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Kellie Ann Coats, Executive Director, Missouri Women's Council

Kellie Ann Coats, Executive Director, Missouri Women's Council

Job description:

I promote and connect women business owners across the state to help them grow their business through state and federal partnerships and resources. I also have the honor of leading dedicated citizen volunteers who serve on the Missouri Women’s Council who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Missouri Senate.

Years lived in Columbia/Mid-Missouri:

11 years.

Original hometown:

Blytheville, Arkansas.


Bachelor’s degree in animal science from MU.

Favorite volunteer/community activity:

Assistance League of Mid-Missouri is truly an amazing nonprofit that I was honored to be involved with for many years — you should definitely check out Upscale Resale and order some fresh baked cookies to be delivered to any business in town while helping women and children in our community. Next Cookie Connection deadline for ordering cookies is April 10.

Professional background:

I spent six years working on research efforts at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis. I came back to MU in 2006 to work as a professional fundraiser for the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders and MU Health Care, including Women’s and Children’s Hospital and Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. I was appointed to my new role by Governor Eric Greitens and confirmed by the Missouri Senate in January.

A favorite recent project:

Participating in REDI’s Entrepreneurship Series, which featured Maxine Clark, founder of the Build-A-Bear Company. What a story, and what a  tremendous opportunity to have her caliber of female businesswomen visit with leaders in the Mid-Missouri community. Karen Miller and Carolyn Paris should be commended for being great connectors!

A Columbia businessperson I admire and why:

There are so many amazing businesspeople in Columbia, it’s hard to choose. I would say two who stand out are Kat Cunningham and Dave Griggs. Both of them are dedicated to their customers and the community. With that being said, let us not forget Bill Costello!

Why I’m passionate about my job:

I love connecting people, and in this case it’s women business owners from across the state. The Missouri Women’s Council is working to help business owners leverage resources and create partnerships with organizations, state departments, and policy makers to enhance the business climate and grow businesses throughout Missouri. In Columbia, I look forward to partnering with the Missouri Women’s Business Center under the leadership of Jessie Yankee. It’s truly an amazing opportunity to see someone’s dreams become reality through entrepreneurship.

Why I’m passionate about my company:

Working for the citizens of the state of Missouri is truly an honor, and I am blessed to work in the dynamic and innovative Department of Economic Development. Under the leadership of Director Rob Dixon, we are taking a deep dive into transforming DED by building our structure and processes around business and community needs, creating a customer-service culture and breaking down bureaucratic silos. Telling Missouri’s story, developing our state’s talent, and helping our communities grow will be key factors in our success.

If I weren’t doing this for a living, I would:

I’d be a full-time volunteer near a white sandy beach.

My next professional goal:

I am focused on my task at hand, which is moving the Missouri Women’s Council forward in a positive direction for the betterment of women business owners across the state.

Biggest lesson learned in business:

Be kind to everyone. You never know when you might need someone’s help.

Greatest strength:


Greatest weakness:

I prefer to think of weakness in terms of strengths that I need a little help with, like wearing my heart on my sleeve and having no poker face.

What I do for fun:

Fun? With what time?


My husband, Derek Coats, and our son, Carter.

Favorite place(s) in Columbia:

Our home.

Accomplishment I’m most proud of:

Being a mom to a hilarious and curious 3-year-old.

Most people don’t know that I:

Most people don’t know that I was a competitive gymnast throughout junior high and high school. CBT

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