Meet The Launch Team

Getting To Know You: Katie Wall posted 03/02/18

Launch St. Louis is thrilled and honored to welcome Katie Wall as our newest board member.  Katie has served on our LaunchMe committee since Fall 2017, and brings that wealth of experience, along with her incredible work in Community Relations at Enterprise Holdings, to the Launch Board.

To officially introduce Katie, we decided to bring back our new favorite game: “Getting to Know You”!  We hope you enjoying learning more about Katie as much as we did, and look forward to having Katie in her new role within the Launch community.

So without further ado, meet Katie!

1) What brought you to St. Louis?

I’ve spent my entire life in St. Louis and didn’t stray too far for college. After graduation, I searched for opportunities elsewhere and ended up taking a job here. I didn’t expect to stay long, but after my first few months, I fell in love with my company, the work I was doing, and St. Louis! Now, I can’t imagine leaving. There is so much to do here, so much passion for this place and so much great work being done to make it an even more incredible place to call home.

2) How did you first get involved with Launch St. Louis?

I first heard about Launch during my FOCUS Emerging Leaders program. The entire six-week class left me feeling inspired to get more involved in the community, so when an opportunity to join the LaunchMe committee came up, I jumped at the chance to get involved!

3) What inspires you to do the work that you do?

I’m lucky to have gotten to see some pretty incredible leaders at work in nonprofit careers and on boards. It’s amazing to me how much difference a single person can have on their organization, and through that work, the change they can create in their community. Young professionals are the next generation of these changemakers. I am excited for the opportunity Launch has given me to help these future leaders find their passions, get involved and hone their leadership skills. The thought of a very bright future for St. Louis thanks to people my age inspires me in my work with Launch.  

4) What excites you must about the future for St. Louis?

The powerhouse I know we will become! It’s been said we’re experiencing a renaissance, and I wholeheartedly agree. We are attracting so much innovation through our burgeoning startup scene, and it seems like there is news of a new development project every week. This is all made better by the fact that those involved in these projects truly care about our city, want to see it succeed, and want to improve the community while they’re at it. When I picture the St. Louis of tomorrow, I see a thriving region with a vibrant downtown and a better place for all of us to live. I truly think this vision will one day be a reality.  

5) What is a cause you are passionate about?

Of course, I am passionate about Launch and its mission. If you couldn’t tell, I am an eternal optimist and so I strongly believe people my age — given the right tools and opportunities — are going to make a significant impact on our region in their lifetimes. Other causes close to my heart include cancer research, education and animal welfare. My fiancé and I adopted an abused rescue dog almost three years ago. We don’t know his story, but it is obvious he has suffered immensely in his life. Although he was very challenging at first, we can’t imagine life without him now. I believe every animal deserves to be loved and cared for like Huckleberry is now. 

6) How do you enjoy spending your free time?

 I love food, so I am always out and about trying new restaurants and frequenting a few tried and true favorites. I am also working on brushing up on my skills in the kitchen with a current goal of trying one new recipe every week. When I’m not eating, I spend a little more time than I’d care to admit following the lives of my favorite celebrities. As guilty a pleasure as pop culture may be for me, it has made me a trivia night aficionado, so I guess I shouldn’t be too ashamed. I also enjoy spending time with my extended family, who all live here in St. Louis; going to as many Cardinals games as I can; spoiling my dog; and I’ve recently started going to OrangeTheory Fitness classes to balance out all the St. Louis treats I love and burn off some of the stress of planning my October wedding. 

 

A Year in Review posted 01/25/18

Another year has come and gone, and 2017 was a particularly exciting one for us here at Launch St. Louis.  As focused as we are on the future and all the wonderful things 2018 is bound to bring, we thought it would be nice to take a moment and look back on the last 12 months here at Launch.  Check out a few updates from our team below, and we look forward to celebrating another amazing year with you!

Our 2016/2017 Partnership with the APA

We recently finished our partnership with the Young Friends of the APA Adoption Center. It was a sad goodbye, but we are thrilled with all they achieved over 18 months. The Young Friends of APA have a mission of helping the APA connect thousands of St. Louis’ homeless dogs, cats and other animals with loving homes. Along with representing the APA at events, volunteering at the APA and fostering animals in need, the group hosted their first signature event, Paws + Prints. The event was a huge success, raising $8,000!

Introducing Our 2018/2019 18-Month Partnership

We received applications from many wonderful nonprofit organizations across St. Louis for our 2018/2019 18-Month Partnership. With 28 applicants, it was a long and difficult selection process. We’re pleased to announce that we have chosen Urban Harvest Food Roof for our new partnership and we can’t wait to tell you all about it soon!

Learn more about the Launch St. Louis 18-Month Partnership

LaunchMe

LaunchMe is the newest Launch St. Louis endeavor! Created in 2017, Launch Me is designed to help young professionals find and engage with a variety of young friends groups in the St. Louis region.  In 2017, Launch St. Louis was able to connect sixty-nine young professionals to fill young friends board positions for various non-profit organizations. Collaborating with many local organizations, LaunchMe makes it easy to connect young and talented professionals with organizations and causes they feel passionate about to help build a stronger region.

