Starkle Dream Up. Stephens College

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Meichele Foster, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Initiatives
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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 2013 from the University of Missouri School of Health Professions. She 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. Meichele resides in Columbia with her spouse, Rose Hayden, and two four-footed friends. 


Chris Rigby, Director of Philanthropy
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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.

Chris joined Stephens in October 2014. 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, puts out APBs in search of the golf balls he hits, is a baseball fan and supporter of the soccer team Newcastle United.


Gwen Robbins, Director of Philanthropy
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Gwen Robbins was born and raised in Bozeman, Montana. She earned a BA degree in communications from the University of Washington in Seattle. 

Gwen has worked all over the U.S., including Washington, DC, Portland, OR, Seattle Washington, San Diego and now in Columbia. She has been a professional fundraiser for 27 years, raising funds for many non-profit organizations. Previously, Gwen spent five years as Director of Advancement in the College of Education at the University of Missouri.  She began her role at Stephens as Director of Philanthropy in January 2016.

Growing up in Montana, Gwen developed a love for the outdoors and all sports.

In her free time, she also enjoys reading, entertaining and travel.

Gwen and her husband Steve live in Columbia, with their two children, Sarah, 15, and Gabe, 12, as well as a golden retriever and a cat. 


Kalei Holder, Director of Annual Fund and Alumnae Engagement

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As the director of annual fund and alumnae engagement, Kalei presents alumnae with various opportunities to support the Stephens fund. She also works closely with the Alumnae Association Board to expand the alumnae network.

Prior to coming to Stephens, Kalei spent four years working in the non-profit sector, serving as the Community Relations Director for Missouri CASA Association and Director of Development and Advancement at the Missouri Girls Town Foundation. She earned a Bachelor of General Studies from the University of Missouri with emphases in psychology, sociology and social policy.

Kalei resides in Columbia with her husband, Mike, their son, Colin and their three pups, Donovan, Josee and Frankie. In her free time, Kalei enjoys spending time with her family and friends and listening to live music.


Amy Langen, Director of Advancement Services

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As Director of Advancement Services, Amy is responsible for data management, gift acceptance and reporting and for providing compliance information.

Before coming to Stephens in 2015, Amy worked at the Columbia Public Library for 15 years, where she had many different roles, including the one she cherished most of all: acting as her family’s personal bookmobile.

Amy earned a degree in English from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota and a Masters degree in Adult Education from National-Louis University in Chicago. She says she misses the harsh winters of the north (truly), and of Chicago, there is no better place to practice parallel parking! For many years she has happily called Columbia home, where she and her husband Tim have raised three wonderful children.


Tennison Humphreys ’17, Assistant Board Secretary, Advancement Associate

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As the Advancement Associate and Assistant Board Secretary, Tennison is responsible for the coordination of the tri-annual Board meetings while assisting with the execution of fundraising activities, gift announcements, annual fund initiatives, reunions, special events, research and gift processing and supervision of the Phonathon.

Tennison is a recent graduate of Stephens College, beginning her work in the Office of Institutional Advancement and Initiatives just days after graduation. Tennison graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Event and Convention Management. Often you will hear Tennison claim that she loves coming to work each and every day because she gets to be a part of an amazing team of individuals.

From Memphis, Tennessee, Tennison is proud to be a legacy of Stephens and join her mother (Class of ’81) as an alumna of this institution she loves dearly. Transitioning from student to Columbia local, Tennison can often be found out on the town, enjoying everything Columbia has to offer. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling to see friends and family, being outdoors and stopping to pet every furry friend that crosses her path.


Allie Berger, Manager of Experiential Learning, Center for Career and Professional Development

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As Manager of Experiential Learning, Allie works closely with the curriculum of the Center for Career and Professional Development’s nonacademic graduation requirement, College to Career by generating and deepening current student opportunities in experiential learning. This includes teaching professionalization workshops, one-on-one career counseling and the coordinating of recruiting events, programs and conferences. She also participates as an engaged member of the Office of Institutional Advancement and Initiatives.

Allie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas. Although she was born in the Northeast, she moved to Arkansas at age 10 and has always considered it home. However, after moving to Columbia in 2015 to complete a Master of Arts in English at the University of Missouri, this mid-Missouri town has truly stolen her heart.

Allie lives in a cozy home with a garden, her boyfriend and her 4-year-old black cat. She is an avid yoga practitioner, a voracious reader and a freelance writer. She loves camping and anything that involves food, family and friends. 

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