Facilitators & Speakers | UMSL

Common Searches

Facilitators & Speakers

Neighborhood Leadership Academy Facilitators

Claire WolffClaire Rippel, Director, MSW
Education Director- Community Development, University of Missouri St. Louis


St. Louis Cohort

Claire Rippel, MSW leads community development strategy and develops community partnership initiatives that link university knowledge and resources with the needs and priorities of communities across Missouri by working on a variety of topics including belonging, leadership development, and community vitality initiatives. Prior to serving as Education Director, Claire was the University of Missouri Extension Community Engagement Specialist in St. Louis City. Claire also worked as the Director for Community Development at Grace Hill Settlement House and Community Engagement Specialist at Old North St. Louis Restoration Group. She currently serves on the board of Forward Through Ferguson.


Kristen Wagner Headshot

Kristen Wagner, Founder
Hope Nation Consulting 


St. Louis Cohort

Over the past 25 years, Kristen built her profession with a commitment to social inclusion, community health, and empowering people to realize their full potential. She has served in a variety of non-profit organizational roles including middle and executive management positions. During her time as a University Professor, Kristen was engaged in research, teaching, and community engagement focused on program and policy interventions in three key areas: asset-based community development, culturally relevant capacity building, and participatory research and development strategies that promote community wealth-building. Over the years, she has worked with numerous American Indian and Native Alaskan tribes across the United States as well as remote villages in Madagascar. Kristen decided to transition out of her academic career and concentrate her efforts toward working directly with Indigenous and rural communities and now serves as a consultant for Hope Nation, LLC, a consulting firm she co-founded in 2017. Kristen is married to Jason Wagner and lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Now that she has nurtured her three children into adulthood, she not only enjoys spending time with them, but also dedicates time to fostering animals to prepare them for their forever homes. She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of North Dakota (1997); an MSW (2005) and a PhD (2011) in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. 


Dwayne T. James, P.E.

County Engagement Specialist in Community Economic Development—St. Louis County, University of Missouri Extension


St. Louis Cohort

Dwayne T. James collaborates with the Extension Council, Extension faculty / staff, and the regional director to provide direction for the research-based educational programs offered to residents throughout St. Louis County. Mr. James has been a resident of North County for the majority of his life.  He served as a City of Ferguson Council Member from July 2006 to April 2016. As a council member, he introduced successful legislation for the implementation of Complete Streets, the increase of environmental standards, the establishment of the Ferguson Youth Advisory Board, and the creation of guidelines to encourage community gardens. As a founding member for the Ferguson Youth Initiative, he works to build relationships, develop partnerships, and identify opportunities to empower teenagers (13 – 19 years of age) in the North County area. Dwayne is a trained facilitator in the Navigating Difference Cultural Competency and Strategic Doing curriculums.


Tasnim Haq, MSW

Program Manager, University of Missouri St. Louis


St. Louis Cohort

Tasnim Haq holds a Masters in Social Work. She is the program coordinator for the Community Innovation and Action Center and Creating Whole Communities, which houses NLF and NLA. She has been working with the NLF and NLA programs for over a year. Her work is primarily focused on connecting University resources and neighborhood residents to strengthen communities.


Lakeisha Griffin, MSW

Sub-Contractor, Northside Community Housing


St. Louis Cohort

Lakeisha Griffin is a macro level social worker with an emphasis in Leadership, Social Change, and Public Policy. As a recent graduate for the University of Missouri-Saint Louis and a lifelong Saint Louis resident, Lakeisha is passionate about economic development and civic engagement in the metro area with focus in the Saint Louis Promise Zone. Lakeisha has a decade of experience with youth, education, and social services and most recently added qualitative research, financial social work, and community needs-based assessments to her resume.  Lakeisha currently is the President of the Board of Directors for A Red Circle.