You can join anytime!
Membership in the Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund is open and inclusive. You do not have to wait for an event to join.
Members pledge $1200 annually.
2021 – 2022 SOS BOARD MEMBERS
Katy Dowd – President
Katy Dowd Mutert is Director of Health Care Business Development for BioSTL, recruiting high-growth international companies that enrich and expand St. Louis’ innovation economy and bring competitive advantage to our region’s health care organizations. With a Master of Arts in Health Communication from Tufts University School of Medicine, Katy is dedicated to using her 25 years of healthcare industry experience to deliver the healthcare triple aim… care better than we have ever seen, health better than we have ever known, at a cost we can all afford. Katy is a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters, is a founding board member of the Holy Redeemer Alumni Association, and was a puppy raiser for Duo, formerly Support Dogs, Inc.
Joni Karandjeff – Secretary
Joni Karandjeff is a community volunteer focusing on children, health, and education. Her interests have included the Women of Achievement, Miriam Foundation, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Women and the Kemper, the Women’s Society of Washington University, Greater St. Louis Book Fair, and the United Way.
Becky Courtney – Treasurer
After retiring from a two-part career in the banking and travel industries, Becky spends her time traveling with friends & family, golfing, reading, and volunteering in various pursuits – her favorite being cuddling babies in Mercy Hospital’s NICU.
Amy Garrison – Immediate Past President/Nominating
Amy Garrison owns Brand Virtue, LLC, which provides marketing and communications consulting to companies ranging from start-ups to large corporations. She also serves on the Southeast Missouri State University Corporate Advisory Board and supports and volunteers for several nonprofit organizations including Safe Connections, Old Newsboys, The SoulFisher Ministries, the Women’s Society of Washington University, and The Fisher Academy.
Gwendolyn Wesley – Philanos Liaison
Gwendolyn is a past president of SOS. She currently serves on the national Philanos Board, which is a network of over 75 women’s collective giving organizations throughout the United States, Australia and Europe. She also serves on the board of the Women’s Society of Washington University-Scholarship Committee Chair, and Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice. She sings with the St. Louis Symphony’s In Unison Chorus
Ally Melvin – Membership Chair
Ally works in Wealth Management helping individuals and families with their banking and investment needs. By aligning clients’ goals and values to their portfolios, Ally can help ensure families feel financially confident that their investments are having a positive impact in the world. Outside of her professional responsibilities, she serves on the Board of the Women’s Society at Washington University and as a community volunteer for the Junior League of St. Louis. Additionally, she serves as a political advocate for CARE. Ally loves traveling, hiking, and taking Callie on evening walks.
Shawntelle Fisher – Membership Vice Chair
Shawntelle is the Founder/CEO of, The SoulFisher Ministries, a non-profit organization whose mission is to respond to the needs of youth with incarcerated parents and to promote restorative justice for those currently or formerly incarcerated. Shawntelle holds Bachelor degrees in Education and Media Studies and Master degrees in Social Work and Divinity; she is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and a Certified Reciprocal Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CCRAADC). She thrives best when empowering people to be the very best version of who God created them to be. Shawntelle has raised nearly $3 million dollars to support the agency’s mission and while proudly serving as a United Way of Greater St. Louis agency partner.
Nancy Garvey – Education Chair
Nancy Garvey is retired from AT&T where she spent 36 years in sales, marketing and strategic planning. She is an active Emeritus member of the Board of Metro Theater Company and on the Advisory Board at Fontbonne University.
Patricia Crowe, Education Vice Chair
Pat is the director of marketing and communications at the Saint Louis Art Museum for which she directs the planning and execution of all digital and traditional marketing, strategic communications and public relations. She also serves on the board of the St. Louis Media History Foundation and is an alumnus of Leadership St. Louis and Leadership Belleville.
Sharon Abel – Grants Chair
Sharon operated a video production company for many years and has volunteered with various organizations throughout St. Louis. She is currently an active supporter of EasterSeals Midwest, where she has chaired their organization’s “Milk and Cookies” holiday event for the past eight years. Sharon also serves on the EasterSeals Development Committee and is looking forward to helping expand their holiday program for residential clients.
