Please join us for the MAWD Annual General Membership Meeting via Zoom. The annual meeting is held each year between May 1 and June 30 for the purpose of receiving annual reports and electing new board members. Members are elected for a two-year term effective July 1, 2023.

Wednesday - June 7, 2023
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Register to Attend

You can find the MAWD Bylaws and Directors Manual on the website.

The information below is provided by the nominees:

Candidates for Election

President-Elect (One candidate)

Donna Brake

Donna joined Workforce Development in 2014 and currently serves as Manager over Special Projects. Throughout Donna's career with Workforce Development, she has served as a Workforce Development Specialist, Program Coordinator, Grant Coordinator, and most recently, Regulatory Compliance Monitor. In her current position, Donna is dedicated to improving the oversight and management of Special Projects and contracts to statewide partners and will co-lead this effort with the current management team.

Donna is also a board member of the Missouri Association for Workforce Development and serves as the Professional Development Committee Chairperson. 

Secretary (One candidate)

Tracy Keithley

Tracy has been involved with Workforce Development for over 20 years.   She is a graduate of Missouri State University.  Tracy began her career in Economic Development with Business Expansion and Attraction and Community Development in Springfield’s Regional Office in 1996.  She became employed with Workforce Development at the Springfield Job Center in 2000 and worked for the State of Missouri as a Workforce Development Specialist/Trade Act Coordinator.

In 2015 she was employed with the City of Springfield, Workforce Development as a Skills Supervisor.

Tracy has been a MAWD Board Member for the past 12 years in various positions: Director-at-Large, Secretary, and President of MAWD.  

Public Information Chair (One candidate)

Erica Davis

Over the last 20 years, I have had several jobs with one undercurrent: service. My goal in everything I do is to be of service to those around me. Whether it was through my work in education, social services, public assistance, and now workforce development; I have always tried to keep the focus on the customer and their needs/goals.

This focus has led to a lot of lessons in burnout, selfcare, stress and time management, and leadership. It wasn’t until I joined MAWD and started to see WD as a world, my focus became broader. I want to play a larger part in MAWD to help that world grow. I hope that I can continue to use my experience to help strengthen my colleagues and coworkers through service in MAWD.

Joining MAWD board in 2022 has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I have been able to grow professionally and personally through the connections there. My bachelor’s degree in education allows me to always look at the education that helps people grow. My master’s in human services keeps my focus on the person and not the performance. And my experience with MAWD has given me a passion for the people who work tirelessly and need an association to help encourage, reinforce, energize, and support the workforce development professionals of Missouri.

Professional Development Chair (One candidate)

Stephanie Tam

I am a case manager for the Youth Employment Program with our Youth Build Grant with the St. Joseph Youth Alliance. I was born and raised in the Bronx, New York ( Yankee fan!) where I attained my AS in Psychology in 2012 from CUNY Bronx Community College.  In 2013 my family and I relocated to St. Joseph Missouri, where I enrolled in Missouri Western State University fall of 2014. I went to school full time while working full time in retail management for over 7 years. In 2017 I graduated with my BA in General Studies, concentrations: Power and Gender Studies and Psychology.

My primary focus and passion here at Youth Alliance is to help our diverse and growing community build a strong foundation. Help provide the best resources and opportunities for our next generations future. Whether it’s helping them get their HiSET and further their education or having them explore their career interests and skills. I am bilingual and hope to reach out to the Latino community as well.

Currently I also work part-time at our local school district as an ELL instructor.  Helping adults who are eager to learn English to better themselves both professionally and personally.  Outside of work, I love spending time with my family and friends. I am a mother and a wife. I have a 4yr old daughter who keeps me on my toes. 

Director-at-Large (Nine candidates for three 2-year seats, one 1-year seat)

Les Johnson

Les is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. He has worked in the field of Human Services for the past 20 years for both government and private organizations. He has served on local, state and national task forces in the area of public policy impacting children, families and urban communities. Les has served in the capacity of a consultant and subject matter expert in the areas of communicable disease containment, youth violence prevention, cultural diversity, community capacity building and workforce development designs for marginalized populations.

Les holds a Bachelors Degree from Culver-Stockton College in the field of Administration of Justice. He is a graduate of the first cohort of the Urban Family and Community Development Graduate Certificate Program sponsored by Washington University in collaboration with St. Louis University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis.  
Les earned his Master of Social Work Degree from George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, with an emphasis in organizational management, children and youth services and social and economic development.

