Recognizing St. Louis’ Women of Achievement

By Lois Caplan

TIME FLIES WHEN YOU’RE HAVING FUN. Could it be 60 years since the St. Louis Globe Democrat introduced Women of Achievement to the community, honoring and thanking publicly volunteers for their selfless contributions of energy, leadership and time? 

Nanci A. Bobrow, president of Women of Achievement, told me the honorees’ service since 1955 has changed the cultural and social landscape of the St. Louis region. The 2015 honorees include Carol Bartle, Community Betterment; Lise Bernstein, Social Justice; Sara Burke, Cultural Enrichment; Maxine Clark, Educational Leadership; Betsy Douglass, Educational Empowerment; Dr. Ghazala Hayat,   Multicultural Leadership; Lee Etta Hoskins, Youth Enrichment; Carol B. Loeb, Educational Philanthropy; Sheri Sherman, Humanitarian Concerns; and Pamela Talley, Community Advocacy.

These remarkable women will be recognized at the Women of Achievement luncheon on Tuesday, May 5 (doors open at 11:15 a.m.) at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Clayton. Luncheon reservations are $60 per person and can be made by contacting Tiffanie Fleschert at 314-421-2005 or [email protected]

I am certain that you recognized some names in the prestigious list. Among the honorees are four members of the Jewish community – Lise Bernstein, Maxine Clark, Carol B. Loeb and Sheri Sherman. I need to tell you that the brief comments I have made about each of their volunteer careers is a drop in the bucket compared to their actual bios.

Lise Bernstein’s 25-year volunteer service has focused on women, children and families. Through civic work and advocating for legislation in Missouri, she increases access to health care and public education, advances civil human rights and promotes employment and sustainable wages. Lise was on the board of the National Council of Jewish Women when a new program was introduced, The Back to School Store, which helped clothe 200 needy children before the school year started. She was one of the NCJW volunteers who helped foster that initiative to  what it has become today — giving thousands of children essentials for the start of the new school year, including coats, clothes, school supplies, backpacks, shoes and more. 

Maxine Clark has dedicated her full efforts to improving urban public education and to supporting and mentoring female and minority entrepreneurs. She sits on many boards and in addition is CEO/President of the Clark-Fox Family Foundation, which is dedicated to regional growth and prosperity with a focus on education, urban renewal, health care and population growth through immigration. To me Maxine is best known as mother and creator of Build-a-Bear, which has given great pleasure to thousands (maybe millions) of kids.

Carol B. Loeb’s civic endeavors in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education are empowering students all over the St Louis region, be it Washington University’s medical school or middle and high school mathematics and science curriculum. In the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) program competitions, Carol’s involvement in the community and her contribution to education on all levels has created an everlasting effect.

Sheri Sherman has devoted the last 30 years to making the St. Louis metro area a better place. One of Sheri’s passions is the Missouri Children’s Burn Camp where she has chaired a number of fundraisers and serves as the vice president for the Burns Recovered Support Group board.  Sheri was integral to the founding of the Jewish Light’s Unsung Hero Awards and is a Trustee of the Light. Though it is not a part of her bio (and I know she will scold me for saying this), she is both beautiful and charming and a pleasure to know and work with.

I think of a lot of you as Women of Achievement but I hardly know anyone who has spent as many hours and such a huge part of their lies working for the community as Lise, Maxine, Carol and Sheri. They richly deserve the honor to be bestowed on them on May 5. I hope to see many of you there to celebrate their recognition as Women of Achievement.