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Women's Voices was formally organized in May, 2005, when 25 St. Louis-area women gathered at the University City Library to discuss their concerns about social justice issues. Within six months more than 150 women had added their names to the mailing list. Progressive women of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to join the organization.

In July, 2005, the first general meeting was held. In November, 2005, the group moved to the Alberici Group headquarters, one of the most environmentally friendly buildings in the world. Alberici hosted our meetings until we grew too large for that space. We now meet at the St. Louis Ethical Society, 9001 Clayton Road.

Read our latest Annual Report

What We Do

Women's Voices is both an educational and advocacy organization. Our regular monthly meetings are educational; our program committee selects a variety of knowledgable speakers to provide background information on social justice issues that concern us. Members of our advocacy committee will select two or three specific issues that we will work on as a group each year. Some of our activities include writing letters or commentaries, attending meetings, disseminating information, public speaking, marching, witnessing and lobbying. Women's Voices almost always works with other social justice organizations to support and enhance their efforts. Check out our Recent Activities.

Our educational programs are held on the second Thursday of each month, September through May, at 7 p.m. at the Ethical Society. Programs are open to the public, free of charge, and guests are welcome. Check out our Recent Programs.


"Well-behaved women rarely make history." ... Laurel Thatcher Ulrich


Board of Directors


Lise Bernstein

Ruth Ehresman
Vice President

Judy Arnold

Barb Newsham
Elected Directors

Bethany Sage Curtis

Judi Jennetten

Joanne Kelly

Barbara Paulus
Past President

Mary Clemons
Appointed Directors

Chery Green

Other Appointments

NewsletterWebsitePR Consultant 

Bethany Sage Curtis

Chery Green

Barbara Finch

Barbara Finch is a former hospital vice president and public relations practitioner who owned and operated a communications consulting firm for 11 years. She is a former member of the Institutional Review Board at Washington University School of Medicine and the Jewish Community Relations Council in St. Louis. She also taught creative writing in the St. Louis city schools through the Springboard to Learning program.

Joanne Kelly is a retired St. Louis County educator with experience in elementary and middle school teaching, counseling and administration. Children are her passion, with social justice for all people is an ancillary part of that passion.

Ann Ruger has worked with several St. Louis-based child advocacy organizations as project director, grant writer and editor. During a recent stint in Carbondale, Illinois, she worked as a contributing writer for the Southern Illinois University magazine and led a successful effort by her Unitarian congregation to build a new church.

Ruth Ann Cioci is retired from Laura McCarthy Realtors, where she was manager of the Kirkwood office, vice president, and was responsible for writing and designing most of the firm's promotional materials. Ruth Ann and her husband Pat moved to Minneapolis in the Spring 2014. At the February 2014 Women's Voices meeting, President Mary Clemons presented Cioci with a resolution commending her for her "dedication, commitment and service." We are grateful to her for all her work, and she will be greatly missed.

Currently Serving

Judy Arnold is a freelance communications consultant who has been an editor of a national journal for health care administrators and a teacher. She has previously served on the Women's Voices board and the board of the Friends of the Kirkwood Public Library.

Lise Bernstein is a consultant to nonprofit organizations in the areas of fund development, marketing and public relations. She has been a board member of several nonprofits and is a former president of the National Council of Jewish Women-St. Louis Section. She is a CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate) with Voices for Children.

Bethany Sage Curtis works as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader for academic journals. She has edited newsletters for a number of local organizations and for the last 3 years has served as communications coordinator and board member for the PTO at her daughters' elementary school. Bethany lives in Webster Groves with her husband and 2 young daughters, and was appointed to the Webster Groves Public Library's current building addition committee.

Ruth Ehresman is a Distinguished Alumni of the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. She is a former teacher and social worker, and spent the past 17 years working as a policy analyst and organizer for several statewide public interest groups. Ruth has served on many boards and advisory groups, both locally and statewide. She loves dogs, tennis and playing the piano, but her greatest passion is social justice.

Chery Green is a retired information systems consultant who volunteers her services in software consulting and web development to organizations with which she is involved. She has served on the Board of Trustees of the Ethical Society of St. Louis and on their Governance Task Force, which recommended structural changes for the organization's governance and developed a set of written policies.

Judi Jennetten is a retired fifth grade teacher whose expertise is integrated learning. Her passion was teaching students about Native Americans and their unique cultures. She also conducted training for colleagues to assist them in development of Native American curriculum and, in particular, to recognize and avoid stereotypes. To gather knowledge and teaching materials, she and her family visited numerous Native American reservations throughout the country. Prior to a career in teaching, Judi was a social worker at a state hospital and a high school.

Barbara Newsham - is a certified public accountant who has worked for a variety of not-for-profit organizations. She has taught accounting as an adjunct instructor at several area colleges. For the past six years she has been teaching math.

Barbara Paulus is a retired human resources manager, having worked for more than 35 years for various U.S. Government organizations. She currently serves in a volunteer capacity as the leader of the Economic Dignity Taskforce for Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU), and also serves on the MCU Cabinet. She most recently led efforts by MCU and Women's Voices to qualify two initiatives, payday lending reform and a minimum wage increase, for the November ballot.

Past Leaders

Jeanne Bubb retired from St. Louis Children's Hospital as the Director of Social Work. Jeanne also counseled families dealing with childhood diabetes and was involved in many diabetes research projects during her 17 years at the hospital. Following retirement, she taught a health class at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. Jeanne, along with all of us, hopes for the day when all Americans have access to quality health care.

Mary Clemons is a retired church administrator. She managed the church finances and oversaw fundraising activities. Mary served as the Treasurer for Women's Voices before becoming President in 2011.

Susan Hayman is the former director of the Literacy Council of Greater St. Louis and is semi-retired from the Kirkwood School District.

Karel Hippert has worked in communications and marketing for a number of corporate healthcare and educational organizations, including Express Scripts, BJC Healthcare and Webster University. Retired from full-time work in late 2010, she spent last summer working as an organic farming apprentice at EarthDance Farm in North County. She is also a hearing screener for Special School District and does occasional freelance writing and editing projects.

Helen Houlle spent her professional career as an educator of the deaf and hearing impaired. She is proficient in American Sign Language and has taught in Total Communication Programs in Australia and Kentucky as well as in the Special School District in St. Louis County. She is also a licensed massage therapist and an active volunteer with the St. Louis County Older Resident Program.

Lois Bliss has 44 years of experience as a volunteer and activist on a broad range of issues. She has been elected to office four times.

Linda Carey is a former member of the Up With People organization. She traveled five and half years domestically and internationally and spent a majority of that time doing advance work, public relations, and fundraising. Trained as an executive secretary and worked for a lawyer, architect, CPA, and a real estate developer at different times. Volunteered with multiple organizations and boards connected with her children's education and her church. Established her own business for five years as a professional organizer helping individuals in their homes and offices and also contracted with a real estate developer to set up and run his selections department.

Jane Cocalis holds a doctorate in English and teaches at Webster University. She has recently retired from grant writing and administration but remains a charter member of the American Association of Grant Professionals--St. Louis Region. Formerly a section editor at The Western Journal of Medicine, she concurrently served as director of Scientific and Educational Activities at the California Medical Association.

Elitta DeArmond, after being a stay-at-home mom for twelve years, went on to complete twenty-seven years in a teaching career, seventeen years of which were with Lindbergh School District in St. Louis. Also while being a classroom teacher, she started and was director for the OASIS Intergenerational Tutoring Program for Lindbergh District for seventeen years. Now retired, she is involved with book clubs, a sorority alum group, Eliot Unitarian Chapel, and several women's groups.

Judy Evans is a former director of Sylvan Learning Center.She works with her husband as a realtor for Prudential Advantage and volunteers at the Missouri Botannical Garden as a master gardener.

Shelly Lemons is an assistant professor of history at McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois. She works to promote social justice both in and out of the classroom.

Judy Martin Finch is the Associate Director for Media Relations at Washington University School of Medicine. She moved to Missouri from her native Kentucky in 1983 to attend college in Fulton, MO. She spent several years working as in radio, as a producer and marketing director, and then turned to producing medical documentaries for St. Charles based Banyan Communications. She has been active in the community for the past 20 years, most recently working as a volunteer with Paraquad, Inc. helping with the Assistive Technology Fair.

Mary O'Reilly - A professional portrait painter, Mary was educated at the Rhode Island School of Design and New York University and returned to her native St. Louis from the east coast in 2001. Her eclectic resume includes a variety of full- and part-time occupations, along with painting, as well as life-long volunteerism and board membership. She currently serves on several boards in the St. Louis region, including Americans United for Separation of Church & State, St. Louis Chapter, and the National Society of Arts & Letters.

Barbara Richter recently sold a manufacturing company which she ran with her husband for 25 years. She teaches management/supervision at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University, is involved with several not-for-profits and has served on several Boards of Directors.

Ann Ross founded, owned and operated three Paper Warehouse party supply stores in St. Louis for more than 20 years. She has served as a consultant to numerous start-up and ongoing businesses, especially women-owned businesses. She is a member of a number of business organizations and has a long track record of public policy involvement. She currently works as a food pantry volunteer.

Alice Serrano holds masters degrees in education and biology and teaches environmental science courses at Webster University. She volunteers for Stream Team of Missouri, collecting data and monitoring the health of Missouri streams.

Beth von Behren has a background in nonprofit communications, freelance writing for the Post-Dispatch and other publications, and freelance grant writing for small, local nonprofits. In addition to keeping an eye on the media, her interests include advocating for children, abolishing the death penalty, and protecting the environment.

Mary Ann Tipton returned to St. Louis from nearly twenty years on the East Coast. After a career in retirement planning, Mary Ann is volunteering with several charitable organizations. She's an ardent urban dweller living in the Central West End.

Bev White is a retired health care professional who found Women's Voices during a quest for active progressive women. She serves on the board of The Barnes-Jewish Hospital Auxiliary, ran for State Representative in 2006, and serves on the EMPAC board of the National Women's Political Caucus, St Louis.


"You are not obliged to complete the task. However, you are not allowed to step away from it either." ... Pirke Avot, Sayings of the Fathers, ancient Hebrew text