Danforth Center Elects Four New Directors To Its Board
ST. LOUIS, MO, January 21, 2021 –The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center today announced the election of four new directors to its Board. The Danforth Center Board provides oversight and governance functions to ensure the nonprofit operates lawfully, ethically and productively. They share best practices in their organizations and serve as ambassadors and advocates of the Center’s mission and research. Directors serve four year terms.
“What I really like about this incoming group is the variety of their skill sets,” said Todd Schnuck, Chairman of the Board. “Their expertise in agriculture, human resources, financial and legal services will contribute to the diversity of thought and of existing expertise within our board, which will make a positive impact on our long term governance.”
In his role as the Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Land O’Lakes Bekele is responsible for developing and implementing technology solutions for retail and farmer customers to help them produce more sustainable outputs. His application of technology and data to the practice of farming has shaped product offerings such as WinField United's R7® Tool and the Answer Tech portal. In 2016, he was named in the Inaugural PrecisionAg Magazine Top 10 people driving forward the adoption of precision agriculture. He has lived on three different continents, his family moved from Ethiopia to his mother’s home country of Italy when he was four, then to Raleigh, North Carolina when he was 17. In addition to English, Bekele speaks Ethiopian and Italian.
Desiree S. Coleman
Coleman is the first Vice President of Diverse Client Segments at Wells Fargo Advisors (WFA). In this role, she leads diversity and inclusion strategy development for Wells Fargo Advisors, leveraging internal and external relationships to drive team member outcomes, marketplace outcomes and diversity and inclusion advocacy. Desiree is responsible for establishing and co-facilitating WFA’s diversity and inclusion council, providing consultation to senior leaders and collaborating with internal teams to promote inclusion. In her previous Community Relations role, Desiree was responsible for Wells Fargo’s $4.1M Missouri charitable budget and for setting the market’s philanthropy and outreach strategies. She managed reputation, external visibility, corporate social responsibility and charitable giving to execute Wells Fargo’s national philanthropy and volunteerism programs.
Kim is General Counsel, Sr. VP & Sr. Partner at Fleishman-Hillard Inc. She has extensive experience in managing a broad array of legal department services including providing counsel to corporations, advising executive management and the corporate board on legal, strategic and transactional matters, drafting and negotiating major commercial contracts, supervising outside counsel and in-house risk management initiatives, overseeing acquisitions and divestitures, and providing in-house training to more than 80 offices nationwide. Her specialties include contracting, transactional (M&A), communications and public relations, regulated industries (e.g. healthcare, telecommunications, etc.) and corporate risk management. In 2016, she was voted one of the region’s top corporate counsels by the St. Louis Business Journal.
In her role as Executive Vice President, Global Human Resources, World Wide Technology (WWT), Marr oversees global human resources functions which include talent acquisition, strategic staffing, policy development, benefits and compensation, government compliance, training, leadership development, immigration, communications and employee relations. As a strategic partner, she also manages the company’s Corporate Development Program which includes Diversity and Inclusion, Supplier Diversity and Small Business Enterprise and manages the company’s communication efforts. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Minority Enterprise Advocate Magazine 50 Most Influential Business Women in St. Louis.
“Our board of directors serve a vital role for the Danforth Center community,” said Jim Carrington, PhD, president and CEO of the Danforth Center. ”Our community engages regularly with them and relies on their contributions to help deliver on our mission. The four new directors will help move us forward, and represent the values that are so important to the Center community.”
About The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a not-for-profit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. Research, education and outreach aim to have impact at the nexus of food security and the environment, and position the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science. The Center’s work is funded through competitive grants from many sources, including the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Follow us on Twitter at @DanforthCenter.