Kathleen Beckmann, Grants Vice Chair
Carroll Rodriguez – Impact Chair
Carroll Rodriguez is retired from the Alzheimer’s Association where she served as Senior Vice President of Public Policy. She currently serves on the board of STL Village, is a commissioner on the St. Louis County Older Adult Commission, and volunteers at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Nancy Hamilton – Impact Vice Chair
Nancy is a retired attorney who specialized in corporate governance, securities law and mergers & acquisitions at two major public companies in St. Louis. She is a member of a number of professional associations and most recently served on the board of Grace Hill Settlement House before its merger with the Urban League. She loves gardening, reading, traveling and – of course – her activities with SOS.
Gretta Forrester-Gaffney – Marketing/Comms Chair
After selling her video production company three years ago Gretta Forrester-Gaffney continues to freelance as a Field Producer, but she has also taken time to engage more fully in being a community volunteer. She hopes to inform how she will reinvent herself for the next chapter, now that all three of her children have launched. Currently she volunteers as a reader for Ready Readers and sits on the board of both Ready Readers and Urban Harvest STL. When not volunteering or working, she spends time on creative endeavors or trains for open water long distance swims.
Amy Conard – Technology Chair
Amy Conard is a Senior Vice President of Software Engineering at MasterCard, focusing on analytic solutions, and she advocates for advancing women into technical leadership roles. She volunteers with Boy Scouts of America, a breakfast for the homeless, and various ministries at her church.
Gretchen Curry – At Large
Gretchen Curry, grew up in North St. Louis City and later moved with her parents to Kirkwood, Missouri. Except for her years away for college, at the University of Missouri-Columbia, she has resided in Kirkwood for over 40 years. Gretchen holds a Masters of Science in Public Health and is the President of StaffLink, a health care company that she founded in 1987, that provides both private duty nurses to families in their homes and medical staffing to health care facilities and businesses. Gretchen has been recognized consistently for the last twenty years amongst Top Women Business Owners in the region by the St. Louis Business Monthly. Gretchen is passionate about social justice and having an impact on providing access and opportunity to the underserved. She is active in several community, professional, arts and women’s organizations. Gretchen is divorced and the mother of an adult daughter, Malena Smith, who is a classically-trained vocalist pursuing a career as a professional singer and songwriter.
Rose Carnes-Bruce – Governance and Member At Large
Dr Bruce is an award-winning educator that has devoted time and energy to serving urban children in educational settings. She has provided effective and positive outcomes for children. For many years, Rose has also worked with her public service sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Saint Louis Alumnae Chapter, by holding leadership positions and actively participating in programming and activities. Throughout the years, Rose has participated with and held leadership positions in other community-based organizations in order to positively impact those in need. She looks forward to broadening the ability to invest further in our community and meet the needs of individuals and families.
Amber Howlett – At Large
Amber L. Howlett believes in the resiliency of people and communities and, as such, is a passionate humanitarian, academic, researcher, yoga practitioner and activist. She is a champion of individuals directly impacted by urban inequalities and utilizes a holistic approach in service to communities through education. Her style of delivery is inspirational, humorous and filled with unique self-expression that is influenced by her experience, training & education in sociology, psychology, counseling and yoga.
Elveeta Macon – At Large
State Farm Insurance agency owner protecting my customers prosperity and property since 1989.
Advocate for women small business owners and community volunteer.
Co-chair American Red Cross Diversity Committee. Executive Board St. Louis chapter Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Member Spanish Lake Community Business Association.
Ellen Schapiro – At Large
Ellen Schapiro is retired from working in the Early Childhood field after 25 years as a teacher and then Director of the Ethical Society Nursery School. In addition to her professional responsibilities, Ellen’s organizational experiences include chairing the Program Committee on the Scholarship Foundation Board and chairing the Salon Committee on the Nishmah Board (a program of the St. Louis Jewish Community Center which inspires, engages and supports Jewish women).
Shelby Schagrin – Founder and Initial SOS Co-Chair and Advisory Council Chair
Shelby Schagrin, managing director-investment banking for Benjamin F. Edwards & Co., founded SOS and co-chaired it with Susan Block for its first three years. Her goal was to bring together a group of women and pool their collective resources of time, talent and money to improve our community.
Susan Block, Founding Initial Co-Chair of SOS; Member At Large
Susan Block owns The Designing Block, a home décor and designing business. She volunteers with and sits on the boards of various nonprofit organizations. With Shelby Schagrin, she co-chaired the Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund for its first three years, 2006-2009.