Les is a former Adjunct Professor, at the Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis. He is currently a Senior Vice President with Area Resources for Community and Human Services (ARCHS) in St. Louis, a data driven, community impact, not-for profit that designs, manages, and evaluates education and social service programs on behalf of federal, state, and local funding agencies with a prominent emphasis on workforce development. In addition, Les is the proud recipient of the 2022 MAWD Keystone award and the 2022 recipient of the Missouri Department of Corrections Inaugural Community Collaborator of the Year award.

Les is active in his community and is affiliated with the following organizations:
•    Alumni Board Member, Brown School of Social Work , Washington University in St. Louis (Past)
•    Co-Chair, St. Louis Alliance for Reentry
•    Advocacy Council Member, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of St. Louis
•    U.S. Department of Justice, Eastern District of Missouri, Project Weed and Seed Advisory Board (Past)
•    Member, National Association of Black Social Workers
•    Member, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. (Social Action Chairman)

More importantly, Les is happily married to Ms. Felita Cavette, retired Master Sergeant, United States Army.

Krystal White

Throughout my entire professional career I have truly enjoyed working with people. I am extremely delighted to submit my application to become a member of the MAWD Board. As a graduate from both Lincoln University and The University of Phoenix with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Business Administration, I am confident in my ability to lead, learn and complete new tasks.

My background in child care has given me the opportunity and the skills to build and maintain strong relationships with diverse cliental, as well as supervise and manage a staff of diverse employees. As a previous manager in the hotel business, I learned early on the importance of building and maintaining strong relationships with my team and coworkers, which helped me navigate and grow as a supervisor.

I pride myself on my ability to successfully work in a team setting to complete projects quickly and adequately as well as taking the initiative to lead and find solutions to problems that often occur. I am confident that I will be a great asset to the MAWD Board, as my 5 plus years of leadership and management experience, dedication and passion for helping people motivates me to give my best in everything that I do.

Katie Shofle

Katie Shofler started her career with Office of Workforce Development 16 years ago as a Senior Office Support Assistant, and is now a Benefit Program Senior Specialist with the Missouri Job Center Connect – Hybrid Services Team.  She has recently joined the RESEA team to assist with training, monitoring and helping the team serve the citizens of Missouri in their efforts to return to suitable employment.

Cherisa Price-Wells

Cherisa  has over 20 years of professional experience partnering with workforce programs such as WIOA, TANF SNAP, Reentry and more. She began her workforce career as a recent college graduate and was offered a position as a facilitator, teaching SNAP and TANF families how to obtain meaningful work.

For 16 years, Cherisa supported TANF programs as a service provider for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services in roles such a Supervisor, Program Manager and State Director. Since 2018, Cherisa has served as the Midwest Regional Director for Equus Workforce Solutions, supporting Equus’ workforce teams in midwestern states. Equus Workforce Solutions is a comprehensive provider of workforce development and has over 50 years in working with workforce services and stakeholders.

In her Regional Director role, Cherise is responsible for oversight and administration of all workforce contract programmatic activities and operations within her region. She has extensive leadership experience implementing and providing oversight for federal and state workforce programs including TANF, WIOA Adult, Dislocated Worker and Youth programs, SNAP E&T, Justice Involved programs, non-custodial parent programs and various federal awards.

As part of her region, she provides programmatic oversight to Equus’ contracts with the Missouri Workforce Assistance (MWA) Program in Regions 1, 4 and 8. In coordination with Equus’ local leadership and team, she fosters collaboration and innovation with her team and implements best practices in partnering with the Workforce Development Board of North Missouri, Workforce Development Board of West Central Missouri, Inc., and the Ozark Workforce Development Board.

In 2022 the Equus MWA Project Director won a MAWD Partnership Collaboration Award for efforts in bringing WIOA partners together that delivered a unique twist to job fairs; the "Red Carpet" event provided something for all family members. This event brought employers, community agencies, and educational institutions together for a family-friendly community resource and hiring event.

Cherisa has a passion for leadership, diversity, equity and inclusion and innovation. Most recently she has engaged workforce development leaders in topics such as Leading Effective Teams, Engaging Generation Z and Re-imagining the World of Work. Outside of work, she finds fulfillment in being outdoors, reading, volunteering and spending time with family and friends.

Rachel Hogrefe

Rachel began her public procurement career with the State of Missouri in January 2013.  Currently serving as the Assistant Director of Contracts for the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development since March 2018, Rachel manages the department’s solicitations, contracts, and grant sub-awards among other agreements. 

