UMSL alumnae honored as Most Influential Business Women
Year after year, the St. Louis Business Journal features leaders who both inspire and achieve great levels of success in the annual listing of the Most Influential Business Women.
The 2019 stories didn’t depart from that precedent but rather dug deeper into the motivational factors behind 25 prominent professionals. The special section headlined “Inspirations of the influential” included tales of how some of the region’s most effective leaders rose to the top.
Supportive families, colleagues and mentors were common themes among the honorees. But their educational experiences were also significant factors, especially for two University of Missouri–St. Louis alumnae.
UMSL graduates Marcela Manjarrez Hawn and Nancy Millsap Hawes were among the 2019 Most Influential Business Women class, and they were celebrated for their achievements at a luncheon Friday.
Hawn, a 1998 economics graduate, is the senior vice president and chief communications officer for Centene Corporation. She also manages the Centene Charitable Foundation, which makes substantial contributions to initiatives that improve the quality of life and health in area communities.
She said she’s humbled by the recognition from the St. Louis Business Journal but noted that the individual honor has been a team effort.
“Going back to when I arrived at UMSL, all my professors showed an interest in me and my background, making sure that I was taking all of the right classes,” Hawn said. “In my career, I’ve had great mentors and colleagues. While I’m being recognized, it’s the product of so many people who have worked together to make sure that we succeed.”
Hawes, an alumna of the Department of English, is a shareholder at Polsinelli. She specializes in corporate law and advises nonprofits and other tax-exempt organizations. Hawes also helped launch Polsinelli’s Opportunity Zone practice groups, which helps clients navigate new regulations from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
“Over the years, I feel like I’ve made incremental steps that have made a difference in the region and in people’s lives,” Hawes said. “A lot of it is practicing law, and practicing law for people who can’t afford lawyers. It’s nice to be acknowledged for that. I’m really proud.”
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