Learn more about LaunchMe.

LaunchU

2018 will be an exciting year for the LaunchU program. The goal of LaunchU is to coach St. Louis non-profit organizations on how to establish young friend’s boards with local young professionals. Launch St. Louis is upgrading the workshops for 2018 to be even more engaging with an additional focus on networking and building strong ties between the workshop participants.

In 2017, five non-profits participated in the workshop programs. The organizations attending ranged from non-profits that were just starting to engage young professionals to experienced non-profits with already existing young friends groups seeking to perfect their board structure. Attendees last year included the Missouri History Museum, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, the National Children’s Cancer Society, Partners in Sustainable Development International and the Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls.

The 2018 LaunchU program will be starting at the end of January and consists of one workshop each month. Last minute applications are still being accepted here.

2017 Gateway to the Future Summit

Nearly 100 St. Louis young professionals and nonprofit leaders gathered at T-REX in September for the 5th Annual Launch St. Louis Gateway to the Future Summit to discuss ways to create a more charitable and connected community.

Attendees arrived early to the half day summit to network with one another, connect with top nonprofit and community leaders, and learn about potential volunteer opportunities that align with their personal and professional interests.

The event kicked off with a passionate and inspiring keynote address from Ginger Imster, VP of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. Ginger shared her personal story of capitalizing on luck and opportunity, dealing with risk tolerance and maintaining a sense of humor when facing adversity.

When Ginger declared that the audience truly is St. Louis’ “Gateway to the Future,” everyone felt motivated to get more involved in making a positive impact in the community.

After the keynote, young professionals participated in thought-provoking breakout sessions led by influential St. Louis leaders and Launch STL board members. Breakout topics included “Technology Trends in Nonprofits”, “Pursuing Your Passion” and “Fundraising and Friendraising.”

Social media was buzzing with excitement as people shared pictures, ideas on how to improve our community and quotes from the panelists.

Ginger finished her keynote with a quote from Gilda Radner that sums it up best: “Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.”

Launch Team

When it comes to Launch St. Louis, it is really the people that make the work so great.  2017 was a year of welcoming an exciting level of knowledge, resources and energy to our team on both the board and the committee level.  We were thrilled to welcome newest board members Jeanne Kaufmann and Ariel Zhang, as well as new committee members Katie Wall, Eric Williams, Katie Holtgrave, Derek May, Alex Goldberg, and Chelsey Green.

Sadly, saying hello can also sometimes mean saying good-bye, and 2017 ends with us saying thank you and farewell to Board Members Beth Casagrand and Jonathan Goldford.

Getting to Know You: Ariel Zhang posted 10/04/17

 

Launch St. Louis is thrilled and honored to welcome Ariel Zhang as our newest board member.  Ariel served on our 18-month partnership committee for two years, and brings that wealth of experience, along with an exceptional skillset developed as a Management Consultant at North Highland Worldwide, to Launch.

To officially introduce Ariel, we thought it might be fun to play a little game of “Getting to Know You”!  We hope you enjoying learning more about Ariel as much as we did, and look forward to having Ariel in her new role within the Launch community.

So without further ado, meet Ariel!

1) What brought you to St. Louis?

My family moved here when I was in high school for my mom’s job. It’s the longest I’ve ever lived in one place – almost nine years. I can’t believe it. It’s definitely considered my home now.

2) How did you first get involved with Launch St. Louis?

I was a part of the Young Professionals Network when I was working at one of the bigger companies in St. Louis. I volunteered a bit in college but wanted to get more active in the community after graduation. One day, I saw information about Launch at the bottom of one newsletter from the YPN and saw it as a great opportunity to get to know different nonprofits in St. Louis.

3) What inspires you to do the work that you do?

My parents immigrated to Canada from China when I was two and then we immigrated to America when I was 12. Being an immigrant gives you a different perspective I think. I watched my parents really fight to start something for us because we didn’t have roots and connections where we immigrated. I recognize that they gave me a world of opportunities so I think it’s my responsibility to be grateful and pass that on to someone else. I honestly think I’m lucky to have a life where my basic needs are met and am, therefore, able to give back.

4) What excites you must about the future for St. Louis?

So much! St. Louis has a huge opportunity to market itself to the world. I think St. Louis is the most underrated city that I’ve been. My favorite part is that it’s truly a community. We have a problems like any community would but never in another city would you find top CEOs willing to mentor college students, such high involvement in non-profits, and so many entrepreneurs trying to make a difference. It’s the combination of everything that makes us unique.

4) What is a cause you are passionate about?

Obviously I’m passionate about Launch. I took two years of just being on the committee level to truly understand the value of Launch before joining the board. We all have way too much on our plates and so I try to be selective on how I spend my time. I’m also passionate about Make-A-Wish and volunteer as a wish granter. I had to have major surgery when I was 13 and spent time away from school for quite a bit of time. I relate to those kids a lot and they help me keep perspective on life.

5) How do you enjoy spending your free time?

