FIRST COHORT GRADUATES FROM FOCUS IMPACT FELLOWS
-- Stephanie Reganon, 2016 FOCUS Impact Fellow
Each year, more than 350 individuals graduate from FOCUS' seven civic leadership training programs. The most common question upon completion is "What's next?" The FOCUS Impact Fellows program was launched in 2016 as one answer to that question, bringing together experienced and emerging leaders to tackle a specific issue in the St. Louis region.
Using the Ferguson Commission report as a framework, the inaugural cohort developed and implemented three projects: the Catalyst Circle Toolkit, Reducing Racial Disparities in School Suspensions, and Racial Equity Opportunity in the Construction Industry.
In addition, participants gained considerable training and experience in change management, problem-solving, systems thinking, group dynamics and project management.
With support from the Missouri Foundation for Health, the 2017-18 cohort of FOCUS Impact Fellows are focusing on improving the health care safety net in the region.
“This was fantastic. I liked that the lessons felt like they were written specifically for me.” -- Theresa K.
"I left every class feeling enriched and empowered. I am ready to start moving forward in my career with confidence."
-- Anna K.
"This program has provided me with the tools to better understand my values and ‘how’ I work in order to become a more effective leader in the workplace and home.”
-- Misty F.
While many of the FOCUS leadership programs bring together participants from across industries and sectors, in 2016, we had the opportunity to launch a new offering aimed at the unique needs of women working in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.
Through a partnership with MasterCard, the Women In Leadership-STEM program was launched, with training provided at no charge to more than 70 women in fall 2016. Cohort participants ranged from women in training for coding careers to mid-career professionals changing industries to entrepreneurs launching their own start-ups.
While building on the well-recognized Coro Women In Leadership curriculum, the class offered participants the opportunity to dive deeper into industry issues and forge connections with fellow STEM professionals.
The next class of Women In Leadership-STEM will be held in spring 2018.
-- Michael Cambron, McCluer North High School, Youth Leadership St. Louis participant
For 20 years, FOCUS St. Louis has given leaders the tools they need to make a difference in their communities and their workplaces.
Nearly 400 youth and adults graduated from a FOCUS leadership program in 2016-17, taking with them new perspectives, deeper understanding and broader connections.
FOCUS programs continue to evolve, from updating curriculum topics to broadening recruitment efforts. This year, we also launched an organization-wide evaluation and quality improvement process to ensure our programs meet the needs of the region for years to come.