Member Profiles 2016

Member profiles by Dennis O’Brien

Noreen O'Brien

Noreen O’Brien, MEd, has served as manager of communications for Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services (PCHAS) since October 2015. She produces newsletters and direct mail campaigns as well as manages the website and social media for PCHAS, a CSC agency that has been helping struggling children and families since 1914.

“I joined CSPRC because it’s helpful to compare notes with my colleagues,” she said. “They share a wealth of information from print production to branding and fundraising. To get the most out of the networking time at our luncheons, I come with a question or two in mind and try to bring a tip I can share; for example, a magazine publisher who told me he’s always looking for a nonprofit to feature.”

Noreen has been successful in a variety of diverse careers and locations across the country. A native St. Louisan (Notre Dame High School), she earned her bachelor’s in theater arts and English from St. Louis University in 1981 and later a master’s in teaching from Seattle University. 

After working in community relations for Webster University for three years, she moved to Seattle in 1985, where she worked in marketing for a theater and the United Way. After returning to St. Louis in 2000, she taught for five years. On the move again with her husband, she edited history textbooks and created tests and worksheets for a publisher in Stillwater, Okla., and tutored for an online writing center. Later, for the University of Wisconsin Extension, Noreen wrote and published an 84-page children’s book that is in every public library in the state. 

On a personal level, Noreen enjoys quilting, singing, reading novels, Masterpiece Theater and Zumba (Latin) dancing at the YMCA.
- December 2016

Janet Frain

Janet Frain, MA, has served as communications manager since 2010 for Provident, a mental health provider to the vulnerable and underserved that is the largest recipient of United Way funding in the region except for the Red Cross. She is responsible for planning and implementing marketing strategies, expanding media relations, publishing the monthly e-newsletter, photography, maintaining the website, designing brochures and assisting with fundraising events. 

“I really get inspired by attending the CSPRC meetings, not only by the extremely relevant information, but also by the ideas and information I discover from conversing with other members,” she said. “Everyone is genuinely helpful and insightful about our field.”
After earning her bachelor’s in social work from Southwest Missouri State University and then her master’s in media communications from Webster University in 1986, Janet worked for Maritz Performance Improvement Company for 12 years, including five years as account team director responsible for managing the resources of all Maritz divisions on the west coast. From 2005-08, she served as district director for Missouri State Senator Michael Gibbons, then president pro tem of the senate. Immediately before coming to Provident, she served as communications director for the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis.

Janet lives in Kirkwood with her husband, John, who is a writer, and her two sons, Gabe and Murphy. She is an avid runner and enjoys exploring new restaurants. 
- November 2016

Katie Cothron

Katie Cothron has served as the community relations coordinator/webmaster for Northwest R-1 School District since July 2013. In this newly created role, she handles a variety of communications tasks, including creating regular content for a variety of social media and training district administrators on the appropriate use of social media.

Why does Katie travel from Jefferson County to Clayton to attend CSPRC meetings? “I value my CSPRC membership because it allows me another avenue for professional development,” she said. “Learning from professionals who are also committed to growing professionally, but in a different sect, has been invaluable for me. I love learning about the members who do everything from public relations to development and much more. It’s a membership I continue to reap benefits from because of the quality of its members and programming.” 

After graduating from Drake University in 2002 with a degree in journalism, communications and broadcast news, she worked as an assignment editor for CBS television affiliates in Rockford, Ill., and Milwaukee, Wis. As a regional producer from 2006-10, Katie wrote stores for national distribution through Network News Service, a national television video service that partnered with local ABC, CBS and FOX affiliates. From there, Katie came back to her hometown of St. Louis where she worked as a writer/assignment editor for KMOV-TV from 2011-13.

On a personal level, their 4-year-old daughter and 11-month-old twin boys keep Katie and her husband very busy. When they get the chance, they love traveling across the country and throughout the world. “The trip we are most looking forward to now is taking our family to Mexico for Christmas,” she said. “It’ll be our boys' first time out of the country. We took our daughter out of the country at 6-months-old and can’t wait to share our love of international travel with them.”
- October 2016

Janet Frain

Linda A. Howdeshell, CPA, CIA, has more than 25 years of accounting and financial experience working predominantly with nonprofit organizations. In 2015, she started her own firm to serve the nonprofit sector. In addition to audit and tax preparation, Linda performs controller level accounting services, creates management and fiscal policies, and develops internal controls utilizing the limited resources of nonprofits in an effective and efficient manner.
After attending several meetings, Linda recently joined CSPRC because “CSPRC provides me with valuable information that I’m able to share with my not-for-profit clients.” 
After graduating with a bachelor’s from Washington University in 1991, she continued working for the university in various financial and accounting positions until 1998 when she moved to Bohlmann and Company CPAs. Her duties included audit and tax preparation for individuals, corporations and nonprofits. She continued her public accounting experience working with other firms: Huber, Ring, Helm, and Co. and Abeles and Hoffman. From 2005-15, Linda worked at Schmersahl Treloar and Co. CPAs. Although her responsibilities at these firms was broad, most of her experience was with nonprofits. In fact, Linda has been a volunteer on United Way panels since 2007 and serves on the Not-for-Profit Committee of the Missouri Society of CPAs.