I try to do too many things (^see above about learning to be selective on my time). Currently, I love salsa dancing, boxing, and rock climbing. I also LOVE food. All of my friends will tell you that food is my top priority on any given day. I love being creative in my cooking at home and try to cook food from different cultures. St. Louis also has an affordable (!!!), diverse, and top-notch food scene.

Board members wanted – events, Treasurer and graphic design! posted 02/25/15

Launch St. Louis is growing and we’re actively searching for board members to accommodate our growth. While we’re interested in folks with a variety of skill sets, our immediate needs are listed below. Please contact us if you think you might be a good fit! As a heads up – this board is not a “networking board” – this requires a lot of work and commitment. But, we promise, it’s well worth it!

Events

Launch St. Louis is looking for a couple of event gurus to join our event committee. Board member must have a minimum of two years of experience in nonprofit or corporate event planning, must attend monthly board meetings as well as event committee meetings, and will be responsible for planning and execution of our annual young professionals summit – Gateway to the Future. Additional responsibilities may include working as a mentor for our partner charity’s young friends board, volunteering at partner events and presenting at our LaunchU classroom series.

Interested? Great. Let us know.

Treasurer

Launch St. Louis is looking for a board member who possesses financial experience to act as our board’s Treasurer. Responsibilities include collecting board donations, creating and tracking event budgets with the events committee chair, paying event vendors as needed, filing all appropriate tax and nonprofit status paperwork throughout the year, and managing the organization’s overall budget. Board member must have a minimum of two years of experience in finance and must attend monthly board meetings.

Sound like something you’d be interested in? We want to hear from you if so!

Graphic Designer / Art Director

We’re looking for someone with a strong graphic design background and ability to think strategically. We’re looking for someone that is an art director or designer at a graphic design/marketing/advertising firm or an internal graphic designer at a corporation. Candidate must be proficient in Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign) and have access to these software applications. Responsibilities include attending a monthly meeting and conceptual development and design of marketing materials. That includes items like brochures, posters, direct mailers, website graphics and other promotional materials.

Sound like you’re a fit? Contact us if you’re interested!

Talkin’ with Ann Davidson of the Launch executive committee posted 08/16/12

Ann Davidson Launch St. LouisHow and why did you get involved with Launch?

I was a part of the original crew who sat on the Young Friends Council of the cancer non-profit Gilda’s Club St. Louis. When the idea came about to form a new organization that would promote young leadership and support cancer, it was an easy choice – I knew I wanted to be a part of this mission and help build it from the ground up. (more…)

Founding board member named to St. Louis Business Journal’s 30 Under 30 Class of 2012 posted 07/23/12

Joe Sullivan, one of the founding board members of Launch St. Louis, was recently named to the St. Louis Business Journal’s 30 Under 30 Class of 2012. Each year the St. Louis Business Journal honors up-and-coming young professionals in the area. We’re excited to have award-winning people like Joe as such a huge part of Launch St. Louis. (more…)

An interview with Launch board member Jen Crichton posted 07/13/12

Jen Crichton of Launch St. LouisHow and why did you get involved in Launch?

When my mom was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in June of 2009, I coped the only way I knew how – by keeping busy. I soon became involved with the Gateway Chapter of the Colon Cancer Alliance by forming a team for their annual “Undy 5000” 5k/Fun Walk and, in the meantime, started researching other cancer-related organizations in which I could become involved. When I heard about Launch, I was instantly intrigued by its mission to empower a younger demographic, especially in a town like St. Louis that sometimes gets a bad rap for being too cliqueish. Shortly thereafter, I met with a few of the Launch board members and offered to provide PR support…and the rest is history! (more…)

An interview with Launch board member Matt Haywood posted 06/04/12

Matt Haywood of Launch St. LouisTell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in West St. Louis County. Attended SLUH and went to University of Missouri for college. I met my wife Katie at MU. She is from Kansas City and moved to St. Louis after we graduated. We got married 4 years ago and had a son, Jack, in February of 2011. Katie works in commercial real estate for Jones Lang LaSalle and I am a Financial Advisor for Krilogy Financial. I enjoy golfing, grilling, running, and spending time with Jack and Katie. (more…)

An interview with Launch board member Keith Goltschman posted 05/10/12

Keith Goltschman - board member of Launch St. LouisLaunch board member Keri Kiblinger interviews fellow board member Keith Goltschman, AKA Fred Bird.

What was your favorite cartoon growing up and why?

Donald and Scrooge Duck. Donald pushed the envelope for 90’s cartoons; everyone wore pants at the time, but he refused to conform. His Uncle Scrooge was influential in my childhood development as well. He taught me to distrust the banking system. When the market crashed, I didn’t lose money… well, except for a few of the dollars that ripped during my daily money swim. (more…)

Getting to know Launch St. Louis board member Keri Kiblinger posted 04/12/12

Keri Kiblinger Launch St. LouisWe thought we’d put a face (as well as as a super power and theme song) behind our board members – so here’s round 1. Our own Stephanie Burke interviews board member Keri Kiblinger on her background and how she decided to get involved with Launch. (more…)