Workforce2030 Conference

October 17-18 | Saint Charles

The fifth annual Workforce2030 Conference is coming to St. Charles! Workforce2030 will explore the many strategies and programs that Missouri’s employers, educators and organizations can implement leading up to the year 2030 to make our state the home of a thriving, vibrant workforce.

Member rate: $295 | Non-member rate: $345


Check out highlights from our 2022 Workforce Conference. We look forward to you joining us in October!

Topics we’re working on for 2023:

Career Literacy

Child Care

Innovative Community College Programs

Hiring our Heroes

Registered Youth Apprenticeships

Upskill Credential

2022 Highlights

Venue & Accommodations

The 2023 conference will be held at the Saint Charles Convention Center located at One Convention Center Plaza, St. Charles, MO.

We have a discounted room block at the Embassy Suites for $159/night. The hotel is connected to the convention center.

The room block has been extended to Sept. 21 at midnight – BOOK NOW!

You’ll be minutes away from historic Main Street and the lively Streets of St. Charles.


Agenda Sneak Peek

Tuesday, Oct. 17 | 9am – 6pm

Breakfast, lunch and a welcome reception included.

Wednesday, Oct. 18 | 8am – 1pm

Breakfast and lunch included.

The conference will be eligible for MCLE and SHRM continuing education credits and will offer breakout segments following these four tracks:

  1. Education
  2. Future of Workforce
  3. Human Resources
  4. Policy


Dr. Boggs comes to Missouri with an extensive background in higher education. He hails from the Colorado Department of Higher Education where he served as the Deputy Executive Director as well as the Chief of Staff to the Executive Director. Prior to his role in Colorado, Dr. Boggs worked across many areas of higher education, including the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board, the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, and the Kentucky General Assembly. Dr. Boggs also has experience working within both public and private institutions of higher education.

Dr. Boggs earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wake Forest University, a master’s of education from The College of William and Mary, a Ph.D. in Higher Education Policy Studies from the University of Virginia, and completed the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University.

Paul Costigan has worked at the International Institute of St. Louis since 1999. Currently, he serves as the Missouri State Refugee Coordinator in the agency’s Missouri Office of Refugee Administration (MO-ORA) which provides oversight to many refugee programs across the state. He previously worked in roles as Vice-President of Employment Programs, of Quality Assurance and of Operations at the Institute.

He received his Master’s Degree in 1991 from the University of Notre Dame in German Literature, served several stints as an election monitor in Bosnia-Herzegovina and is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, having served in Slovakia from 1995-1997.

Woman with short bob haircut and black shirt

Wendy Doyle fearlessly advocates for women’s economic and civic advancement by amplifying women’s voices and producing results. Wendy is at the forefront of all economic policies that impact women and their families. She regularly educates and informs decision-makers and community leaders about policy solutions for women at local, county, and state levels. Translating information into action, she testifies frequently to state legislatures, publishes op-eds in state newspapers, serves as a dynamic and informative presenter, and champions systemic policy change for governments and corporations through her thought leadership.

During her ten-year tenure at United WE, Wendy has led the organization to invest in research, advocacy, and policy solutions to remove economic barriers for women, including conducting 26 meaningful research studies, advocating for issues resulting in 54 policy actions, and supporting more than 190+ women in securing civic appointments. Wendy is committed to impacting hundreds of thousands of women and families through transformative research, scaling United WE’s fast-growing Appointments Project®, advocating for reforms that honor the legacies of women, and contributing to policy solutions that advance equal pay, paid family leave, affordable childcare and occupational licensing, among others.

Since 2013, Wendy has expanded United WE’s focus from serving Kansas City to all of Kansas and Missouri, and her success in the Heartland is spreading nationwide to cities including St. Louis, Fort Worth, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh and South San Francisco. Wendy’s previous experience as an executive and strategic consultant for large nonprofits provides a unique systems approach to accelerating the pace of change through partnerships.

After releasing research on women’s issues in Missouri, Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe invited Wendy to be a part of the Early Childhood Steering Committee, which is tasked with improving childcare opportunities for Missouri women and families. In 2023, Wendy was awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Women of Achievement award, which recognizes and honors the diverse accomplishments of Missouri women in conjunction with Women’s History Month.

Wendy currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Command and General Staff College Foundation at Fort Leavenworth, KS.

In 2022, Wendy was recognized for her achievements by receiving the Women Who Mean Business award by The Kansas City Business Journal. This award honors outstanding professional women who have made significant contributions to their business or industry, as well as their community.

Wendy earned a B.A. from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, and received the 2020 Rockhurst University Rashford-Lyon Award for Leadership and Ethics. She was recognized in 2021 as an Idealist of the Year by City Year and also inducted into the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame in October 2021.

Eric Eversole headshot

Eric Eversole, a retired U.S. Navy Reserve Judge Advocate General’s Corps Captain, leads the day-to-day operations of Hiring Our Heroes, a nationwide effort to develop and promote military talent in the United States. Working with a broad array of private and public sector partners, his team helps to create and connect transitioning service members, veterans, and their families with meaningful training programs and careers.

For more than 24 years, Eversole served in active duty and reserve components of the military. He first entered military service in 1994 as an enlisted airman in the Indiana Air National Guard and later transitioned to the Navy’s Judge Advocate General Corps. In 2019, he retired as a Navy Captain.

Recently, Eversole was appointed by the Secretary of Labor to serve on the Advisory Committee on Veterans Employment, Training, and Employer Outreach (ACVETEO). In that capacity, he helps to advise the Secretary and Congress on the employment and training needs of veterans and assesses their integration into the workforce.

Eversole holds a Juris Doctorate from Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis, and a Bachelor of Arts from Wabash College, where he also serves on the Board of Trustees. He resides in Northern Virginia with his wife, Amanda, and their daughters, Ellie and Lizzie.

Perry Gorrell headshot

Perry Gorrell assumed his new role at the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as the Career Pathways Manager on July 1st, 2022.  Perry spent 30 years in public education as a teacher, high school principal and superintendent. Prior to his career in public education, Perry grew up on a family farm and worked his way through college in the skilled trade areas. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Education, a Master’s in Education of Secondary Administration and a Specialist in Education in Educational Leaders all from the University of Central Missouri.

The Missouri Career Pathways program plays an integral part in Missouri’s Show-Me Success initiative.  As the Career Pathways Manager, Perry and the Missouri Career Pathways team of Directors, Consultants, and Advisors utilize regional and state level labor markets needs as they work to engage high school educators, post-secondary institutions, and employers in a more collaborative approach to develop a comprehensive network of pathways to serve the youth in high school and beyond.  The goal of the Missouri Career Pathways program  is to ensure that all high school graduates acquire the competencies, credentials, and opportunities needed to be ready for employment or college entry and to ensure students are being prepared to meet Missouri’s current and future workforce needs.  Ultimately, Missouri students through a proper network of pathways will be “Success Ready”.

Anna Hall (she/her) is the Director of Workforce Solutions at the International Institute of St. Louis. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker and Educator with more than ten years’ experience in social services. Using an empathic lens to see individuals with dignity and respect, Anna has worked with immigrant families, refugees, and survivors of domestic violence. She has led educational programs in both St. Louis and East Africa and recently collected data for a nationwide study analyzing curriculum effectiveness. Anna holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. 

Michelle Hataway is Acting Director for the Missouri Department of Economic Development. She leads the department in promoting economic growth across the entire state by establishing strong relationships with local partners, businesses and communities. The Department is focused on helping Missourians prosper, by providing businesses the resources they need in order to achieve success, build sustainable growth, strengthen our communities, promote Missouri as an ideal place to visit, develop a talented and skilled workforce, and maintain a high quality of life.

Michelle previously was the Department’s Deputy Director, and also served as the Director of the Regional Engagement Division leading six regional teams, as well as the International Trade and Investment team.

Michelle obtained her M.A. in Communication Studies from The University of Alabama, and she is a proud graduate of the inaugural class of the Missouri Leadership Academy (Summer 2018).

