Mission & History
St. Louis Forum: 35+ Years in the Making
St. Louis Forum was founded in 1981, as a haven for “women leaders who were struggling with the isolation of being the only, and generally the most senior, woman in their company.” Six women joined forces to create the first imprint of what St. Louis Forum is today—a process that took upwards of six months to gather and craft by-laws, membership criteria, and the like. At the proverbial table sat Mary Barrows, Vice President of Mark Twain Bank; Jacqueline Reck, CPA; Claudia Wall, Peat Marwick & Co.; and, Patricia Spira, Development of CASA. A few months later, Hollye Stolz Atwood and Carolyn Whitelaw joined the cohort.
Later that year, the original organizing committee rendered it necessary to extend its membership to include “charter members—” the women scanned their rolodexes and targeted a select group of female executives to whom they’d extend invitations. Eventually those charter memberships extended themselves to full-time commitments, and, by February 1982, when the Charter Membership period ended, St. Louis Forum had a whopping 48 members—membership thus grew eight-fold.
Fast-forward 38 years and membership continues to grow. Currently, total membership has reached upwards of 200 women. As time progresses, so will St. Louis Forum—an exciting journey for female professionals in the St. Louis community, as well as for the region, at large.