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speaker bios

Cleo Brager, CEO and owner of Mid-State Aerospace, Inc., headshot

Cleo Brager
CEO & Owner, Mid-State Aerospace, Inc.

Cleo Brager, CEO and owner of Mid-State Aerospace, Inc. of Olathe, Kansas worked almost nine years as a territorial sales manager selling aerospace products to the airline industry.  On June 4, 1983, Cleo and another female who has since passed away after eighteen years of business, set out to start Mid-State Aerospace, Inc. in a predominantly white male industry.  Determined to become self-sufficient, with just $7,500, credible reputations and determination, they began selling aerospace standard fasteners and later building hose assemblies.  In 1997, Mid-State Aerospace was honored by the U.S. Small Business Administration as one of the top ten small businesses in America.

Forty years later, Mid-State Aerospace is a worldwide premier provider of aerospace hardware and fabricator of hose assemblies for commercial and military aerospace as well as specialized industrial and marine applications.  On March 28th, 2023, Cleo was invited to the White House once again to celebrate the 50th anniversary of HR 5050 being passed and highlight the contributions of women owned small businesses nationwide.

Cleo is a resident of Leawood, Kansas and the mother of two daughters.



Theresa Calvert headshot for Women In Leadership Conference

Theresa Calvert
Director of Carylon Transformation Project, Carylon Corporation

Theresa Calvert, formerly the Vice President of Ace Pipe Cleaning, Inc., was recently promoted to Director of Carylon Transformation Project at Carylon Corporation, parent company of Ace Pipe Cleaning (APC). She has a BSBA Finance degree from the University of Missouri – Columbia.  Her 20-year tenure in the wastewater industry has mostly included managing APC teams who facilitate contracting, bidding, field data processing, and project controls.  Theresa is a member of WEF, AWWA-Missouri/Kansas and MWEA.  She is also very active with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.



Teresa Coyan headshot

Teresa Coyan
Corporate Chief of Staff/Vice President of Governmental Relations, CoxHealth

Teresa Coyan moved to the Springfield in 2003 to attend Missouri State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in Business Management with an emphasis in entrepreneurship (2005). Shortly after, she completed a MBA through Webster University. In 2008, Teresa began her career at CoxHealth and has had enjoyed several roles throughout her 15 years with the organization. Currently, serving as Corporate Chief of Staff/Vice President of Governmental Relations. Teresa is also active in a variety of organizations, which include serving on the boards for Boys and Girls Club of Springfield, the Missouri Chamber, and serving as a member of the United WE Public Policy Coalition. In 2021, Teresa was appointed by Missouri Governor Mike Parson, to serve as a Commissioner for the Department of Mental Health.  She previously served as a board member for the Board of Public Utilities the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Foundation for Springfield Public Schools. Teresa has been married for 17 years to her husband, Justin and they have two children, Connor (9) and Kinley (7).



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Leslie Gill
President, Rung For Women

(she/her/hers) Having served in leadership capacities for several profit and non-profit organizations, Leslie Gill has been deeply involved in a wide range of social welfare issues. Before joining Rung for Women, Leslie Gill served as the Chief Executive Officer of Annie Malone Children’s & Family Service Center. Prior to her role at Annie Malone, Leslie served as Executive Director of College Summit, where she had multi-state responsibility for programs, fundraising, and business operations. Prior to that, she spent six years in executive leadership roles with the Girl Scouts in St. Louis and Atlanta.

In those roles, she oversaw advocacy and governmental affairs, strategic planning, program development, membership recruitment, and cookie sales. Leslie is a native of St. Louis, and now resides in the Skinker Debaliviere neighborhood with her daughter, Marley. She is distinguished alumnus of Hampton University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Hampton University, as well as a Master of International Business from St. Louis University. Leslie serves on the Board of Directors for Saint Louis Art Fair, St. Louis Public Schools Foundation, and Park Central Development.Leslie’s years of experience in executive leadership positions combined with her deep commitment to women’s issues makes her uniquely positioned to lead Rung for Women.



Julie Jenson headshot for Women In Leadership Conference

Julie Jenson
Water Resources Group Manager, Crawford, Murphy & Tilly

Julie Jenson has 21+ years of experience in the water and wastewater industry in the Kansas City area. She is a licensed PE in the state of Missouri and has worked in the public and private sectors of the industry. She is currently the office manager and Water Resources Group Manager for Crawford, Murphy & Tilly (CMT) in the Kansas City Office where she enjoys developing and continuing the strong relationships she has made over the years, as well as managing projects and pursuing future work for the office. Mostly, she enjoys managing and mentoring her younger staff to prepare them for a lifelong career in the civil engineering field.