Rachel obtained her Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) through UPPCC in May 2022 and, most recently, the Certified Procurement Professional (NIGP-CPP) through NIGP in May 2023.
Rachel has been a member of MAWD, AGA, NIGP, and MAPP since 2018.  She began volunteering on the Mid-Missouri AGA Chapter Executive Committee in 2018 and currently serves as the Membership Director. In March 2023, Rachel began serving on the MAPP board as the Public Affairs/Research and Specifications Chair.

Through the years, Rachel has acquired passion for the procurement profession to help Missouri provide the best services to constituents while ensuring adherence to state and federal policies and procedures.  During her tenure with the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development, Rachel has gained knowledge and experience of workforce programs which spiked her interest in getting more involved. Rachel earnestly appreciates and understands the importance of workforce initiatives and helping execute the Department’s mission statement – to empower Missourians with the skills and education needed for success. 

Rachel desires to serve on the MAWD board as a means to contribute to the workforce program community, continue professional development opportunities, enhance leadership skills, and make connections with other workforce development professionals.

Rachel and son, Jaxson, age 8, love spending time with family and friends, reading books, hiking, boating, riding the Katy Trail, and visiting state parks.  Rachel and her family volunteer in their community with the Missouri Adopt-A-Highway project

Mark Embry

Mark is part of the Organizational Learning Team, providing training to State and Contracted Staff on various procedures and programs, within the Policy and Performance Division of the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development (DHEWD). He has provided assistance to the Special Programs Unit, providing training and guidance to groups and agencies assisting individuals to find meaningful employment through private resources and utilizing the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA).  

Mark also serves as the Coordinator for the Federal Bonding Program (FBP) traveling throughout Missouri, educating and assisting employers and job seekers with removing barriers to employment. 

After a career educating young people, he came to the State of Missouri and assisted individuals at the Jefferson City Job Center.  He and his wife Kelli reside near New Bloomfield Missouri, and are the parents of two.

Stephanie Cooper

Stephanie Cooper is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Douglass Community Services, Inc. and the owner of Cooper Consulting Services, LLC, a consulting company for non-profits. Previously, she was the Chief Executive Officer of a non-profit organization in Jefferson City, Missouri providing services for persons with disabilities.

With a combined 24 years of experience, Cooper has been leading non-profits for most of her career, with an emphasis on community engagement, volunteer management, coaching/mentoring of employees, fiduciary and legal oversight, fundraising/donor development, grant writing, strategic planning and visioning and board governance.

Cooper holds a bachelor's degree in social work from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, and a master's degree in social work from University of Missouri-Columbia with an emphasis on Policy, Planning and Administration.

Cooper also holds a Volunteer Management Certificate from St. Louis University, a Coaching Certificate from Washington University and is a 2018 Office of Head Start Fellow from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA. She currently is an LMSW in the state of Missouri, an #lamReMarkable facilitator, a former registered lobbyist in the state of Missouri and a UCLA Mentor for the Office of Head Start.

Cooper currently sits on the Hannibal Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors as Treasurer, is the Treasurer of the Missouri Statewide Independent Living Council, advisor for the People First of the Mark Twain Area chapter, President of Hannibal Early Bird Kiwanis, Board Member on the Northeast Missouri Workforce Development Board and several other boards and committees. Cooper currently resides in Hannibal, Missouri with her family.

Mia Williams

I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Organizational Communication from Missouri Western State University in May 2010. I returned to Missouri Western in 2011 and completed some coursework in social work.

I am currently pursuing an MBA in Human Resource Management through Northwest Missouri State University with an anticipated graduation date of May 2024.

Business-minded leader with 18 years of experience working with the public managing communications, customer and client relations; including case management of child support investigations and successful personnel development and management of a national retail store.

I am employed part-time with the St. Joseph School District as a Certified English Language Learner instructor. This position allows me to work with and teach adults of many nationalities who are interested in learning how to speak, read, and write in English.

My current position with St. Joseph Youth Alliance as Placement Specialist focuses on working with participants to overcome barriers and assist them in finding gainful employment and/or post-secondary education. I am a Diplomat with the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce. This membership allows me to build relationships with businesses in the community by networking, which in turn, allows for the possibility of job placement for our participants.

MAWD is an association of individual practitioners in the workforce development field. MAWD works to improve the effectiveness of Missouri's workforce development programs and support those professionals who work within those
programs, and to enhance public-private cooperation.

The specific objectives and purpose of this organization shall be to promote and support:

  • The professional growth of the membership
  • The development and delivery of quality workforce development programs
  • Local, state, and national initiatives that advance employment, education, training, and Workforce development services
  • The efforts of the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals