Our Board of Directors
Willows Way is a 501c3, not-for-profit organization that is directed by an experienced administrative team and an active Board of Directors.
Our vision and mission is to serve those men and women in our community who are challenged with intellectual or physical disabilities. You can learn more about our organization's activities by reviewing our annual report.
My nephew has Down Syndrome, so that gave me an understanding of the disability and the demand in the community for programs that assist others with those types of needs. Additionally, I worked for the Missouri Attorney General's Office in the Mental Health Unit and witnessed cases of caregivers who would misuse funds and verbally and physically abuse the vulnerable people who they were supposed to be taking care of. I wanted to do some good and be involved in something that helped people with disabilities. I was recruited to the Willows Way Board of Directors by a former board member in 2012.
One of my goals in serving on the board is to keep Executive Director Joy Steele and her staff well supplied with what they need in order to run the type of organization that I believe they are, and are striving to continue to be. I also want to try to increase our board reserve fund so that if, and when, there is another economic downturn or cuts that could negatively impact our services, we will be in good shape. I am also striving to increase participation in our RISE day program and helping to build up our Individualized Supported Living (ISL) program.
While I may not know someone personally with a developmental disability, I realized how blessed my life has been and decided that I needed to do something to give back and share my blessings with others.
When I discovered Willows Way, I found an organization dedicated to its mission, and a group of people who genuinely care for their clients. That inspired me to want to be a part.
As Vice-President, my goal is to advance the mission of Willows Way and to help people with developmental disabilities live an independent, dignified, happy and productive life.
When I retired in 2011, I decided that, as part of my retirement plan, I would devote a certain portion of my time giving back to the community. When I was getting ready to retire, a friend of mine who was already on the board recommended Willows Way to me. I liked the place, the people and what they were doing for people with developmental disabilities, so I interviewed for a seat on the board.
The board has goals that we set yearly. As Chairman of the Finance Committee, I make sure the agency stays liquid and that the money is being spent in the right areas. Our goal is working for the long-term financial health of the organization.
An old Chinese proverb says that we spend the first third of our lives learning, the second third earning and last third giving back. I am very happy to be spending my retirement years helping Willows Way. I think they do a terrific job.
Janel R. Aemisegger
Senior Vice President | Portfolio Manager Team Leader – Commercial Banking, U.S. Bank
I was introduced to Willows Way through a prior board member with whom I had served on another non-profit board. I started serving on the Willows Way Board of Directors over three years ago, and for the past two years I have served as its Secretary, as well as the Chair of the Programs and Quality Committee.
I have particularly enjoyed my time on the Programs Committee as I have gained a deeper understanding and appreciation of the organization’s services and day-to-day activities. The Willows Way staff truly embraces the organization’s core values, providing exceptional care and support for each and every client. The ongoing dedication of all of Willows Way's employees continues to be my guiding inspiration.
My goal as a board member is to continue to support the ongoing mission and legacy of Willows Way.
Air, Land & Sea Express
I have a younger brother with a developmental disability and he receives some of his services through Willows Way. I know that my brother, who has autism, enjoys and feels supported by the services provided to him by Willows Way.
I got involved with Willows Way five years ago because I wanted to support people with developmental disabilities. I have been involved with a variety of organizations since age 14 or 15. Over the years, I have seen a lot of positive changes in terms of opportunities available for people with developmental disabilities, but I still think that there is a lot more that can be done.
As a Willows Way board member, I am able to provide the perspective of a family member affected by a developmental disability and I am continually striving for more outreach and activities for our clients.
Director of Demand Planning
I have a teenage son with severe autism. I plan to use my experiences raising a child with a severe developmental disability to help others within the Willows Way organization.
I learned about Willows Way through one of the current board members. I saw being on the Willows Way Board of Directors as a new experience for me and a new way to help out and reach others through my experiences, in a positive way.
My goal on the Board of Directors will be encouraging parents and family members of individuals with developmental disabilities to seek out and accept support from organizations such as Willows Way. I want people to realize that it's okay to receive help; you don't have to do this all on your own. Getting and accepting help to care for a person with a developmental disability is a positive move for everyone involved.
Retired Special Education Teacher
I have two grandchildren who have autism. However, my career was as a special education teacher working with teens with disabilities in a transition program. These young people participated in a work/study program at Nazareth Living Center in South St. Louis County. They worked 2-4 hours, then returned to school for their classes. These teens learned how to work with employees in food service, housekeeping and transportation. They learned the "soft skills" that every employer would like their employees to know. I worked with this program for 10 years.
I first learned about Willows Way from a friend who was on the board at the time and knew of my past experience and invited me to check out Willows Way. That was nearly five years ago.
Willows Way will continue to be client-centered in all the programs and services offered. I work to support and encourage clients through attendance at Willows Way events, and to recognize our employees for the valuable services that they provide to Willows Way's clients.
Brenden Ingargiola, CPA, CISA
Senior Audit Associate
BDO USA, LLP
One of my former bosses and mentors has a son with severe autism, and after listening to his stories about what it takes to care of someone with a developmental disability, I realized how much of a shortage there was in being able to care for those with developmental disabilities, especially ones without guardians to help.
I came across Willows Way one day based on a recommendation from a colleague. I sat down with Executive Director Joy Steele and some other board members, and quickly learned that this was an outstanding organization with the simple goal of helping those in need, which is why and how I got involved.
My biggest goal on the Board of Directors is ensuring that Willows Way can continue to operate at the highest level, offering the best care in the area while still staying financially stable. Management has done a great job over the years, and as long as Willows Way continues to grow, the outlook is bright.
Merric Millwork and Seating
I was searching to be a part of an organization that helps those in need and found Willows Way.
Willows Way helps those in need to live their life to their fullest potential.
I am proud to be a part of this organization and will use my talents to support and help them serve their cause.