Melanie Jollett headshot for Women In Leadership Conference

Melanie Jollett
Water Distribution Engineering Division Head, KC Water

Melanie Jollett has over 25 years of experience in water distribution system modeling and design in both the municipal and private industries. She is currently serving as the Water Distribution Engineering Division Head for KC Water. The division is responsible for the replacement of 28 miles of water mains every year within the distribution system. Prior to joining KC Water, she worked for Colorado Springs Utilities as their lead distribution system modeler.



Lynne Lang headshot

Lynne Lang
Founder and Executive Director, Restoration Matters

Lynne is founder and executive director for Restoration Matters, a nonprofit dedicated to virtue literacy and restorative practices located in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. She holds Master’s Degrees in both Health Management and in Restorative Practices. Lynne is a certified instructor and coach for International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) and developed Virtue-Based Restorative Discipline (VBRD), a Catholic response to bullying behaviors in 2010. She worked for the Archdiocese of St. Louis from 2011-2018 and for a large health care network Health System developing health curriculum from 1998-2011. Lynne is a published author/trainer in school and community safety and violence prevention. She holds trainings nationwide each year to support schools in implementing systemic changes to improve school culture through virtue literacy and restorative practices. Lynne and Dr. Frida Rundell, psychologist for IIRP recently completed a two-year research study for the Diocese of Wichita Kansas Catholic schools and developed curriculum, PRAISES (Practicing Restorations and Integrating Social-Emotional Skills). This middle school model is recommended to be delivered first to staff, then middle school students learn and develop lessons for younger grades. The outcomes of the research showed an increase in empathy and a more positive school culture and has become the foundation of a new two-year training project for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Pennsylvania.



Doris Rogers headshot for Women In Leadership Conference

Doris Rogers
Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Saint Luke’s Health System

Doris Rogers is Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Saint Luke’s Health System, which includes 14 hospitals and campuses across the Kansas City metro area and surrounding region, more than 100 clinics and practices, and approximately 12,500 employees.

In a role that oversees the entire human resources function for the health system, Rogers is grateful for her nearly three decades with Saint Luke’s. She joined the organization in 1996 as an HR technician at Saint Luke’s Hospital Crittenton Children’s Center, while also pursuing a graduate degree.

After successfully holding HR leadership roles of increasing responsibility, including an interim assignment in hospital operations at the system’s flagship hospital, Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, Rogers was named Vice President of HR, Saint Luke’s Central Region, when the system reorganized into a regional structure. She was serving in this role when she was promoted to Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer in early 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic—the most challenging health care event of the past century.

As the head for talent acquisition, employee relations, diversity, compensation and benefits, leave management, Human Resources Information Systems, employee health services, the employee assistance program, organizational development and talent management, volunteer services, and the child-care center, Rogers is an invested and energetic leader, always aiming to help her teams think about matters and solutions in a new way.

Rogers currently serves on the HR Advisory Board of the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri–Kansas City and on the board for Notre Dame de Sion Schools of Kansas City. She earned a bachelor’s degree in child psychology from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in HR management from Webster University.



Sandy Stover headshot for Women In Leadership Conference

Lt. Col. Sandy Stover
Commander of the Missouri Recruiting & Retention Battalion, Missouri Army National Guard

Sandy Stover is on a mission to train resilient leaders who build trusted teams that crush their missions. Her 5G Leadership presentation will take your career to the next level with a focus on goals, grit, growth mindset, gratitude and guides. She combines her military leadership training, positive psychology education, coaching expertise and life experience to help leaders navigate storms in both business and personal life. Sandy believes we all have the heart of a warrior to become strong, courageous, and resilient leaders even in the midst of challenging times.

Sandy has led numerous Army and Marine Corps teams. She holds the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Missouri Army National Guard. She currently serves as the Commander of the Missouri Recruiting & Retention Battalion. She has a Master’s in Education from the University of Missouri with a Graduate Certificate in Positive Psychology. She previously served as the President of the MONG Women’s Mentorship Council for four years. She and her husband, Kevin, are the proud parents of five adult children and six beautiful grandchildren. Her most cherished title is Super Yaya.

Her stories will encourage, inspire, and challenge you to embrace your gritty, grateful Warrior spirit. No push-ups required.



Katie Towns headshot for Women In Leadership Conference

Katie Towns
Director, Springfield-Greene County Health Department

After completing a Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine/Athletic Training and later a Master of Public Health from Missouri State University, Katie Towns has spent her career in healthcare related fields in non-profit, healthcare and government. Towns currently serves as Director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department in Springfield, Missouri. In this role, Towns led the department through the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery. Towns is led by a vision to work across sectors to incorporate health as an element of developing Springfield’s infrastructure and culture. Towns is the mother to two beautiful children, Cole and Maren, and loves spending time with them and watching them play soccer and basketball.



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