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Second Missouri Leadership Academy graduates, third class launches


Press release

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Thursday, Gov. Mike Parson announced the graduation of 26 emerging leaders from the second class of the Missouri Leadership Academy. The graduates, who came from the State of Missouri’s 16 executive departments, were chosen by senior leadership to participate in the cross-department leadership development program.

In addition, Parson announced the 28 emerging leaders in the third class of the Missouri Leadership Academy (biographies below).

“Over the past six months, the latest graduates of the Missouri Leadership Academy have dedicated themselves to improving as leaders for their teams, their departments, and the citizens we serve every day,” Parson said. “Leadership is not just about making yourself better, but making the people around you better, and I’m proud of our state team members for working hard to do just that.”

Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson hosted the second and third classes of the Missouri Leadership Academy for a reception in the Governor’s Office on Wednesday, which included a graduation ceremony for the second class.

The Missouri Leadership Academy is an innovative program that brings together emerging leaders to develop new skills and become better leaders. The program is based on the idea that by developing its leaders, the State of Missouri will continue to improve and better serve its citizens.

The first class launched in July 2018 and graduated in January 2019, and the second class started in January 2019. Many graduates of the program have been promoted to higher leadership positions within state government in the last year.

Missouri Leadership Academy’s emerging leaders build their capabilities in three core areas: leading themselves, leading others, and leading change in state government. The Academy partnered with the University of Missouri’s Novak Leadership Institute to implement some elements of the leadership training.

An important component of the program is showing Missouri Leadership Academy participants how state government works for Missourians. They met with numerous state leaders — legislative leaders, statewide office holders, members of the judiciary, Cabinet leaders, and reporters who cover the Capitol — in April to gain a greater knowledge of how state government works.

Participants also experienced site visits across Missouri to see firsthand how different parts of state government operate and serve our citizens. Site visits were possible thanks to collaboration and partnerships with state departments and community groups.

Visits included the Jefferson City Correctional Center (Department of Corrections), the Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Lab (Department of Public Safety), the University of Missouri Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders and the Family Health Center in Columbia (Departments of Health & Senior Services, Mental Health, and Social Services), and a child welfare facility (Department of Social Services). Participants also toured the Missouri State Petitionary (Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau).

To conclude their experience, the second Leadership Academy class developed recommendations to improve state government in their capstone projects. They presented their project findings to Cabinet leaders and Governor Parson on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

“The Missouri Leadership Academy is a special group of public servants. The class not only grew as individual leaders, but they came together in their capstone projects to find real solutions to make our state government better,” State of Missouri Chief Operating Officer Drew Erdmann said. “I look forward to the impact they will deliver in the years ahead.”

“The Missouri Leadership Academy allowed participants to see state government from a new perspective, take a look at the real issues, and problem solve using the tools and techniques we were thoroughly coached on,” said Brooklyn Wasser, Deputy Director of the Division of Motor Vehicle and Driver Licensing with the Department of Revenue. “I have learned a lot in the past six months that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”

“The Missouri Leadership Academy has been a phenomenal experience,” said Michael Lanahan, Director of Business and Community Solutions with the Department of Economic Development. “I learned how to better lead my team and equip them for success. And, I’m especially grateful for the relationships I built with my classmates. I’m excited to work with them across departments to better serve Missourians.”

Each of the 16 executive departments has representatives in the Missouri Leadership Academy. Department leaders nominate their team members to participate in the Academy. Nominees then submit a resume and a brief memorandum explaining why they are a good candidate for the program to a committee of Cabinet leaders. The committee reviews the applications and makes the final selections.

Since launching the program, the state has graduated 49 emerging leaders and will continue to have two classes a year. The next class will be nominated by Cabinet leaders in November 2019 and begin in February 2020.

For more information about the Missouri Leadership Academy, visit You can also keep up with the new class on social media by following #MOLeadershipAcademy.

Third class of the Missouri Leadership Academy (Fall 2019):

Roxy Antonio, Director of Human Resources and Total Rewards, Department of Revenue

As Director of Human Resources and Total Rewards, Roxy manages a team of professional staff that oversees human resources, compensation and benefits, professional development, human relations, data analytics, and recognition for the Department of Revenue. She also leads the Department’s Diversity and Inclusion Employee Council. Prior to her current role, Roxy served at the Office of Administration for over 11 years in various capacities. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in both Accounting and Business Management, as well as a Master of Business Administration.

