New Starkloff Board Members Elected

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David Blanton, Ned Lemkemeier, November Champion and James Frost were elected to the Starkloff Disability Institute Board of Directors at their meeting on November 9.  

David Blanton has served as a volunteer on SDI’s development committee and been a member of the Max J. Starkloff Society since 2015. “The Starkloff Disability Institute not only enables individuals with disabilities to find meaningful careers but, perhaps more important, to recognize their true potential as members of society, thus adding an important sense of pride and self-confidence in themselves benefiting both the greater community and individual self-esteem,” he says.   

David began a career of 10 years on the institutional side of the investment securities business. He has had responsibilities for institutional marketing and sales. He developed the Financial Commissions Division of Fleishman-Hillard, Inc. Since 1989, David has been serving as a money manager with a private investment partnership.  

He has served on a wide variety of charitable organizations, including the United Way of Greater St. Louis, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Stella Maris Child Care Center.  

Ned Lemkemeier is a longtime friend and supporter of SDI and many charitable organizations in St. Louis. He and his wife, Sally, have been members of the Max J Starkloff Society since it was formalized in 2014.  

Ned has been voted as one of “the most respected attorneys in practice” by the oldest lawyer-rating publications in the US, The Best Lawyers in America, every year since 2009. He is a specialist in labor and employment law, with extensive experience in collective bargaining and labor negotiations.  

Among Ned’s community activities: He has served as Director of St. Luke’s Hospital, Vice Chairman, since 2007; Chairman of the Board of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra; the Ladue City Council; and on the boards of both the Central Institute for the Deaf and the Siteman Cancer Center. Ned has served as Chair of the Alumni board of Governors of Washington University School of Law, and is a member of the William Greenleaf Eliot Society 

November Champion is the vice president of Starkloff Young Friends, a disability advocate and volunteer. She has been a member of the Max J. Starkloff Society since 2015. She also volunteers her time as an audio describer for the blind and visually impaired at local theater and arts events. 

November is the Senior Online Accessibility Strategist for Wells Fargo Clearing Services. She’s been advocating for digital content that includes people with disabilities for nearly a decade. In her current role, she’s driven cultural change at Wells Fargo Advisors so that everyone involved in producing digital content considers accessibility as part of their job. She created a successful accessibility program from scratch. She promotes this program by speaking to large and small crowds about inclusive digital spaces. 

James Frost is an attorney and an advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing. As a 2013 graduate of Starkloff Career Academy, James is filling a new board position that is designated specifically for Starkloff graduates. This new board position will have full voting rights, but is limited to a 2-year term. “This will allow more graduates to participate in the board governance process,” Lori Becker, SDI Development Director and Chief Operations Officer explains. 

“As a graduate of the Starkloff Career Academy, I can represent the alumni of the Starkloff Career Academy by ensuring that their viewpoint is heard by the board of directors for Starkloff Disability Institute,” James says. “Moreover, I can help SDI become more successful by listening to the alumni, learning what’s working and what’s not working, and bringing that information to the SDI board of directors.”  

James has participated in several collaborative efforts for community-service organizations including Paraquad; DEAF, Inc.; and St. Louis Metro Round Table Representatives on Deafness. 

An experienced attorney and manager, James has a great understanding of how legal advocacy can be used to improve healthcare outcomes for people with disabilities, while reducing long-term healthcare costs at the same time. He has been the President of Accessible Strategies, LLC since 2014. James also founded his own non-profit, Show Me Accessible Health Care, where he served as Executive Director from 2012-2014.  

“We enthusiastically welcome these new community leaders to our Board,” says Steve Degnan, Board Chair. “Each person brings a different talent to the organization, along with a fresh perspective and new energy. We are very grateful for their service to SDI and the disability community.”  

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