Young Professionals

Things To Consider Before You Join a Young Friends Board posted 12/21/16

Coworkers discussing in meeting room

Serving on a young professionals board is an honor and an incredible opportunity. An opportunity to help an organization you believe in. An opportunity to meet new people. An opportunity to grow professionally and personally. (more…)

Welcome Irene Agustin to the panel for Gateway to the Future! posted 10/08/15

Irene picture Irene Agustin has spent most of her career working with homeless and at-risk individuals and families. Empowering individuals and families is at the heart of her personal and professional mission. After over 15 years in the nonprofit sector, she recently switched to the public sector and now serves as the Chief Program Manager for the Homeless Services Division at the City of St. Louis. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Creighton University and Master’s in Social Work from Saint Louis University. We caught up with Irene to learn more about her activism in the St. Louis community!

This is an STL event. Where’d you go to high school?

Parkway South

What traits do you think are most important in a leader?

Being a good listener, empathetic and supportive. (more…)

Launch is pleased to announce Edward Domain as a panelist for the 2015 summit posted 10/05/15

EVD Edward Domain is the founder and CEO of He is an Army veteran, a writer, an Uber fanatic, and the host of “The Domain Tech Report” on the Nine Network.

Tell us about youin 140 characters or less.

Edward Domain is often loud and never boring. A chronic early adopter, entrepreneur, Army veteran and raconteur.

What traits do you think are most important in a leader?

  1. Will. Being willing to do the hard thing in the face of daunting odds.
  2. Decisiveness. Taking the info available and making a decision. Indecisive leaders do not inspire
  3. Humility. A leader has to lead, but to inspire others to follow, a leader needs to be willing to jump in and do whatever needs doing. No task too small, no challenge too big.


Help us welcome Gateway to the Future panelist, Tara Pham. posted 10/05/15

olio_headshot Tara, a transplant from San Francisco to St. Louis, is a lover of cities. Her background in research on urban design’s impact on public health has given her a unique approach to two previous media-based ventures and working within several non-profits in the arts and in entrepreneurship. Tara has since founded CTY, a civic data company whose flagship product, Numina, is analytics for places. Tara is also an organizer of Sloup, a monthly soup dinner that has given over $30,000 in microgrants to 60+ creative grassroots projects in St. Louis.

What do charitable foundations mean to a community, specifically St. Louis?

We’re lucky to live in a very philanthropic and generous region. Part of what makes St. Louis so great is its amazing free institutions, thriving performance art organizations, and beautiful parks. Our charitable foundations are a really important mechanism to create access. We need them to reach and empower audiences, families, individuals, and projects that are often overlooked by traditional funders, city services, economic development, and so on. Especially here and now, charitable foundations and nonprofits in general are in a unique position to foster dialogue, promote civic engagement, and hold our leaders accountable.


Get to know Gateway to the Future panelist, Wale Soulade posted 10/02/15

Adewale Soluade Headshot Adewale Soluade, a Nigerian-born American citizen, is the Corporate Inclusion and Diversity Manager for Commerce Bank. After graduating from high school in Nigeria at 16, he attended the University of Central Missouri, where he earned a bachelor’s of science in Business Administration. He then obtained his M.B.A from Fontbonne University. Soluade is an alumnus of the St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative Fellows and the FOCUS St. Louis Emerging Leaders Program.

What do charitable foundations mean to a community, specifically St. Louis?

Charitable foundations can often be the difference between a non-profit making a significant impact in the community they serve and that non-profit barely touching the community because they are so busy scrambling for resources to stay afloat.  Thankfully, there are a number of charitable foundations that help facilitate the missions of the over 19,000 registered non-profits in the St. Louis region. Foundations can also help to ensure that limited resources go where they have biggest chance of creating change through their vetting processes. (more…)

Join Launch St. Louis in welcoming SiSi Beltran to the Gateway to the Future summit posted 10/01/15

SiSi Beltran Headshot small Elizabeth “SiSi” Beltran was raised in Puerto Rico and came to St. Louis in 2000 to attend Washington University where she triple majored in International Business, Marketing and Romance Languages. She has spent the last 11 years at Build-A-Bear Workshop, focused on international marketing for the first 10 years and now, as the Director of Marketing Activation, on global marketing integration and execution for all Build-A-Bear Workshop stores in the world. She currently serves in different roles with Forest Park Forever, Washington University Olin Business School, United Way’s Multicultural Leadership Society and Casa de Salud. We caught up with SiSi to learn more about her involvement in our community! Read more below. 