On a personal level, Linda has been married for 25 years and raised two college-age sons. She enjoys cooking and reading.
- September 2016

Aigul Abdylaeva, MSW, an agent of social change who is pursuing her master’s in nonprofit management at Fontbonne University, enriches CSPRC with her very diverse personal and professional background.

“I certainly want to take advantage of the networking opportunities CSPRC offers,” she said. “Nowadays, networking is power. My goal is to be involved in the leadership of a nonprofit that can serve as a bridge between the USA and my home country, the Kyrgyz Republic.”

After earning a diploma with excellence teaching English as a foreign language in 1999 and a bachelor’s in economic development from Osh Technological University in Kyrgzstan in 2007, Aigul coordinated rural development activities for two years, focusing particularly on income-generating projects for women’s self-help groups to improve socioeconomic status. She then worked for USAID Food Assistance Program for a year. After a stint working for Medicines Sans Frontiers, she worked a year for the United Nations in Kyrgyzstan in a variety of tasks, ranging from conducting research, training others in peaceful conflict resolution to providing logistic and administrative support for U.N. Entity for Equality and Empowerment of Women. She received the prestigious Young Leaders of Kyrgyzstan 2008 Award for her contributions to the social development Kyrgyzstan. 

Aigul earned her master’s of social work in 2014 from Washington University in St. Louis, which she attended with a full scholarship from the Open Society Foundations, established by philanthropist George Soros to help countries transition from communism and develop vibrant and tolerant democracies 

While earning her master’s in social work at Washington University, Aigul worked as an intern collecting and analyzing EBP data on domestic violence and people with disabilities. She also published two articles about women’s issues in Kyrgyzstan. Aigul is fluent in English, Kyrgyz, Russian and Uzbek. She expects to complete her master’s in business administration in 2017 and move into a leadership role in nonprofits. 

“My education helped me improve my self-esteem, and I feel confident as a woman now,” she said. “I would like to obtain experience working with abused women and children in the USA so that I can apply my knowledge and skills toward empowering young women and men internationally.”  

For more detailed information and powerful insights into humanitarian projects, explore her blog EmpowerKyrgystan.

Aigul is the mother of four children and enjoys playing the piano when she has a chance.
- August 2016

Julie TaylorJulie Taylor is principal of Taylor Management Group, a firm she founded in 2009 to provide strategic consulting, writing and marketing services for both business and nonprofits.

Julie finds significant value in what CSPRC has to offer. “CSPRC programming is a compelling mix of strategic, thought-provoking ideas; immediate take-a-ways that impact your day-to-day work; and impactful networking. It’s a great resource for our community,” she said.

While heading the corporate giving program for Qualcomm in San Diego before moving to St. Louis, Julie initiated a robust employee volunteer program as well as a training program in nonprofit board leadership for Qualcomm executives. She was also active on a number of nonprofit boards in San Diego.

Julie has been an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship and small business management at Webster University in St. Louis for several years. She also is a frequent speaker on business plan development and nonprofit consulting in the community.

Julie earned her bachelor’s in journalism from Indiana University Bloomington in 1993 and her master’s in management from San Diego State University in 1998. 

And when she’s not working? “I spend my free time on the sidelines of my children’s various basketball, softball and soccer games, as well as volunteering in the community with my husband,” she said. “I also play the guitar.”

- July 2016


Jim JudgeJim Judge is the owner of Judge Evaluation Services, a company that specializes in creating, maintaining and expanding local charity review programs for the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Currently Jim and his team work with 18 regional BBB offices throughout the US, including St. Louis. 

“CSPRC membership is a must for any nonprofit professional,” he said. “Not only do the luncheons provide quality takeaways that can be immediately implemented at an organization, it gives the individual the chance to network and grow professionally. I have made great connections through CSPRC, many of whom I now consider friends. That is the nature of this organization.” 

Jim’s commitment to CSPRC runs deep. He joined the board in 2003, served as 2011-12 president of CSPRC and was the Spectrum sponsorship chair in 2016. He will be rejoining the CSPRC board and serving as treasurer for 2016-17. In 2013, Jim received the CSPRC Dennis O’Brien Award for volunteer service.  

