St. Louis Business Journal recognizes 2 UMSL alumnae among 2018 Diverse Business Leaders class

Amy Hunter, Opal Jones

Alumnae Amy Hunter (at left) and Opal Jones were named to the 2018 St. Louis Business Journal Diverse Business Leaders class. (Photos by August Jennewein; photo collage by Joan Barnidge)

The St. Louis Business Journal honored two University of Missouri–St. Louis alumnae Friday for their efforts to make St. Louis a healthier and more equitable region.

Amy Hunter (BA 1994) and Opal Jones (BSBA 2000, MBA 2017) were among the Business Journal’s 2018 class of Diverse Business Leaders. The cohort of 20 and a crowd of nearly 400 gathered for an awards luncheon Friday at the Marriott St. Louis Grand.

“Diversity and inclusion play an important role in maintaining businesses’ competitive advantage,” Associate Editor Diana Barr wrote when announcing the honorees on Aug. 21. “The Diverse Business Leaders awards honor individuals who promote diversity around race, sexual orientation and disability.”

Hunter is the manager of diversity and inclusion at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital and is a PhD candidate in UMSL’s College of Education. In 2015, Hunter delivered a TedxGatewayArch talk on how zip codes can serve as an indicator of systemic discrimination. She has now shared the “Lucky Zip Codes” presentation with listeners from around the world.

“At St. Louis Children’s Hospital, leaders are everywhere,” she told the Business Journal. “I am happy to extend my strategy for social justice into my workplace. Health equity and the end of health disparities is at the forefront of the work here at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and throughout the region. A healthier St. Louis is a better St. Louis, and we see our role in impacting the social or structural determinants of health every day by serving the St. Louis community.

“My role is to realize our opportunities to connect the needs of the community with the opportunities and services of the hospital while providing training for our internal staff. It’s great being a part of the change in the region. How are the children? They are healthier in some ZIP codes, and we want all the children to be well.”

Jones is the president and CEO of DOORWAYS, a St. Louis-based HIV/AIDS housing and support services organization. Under her leadership, DOORWAYS increased the number of clients it serves annually from 1,700 to 3,100 and total annual revenue jumped from $5 million to $9 million.

“I want DOORWAYS, to be an open, affirming, warm environment where everyone feels welcome,” Jones said in a Business Journal Q&A. “We are extremely protective of our nurturing culture, which has allowed the clients we serve living with HIV/AIDS to thrive. We are intentional about diversity and inclusion.”

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