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November 19, 2020

Debbie is new to the board this year and excited and honored to be participating.  She is a long-time employee of the Boeing Company, where she has held many positions in R&D and engineering.  She also holds an adjunct faculty position at Washington University.  Debbie, her husband, Richard, and their dog, Coconut, live in Chesterfield, where she maintains and active lifestyle of exercise, gardening, and visiting with her two recently-married daughters and their new spouses. 

What was your first job?

My first job, during high school, was at the local pizza joint in the Soy Bean Capital of the World… Decatur, Illinois!  I knew then that I loved serving people, but my first real job was a graduate assistant in preparation to becoming a college professor in adult education program at Penn State.  Wow, did I learn that I better have some real life experience to be of any value in the classroom! What right did a 20 year old have to talk about real life or business? So off to St. Louis to get a few years of experience at McDonnell Douglas so I could go back and become a professor…well I am still learning…can you now say 30+ years?

What’s something new you’ve learned this year?

How little I know about life outside of my personal bubble!!! I thought I understood diversity because I have always hired and worked with diverse teams, but this year it really hit me that I, as a middle-aged, West County, white, upper-middle class engineer, had NO IDEA what it is to be a Black individual in America. Listening to my teammates and hearing stories of their experiences has been eye-opening.

What is your favorite quote, passage, or proverb?

My father has always said, “You have not done what you can do until you do all you can do.”  I am called to continue to do my calling in the world…which, according to Micah 6:8, is “to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Why did you choose to be part of the Good Shepherd board?

I have been working on child advocacy issues for most of my adult life, but now it is time to do this in a faith-based environment. My amazing friend Theresa Ruzicka really encouraged me, and I love her passion and mission. I couldn’t wait to join my other siblings in Christ to use my experience to serve the Lord in a new way!

What makes Good Shepherd uniquely positioned to help children and families?

God has given me a passion for supporting children in need.  Our family is a foster/adoptive family of two amazing daughters who started out living in many residential homes and were previously considered unadoptable.  I can’t imagine our life without these amazing daughters.

Before that I was a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), a volunteer in residential facilities (Epworth and Hope Center), served on the Missouri Government Judicial Reform Board, a Board Member on the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition, and a volunteer with Epworth’s Visiting Resource, Missouri Aging Out and the government’s Chafee Programs. This year I have worked as a founding board member of a new organization called the Institute for Child Welfare Innovation.