Kim Baughman, Business & Community Development Specialist, Department of Economic Development

As an Incentive Specialist in the Department of Economic Development’s Business & Community Solutions Division, Kim administers community development programs, including the Neighborhood Assistance and Youth Opportunities programs, for nonprofits and local governments across the state. She also leads the Workforce Strategic Initiative for DED and will act as the lead contact for the Department’s Community Disaster Recovery Support Function (RSF). Kim has been with the Department 13 years and is a certified Economic Development Finance Professional.

Julie Bell, Deputy Warden, Eastern Reception Diagnostic & Correctional Center, Department of Corrections

Julie is the Deputy Warden of Offender Management at the Eastern Reception Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre. Her daily operations include oversight of custody and security measures as well as appropriate classification and assignment of offenders. Julie has served on various statewide committees within the Department and previously worked closely with the judicial system, local law enforcement, and the Interstate Compact. She has been with the Department for 23 years and, during her tenure, has served as an Institutional Parole Officer, a Field Probation and Parole Officer, and a Unit Supervisor.

Corey Bolton, Deputy Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity, Office of Administration

Corey joined the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) in April 2017, after eight years of working in compliance, law enforcement, and juvenile court services. In June 2018, Corey was promoted to Deputy Director of OEO after serving as the Certification Coordinator and then Supplier Diversity & Outreach Manager. As Deputy Director, Corey oversees supplier diversity (M/WBE Certification Program), outreach and engagement, and special projects. Corey is a proud graduate of Lincoln University, earning a dual Master of Arts in Sociology and Criminal Justice Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.

Danielle Briot, Strategic Initiatives Coordinator, Department of Higher Education

As the Strategic Initiatives Coordinator, Danielle collaborates across all sections within the Division of Workforce Development to actualize the Division’s strategic initiatives and deliver the best services to Missourians. This involves analyzing needs and implementing projects to create a robust future for Missouri’s workforce. Danielle also serves as the Operational Excellence lead for the Department, helping to navigate the way for improvements and efficiencies within the organization.

Dylan Bryant, Deputy Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Vital Records, Department of Health & Senior Services

Dylan serves as the Deputy Bureau Chief of Vital Records within the Department of Health & Senior Services. In his role, Dylan conducts supervisory and management level work in planning, implementing, promoting, and evaluating public health programs, services, processes, and statutory compliance. Dylan and his staff provide public health data training to local public health partners, funeral directors, and medical professionals to facilitate efficient vital record data entry. He began his professional career as leadership staff in the Missouri House of Representatives. Dylan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Summa Cum Laude, from Columbia College and a Master of Public Administration from Arkansas State University.

Ashley Buechter, Traffic Liaison Engineer, Department of Transportation

Ashley works for the Department of Transportation in the Central Office Highway Safety & Traffic Division. She serves as a Traffic Liaison Engineer overseeing statewide initiatives for Transportation Systems Management & Operations (TSMO), which includes management of freeways, arterials, work zones, and incident management. Ashley joined the Department of Transportation in June 2006, after receiving her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia in May 2006. She is also a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Missouri.

Mick Campbell, Supervisor of Mortgage Licensing, Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration

Mick joined the Division of Finance in 2004 and has served as supervisor of the Division’s mortgage section since 2011. He leads a nine-member team that is responsible for the licensing and examination of non-bank mortgage companies and mortgage loan originators. Prior to working for the Division, Mick was a loan officer in the consumer finance industry. He holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Administrative Management, both from Missouri State University.

Mary Corey, Coordinator, Special Education Data, Department of Elementary & Secondary Education

As the coordinator for Special Education Data, Mary is responsible for data collection, reporting, and analysis within the Office of Special Education,and works closely with school district, regional, and state education staff. She is currently the chair of a national organization of state special education data managers, which is actively involved in providing feedback to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs regarding the use of data to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. She began her career with DESE in 2000, and previously served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho as a high school teacher.

Ivy Doxley, Foster Care Program Manager, Department of Social Services

Ivy has served children and families through Missouri’s Department of Social Services, Children’s Division for 16 years. She currently serves as the Foster Care Program Manager supporting best practices, programs, and services for children and youth in foster care. One of her primary responsibilities is building strategic partnerships that promote safety and wellbeing for children and families. Ivy has served in various ways during her tenure with Children’s Division beginning with direct service work with children and families, recruiting and supporting foster and adoptive families, and supporting staff professional development through training and coaching.