In 2005, Jim graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and also earned a certificate in nonprofit management and leadership. Through his many years evaluating nonprofits and helping them meet BBB standards, Jim has become well known to many nonprofit leaders in St. Louis and is an expert on nonprofit management practices.

Jim served as director of BBB Charity Information Service for the Greater St. Louis Area from 2001 until he launched Judge Evaluation Services in 2012. In addition to evaluating charities, he promoted the accredited charity program and published the bi-annual Giving Guide. He also participated actively in various improvements to the program, including the adoption of the letter grade algorithm for charities. For three of these 11 years, his efforts earned the St. Louis office the Outstanding Charity Review Program Award from the Council of Better Business Bureaus. He has been a frequent presenter at BBB Wise Giving Alliance Annual Charity Summit meetings. 

Jim lives in Bridgeton with his wife, Joanne; daughter, Sharon (5); and son, Matthew (7).
- June 2016 

Julie SperryDr. Julie Sperry has served as executive director of CharacterPlus, a resource of EducationPlus, since March 2016. Previously, she served for two years as director of St. Louis Regional Professional Development Center at EducationPlus. She is responsible for generating resources and guiding the professional staff of this agency that, through its wide variety of character-building programs, reaches 30,000 teachers and 330,000 students each year. She is the organization’s fourth executive director since its founding in 1988 as a division of EducationPlus.

 “Being new to the world of nonprofits, I am excited about becoming a contributing member of CSPRC,” she said. “I look forward to networking and absorbing knowledge from my new colleagues so that I can become part of the team of professionals who help make a difference in the lives of children.” 

Julie has held a variety of roles in her 28-year career in education. After graduating from Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., in 1988, she served as a middle school math and reading teacher for six years, an academic counselor for St. Charles Community College, and varsity volleyball coach and guidance counselor for six years at Ft. Zumwalt South High School. From 1996-99, she was assistant principal at Parkway Central Middle School and principal at Brentwood Middle School from 1999-2013. In addition, Julie has also served as adjunct faculty at Fontbonne, Lindenwood and University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) universities. She earned masters and specialists degrees in both administration and secondary counseling from UMSL and a doctorate in education in 2010 from Maryville University.

She also represents EducationPlus and CharacterPlus on the board of the Children’s Services Coalition. Julie’s work around leadership has given her many opportunities to help develop and implement transformational leadership focused on positive change. Her passion is to help make programs and people stronger and better equipped to create cultures of success for all.
- May 2016

Missy Heinemann


Missy Heinemann is a development specialist with an extensive professional background at several prominent area nonprofits and has consulted with several local small to mid-sized nonprofits.

Missy was recently selected to host a workshop focused on donor relations at CSPRC’s 2016 Spectrum conference. She values CSPRC because it gathers a dynamic group of professionals for meaningful networking and exceptional professional development opportunities. 

Missy earned her bachelor’s in communications from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2002 and added a master’s in teaching with an emphasis in communications arts from Webster University in 2005.  She served as both grants manager and community science coordinator for the Saint Louis Science Center, development officer at Webster University, associate director of annual giving at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, executive director for the St. Louis Urban Debate League and, most recently, development manager at EducationPlus (formerly Cooperating School Districts). In addition to serving nonprofits in these capacities, Missy has worked as a freelance grant writer and development consultant since 2013.

As a volunteer, Missy serves as a performing arts reviewer for 88.1 FM KDHX and supports sales, marketing and fundraising activities for FORAI (Friends Of Refugees And Immigrants). She also has served as a grants panelist for the Regional Arts Commission.

In addition to her professional and volunteer experience, Missy is a certified yoga teacher, plays in a Bluegrass band, is an actress with St. Louis Actors' Studio, and is a proud wife and mother.
 - April 2016

Jim Shearburn

James P. Shearburn is community development officer for Deaf Empowerment Awareness Foundation, Inc., (DEAF, Inc.), an organization whose mission is “to Empower, raise Awareness, and bridge a sustainable Foundation of communication and equal access to both the deaf/hard of hearing and the hearing communities in the St. Louis metro area.” He is responsible for generating financial support as well as promoting greater community awareness.

