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Neighborhood Leadership Academy Facilitators


Claire WolffClaire Rippel, Director, NLA
Community Development Specialist, University of Missouri Extension

Claire Rippel is the community development specialist for St. Louis at University of Missouri Extension. In this role, she develops community partnership initiatives that link university resources with the needs and priorities of communities by working on a variety of topics including capacity building, leadership development, and community engagement. Claire joined University of Missouri Extension faculty in 2016 and has extensive experience working in urban communities. Prior to joining Extension, Claire worked as the Director for Community Development at Grace Hill Settlement House. Claire currently serves on the board of Old North St. Louis Restoration Group and Perennial STL, and is the co-founder of the Park Picnic Project.



Kristen Wagner Headshot

Kristen Wagner, Founder
Hope Nation Consulting 

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.