Dan Follett, Managing Counsel, Department of Revenue

Dan is a Managing Counsel for the Department of Revenue. In his role, Dan advises the Department on all personnel matters, reviews and drafts contracts, answers Sunshine Law requests, and helps coordinate litigation. Prior to joining Revenue in 2015, Dan worked at the Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Public Safety, and in private practice in Jefferson City.

Kyle Gassen, Mental Health Manager at Higginsville Habilitation Center, Department of Mental Health

Kyle is the Mental Health Manager for the Higginsville Habilitation Center (HHC), an intermediate care facility for individuals with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities. He oversees the implementation of habilitation services for 49 individuals at the HHC campus along with supervising staff. Kyle has worked at the HHC for five years and Northwest Community Services, a state-operated provider, for four years. He previously served the Department as a Unit Program Supervisor, Habilitation Specialist, and Direct Support Professional.

Lori Greer, Field Materials Engineer, Department of Transportation

Lori is a Field Materials Engineer for the Department of Transportation’s Construction and Materials Division. As a Field Materials Engineer, she is responsible for investigating construction and materials related issues, training field staff, and developing specifications. Lori leads various statewide teams such as the Assistant Construction and Materials Engineer Team, and the Construction and Materials Automation Team. Lori received her Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla and is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Missouri.

Holly Haarmann, Grants Program Coordinator, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Department of Public Safety

Holly is the Grants Program Coordinator for the Missouri State Highway Patrol. In her role, Holly directs activities of the Grants Program Office, serves as administrator of the Patrol’s in-house Grant Management System software application, and oversees all grant-related activities for the agency. Holly has been employed with the Patrol since 2001, where she has served in other program management roles. Holly holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice Administration from Columbia College.

Ritchie Jenkins, IT Business Development Manager, Department of Conservation

Ritchie currently serves as the IT Business Development Manager for the Department of Conservation. His current responsibilities include managing the Project Management Office and the IT budget. Ritchie also serves as the chairperson of the IT Steering Committee, which actively manages the Department’s project intake requests and the ongoing organization of its project portfolio. He has been with the Department of Conservation for six years, and he previously spent seven years at the Department of Revenue and two years at the Department of Transportation. Ritchie is Project Management Professional (PMP) certified and holds a Master of Business Administration from William Woods University.

Kate Lange, Customer Service Supervisor, Department of Labor & Industrial Relations

As the Customer Service Unit Supervisor within the Division of Workers’ Compensation, Kate coordinates and oversees several different areas of work provided by her team, including the toll-free information line. She also serves as a Mediator and Educational Seminar Coordinator for the Division. Kate has been with the Department for 19 years and has served in various roles during that time.

Erin Lepper, Regional Office Coordinator, Department of Natural Resources

Erin coordinates project, policy, and technical procedure development and facilitates process improvement for the Division of Environmental Quality within the Department of Natural Resources. She has previously managed the Division’s regional offices, worked on the State of Missouri Water Plan, coordinated capacity development efforts for public drinking water supplies, and worked in the environmental consulting industry.

Stacey McCune, Procurement Officer, Missouri Veterans Commission, Department of Public Safety

Stacey was appointed procurement officer at the Missouri Veterans Commission in January 2019. Before joining the Jefferson City headquarters staff, she served as the supply manager at the Missouri Veterans Home in Warrensburg. Prior to joining the Missouri Veterans Commission family in 2013, she spent many years in public education teaching high school and middle school business while serving as a grant writer, A+ coordinator, and at-risk coordinator. Stacey earned her certification as a Certified Public Professional Buyer in October 2017. She is currently serving on the board of Missouri Association of Public Procurement. In her free time, Stacey enjoys spending time with her family, reading, gardening, and raising cattle on her family farm in Johnson County.

Tisha McGowan, Project Management Office Manager, MO HealthNet, Department of Social Services

Tisha is the Project Management Office (PMO) manager for the MO HealthNet Division, directly supervising project managers and coordinators implementing various projects for the agency. In addition to managing projects, she is responsible for the development and maintenance of plans and processes to support the PMO, manages the Medicaid certification processes, assists with federal planning document development and updates, and assists with contract management. Tisha has been with the Department of Social Services for over 24 years and has worked as a caseworker, policy analyst, business analyst, and project manager.