Michelle and her husband, Jackson, live in Jefferson City, MO and are the proud parents of two children, Jack (5) and Gabrielle (2).

Wade Johnson has been an Apprenticeship and Training Representative (ATR) with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship, since October 2016, and serves an assigned geographic region primarily comprising the St. Louis Metropolitan Area and Southeast Missouri. As an ATR, he promotes and oversees the development and expansion of quality, accessible Registered Apprenticeship opportunities for workers seeking higher-skilled, higher-paying jobs and engages employers and educators seeking to build a qualified, diverse, and inclusive workforce. In doing so, he answers questions about the Registered Apprenticeship model and provides technical assistance and support to Registered Apprenticeship program sponsors—employers, industry associations, labor unions, education providers, community-based organizations, state and federal agencies, and other organizations that administer Registered Apprenticeship programs; assists organizations interested in developing and maintaining Registered Apprenticeship programs that meet national standards for quality and equity; provides training in how to use apprenticeship management and recruitment tools available to registered programs; works with program sponsors to ensure Registered Apprenticeship opportunities are inclusive and made available to diverse populations and underserved communities; and advises partners on available funding sources to support Registered Apprenticeship, and engages in ongoing efforts to increase public awareness of Registered Apprenticeship opportunities throughout Missouri. He is an Iraq War veteran and U.S. Air Force retiree. He has a B.S. in Business Administration from Columbia College and an MBA from Washington University-St. Louis.

Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe official headshot

Kehoe was born and raised in North St. Louis City by a single mother of six children. His mother worked three jobs to support the family, while Kehoe and his siblings also went to work to help buy groceries and pay the bills. At 15, Kehoe started washing cars for Dave Sinclair Ford and worked his way into sales management by his early twenties.

When he was 25, Kehoe was tasked with moving to Linn, Missouri, to help revive a struggling van conversion and ambulance manufacturing company. Kehoe purchased the company, and during his time leading Osage Industries, he expanded sales across the nation and created dozens of new jobs.

In 1992, he purchased the Ford and Lincoln-Mercury franchises in Jefferson City, which he owned and operated as ‘Mike Kehoe Ford-Lincoln’ as one of the youngest Ford dealers in the nation until 2011.

In 2005, Kehoe was appointed by Governor Blunt to serve on the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission, and in 2009 was elected chair.

In 2010, Kehoe was elected to the Missouri Senate to represent the Sixth Senatorial District covering seven mid-Missouri counties: Cole, Gasconade, Maries, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan and Osage. He was reelected in 2014 and served as the assistant majority floor leader and the majority floor leader.

As lieutenant governor, Kehoe serves as the ex officio president of the Missouri Senate and serves as the state’s advocate for seniors and veterans. He also oversees the Missouri Arts Council and the Buy Missouri Program, an economic development initiative created to actively promote Missouri manufacturers and businesses. Under his leadership, the Buy Missouri program has grown to more than 500 members.

As lieutenant governor, Kehoe is a member of several boards and commissions, including the Missouri Development Finance Board, the Missouri Housing Development Commission, and the Missouri Tourism Commission. Lieutenant Governor Kehoe chairs the Missouri Food, Beverage, and Forest Manufacturing Products Task Force, working to promote and grow Missouri’s agriculture industry.

Mike has been honored by the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, the Missouri Association of Electric Cooperatives, and many others for his legislative accomplishments, including being named the Statesman of the Year Award for his work in the Missouri Senate as floor leader. As a businessman, he received the Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award, Ford’s President Award, and was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

Lieutenant Governor Kehoe and his wife, Claudia, have called mid-Missouri home for more than 30 years and are the proud parents of four children. Mike and Claudia are first-generation farmers with a beef cattle production business on the family farm in Phelps and Pulaski Counties. Lieutenant Governor Kehoe remains a small businessman at heart, never forgetting the lessons learned from years of hard work Dave Sinclair Ford, Osage Industries and Mike Kehoe Ford-Lincoln.

Man with glasses, dark suit coat and white shirt standing in front of greenery.

Chris Labrecque is the chief customer officer with Paytient, a company on a mission to help people better access and afford care. Paytient works with employers, insurers, brokers, and health systems to provide Health Payment Accounts, which offer the power to pay out-of-pocket healthcare expenses

Andy McHaffie headshot

Introducing Andy McHaffie, a dedicated educator with 26 years of teaching experience, currently serving as the Apprenticeship and Curriculum Coordinator for the Fort Zumwalt School District. Andy’s unwavering passion lies in guiding students towards promising career paths in high-demand industries. In 2019, Andy initiated the Fort Zumwalt Apprenticeship Program, which has since grown to encompass over 30 apprentices across 10 business partnerships spanning manufacturing, IT, and healthcare. Andy firmly believes that apprenticeships are the key to addressing the prevailing workforce shortage, and he is resolutely committed to discovering avenues for students to excel in skilled labor professions. He is unwavering in his commitment to establishing clear paths for students in the realm of skilled labor. Furthermore, Andy is deeply enthusiastic about enlightening students about the manifold rewards and prospects that skilled labor careers offer.

Brian in dark blue suit, white shirt and blue striped tie.

Brian, president and CEO of Missouri Community College Association, has been a higher education professional for more than a decade. He received a Master’s in Public Affairs from the Truman School at the University of Missouri-Columbia and is working on an EdD from Texas Tech University. Before joining MCCA as President and CEO in 2017, Brian served as chief of staff at the University of Missouri-Columbia and as legislative director for the Missouri Department of Economic Development. He also represented MCCA in the Missouri capitol as a legislative consultant with John Bardgett & Associates. He currently lives in Columbia with his wife and three daughters.

Rep. Bridget Walsh Moore headshot

Bio coming soon!

Anthony Owen

Anthony Owen works with as a Senior Director of State Government Affairs and President of the National Computer Science (CS) Advocacy Coalition. Anthony not only built the leading state-level CS initiative, but he also worked nationwide with the larger CS community in his prior role as State Director of CS Education for Arkansas within the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE). He was the first dedicated CS supervisor in either a state’s Department of Education or Governor’s Office and served in this position from July 2015 until July 2022. From 2011 until July 2015, Anthony served as ADE’s K-12 Mathematics Curriculum Specialist.

Anthony is a first-generation college student who earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with a double minor in education and CS from Henderson State University (HSU) in Arkadelphia, Arkansas in 2005 and a Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership from HSU in 2007.  In 2013, he earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law and gained admission to the Arkansas Bar in 2014.

Eric is a seasoned C-level executive with a wealth of experience in marketing, strategy, and team development. He is passionate about helping CEOs and leaders navigate and adapt to change, and has a track record of success in creating more human cultures that drive long-term success.

With a background in language, culture, marketing, analytics, and psychology, Eric has a deep understanding of data and analytics, and uses human-centered strategies to help organizations tackle unique, difficult-to-solve challenges. He has helped clients achieve 50% year-over-year revenue growth, develop standout communications programs, and implement cultural change that increases retention and lowers the costs of acquiring talent.

As a thought leader in the industry, Eric has been invited to speak at numerous conferences and guest lectured at universities. He is a well-respected writer and, at one time, was one of Twitter’s top 10 most followed accounts before leaving the platform for privacy reasons. If you are a leader, Eric understands the unique challenges you face, and can help you find integral solutions that meet your organization’s needs. His focus on human-centered strategies drives long-term success for clients and helps them anticipate and adapt to market changes.

Vincent D. Reese headshot

Vincent D. Reese focuses his practice on labor, employment, and education law, in addition to commercial litigation. Vince has successfully litigated employment discrimination claims based on race, sex, age, disability, religion, national origin, and pregnancy in Missouri and Illinois State Courts as well as many federal district courts around the country.

Vince has extensive experience in representing his clients’ interests with respect to investigations conducted by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; the U.S. Department of Labor; the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights; the Missouri Commission on Human Rights; and numerous other government agencies.

In addition to representing his clients in employment litigation matters and administrative proceedings, Vince frequently advises clients on covenants not-to-compete and unfair competition matters. He regularly conducts seminars and in-house training programs for human resources, supervisory, and managerial personnel. In his labor law practice, Vince advises and counsels clients on all aspects of labor-management relations, and he litigates representational and unfair labor practice matters under the National Labor Relations Act. He has also successfully guided numerous clients through NLRB representation proceedings and has also represented and advised public employers on matters before the Missouri State Board of Mediation.

Vince is a member of the Missouri and Illinois Bars.  He is a frequent speaker for the EEOC’s Technical Assistance Program and has authored or co-authored numerous articles on employment-related matters. Vince is also a vice-chair of the Missouri Bar’s Labor & Employment Law Committee and a member of the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section, where he has served as a contributing editor of its Developing Labor Law treatise. Additionally, Vince is an adjunct law professor at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis where he teaches pre-trial fundamentals.

Prior to commencing his legal career, Vince worked as a mortgage broker and as a credit and collections manager. He also served as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1991 to 2003. He is active within the St. Louis nonprofit community, where he serves on the boards of several charitable organizations.

Louis Riggs headshot

Representative Louis Riggs, a Republican, represents Marion and Ralls counties (District 5) in the Missouri House of Representatives. He was elected to his first two-year term in November, 2018.

In addition to his legislative duties, Riggs has served as an educator at Hannibal-LaGrange University for more than 14 years. He is also an attorney and Eagle Scout.

He serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Missouri Rural Development Partners and is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of the Missouri Humanities Council, a past president of Missouri Community Betterment, and a past president of Hannibal Nutrition Center and Hannibal Free Clinic. He is a past president and co-founder of the Northeast Missouri Conservative Club and serves as a member of the City of Hannibal Mark Twain Home Board. Riggs has also been named to the University of Missouri Extension Leaders Honor Roll for his service to the Marion County Extension Council.

A graduate of Hannibal High School, Riggs obtained a bachelor’s degree in English from Westminster College and a juris doctorate from the University of Missouri – Columbia School of Law.

Born and raised in Hannibal, Riggs resides there today with his family.

Dr. Saint Rice is a high-performing, collaborative, mid-level executive with over twenty-five years of administrative management experience successfully driving regulatory and standards compliance and directing instructional programs to meet students’ and organizational needs. In addition, as a cultural anthropologist, He uses qualitative research strategies to address the inequities resulting from historical and societal structures.

Dr. Rice is the Assistant Dean of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion and Director of Faculty, Staff, and Community Engagement at Washington University in St. Louis – Olin Business School. He has held several leadership and administrative roles both in higher education and the criminal justice professions. In addition, he has provided consultation for various organizations looking to strengthen their DEI strategic initiatives and impact.

Dr. Saint Rice is a thought leader who intuitively incorporates servant and transformational leadership styles in his day-to-day activities. His experiential proficiencies include workforce development, organizational change management, leadership training and development, program assessment, and intercultural pedagogy. In addition, he is a sought-after speaker in educational, criminal justice, and corporate environments.

blonde woman with blue shirt and glasses, smiling.

Kat Saunders is a Partner and Head of Strategy and Leadership for Economic Leadership, LLC, a consultancy currently working in more than a dozen states to develop economic and workforce strategies. She is also the current lead communications strategist for Howard Hughes Corporation, the country’s largest master-planned community developer. A specialist in economic development, talent attraction, and real estate, she advises clients on building effective marketing and communications programs to produce results that shift the perception and reputation of client communities while engaging stakeholders in the overall economic development process.

Prior to joining Economic Leadership, Kat was the Executive Vice President of Client Strategy for place marketing firm, Development Counsellors International, or DCI, based in New York City. There, she led the statewide economic development and talent attraction strategy for Florida Power & Light and the JAXUSA Partnership. She has previously worked with the Tampa Bay EDC, Orlando Economic Partnership, Enterprise Florida, and other rural economic developers throughout the state. Other previous clients include the Greater Houston Partnership, Research Triangle Regional Partnership, One Columbus, and Fairfax County Economic Development Authority in Northern Virginia.

She is a go-to counselor for crisis communications and an advisor on public sector and elected official communications. She previously worked at Hill & Knowlton where she managed corporate clients like Deloitte Real Estate, the Staubach Company and Nixon Peabody LLP, and before moving to New York City, was Director of Government Affairs at the Tampa affiliate of the National Association of Home Builders.

Kat is a graduate of Florida State University, where she studied public relations, business, and political science and was elected to the FSU Senior Hall of Fame. She lives in Westchester County, New York, with her husband, a commercial real estate broker at Jones Lang LaSalle, and her three children.

Dr. Christopher Spilling joined UMSL in 1989 and has served as a faculty member, department chair, senate chair, interim vice provost, interim provost and is currently Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic and Community Development.  Dr. Spilling is currently driving UMSL’s research and economic development programming, including the Transform UMSL initiative, which has launched a $100 million redesign of UMSL’s 450 acres. Transform UMSL includes library, classroom and lab renovations, the build out of campus community spaces, as well as the demolition of buildings to establish an academic core on the university’s north campus, opening 35 acres for public-private development on south campus. Dr. Spilling and his economic development team are advancing UMSL’s vision of creating the North County Business and Workforce District which will bring new developments and community amenities to South Campus.  Additionally, under Dr. Spilling leadership, UMSL has increased grant expenditures by 56% in the past five years and significantly expanded the research and the economic and community development infrastructure on the UMSL campus resulting in a strengthened research culture at UMSL.  His division oversees the Anchor Institution Initiative, including the St. Louis Anchor Action Network, the Community Innovation and Action Center, and the Office of Community Engagement and Outreach.  Dr. Spilling is a Professor of Chemistry and an accomplished organic chemist, with over 90 peer-reviewed publications and 10 patents.  Dr. Spilling’s research has been funded by NSF, NIH, EDA, foundations, and private industry. Dr. Spilling has a deep understanding of regional strengths and challenges, organic chemistry expertise, and has established trusted partnerships across industry, academic, startup and workforce sectors.

blonde woman with blue button up shirt and yellow blazer.

Dr. Leigh Anne Taylor Knight is a resourceful, future-focused leader who serves as the Executive Director and COO of The DeBruce Foundation, a foundation whose mission is to expand pathways to economic growth and opportunity.  It seeks to help people discover what they want to do and what they’re good at doing, to open more career possibilities for the future of work.

At The Foundation, Dr. Taylor Knight leads a team who develops innovative solutions to positively impact the way youth and adults might become more agile in the ever-changing world of work.  A teacher at heart, Dr. Taylor Knight has also served as a K-12 assistant superintendent, advised learning institutions across the nation, and led a bi-state consortium providing powerful tools for data-driven educational research to inform practice and policy.  Today, in addition to her leader-ship role at The DeBruce Foundation, she also serves on several boards and as a mentor to many.

Dan Tesfay headshot

Dan Tesfay is a senior program officer and interim leader for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where he assesses and recommends optimal data use to inform strategy.

Prior to joining the Kauffman Foundation, Tesfay was a director of data and analytics at Education Cities, where he led data management, research, website design, and Tableau dashboard creation for the multi-year, 45-state Education Equity Index project; and built models and forecasts to facilitate strategic planning for city-based partnerships that sought to increase and expand high-quality schools for low-income students.

Tesfay has a Master of Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Arts in government and sociology from the University of Texas at Austin.

Tom Vander Ark is an advocate for innovations in learning. As CEO of Getting Smart, he advises schools, districts, networks, foundations and learning organizations on the path forward. A prolific writer and speaker, Tom is author of Getting SmartSmart Cities That Work for EveryoneSmart ParentsBetter TogetherThe Power of Place and Difference Making at the Heart of Learning. He has published thousands of articles and papers through and LinkedIn.

