Meet Jeremy Stewart

As we continue our blog series, “Meet the YPN Leadership 100,” we’d like to introduce you to Jeremy Stewart, Senior Business Analyst for Centene Corporation. Jeremy received his Masters in Project Management and Masters in Information Management from Washington University.  In addition to working with the RBC’s YPN, he is also a member of FOCUS St. Louis.


  • What do you enjoy about belonging to organizations like YPN?
    • The YPN gives me a chance to interact with people from different fields as well as people I don’t see on a regular basis.


  • Describe a favorite project that you’re currently working on.
    • Web development/digital agency site for myself.


  • Why should someone base their business in St. Louis?
    • I think STL is in the beginning stages of a wave of entrepreneurs starting their business here. Anyone willing to do so will be able to take advantage of the incentives that come along with that (especially science and technology based companies), as well as a lower cost of operation not found in bigger cities.


  • What are your first three stops when an out-of-town friend visits?
    • Forest Park
    • The Arch
    • CWE


  • What’s one St. Louis tradition that everyone must experience?
    • Cardinals baseball


  • Anything else you want to share with YPN?
    • During my time with the YPN I have met some very wonderful people. I look forward to making more connections through the YPN.

Meet the Leadership 100… Stacia Graham

Some of the St. Louis region’s most creative minds are part of the RBC’s Young Professionals Network Leadership 100. But who are they and how are they helping to shape a stronger St. Louis?

That’s what we’re addressing in our blog series, “Meet the YPN Leadership 100,” where we introduce you to members of our YPN community who are providing exceptional leadership, service, culture and innovation to our area.

Today’s featured YPN Leadership 100 member is Stacia Graham, Reliability and Mobility Engineer for the Boeing Company. Graham obtained a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee State University (Nashville, TN). Graham is a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and the Tennessee State University – St. Louis Alumni Chapter. Among other things, Graham currently supports the YPN’s Imagination Library project.


    • How would you introduce yourself to a new YPN member?Image


  • I grew up in Marietta, GA and have lived in St. Louis for the past 7 years. I came to St. Louis to work as an engineer for The Boeing Company. Outside of work, I enjoy working with kids, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.


  • What do you enjoy about belonging to organizations like YPN?
    • Organizations such as the YPN give me the opportunity to interact with other young professionals that I might not come into contact with otherwise. It’s always exciting to meet people from various backgrounds and different places who share common interests.


  • Describe a favorite project that you’re currently working on.
    • I am a Systems Engineer for The Boeing Company. In my current role, I provide reliability and maintainability engineering support primarily for the F/A-18 and EA-18G aircraft platforms. My favorite part of this role is that it allows me to work on a variety of new technology projects that benefit the men and women in uniform who use Boeing products.


  • Why should someone base their business in St. Louis?
    • I think that St. Louis has many talented people who are eager to see St. Louis emerge to the forefront as a booming city. This also means that there are a lot of opportunities to come to St. Louis and be a frontrunner in terms of what you have to offer. There are a lot of businesses that have not been introduced to the St. Louis market that would be largely supported by the community and in turn be profitable to the owner.


  • What are your first three stops when an out-of-town friend visits?
    • When I have out of town visitors, I always make sure to take them to see The Arch. Seeing it in books or online is nothing in comparison to being able to see its true size up close. Next, I take them to Forest Park. I think I see something new every time I go there. Lastly, I have to take them to sample some of St. Louis’ most popular restaurants. Pappy’s and Sweetie Pies are two of my favorites.


  • What’s one St. Louis tradition that everyone must experience?
    • I’m not sure it’s considered a tradition, but I think everyone should get the chance to experience a Cardinals game. St. Louis is admittedly a BIG baseball town, so even non-baseball (I know, I know…) fans will have a great time seeing everyone in their Cardinal red cheering the team on.


  • Anything else you want to share with YPN?
    • Whether you are new to the area or a St. Louis native, there are a lot of opportunities here to do whatever you’re interested in. The bigger piece to that is if the opportunity doesn’t exist, there are people in the area who will help you create it. I have had the chance to participate in and see so many new things just by networking and letting people know some of my goals.  

It’s Our Region Fund


The RBC donated a sunflower sculpture to the St. Charles County Arts Council. The Council supports arts education and public art in St. Charles County.

Small Change, Big Impact Grant Program                                                                                                                     


The RBC’s overall mission is to make St. Louis a better place to live and work.  The It’s Our Region Fund is a strategy to do just that by contributing to capital improvement projects that enhance the quality of daily life, leave a lasting legacy by spreading tangible acts of good will throughout the region, and demonstrate the value of corporate collective action. 

The goal of the Small Change-Big Impact grants is to support one-time capital improvement projects that may seem small but have a big impact because they are in places used and appreciated by so many people every day.  Grants are given to non-profits and community agencies for projects under $10,000, as these are often the most difficult for smaller agencies to fund.             

Last year, we received applications from 160 worthy organizations.  We selected twenty awardees that represented a wide range of diverse and meaningful projects throughout the region, each of which received a share of $111,000 in grants.  Most of these organizations had no other source of funds to implement critically needed capital improvements to serve their respective populations.

We are genuinely thrilled that so many organizations applied for funding in the first year.  The winning projects had an immediate impact on the lives of many people, and it’s been gratifying and inspiring to see these projects come to fruition.

Projects selected ranged from the Affton Christian Food Pantry, receiving $4,000 for new refrigerators as they were turning away donations of food due to lack of adequate storage, to the KIPP Charter Middle School, receiving $10,000 to provide mats for gym walls and other safety improvements, and Friends of Luca Park, receiving $8,000 for irrigation and landscaping in the downtown St. Louis park. Below is the complete list of 2012 It’s Our Region Fund recipients.

Because of the success of the funding, as well as growing corporate spirit to collectively work together for the betterment of our community, we are pleased to offer this funding opportunity again. The 2013 winners will be announced no later than November 1.





Affton Christian Food Pantry

South St. Louis County

Provides food and assistance to those in need

4 refrigerators as agency is currently having to turn away food donations due to lack of space


Angels’ Arms

West St. Louis County

Foster care for sibling groups

Replace the roof on one of the foster homes


Central Institute for the Deaf

Central West End, St. Louis

School for children with hearing disabilities

Fund upgrades to playground


Charles Gravius Library

Madison County, IL

Library outside a tax district in Metro East

Repair cracked and dangerous sidewalk outside library


City of Cool Valley

North St. Louis County

North County Municipality, population 1,196

Community garden to bring youth and seniors together


Contemporary Art Museum

Grand Center District, St. Louis

Arts education initiatives for inner city students

portable sound system and electronic projection screen to be used in education programs


Craft Alliance

Delmar Loop

Provides arts education to the community

Replace computer server and purchase outdated desktop computers


Friends of Lucas Park

Downtown St. Louis

Guardians of Lucas Park next to Central Library

New irrigation and landscaping in park



South St. Louis City

High performing charter middle school

Mats to cover gym walls and construction of handicapped accessible ramp


Magic House


St. Louis children’s museum

Creation of a quiet room for children


Memory Care Home Solutions

Richmond Heights

In-home care  and support for Alzheimer’s patients

Assistive devices for in-home use


Northside Community Housing

The Ville, North St. Louis City

Safe and decent housing for low income families

Community garden to provide healthy food for residents


Old North Restoration Group

Old North, St. Louis

Neighborhood association for historic Old North neighborhood

Creation of multi-purpose outdoor community space


Our Lady’s Inn

South St. Louis City

Shelter for homeless pregnant women and their children

Used van to transport residents and assist with moving into permanent housing


Our Little Haven

Central West End, St. Louis

Services for children suffering from trauma

Kitchen renovation for pre-school


Shalom House

Central West End, St. Louis

Shelter for homeless women

Beds, dressers, and mattresses


Shaw Place Association

South St. Louis City

Neighborhood association for Shaw Place

Landscaping along highway exit ramp


St. Charles County Arts Council

St. Charles County

Supports arts education and public art in St. Charles County

Sunflower sculpture in public garden for St. Charles residents


St. Louis F.O.R.C.E. Athleticz

North County

Competitive basketball program for girls

Basketballs, uniforms, first aid equipment, and instructional aids


Urban Harvest

Downtown St. Louis

Community gardens to produce healthy food for low income families

Rooftop community garden









Good News Tuesday

In our Good News Tuesday blog post each month, we highlight some of the accomplishments that members of our Young Professionals Network share with us.

This month, we’d like to offer congratulations to these members of the RBC/YPN community:

New jobs:

  • Sarajeni Hammond, Director of Talent Management at Monsanto
  • Vanessa Foster-Cooksey, Senior VP & Desiree Coleman, Assistant VP joined Wells Fargo Advisors in the Community Affairs Department
  • Leslie Gill just returned to St. Louis to take the helm as Executive director of College Summit St. Louis

Achievements and Recognition:

  • Castor Armesto of Stinson Morrison & Johnny Wang of Polsinelli named Up & Coming Lawyers for 2013 by Missouri Lawyers Weekly.
  • Adrienne Ford joined the board of Dancing Classrooms

We’d love for you to be part of Good News Tuesday, too. Tell us when you’ve been promoted, if you’ve landed a brand new position or if you’ve launched another company. You can even announce your new baby, your volunteer efforts or your speaking engagements. Simply email the news to by the last Tuesday of the month, and we’ll consider it for publication. Be sure to include full information, including pertinent names, titles, companies/organizations and contact information.

We’re proud of how hard our YPN members work to make St. Louis a better place to thrive, and we’re excited to sound the trumpets in congratulations. Join me in offering best wishes to this month’s YPN members.


The Importance of Women’s Leadership Giving

We recently talked to Charlene Johnson, Director of Business Development at Affordable Equity Partners, regarding the importance of female business leaders giving back to the community. She says, “When giving is imbedded in the culture of your organization, you attract and retain amazing talent.”


1. Why is it important for businesses leaders, and in particular, women leaders in business to give back to the community?

Women business leaders are redefining power and as a result are broadening their involvement, which includes changing long-held cultural perceptions about women and wealth. In the United States, women control or influence more than 80 percent of purchasing decisions. Companies are recognizing that when they support women – as customers, as employees, leaders, future investors, and partners – both the businesses and communities win.

2. Have you found that by giving back you can actually grow your business? If so, how?

The key to success for any business is the ability to connect with your customers and the employees that serve them. If you incorporate giving to your business, your customers become your markets. When giving is imbedded in the culture of your organization, you attract and retain amazing talent.

3. What should young professionals be doing who want to give back, but might not have the means to give at a leadership level?

Philanthropy is a personal journey in leadership at the highest level. Young professionals can cultivate their leadership skills by investing their time, talent and energy to improve their community. This provides opportunities not always available in the workplace to work alongside and learn from business and civic leaders.

4. Can you share anything else about your experience giving back to the community?

As the daughter of a career Army sergeant and government civil servant, my comfort has always come from a sense of purpose and clearly defined mission. I have been provided amazing opportunities through my service in the community and look forward to playing an active role in the region’s efforts to change the face of St. Louis.

The RBC Supports the Asian Heritage Festival

The St. Louis RBC supports diverse businesses and fosters growth and development among diverse young professionals through the Young Professionals Network. We are proud to support a variety of multicultural chambers, including St. Louis’ Asian American Chamber of Commerce (AACC).

The AACC is dedicated to being the “umbrella organization” for all Asian American businesses and organizations in the St. Louis Region.

On Saturday, October 5th, the AACC will host their second annual Asian Heritage Festival at Seafood City on Olive Boulevard in Olivette (8020 Olive Blvd, St. Louis, Missouri 63130). The festival will feature food, merchandise, and information from a variety of the Asian ethnic businesses, non-Asian businesses, groups, and nonprofit organizations along with entertainment in a family-friendly environment. The goal is to have representation from ALL of the Asian ethnic groups here in St. Louis to make this a true taste of Asian and Asian American culture.

St. Louis is fortunate to have a vast array of Asian American ethnicities including Chinese, Indian, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Filipino, Pakistani, Indonesian, and more. While the AACC celebrates the uniqueness of each culture, it believes that Asian Americans, like all Americans, share common values and aspirations, and the AACC seeks to bring those together for the good of the community.

We hope to see you on October 5th

The RBC Congratulates Charlie Brennan on 25 Years


Today marks KMOX radio host, Charlie Brennan’s, 25-year anniversary. Charlie is a trusted news anchor and a consummate professional. He shines a spotlight on our city and highlights the great people and businesses in St. Louis. Charlie is a friend of the St. Louis RBC and we appreciate all he does to promote our mission.


In the ever-changing media industry, reaching the silver anniversary is quite a feat. Congratulations, Charlie, and keep up the good work! 

Recap of Insight St. Louis Event

Last weekend, dozens of our Young Professional Network Members had the opportunity to network with student participants in the InSight St. Louis Emersion Trip. The non-profit organization InSight St. Louis is dedicated to recruiting the best graduates from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to the St. Louis region to live and work.


InSight brought 30 young adults to town from schools including Howard and Moorehouse to interview with local companies. The RBC’s YPN met InSight members for dinner and did their best to encourage them to start their career in St. Louis. The RBC is focused on recruiting young minority talent to St. Louis. We hope this class of future graduates strongly considers starting their career in the Gateway to the West!


To learn more about our partner organization visit


Five Questions with Joshua Randall of Kwame Building Group

1.       What drew you to this region?  

I was born and raised in St. Louis.  I left when I was 17 years old to attend Purdue University and from there spent a short time working in Atlanta followed by nearly 10 years in Silicon Valley.  I was drawn back to St. Louis by the professional opportunity that presented itself with Kwame Building Group and the opportunity to raise my family near their extended family.
2.       What is the best piece of sales advice you’ve received? 

Sales is 80% listening and 20% talking.  Often sales people are so passionate about their product/service/solution that they reverse the ratio and never truly understand the needs of their client.
3.       Can you offer any sales tips for young professionals?  

Listen more…talk less!
4.       What is your greatest accomplishment at KWAME?  

I don’t know that I, individually, have had any accomplishments at KWAME.  We recently won a significant project with a new client in a new geographic market.  It would be disingenuous for me to take full credit for this accomplishment and would unfairly minimize the contributions of our extremely talented team.  Everything that we do is around collaboration and diversity of ideas in order to ensure that we are in position to bring the greatest value to our clients.  I am extremely proud of all that we have accomplished over the past 23 years and truly excited about the many things we will accomplish in the future.
5.       What is one way St. Louis can attract and maintain new young professionals?  

Young professionals are looking for opportunities – opportunities for professional growth, personal development, financial reward.  Young professionals what to be part of something that is bigger than themselves and certainly bigger than a paycheck.  I am excited by the energy that is beginning to gather in St. Louis around the start-up community, CORTEX, etc.  As a business community, we have to continue to make these opportunities available within our organizations, support entrepreneurs within our community, and engage these young professionals as an integral part of improving our community.

RBC Congratulates Two St. Louis Diverse Business Leaders

We are proud to salute two YPN members as St. Louis Diverse Business Leaders.

Joshua Randall, President of KWAME Building Group, and Chris Chung, President and Chief Executive Officer of Missouri Partnership, will be recognized as part of the St. Louis Business Journal’s 2013 class of Diverse Business Leaders. The awards luncheon will be held on Friday, September 13 at Palladium Saint Louis.

Joshua Randall joined KWAME as a sales engineer in 2004 and quickly climbed up the ranks to President in 2012. Randall is responsible for securing numerous major multi-million dollar contracts including: Lambert-Saint Louis International Airport “Airport Experience,” Ameren Landfill Gas-to-Electricity, SSM HealthCare’s St. Clare Hospital, and more.

Chris Chung joined the Missouri Partnership in 2007 as the corporation’s first Chief Executive Officer, and first employee. Chung directs the Missouri Partnership’s efforts to globally market Missouri for new business investment. Chung says that St. Louis is most widely known and naturally features prominently in all discussions because of the city’s economic assets, both corporate and educational.

Diversity and inclusion play an important role in maintaining businesses’ competitive advantage, and St. Louis is honored to have a number of diverse leaders, from high-ranking executives to fast-moving entrepreneurs, who are making their mark. Congratulations Joshua and Chris!

To learn more about our two honorees, check us out on LinkedIn.