2013 Women of Achievement 2013 Bio: Brenda D. Newberry
Brenda Newberry has distinguished herself as an outstanding leader in the nonprofit, civic, and entrepreneurial arenas in the St. Louis region. Humorist Sam Levenson once said “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others”. Brenda always has had a passion for children and education. To be able to volunteer extensively in these areas and feel that your work matters – how could anything else be more satisfying?
Brenda’s long standing relationship with Webster University began when she received her M.A. in Business Management in 1979. In 2006, Brenda joined the Webster Board of Trustees, serving on numerous Board committees including chairing the Daniel Webster Society Board in 2009‐2010. In 2007, she received the Walker School of Business and Technology Outstanding Alum Award in recognition of her professional accomplishments and commitment to Webster. In 2010, Brenda was named chairman of the Webster University Board of Trustees – the first alumna, the first woman, and the first African‐American to hold this position. Her Air Force career and as a technology entrepreneur makes Webster University proud and provides a strong role model for alumni, students, faculty, and staff. Brenda leads from both her head and her heart – a powerful combination that serves the University well.
United Way, Charmaine Chapman Society (CCS)
The Charmaine Chapman Society, which is the United Way’s African‐American Leadership giving group, maintained its position as the nation’s number one giving group among 1500 United Ways. Brenda and Maurice brought both energy and creativity, launching a focus on young leaders, and enhancing benefits by partnering with PNC to offer an exclusive Jazz series. They and their team raised more money than any other time in the history of the group. The St. Louis American newspaper claims that 2012 was a ground‐breaking year for CCS raising $2.2 million.
Brenda co‐chairs the CCS with Maurice Newberry, her husband of over 40 years. (2012 & 2013 campaigns) She was a commencement speaker and received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Lindenwood University. She and Maurice donated a sum to complete a computer classroom for the campus.
She has had extensive years of service with the Youth in Need organization, the lead collaborative group in the founding of the Shearwater Charter School. This north St. Louis High School is considered a model school, re‐engaging high risk students to complete their educations. Brenda served on the inaugural Board for the Shearwater Educational Foundation and she and Maurice provided one of the major “seed” donations for this alternative school.
Current and past Board Service: United Way, Focus St. Louis, Mathews‐Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ Club, The Muny, SSM Health Care, United Services for the Handicapped, Inc., Veteran’s Resource Center, Washington University National Council for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and others.
Awards: Youth in Need Celebration of Youth Award; Missouri House of Representative Resolution No. 998 recognizing this award; St. Louis Argus Distinguished Citizen Award; Logos School Woman of Distinction; Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri Woman of Distinction; Athena Leadership Foundation Award; YWCA Academy of Leaders, and others.
Brenda Newberry has a long history of community involvement and has spent hundreds of volunteer hours serving on the Boards of various civic groups. She served on the Board of the RCGA and chaired the Business Services Committee, which developed one of the most successful RCGA programs ‐ the “Breakfast with the Gazelles” monthly event. In addition, she served on the Executive Committee of the Regional Business Council and worked toward the successful implementation of the Young Professionals Network (YPN). The first event attracted over 300 young people of color. Now the YPN has over 1400 ethnically diverse professionals from 300 companies.
Current and past Board Service: St. Louis Forum (also former President of group), St. Charles County Planning and Zoning Commission
Awards: St. Louis Forum Trailblazer Award Entrepreneurship
Brenda excelled in building a strong foundation of innovation and entrepreneurship in our region, thereby developing a continuing expanding generation of entrepreneurs. This atmosphere will also nurture our future E leaders, i.e. E for Entrepreneurial. She has helped inspire, build and support this activity through her commitment to Entrepreneurial education and has devoted extensive hours of her personal time to speaking engagements, writing articles, taking interviews, serving on panels, developing workshops, etc. on this subject. Her longtime meaningful efforts, legendary hard work, and committed perseverance have transformed our Entrepreneurial community. As a very effective public speaker, she explains how to bring an idea to life, build success, face challenges, and so on.
Current and past Board Service: Missouri Small Business Development Centers Statewide Advisory Board; St. Louis Enterprise Centers; St. Louis Economic Council; St. Louis Minority Business Council.
Awards: SBA Hall of Fame Inductee; St. Louis Business Journal Most Influential Business Woman; Missouri Small Business Person of the Year; Entrepreneur of the Year awarded by RCGA and St. Louis American; Professional Organization of Women African‐American Woman of Distinction; NAWBO Distinguished Woman Business Owner. And other awards and honors for her and/or her husband Maurice and/or their firm which are too numerous to count. Also, Brenda has been featured in countless national, regional, and local publications over the years but are too numerous to list. Brenda Newberry is an outstanding innovator. I am moved by her passion for volunteerism and our community and am very impressed by her leadership skills. I can think of no one more worthy of the honor of 2013 Woman of Achievement.