After attending his first CSPRC meeting in January, he immediately decided to join. “CSPRC offers the opportunity to meet others involved in the nonprofit world in St. Louis,” he said. “Being new to nonprofits, fundraising and the St. Louis giving community, I have already benefited by being involved with CSPRC. Meeting the people involved and the diverse organizations they represent is a true benefit. CSPRC has already helped me better understand the real need in the area for services. Knowing who provides the various services and identifying with whom we might partner will be a big help to DEAF, Inc.”
He also secured membership for DEAF, Inc., in Children’s Services Coalition, a group of 54 nonprofits that collaborate to provide more and better behavioral health services for children. “You could just feel the positive energy in the room,” he said after attending his first board meeting.
Prior to joining DEAF, Inc., in December 2015, Jim had spent his entire career in the telecommunications industry. After graduating with a degree in forest resource management from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and working in forestry for a time, he switched to the emerging non-competitive telecom industry. He worked for LDX for three years, as sales manager wholesale services for Consolidated Communications for 12 years, and as regional vice president of Quest Communications for 12 years. He then served as founding member and VP of sales for Texas Energy Network, LLC, (TEN) for four years. He and his team raised $35 million in equity funding and started a company that serves the oilfields of west and south Texas with private network high-speed wireless communications. He left TEN in August 2014 and took stock of what he wanted to do next.
Conversationally fluent in sign language and having a longstanding – and personal – concern for the deaf, he seized the opportunity to work with DEAF, Inc., when an opening as community development officer became available.
On a personal level, Jim is married to Geneva Foster Shearburn. They met as teenagers and have been married for 43 years. Geneva’s parents were born deaf, and Jim learned ASL to communicate with them at an early age. Geneva has dedicated her life to improving education, accessibility and quality of life for the deaf in her role as teacher, curriculum advisor, master interpreter and activist. They have two sons of whom they are extremely proud. Their adventures continue.
- March 2016

Susan D. Kidder, MS, is executive director of Safe Connections, an organization that works to prevent and end domestic and sexual violence through crisis intervention, a 24-hour crisis helpline, therapy and support groups, and prevention education for middle and high school youth. Safe Connections is accredited by the Council on Accreditation and the Better Business Bureau.

Susan is a firm believer in the value of CSPRC. She routinely sends four+ staff members to the organization’s Spectrum conference so they can attend different breakout sessions and later share what they have learned. “CSPRC offers unique opportunities for members to blend relationship-building and learning. It’s a terrific organization.”  

When she was recruited from Chicago in 2007 to head one of the oldest and largest organizations in metro St. Louis working to prevent and end domestic violence, she initiated a far-ranging strategic planning process that resulted in Safe Connections revising its mission statement to be more inclusive, expanding its programs to match its expanded mission and changing its name to better reflect its transformation.

Susan earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from Illinois State University in 1979 and her master's degree from Eastern Illinois University in 1985. Prior to joining Safe Connections, Susan’s work included associate executive director for Lake County Society for Human Development, executive director of the Chicago Hearing Society, and national marketing director for HITEC Group International, promoting the value of assistive technology for people with disabilities.

In 2015 Susan began a two-year term as chair of the Children’s Services Coalition, a 50+ coalition of agencies working together to promote quality social and behavioral healthcare services for children and their families in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area through advocacy, collaboration and communication.

Susan is an avid cyclist, and 2016 will mark her 10th year to ride Bike MS for the Gateway Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Susan also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and enjoys camping, ballroom dancing and golf.
 - February 2016

Neosha Franklin

Neosha S. Franklin, MA, joined the St. Louis Community Foundation in October 2015 as community engagement associate, serving as the internal point of contact coordinating details of the foundation's community events. She also manages the foundation’s social media accounts, maintains its website and coordinates the annual Give STL Day.

Neosha feels passionately about giving back to the community and serves on the CSPRC board and program committee. “I value CSPRC because of the professional development opportunities, as well as the opportunity to meet new professionals,” she said. “CSPRC is the organization that really provided a sharper lens of how I could be more effective in my job while making an impact. It’s truly an organization where members are welcoming, insightful and helpful. CSPRC has helped me become more confident in my role, and I’ve learned so much over the years.” 

Neosha earned her bachelor’s in communications from Truman State University in 2010 and her master’s in communications from Lindenwood University in 2011. As an undergraduate, she worked as a production assistant at KTVO TV3 in Kirksville for two years. From 2010-2014, she served as communications specialist in the Francis Howell School District, where she was responsible for the implementation of external/internal communication, technology programs and media relations. She moved to YouthBridge Community Foundation in March 2014 serving as its communications and client service coordinator, responsible for leading all communications and marketing initiatives. She also cultivated complex donor relationships and provided administrative support, grant administration and philanthropic guidance.

An athlete herself at Fort Zumwalt High School and Truman State University, Neosha also volunteers as the communications and events manager for St. Louis Surge Women’s Basketball, LLC, a professional women’s basketball team. 

On Aug. 15, 2015, Neosha married her wonderful husband, Kyle Franklin. In addition to new technology, communications and social media, her interests include music, photography, running, sports, cooking and reading novels.

- January 2016