Tony Roberts, Assistant Director for Planning, Division of Budget & Planning, Office of Administration

Tony works in the Division of Budget & Planning, which provides statewide legislative and budget support for the Office of the Governor and the 16 executive departments. After many years working on the state budget, Tony now is an assistant division director coordinating the office’s legislative support functions as well as overseeing aspects of day-to-day management. Tony has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Truman State University as well as a master’s degree in public administration and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri.

Daniel Stark, Assistant Manager/Program Manager, Missouri On-site Safety & Health Consultation Program, Department of Labor & Industrial Relations

Daniel Stark is the Program Manager with the Missouri On-site Safety & Health Consultation Program within the Department of Labor & Industrial Relations. Daniel manages 13 safety and health consultants across the State of Missouri and one administrative staff. He also writes an annual Cooperative Agreement with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to secure program funding and ensure program goals are met or exceeded. Daniel is a Certified Industrial Hygienist.

Amber Steele, Geological Survey Program Director, Department of Natural Resources

Amber directs activities of the Geological Survey Program for the Department of Natural Resources. She has over 14 years of experience in natural resource management and environmental policy, including a variety of technical and regulatory positions with the University of Missouri, USDA-NRCS, and the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources. Amber has spent over eight years at the Department, where she has served in multiple roles within water protection, soil and water conservation, and the geosciences. Amber is a Registered Geologist and holds a Bachelor of Science in Geology and Environmental Science and a Master of Science in Soil Science.

Travis Terry, Assistant Director of the Division of Offender Rehabilitator Services, Administrator of Missouri Vocational Enterprises, Department of Corrections

As the Administrator of Missouri Vocational Enterprises (MVE), Travis leads a team of 159 staff members and 1,316 offender workers throughout 22 correctional industries located in 12 different institutions across the State of Missouri. Travis and his team are dedicated to building trust, rapport, and respect with their customers in an effort to improve MVE’s brand image. Most importantly, Travis works to ensure MVE is providing viable training and skills to offenders so they may gain meaningful employment upon release, ultimately improving their lives, the lives of their families, and their communities.

Jacinda Thudium, State Risk Manager, Division of General Services, Office of Administration

As State Risk Manager, Jacinda manages the State’s Risk Management Program, which includes the self-administered workers’ compensation program, administration of the state’s Legal Expense Fund, loss control, and insurance. She has served the state for 10 years, joining the Office of Administration in 2016, after more than seven years as an attorney with the Attorney General’s Office. Prior to joining the state, Jacinda was in private practice.

Katie Thumann, Program Director, St. Louis Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center, Department of Mental Health

Katie joined the Department of Mental Health in 2015. She is a Program Director at the St. Louis Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center, a minimum-security forensic psychiatric facility, where she leads two clinical treatment teams and patient care staff from three residential areas to support the recovery efforts of more than 40 forensic inpatient clients. Katie recently completed Green Belt training in change management, Lean, and Six Sigma. She is a graduate of Saint Louis University with both bachelor’s and master’s degree in Social Work.

Scott Weber, Deputy Warden, Algoa Correctional Center, Department of Corrections

Scott serves as a Deputy Warden of Offender Management at Algoa Correctional Center, a medium-custody correctional center that houses over 1,500 offenders. His daily operations include oversight of custody, classification, training, and policy and procedure sections of the institution. He began his professional career in 2003, as a Recreation Officer and has been promoted through the ranks to his current position. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Missouri and a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Missouri.

Brian West, Regional Director, Children’s Division, Department of Social Services

Brian currently serves as the Regional Director within the Children’s Division at the Department of Social Services. Program areas within his unit include child abuse and neglect investigations, family-centered services for intact families, and foster care case management. Brian has served 10 years with the Department of Social Services, working for the Children’s Division as a Regional Director, Field Support Manager, Children’s Service Specialist, Children’s Service Supervisor, and Children’s Service Worker. Brian is an alumnus of the University of Central Missouri and holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.

Jill Wood, Executive Director, Missouri Agricultural & Small Business Development Authority, Department of Agriculture

Jill has served as Executive Director of the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) since August 2017. MASBDA promotes the development of agriculture and small business through several different financial programs. It is administered by a seven-member commission, which is appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Prior to joining MASBDA, Jill served for more than 12 years as a Management Analyst and Senior Contributions Supervisor for the Missouri Division of Employment Security. She earned her degree from the University of Missouri.