Meichele Foster, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Initiatives
As vice president of institutional advancement and initiatives, Meichele is responsible for designing and executing comprehensive institutional advancement programs, including prospect research, endowment initiatives, capital and targeted campaigns, corporate and foundation relations, alumnae and constituent relations and employer relations development. She also works closely with President Dianne Lynch in the development and solicitation of major gifts and gift planning and on institutional initiatives.
Meichele came to Stephens in July from the University of Missouri School of Health Professions, where she served for 14 years, most recently in the position of assistant to the dean for strategic operations. She also served as the development officer on the "For All We Call Mizzou" campaign, leading her school to become the first at the university to reach its fundraising goal. In 2003, she was honored with an Outstanding Staff Award from the School of Health Professions Alumni Organization. Meichele holds a Master of Public Affairs from the Truman School of Public Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts with distinction in Sociology, graduating summa cum laude from Columbia College. She also is a licensed practical nurse.
She has been a member of Alpha Chi Honor Society, the Missouri Epsilon Chapter National Honor Society and the Pi Alpha Alpha National Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration.
Meichele resides in Columbia with her spouse, Rose Hayden, and three four-footed friends described as extra large, medium and tiny, and one very chatty little bird.
D. Shawn Poore, Director of Philanthropy
As a director of philanthropy, Shawn works with alumnae around the country, reconnecting them with Stephens College and engaging them in the development of gift opportunities and other ways to benefit the College.
Shawn earned a degree in Political Science from Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., in 1996. He is a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. At Westminster College, he was the student tour guide for the visit of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during her visit in 1996.
Prior to coming to Stephens, Shawn spent 10 years at the University of Missouri as a senior director of development in the College of Engineering as part of the “For All We Call Mizzou” campaign. In 2012, Shawn was recognized with a Columns of Excellence Award for “Respect” from his colleagues in MU Development & Alumni Relations. He worked in political fundraising prior to coming to Mizzou.
During his free time, Shawn enjoys traveling, running, baseball, watching Mizzou athletics and spending time at his family’s farm in northeast Missouri.
Chris Rigby, Director of Philanthropy
As a director of philanthropy, Chris works with alumnae across the country, reconnecting them to Stephens College and engaging them in gift opportunities and other ways to benefit the College. In addition he assists with the development of corporate relations and closer community ties.
Chris earned a degree in geography from the University of Birmingham, England, and went on to be commissioned as a Royal Navy Officer. His navy career culminated in an appointment as Protocol Officer NATO’s Northern Region headquarters in Norway. Thereafter he began a 25 year career in professional recruitment leading the provincial development of a legal recruitment consultancy across the UK. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1998 and led development of global recruiting programs for TMP Worldwide before becoming U.S. representative for Australia’s largest human resource services company. Prior to joining Stephens, Chris spent three years assisting the growth of a woman-owned recruiting company in St Louis.
Columbia has been home for Chris and his wife, Wendy, for more than 17 years. He has a daughter, Alison, and two stepchildren, Cory and Delaney. In his spare time, Chris is an active Rotarian, is regularly exercised by his dog Geordie, puts out APBs in search of the golf balls he hits, is a baseball fan and supporter of soccer team Newcastle United.
Maureen Bernath, Director of Internships and Career Events, Center for Career and Professional Development
As the director of internships and career events, Maureen works with students across campus on professional development skills. She also networks with employers in Columbia and across the United States to create internship and job opportunities for Stephens students.
Prior to coming to Stephens, she most recently served as the internship coordinator for MU’s Professional Development Program and was previously the recruitment coordinator for MU’s Business Career Services office. She has also worked as a customer service representative for Huntington National Bank and Farmers and Merchants State Bank.
Maureen earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism with a specification in Public Relations from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio. She is a member of the Women’s Network with the Columbia Chamber of Commerce.
Columbia has been home to Maureen and her husband, Dustin, for almost three years. In their spare time, they enjoy playing with their puppy, Murphy, golfing and spending time in Ohio with family and friends. They also love cheering on their favorite sports teams, the Buckeyes and the Detroit Tigers, Lions, Red Wings and Pistons.
Shannon Blankenship Walls '93, Special Assistant to the President for Philanthropy
Currently special assistant to the president for philanthropy, Shannon has worked at Stephens since 1995. She is a 1993 graduate of the Theatre program, and studied scenic design. She spent five summers at the College's Okoboji Summer Theatre (two as a student and three as staff scenic designer).
She often argues she has the best job in the world because she gets to meet the most amazing women on the planet every day—Stephens Women, of course.
Shannon enjoys traveling, and so far, says her favorite spot is China. Nationally, she especially enjoys traveling West.
When she’s not traveling, Shannon enjoys quiet days on the deck with her husband, Dick, and two dogs, Barney and Boone.
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