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Jamie Peniston Vann is a wife, mother of 2 children and the Founder and President of St. Louis Recreation Development Group, Inc. She is a Sales Coordinator for Tower Garden by JuicePlus+ and in the top 10% of the company for Tower Garden’s sold by focusing on the importance of nutrition education, through gardening, in families and schools. Jamie has been an entrepreneur for over 14 years where she grew a small, home-based business to a storefront on Lebanon, IL’s main street. She relocated the storefront operations to web-based sales to compete with growing online shopping trends. Serving as Community Relations & Employee Events Manager at Harrah’s Casino & Hotel and Community Relations for Barnes & Noble Booksellers prior, allowed Jamie to cultivate relationships with key decision makers, local celebrities and numerous charitable organizations to fulfill their customers’ individual and specific needs. She is involved in both of her children’s schools as the chairperson for the annual Barnes & Noble book fairs and the Tower Garden educator for several schools in supporting school districts. For the past 2 years, she has also been an active volunteer for the Johnson’s Garden Center Iron ChileHead Festival held in Wichita, KS. Jamie attended Missouri State University where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Communications, Minors in Marketing and Sales with Advertising emphasis, A.A.C.S.B. Accredited.
Matt Chambers is a husband, father of 3 children and is the Client Director at Neilsen. Vice President of Strategic Planning for TNP. He’s served as Vice President of Strategic Planning for TNP and in strategic and insight leadership capacities at the Mars Agency, TPN and Saatchi & Saatchi, delivering business growth for Fortune 500 clients through driving consumption and impacting consumer behavior. In addition to his extensive experience in the Marketing and Advertising field, Matt has also published 2 research studies: The Shoppability Report for the University of Indiana Kelley School of Business and Shopping in the Flow for Shopper Marketing Magazine. In addition to serving on the Board of the St. Louis Recreation Development Group, Matt is involved in a variety of non-profit and community organizations including the Red Cross Blood Services, Fayetteville Arkansas Parks & Recreation Youth soccer coach, and a volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America. He has a double BBA in Marketing and Music Business from Belmont University and received his MBA in Brand Management and Marketing Research from Cornell University- Johnson Graduate School of Management.
Terry Richars is a husband, father of 7 children and the Director of Accounting Services at Mueller Prost PC, has over ten years of experience providing business valuation, litigation support, forensic accounting, individual, corporate and partnership income tax returns, SAS 70/SSAE16 reporting, and consulting services. He primarily works with privately-held and middle-market organizations across various industries, including manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and the legal community. His assistance in reporting on realistic prospective financial statements has contributed significantly to the financial success of a number of start-up and expanding entities. In addition, he has performed business valuation services for gift and estate tax reporting, management planning, ESOP, marital dissolution, and other purposes and has rendered litigation support services relating to personal injury, breach of contract, marital dissolution, and various business-damages cases including lost profit analysis and business valuation issues. Terry has also provided expert witness testimony in the state of Missouri and Illinois. He received his Bachelors in Accounting, Emphasis in Management Information Systems from St. Louis University, is accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants as well as Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA) with the American Society of Appraisers.
Jeff Vann is supported by his wife and 2 children and is currently a member of the Stryker Orthopedics, Joint Replacement Division. He is a medical sales professional, with over 15 years of experience who works with orthopedic surgeons and hospital staff to deliver the highest level of patient care. These qualities have been seen through his Orthopedic Trauma Implant career with Synthes U.S.A. and with Aegis Sciences Corporation and St. Jude Medical. Jeff is also an active volunteer within his community. He serves on various committees with the Kirkwood Youth Hockey Association and is a Level 4 USA Hockey Certified Coach currently coaching an A2 PeeWee team. Jeff runs the Summer Ice youth hockey camp and is the organizer of the KYHA Icebreaker Weekend. He is also the President and Founder of St. Louis Blind Hockey Association, one of 6, Blind Hockey Teams in the United States. Jeff is also a leader and organizer in the St. Peter Catholic Church Men’s group and runs a biweekly Bible study. Jeff attended Missouri State University where he received his Bachelor of Science in Marketing, Sales and Sales Management, A.A.C.S.B. Accredited.
S. Eric Westacott, is an Attorney at Law at Westacott Law Firm, LLC has over 15 years of experience, counseling his clients to find and facilitate the best means of devising their estates to future generations. The focus of his practice is on the fields of estate planning, corporate law and litigation. Eric also has considerable experience assisting families of children with special needs, as he himself has been living with a disability for the past 23 years. He assists in protecting the assets of his clients through establishing special needs trusts, advising corporate clients on entity creation, mergers and acquisitions, capital funding, licensing agreements, independent contractor/agency agreements, and other corporate transactions. He also represents corporate clients in general litigation matters with a specific focus on the start-up and entrepreneurial space where he advises clients on technology and process integration. Eric has helped to raise over $500,000 for spinal cord research and those affected by spinal cord injury through his own foundation, the Eric Westacott Foundation and sits on the board for Paraquad, the University of Missouri Spinal Cord Research Injury Program, and Iron Hope. He received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Missouri State University and his JD from St. Louis University School of Law.