Previously he served as the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Tom served as a public school superintendent in Washington State and has extensive private sector experience. He serves on the board of 4.0, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and Getting Smart Collective. He is also an advisor to numerous schools and startups.

Margie Vandeven is passionate about ensuring that each child has the opportunity to graduate prepared for success. She has more than 30 years of student-centered service in education, including six at Missouri’s top educational post. She is a teacher who has provided education leadership in the classroom, school, state and national roles assumed throughout her career.

Vandeven joined the Department in 2005. She was appointed commissioner of elementary and secondary education by the Missouri State Board of Education in December 2014 and served in that capacity until December 2017. She was reappointed in January 2019. During the interim, Vandeven worked as the director of educational partnerships for the SAS Institute in Cary, N.C. As commissioner, Dr. Vandeven works collaboratively with a diverse group of stakeholders to improve educational opportunities for Missouri’s nearly 900,000 public school students.

Dr. Vandeven began her education career in 1990 as a Missouri teacher. From 1995-2002, she taught high school English and served as an administrator in Maryland before returning to Missouri as an English teacher and administrator.

Dr. Vandeven earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Missouri State University and a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from Loyola University Maryland. She received a doctorate of philosophy in educational leadership from Saint Louis University and has been recognized by Missouri State University and St. Louis University as a distinguished alumna.

Aaron Willard, Missouri Governor's Chief of Staff, headshot

Aaron Willard has served as Chief of Staff to Missouri Governor Michael Parson since the beginning of his administration. In his role he provides operational management and strategic oversight across Missouri’s 17 State Departments and roughly $50 billion budget that employees nearly 50,000 employees. Aaron has been intricately involved in the Parson Administration’s key priorities of infrastructure and workforce development and incredibly proud of the transformative changes the state has made in those areas as well as the large investments to support the state’s own workforce.

Sen. Brian Williams official headshot

Senator Brian Williams has proudly represented the 14th Senatorial District in St. Louis County since 2018. Senator Williams is the first Black male to serve in the Missouri Senate in two decades. He was drawn to public service after studying government and public health policy, a passion that eventually led him to the U.S. Congress. He worked as a congressional staffer for several years and oversaw Missouri’s rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace under President Obama’s administration.

In his time as a senator, Sen. Williams has created legislation allowing those with sickle cell anemia to access needed pain medication prescriptions; protected individuals’ MO ABLE funds for disability costs; and leads the Capitol’s annual human trafficking awareness day.

During the 2021 legislative session, Sen. Williams passed comprehensive police reforms, Senate Bills 53 & 60, into law. These sweeping criminal justice reforms established the strongest use of force database in the country; prohibit law enforcement from using a respiratory chokehold without deadly force authorization; ensure women offenders have access to free, adequate feminine hygiene products while in a correctional facility or jail; and shortened the delay to request an expungement for those who have paid their debt to society. Senator Williams also added a provision that helps set innocent people free from wrongful imprisonment. This provision allows prosecutors and circuit attorneys to file a motion to vacate convictions if they believe the convicted person is innocent, a change that was instrumental in the 2021 release of Kevin Strickland, who was wrongfully convicted and served time for over 40 years.

During the 2022 legislative session, Sen. Williams proudly secured $98 million for North St. Louis County projects, including $40 million for the University of Missouri-St. Louis to construct the “Campus of the Future;” $15 million to manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients; $23 million to build a public safety training facility; $7 million for public transit assistance; $6 million to abate, demolish and repurpose the Jamestown Mall; $4 million to renovate the St. Louis Metro Employment and Training Center in Wellston; and $400,000 for Youth Build Works.

In addition to legislative duties, Sen. Williams serves as a board director for People’s Health Center, where he helped develop a behavioral health care center for underserved children. He is also a member of the advisory boards for St. Louis Crisis Nursery, Simmons Bank, iHeart Media, Nurses for Newborns, University City Children’s Center, Alzheimer’s Association and Refuge and Restoration.


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If you have questions, contact Ashley Schwab.

Ashley Schwab

Director of Conference Development