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Young Friends of Employment Connection

Updated: Apr 8

Employment Connection is proud to announce its founding cohort of Young Friends!

The Young Friends of Employment Connection are a group of civic-minded, caring, and compassionate young professionals between the ages of 25 and 35 who join our mission to break down barriers to self-sufficiency and create a safer and more inclusive St. Louis community. We appreciate your commitment, Young Friends!


Andrea Adams sparked interest in Employment Connection through her professional interests and own journey. Through varied experiences as a clinical researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in oncology and volunteering in permaculture agriculture environments, Andrea became interested in social disparities and determinants of health, including socioeconomic status and education. As a result, she pursued a Masters in Public Health at WashU Brown School of Social work to learn more about the public work that supports breaking down systems of disparity. Andrea supplemented her degree in public health by earning a Masters in Business Administration to broaden her skillset of tools. In this experience, she realized the value of the support of reliable mentors and career officers who had spent numerous hours to guide her in honing in on her desired career path, resume edits, and interview preparation. Since graduating from Olin School of Business in December 2020, Andrea is working as a health advisory consultant at Cognizant Technology Solutions. Reconnecting with a friend, colleague, and prior coworker, Justin King, on the Board, Andrea was inspired by the work of Employment Connection's programs to assist individuals with career services. Andrea appreciates the opportunity to collaborate with others in Young Friends to work with Employment Connection.



Ashlin Mosby is a Senior Counsel at Wells Fargo who supports the company’s cross-border and in-country business in Latin America and the Caribbean. She serves as a pro bono coordinator for the company’s St. Louis office, a role in which she works with law firms and legal aid partners to create opportunities for local Wells Fargo attorneys to contribute to their communities through pro bono legal work. She also sits on the Legal Department Pro Bono Steering Committee where she is responsible for metrics and tracking. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Ashlin worked as an immigration attorney at a firm that focuses on serving the Hispanic community in the St. Louis, Eastern Illinois, and Southern Missouri areas. Ashlin received both her Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Washington University in St. Louis. She speaks fluent Spanish and conversational Italian. She is originally from Huntsville, Alabama.



Carmen Roberson is a Quality Analyst at Maximus, Inc., and a recent graduate student of Saint Louis University with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and a Master of Athletic Training. Born and raised in St. Louis, her high school and university are not even one mile away from one another! She really loves St. Louis and is honored to be a part of a mission that is committed to creating a developing environment for change and inclusion as a member of the Young Friends Board.




Chloi Wright is a St. Louis native and career counselor at St. Louis Job Corps. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Saint Louis University. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Webster University. She has experience working in the mental health care industry with underserved populations. Her passions are exploring barriers to mental health services, at-risk youth, and trauma.





Chris Boudoures is a St. Louis native currently employed at Great Southern Bank, where he serves as a Loan Officer focused on commercial real estate transactions. Before joining Great Southern four years ago, Chris attended the Lacy School of Business at Butler University in Indianapolis, IN, where he earned Bachelors degrees in finance and management of information systems, and was also a part of the Butler University Football team. In addition to Employment Connection’s Young Friends Board, Chris is also a member of Make-A-Wish’s Executive Leadership Team and is involved with Boys and Girls Club of Greater St. Louis, as a part of their ‘Friends of the Club’ group.



Deairra Freeman was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. She is a local real estate agent that loves helping her community learn about homeownership. She graduated from Webster University with a Masters in Human Resources. Deairra loves spending time with her daughter, family, and friends. She loves to travel and explore new things. In her free time, she likes to listen to music, learn a new skill, and relax. Not to mention, she’s obsessed with Beyoncé. Her goal in life is to make an impact on the community. She loves helping others and making a change.



Mackenzie Wray is an HR Business Partner at Bayer. She has practiced human resources in a variety of industries (manufacturing, non-profit sector, and healthcare) and possesses experience in several aspects including recruitment, employee relations, performance management, and leadership development. Prior to joining Bayer, Mackenzie worked in human resources for SSM Health and as a Human Resources Manager for Youth In Need. When she was not focusing on full employee life-cycle needs, she was assisting in building a culture of understanding of intergroup relations and the value that diversity brings to the continued growth of organizations. Mackenzie earned her Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Management from Lindenwood University. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her “tribe.”



Ornella “Nelly” Balley is a young professional who is a first-generation Beninese-Liberian born to immigrant parents in New York City. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts at Saint Louis University with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Studio Art. She is currently pursuing a Master of Human Resources Management at Washington University. Her goal is to eventually become an employment law and immigration attorney to better serve the immigrant population domestically and abroad. She currently serves on the Saint Louis University’s Black Alumni Association as the President-Elect. She also teaches English to immigrant students through IHELP. She enjoys working with all types of students and professionals to advance the development of those in the Black diaspora. In her spare time, you can find her dabbling in the arts: drawing, photographing friends, or creating wedding invites. She also likes to enjoy traveling and learning more about her local surroundings in the St. Louis region. To get to her heart, suggest a new restaurant or recommend a new wine. She would be more than happy to meet up and talk!



Reid Schmidling currently works for Centene Corporation as a Relationship Manager in their technology division. After moving to St. Louis in 2017, Reid reignited his drive for service and decided to give back to the city he now calls home. Through the United Way, Reid was introduced to Employment Connection in late 2017 and volunteered with the World of Work program. Since then, Reid has continued to find ways to engage the community. He currently sits on the United Young Leaders cabinet and serves as an advisory board member to one of Missouri State’s certificate programs. In Reid’s free time, you can find him volunteering, reading, exploring a new coffee shop, or cheering on Sporting KC soccer.



Robert Hickey joined Edward Jones in June of 2020. He spent the first 18 months as part of the Accelerated Leadership Program (ALP) with rotations in Operations, Client Support, and Marketing. In January, Robert joined the Client Experience Interactive team full-time. Prior to Edward Jones, Robert completed his MBA in Nashville, TN at Vanderbilt, with concentrations in Marketing and Strategy. In addition, he spent 5 years at Allstate Insurance in Chicago and completed a graduate internship at Emerson in St. Louis. He previously served on junior boards for Chicago Catholic Charities and Musicians on Call. Robert recently moved to St. Louis full-time with his fiance and goldendoodle, Nash. Outside of work, Robert enjoys cheering on his Indiana Hoosiers and Chicago Cubs, trying new restaurants, and is always looking for a tennis doubles partner or someone to add to his golf foursome.



Staci Harvatin is a St. Louis native and serves as head of Marketing at SureCam, a fast-growing St. Louis-based technology company in the video telematics industry. As a resident of the Dutchtown neighborhood in St. Louis City, Staci is passionate about building a lively and thriving community where everyone is welcomed and supported. Staci found her way to Employment Connection through the notable work of the Cure Violence team in Dutchtown and looks forward to supporting Employment Connection in its mission to help people break down barriers to self-sufficiency.

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