farmer, AgDay and U.S. Farm Report to provide integrated coverage of agriculture. In 2006, she became Editor of Farm Journal, the ninth person to lead the nation’s premier agricultural magazine. Under her leadership, Farm Journal Media launched its popular Corn College, Wheat College, Soybean College, Ag Executive Forum events and the Farm Journal Legacy Project. An agricultural journalism graduate of the University of Missouri, Finck grew up on a Missouri crop and livestock farm near where she and her family live today.
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Dr. Marianne Inman, President, Central Methodist University, Fayette
Dr. Marianne E. Inman has been the president of Central Methodist University in Fayette since 1995. While president, enrollment for the university, which has around 5,300 students, increased six times and endowment funds tripled. Marianne is also the president of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Missouri. In 2010, she was named Business Leader of the Year by the Fayette Rotary Club. She holds a PH.D. in Foreign Language Education, a master’s degree in French Literature and Linguistics, and a bachelor’s degree in French, Spanish, and English.
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Claire McCaskill, U.S. Senator for Missouri
Senator Claire McCaskill is a fourth-generation Missourian who was born in Rolla, and raised in Houston, Lebanon and Columbia, MO. She began her career in public service in 1982 when she won a seat to the state legislature. In 1993, Claire made history when she became the first female prosecutor of Jackson County. After being elected as state auditor in 1999, Claire brought an innovative approach to the office by adding performance audits to the traditional financial audits. Keeping up her tradition of bringing change to Missouri politics, Claire became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006. As a current U.S. Senator, Claire focuses on fighting for greater government accountability and transparency. This includes working to bring a greater fiscal responsibility to Washington to ensure that Missourians’ tax dollars are well-spent. She is working especially hard to bring reform to the government contracting, which represents billions of dollars each year and is ripe for waste, fraud, and abuse. In 2009, she was given chairmanship of a subcommittee on this topic, the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight. Recognizing the tremendous sacrifices our military men and women make, Claire continues to push for better care and stronger benefits for veterans and service members and their families. Claire makes it back to Missouri frequently, traveling back nearly every weekend. She and her family live in St. Louis.
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Mary R. Russell, Judge, Missouri Supreme Court, Jefferson City
A seventh-generation Missourian, who grew up on a dairy farm, Mary R. Russell was appointed to the Supreme Court of Missouri in 2004, and retained by a majority vote of the citizens of Missouri in November 2006, for a twelve-year term. Judge Russell is a former Chief Judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, where she served from 1995 - 2004. She attended Truman State University for her undergraduate degree and went to law school at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Judge Russell, a mentor to numerous young people is currently an active member of numerous bar and judicial associations, as well as many civic groups, especially Rotary and PEO. She is currently the president of the Jefferson City Rotary Club. In addition to her many activities, Judge Russell volunteers as a Truancy Court Judge at Lewis and Clark Middle School in Jefferson City. A recipient of many awards and honors, Judge Russell is active in educating people about the judicial system.
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Rhonda Vincent, Award-winning bluegrass performer, Kirksville
Rhonda Vincent, crowned the “new queen of bluegrass” by the Wall Street Journal, is a fifth-generation musician. In her latest self-produced album Taken, Rhonda blends contemporary sounds with soul-searching classic bluegrass. The album features special guests ranging from Dolly Parton to Little Roy Lewis. She began her career in 1999 after signing to Rounder Records, and her group, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage has more than 70 awards, including the International Bluegrass Music Association’s coveted Entertainer of the Year award. Rhonda also has seven consecutive IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year awards.
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Cheryl D.S. Walker, Attorny, Bryan Cave LLP, St. Louis
Cheryl D. S. Walker is a member of Bryan Cave LLP’s Banking, Business and Public Finance Client Service Group and Technology, Entrepreneurial and Commercial Practice Client Service Group in St. Louis, drafting and negotiating loan transactions for Bryan Cave’s clients. In 2008, Cheryl was a member of the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri System. She was named “One of the Most Influential St. Louisans” by the St. Louis Business Journal, as well as “One of the 100 Most Inspiring St. Louisans” by the St. Louis Chapter of the NAACP. Cheryl is also a published author whose poetry has appeared in Break Word With the World (Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville), Drumvoices Revue (Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville), Mischief, Caprice and Other Poetic Strategies (Red Hen Press), and When the Lions Roar (Washington University).
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Marth S. Uhlhorn, Owner and president, La Bonne Bouchée, St. Louis
Martha S. Uhlhorn is the owner and president of La Bonne Bouchee Wholesale Bakery and Gourmet to Go. In 2044, she purchased La Bonne Bouchee, which supplies pastries to all the Starbucks Coffee locations in the St. Louis metro area plus other wholesale customers. Then, in 2007, she bought Gourmet to Go, a corporate catering business. Before owning her own businesses, Martha was a leading executive with Sara Lee Bakery Group in St. Louis. Martha currently serves as a Board member of The Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis, on the Hospitality Management Industry Advisory Board within the School for Professional Studies at St. Louis University, and as a Trustee on the St. Louis University Board of Trustees. She is also a member of the St. Louis Forum.
Our Selection Panel
Fifteen women at the top of their fields met to choose the Top 10 Most Influential Women of Missouri. Meet the selection panel and read their bios.