Tell us about you…in 140 characters or less.

I grew up in Puerto Rico but am a product of an Oklahoman momma and Cuban padre.  Somehow figured out in college exactly what I wanted to do professionally and started doing exactly that 30 days after graduation.  My passion is taking products to new international markets and have been privileged to do that for Build-A-Bear Workshop for past 11 years.  I currently am the Director of Marketing Activation, ensuring we deliver an integrated marketing plan across all marketing channels and focusing in specifically on our retail stores. Not being a St Louis native, I feel it is key to focus on my community and doing my part to strengthen it however I can.  I’ve had the privilege of serving on multiple boards in the community and focus my energy on achieving shared goals through leveraging team strengths. (more…)

Join us in welcoming Paul Sorenson to this years Launch St. Louis summit posted 09/30/15

Sorenson profile

We checked in with Paul, a 2012 graduate of the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis and current Grace Hill Settlement House’s Director of Strategic Communications & Planning, to learn more about him!

What traits do you think are most important in a leader?

Empathy is critical in any leadership role – it helps you understand how your work impacts others, both in the community and within your organization. Paired with systems thinking — that is, a constant eye on how different people, policies and actions deeply affect each other — empathy also helps leaders navigate to the right solution for long-term change. There’s plenty more (an action-orientation, diligence, attention to detail), but the empathy/systems thinking duo is at the core. (more…)

Launch St. Louis is pleased to announce Jessie Mueller as a panelist for the 2015 Gateway to the Future Summit posted 09/28/15

Jessie Mueller-2 Jessie Mueller is a former middle school English teacher turned social worker turned coffee maven.  As the Founder of Rise Coffee House in the Grove neighborhood, Jessie has worked to bring the community together around a common purpose: coffee, peace and justice for all.  She created a pay-it-forward program called Coffee For The People and developed a family friendly play area within the coffeehouse; both serve to foster inclusion, accessibility and a general sense of goodwill amongst patrons in her business, which she now co-owns with Aaron Johnson.  When she is not at Rise, you can find her biking around town or digging in the garden. We caught up with Jessie to hear about her excitement for the summit!

This is a St. Louis event: Where’d you go to High School? Fort Zumwalt South

What do you find to be the most  important traits in a leader? Authenticity, courage, empathy.  It takes courage to recognize and accept what your gifts and strengths aren’t.  People respect and admire an honest vulnerability about that and will step up to the plate where you just can’t, allowing their innate gifts to shine.  Empathy over everything. (more…)

Meet Kathy Reeves, moderator for Gateway to the Future 2015 posted 09/23/15

Kathy Reeves Kathy Reeves has led community relations for Enterprise Holdings since 2004.  In her current role, Kathy leads community outreach initiatives for Enterprise’s corporate operations in St. Louis.  Her community involvement includes serving as on the boards of the International Institute, Jefferson National Park Association and the St. Louis Community Credit Union Foundation also known as Prosperity Connections.  We caught up with Kathy to discuss her excitement for St. Louis and the upcoming Gateway to the Future summit.

Tell us about you…in 140 characters or less.

I am driven by the opportunity to improve lives and make our community better.   Both my career and my personal life have been devoted to working with strong partners to create community impact.   

This is an STL event. Where’d you go to high school?

Herrin, Illinois. (more…)

Join us in welcoming our panel moderator, Wes Hoffman, to the 3rd Annual Gateway to the Future summit! posted 09/21/15

Wes Hoffman headshotWesley Hoffman is an entrepreneur, blogger, podcaster, and founder of Treehouse Networkshop, a monthly networking event series based out of St. Louis. Over the last year, Wes has spoken at high schools, colleges, companies, and non­profit organizations bringing positive energy and insight on human interaction. His background in several different industries and creative spirit give him a unique perspective on in­ real­ life networking, social media, and customer service.

Hear more about Wes below:

What traits do you think are most important in a leader?

Serving others and integrity is most important in leadership. Both of these qualities develop trust and demonstrate humility.