Leah is from southeast Missouri and has lived in Columbia for 11 years. She is an elementary music teacher who also enjoys working in church music and organizing community events. While leading the team who planned Living Proof Live with Beth Moore at Mizzou Arena in 2018, she met one of our other board members and was made aware of the issue of trafficking in mid-Missouri. She now serves as our treasurer and helps to manage our social media.
Richelle lives in Hallsville, MO with her husband Chris and their two boys, Eli and Owen. She is a graphic artist and owner of CROE Haven Designs. Richelle creates artwork as a means to spread kindness, love and faith, as well as bringing awareness and support to the fight against Human Trafficking. As a mother, Richelle has a strong passion for educating fellow parents and youth about the potential dangers of social media and online gaming as it relates not only to Domestic Child Sex Trafficking, but it’s effects on mental health as well. Richelle is an active volunteer on the Coalition’s Education and Outreach Committee and the Fundraising Committee. She is also a part-time administrator at her church, Grandview Baptist, and is currently developing her ministry called Project139.
Lauren is a morning radio host on the Y107 Morning Show with Cosmo and Lauren but her background is in Social Work. Lauren received her BSW from Lincoln University and has worked as a caseworker in the past but most recently was the live-in Residential Supervisor for a transitional living program for youth in Jefferson City. For five years Lauren lived and worked with some amazing young ladies and their kids. In those years Lauren met several survivors of trafficking and was blown away by their resilience. This subject became very close to her heart in that time and she knew it was something she wanted to work to end. Lauren lives in Columbia with her husband and two cats.
Audrey, Chairperson of the Board of Directors for CMSHTC, started as a volunteer for the Coalition in 2016. She is a Business Exit Coach as well as a realtor and continues to work in promoting natural health and wellness. Audrey has Mid-Missouri roots, but also spent 5 years in Boston and 8 years in Luxembourg Europe where she worked in the Global Custody Division of BBH&Co. In 2002 her family moved back to Jefferson City and she opened Cafe Via Roma, a European style Café across from the Capitol. During this time she graduated from Rochurst University’s Helzberg School of Management with an Executive MBA. Through the EMBA program and on behalf of businesses and her staff she began to testify to legislative committees on the need for child care assistance. For the last 12 years she has organized Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for 150 residents in low-income housing. In 2013 she organized gardens and fruit trees for Amethyst House in Kansas City, housing for mothers who have successfully graduated from drug rehab programs. In 2014 she was awarded the Zonta Women of Achievement Award. She has 3 children.
Karen’s careers include nursing, business, and financial planning. Active in Columbia as a volunteer, she has been with the Coalition since 2016 serving as a board member and client advocate. She loves spending time with her husband and family on the farm, playing with grandchildren, traveling, reading and growing her Christian faith. Her motto: “Do for one what you would the many and the world will change.”
April has been engaged for many years in anti-trafficking ministries both overseas & locally. She has been connected with the Coalition since 2017, collaborating on presentations & assisting with giving rides to survivors. April’s experience includes 10+ years in both administration & human trafficking awareness and prevention for New International, Legacy of Hope International, and Be the Light. She has been Church Administrator for Columbia United Church of Christ since 2018. April lives in Columbia, MO with husband Parker and their three sons: Andrew, Porter, and Tate, and their Mini-Schnauzer, Myla. “My past, mixed with God’s grace and limitless love, have led me to this path and desire to stand against the injustice of Human Trafficking.”
Pete became involved with the Coalition in 2018, regularly contributing a unique expert perspective at monthly meetings. He has been in the banking industry for 30 years. The last 20 years of his work has been in financial crimes. Since early 2018 Pete has been the Banking Secrecy Act (BSA) Officer for Central Bancompany. He is also a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist. Pete currently lives in his future retirement home in Bunceton, MO with his wife Heidi. They have three children, Michael, Kate and Joe. “As a BSA Officer, I see a lot of the bad side of people through their financial activity. By helping in the little ways I can with the Coalition, I hopefully can make a difference to help with good and not just witness and report the bad side of things.”
Nanette Ward is a 2008 founding member of the Stop Human Trafficking Coalition of Central Missouri. She has been an active volunteer for the past 13 plus years, and is currently serving as trustee on the board of directors. Nanette has been involved in all the various aspects of the Coalition’s work. She conducts presentations and trainings in the community, and, as a full-time volunteer advocate, works closely with service providers and law enforcement to provide direct support to victims and survivors. In April 2017 she was appointed to the Missouri Attorney General’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force. She also served on the Coalition Against Human Trafficking, the social service arm of the US Attorney’s Office Western District of Missouri Human Trafficking Rescue Project. After coming to Boone County from the Kansas City area in 1994, Ward worked for the Governor’s Council on Disability, Services for Independent Living, the City of Columbia Human Rights Commission, and the Reynolds Journalism Institute. Nanette strives daily to achieve the Coalition’s vision for communities to be free of modern slavery.
Ed was born and raised in Mexico, MO where he currently lives and works. He attended college in Atlanta, GA where he majored in Film/TV Production, then moved to New York City where he began work at a financial business. After becoming a victim and survivor of the 9/11 attacks, he relocated back to Missouri. He enrolled in the Missouri Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Academy and began work with the Audrain County Sheriff’s Office. He was a patrol supervisor for many years and later the jail administrator. He is currently the Captain of the Audrain County Sheriff’s Office Jail Division and is an instructor for the Missouri Sheriff’s Association. Ed is the president of a local non-profit organization Anointed Lifesaving Ministries. It is geared towards youth, offering an alternative to hanging out on the streets, while providing free after-school tutoring and educational programs.