St. Louis – Connecting Business and Community

Wednesday August 15, 2018

With a mission to unite and engage members to act on high-impact business, civic and philanthropic issues, The Regional Business Council (RBC) is a coalition of presidents and CEOs representing 100 of the region’s largest companies. They collectively employ more than 120,000 individuals and generate more than $65 billion in annual revenue.

“RBC is all about action and investing our time and money on issues where we think we can make a difference and improve the overall quality of life of St. Louis.,” said Kathy Osborn, who has served as CEO of The Regional Business Council since it was founded in 2000. “Our members are a highly engaged group of business leaders who believe with collective action we can accelerate growth in our region.”

Members of the RBC collaboratively determine priorities and organize actions to address those needs.  For the past several years, these priorities have been focused on education reform, diversity and inclusion, talent development, quality of life and workforce development.

A few of the RBC’s many accomplishments include initiatives in the areas of:

  • Leadership Development and Talent Retention. Members established The Mentor Network in conjunction with 15 colleges and universities in order to retain students in the region. The Mentor Network provides executive level mentors to help business and engineering students develop the skills to become future leaders for the St. Louis region.

In addition, the RBC launched the Young Professionals Network (YPN) in 2008 to attract and retain ethnically diverse professionals in the St. Louis business community. The YPN has developed into St. Louis’ premier young professional organization, providing its more than 4,200 members with opportunities for business, social and professional development.

  • Education Reform. The RBC believes all children need access to a quality education. They have invested financially to help the St. Louis Public School System become accredited and to fund new programs such as Teach for America, KIPP Charter Schools and the Principal’s Academy. As a result of RBC’s financial support, KIPP St. Louis has grown to five schools that serve 1,300 students.
  • Quality of Life-Neighborhood Revitalization. In partnership with Better Family Life, Inc. (BFL), members in 2018 participated in a summer-long Clean Sweep effort to revitalize St. Louis’ economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in north St. Louis. RBC members donated labor, equipment and time to help restore hope to residents by demolishing vacant buildings and clearing overgrowth and rubbish from empty lots.

Additionally, RBC member companies in 2017 also donated close to $14-million for the United Way of Greater St. Louis.

  • Workforce Development. RBC believes that STL needs to attract more talent into skilled the labor force in areas such as manufacturing, IT, healthcare and the trades.  Members have invested in the Louis Civic Pride Foundation to rebrand these careers and to develop a communications plan to fill the jobs available.

“By establishing a limited number of priorities and focusing on accomplishing specific goals that have measurable results, we are able to make progress on major issues,” said Osborn.

AUTHOR: Robyn Frankel

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