Tim Buening is supported by his wife, 3 children and is the Vice President of Upper Middle Market Commercial Banking at Fifth Third Bank. He was previously the President at Buening Consulting, LLC, a strategic consulting firm that offers proprietary tools and processes to help clients boost profits with minimal investment. Prior to consulting, Tim spent five years at Anheuser-Busch, where he launched Bud Light Lime “Lime-A-Rita” in April 2012 and led five packaging innovation launches in 2013 as a Marketing Innovation Manager, and also held roles in Mergers & Acquisitions and in Business & Wholesaler Development. Prior to Anheuser-Busch, Tim spent six years at Merrill Lynch Capital structuring and managing leveraged lending transactions, and three years at Piper Jaffray, where he closed over 15 M&A advisory transactions. Tim is involved in a variety of community and non-profit organizations besides the St. Louis Recreation Development Group, including United Way as an Allocations Panel member, Kirkwood United Soccer Club as a head soccer coach, and the St. Louis Zoo as an Events Committee member. Tim received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and his BSBA from the John Cook School of Business at Saint Louis University.
Diane Schwartz Sato Kodelja
Diane Schwartz Sato Kodelja is a wife, mother of 5 children and the Owner of KiddlyWinks Art Studio. She set her career aside to embrace the challenge of parenting, her youngest daughter, Veronica, who at 17 weeks in utero, was diagnosed with Congenital Hydrocephalus. Diane has continued to care and advocate for her special needs child, who has since birth, received multiple diagnoses including Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and global developmental delays. Throughout her 14-year journey, Diane has worked in tandem with her daughter to educate and build awareness for those with special needs and disabilities. Diane visits local schools, with Veronica, participating in “Ability Awareness” class discussions and school programs as well as participates in Maryville University’s Speech and Language Pathology Clinic Program. This program gives SLP graduate student clinicians the opportunity to acquire the unique, hands-on learning experience that can only be taught by a child who is with a child who is non-verbal, with apraxia of speech, dysarthria, an enthusiastic attitude, and a great sense of humor. Diane also holds a Service Dog Team Certification with her daughter and their service dog, Baggins, through 4 Paws For Ability. In addition, she is currently writing a children’s book with Veronica and the mother-daughter team is illustrating it together, as well. Diane attended Lindenwood University and received her Bachelors Degree in Studio Arts from Webster University.
David Gipson is a husband, father of 3 children and City Administrator for the City of Wentzville. He has over 10 years of local government experience providing knowledge and expertise in the implementation of city policies and procedures. He oversees operations in all city departments including yet not limited to Community and Economic Development, Public Safety, Public Works, Utilities and Parks and Recreation. David also has considerable experience preparing and managing multi-million dollar budgets for special projects and grants. In addition to serving on the Board of the St. Louis Recreation Development Group, David is an active member in his community. He has been involved with a variety of non-profit and community organizations, and is currently serving as Vice President on the Board of Directors for the St. Peters Spirit Hockey Club and as Treasurer of the St. Charles County Economic Development Center. He was the recipient of the American Planning Association – Missouri Chapter’s Distinguished Leadership Award in 2010. David received his Bachelor of Science degree in Community and Regional Planning from Missouri State University and attended the University of Missouri-St. Louis where he earned his Masters of Public Policy Administration with an emphasis in Local Government Management.
Mary Kay Sheets
Mary Kay Sheets is a wife, mother, and the founder of Rethink Inc., a business development and production firm. She has more than 25 years of experience as an award-winning “Go-To – Get-it-Done” serial entrepreneur having founded four successful companies and a non-profit in the past eighteen years. She specializes in Business Development, Entrepreneurial Mastery, CEO Mentoring, Mastermind Leadership, Legal Compliancy as well as Business Funding; all elements necessary to create, sustain, protect and grow a profitable business. Her most recent endeavor has been founding The Filmmakers CAFÉ (Create Alliance for Filmmakers & Entertainment) to mentor and manage filmmakers on the business and funding side of filmmaking as well as help produce films in the Midwest. Mary Kay is also an author, community leader and speaker who has been recognized and awarded 8 times for her achievements in business and leadership. Mary Kay graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln with Bachelor of Journalism majoring in Advertising and Marketing with an emphasis in Business Management. She also completed a two-year intensive program in personal investing through Investtools PHD program in 2004. Mary Kay will be serving as an Advisory Board member.
Annie Donnell is currently beginning her junior year at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, accompanied by her guide dog, Hikari. She will be conducting an internship with the Spirit of Discovery Park. Annie has remained on the Dean’s list while being an active member in both her St. Louis and Nashville communities. Such organizations that Annie has given her time and talent to include yet not limited to; Best Buddies at Belmont, Women’s Choir, Student Activities Programming Board, Achilles Nashville, Second Harvest Food Bank, Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments in St. Louis and the St. Louis Children’s Choir. Annie is currently on course to receive her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies, Minor in Education.