President of Board and Executive Director
Katherine Anne Thomas-Dietz

After completing her BFA at the University of Kansas, Kathie pursued her career as a graphic designer, creative manager and innovation consultant in her over 30 years with May Company, Maritz Motivation and FleishmanHillard. In 2013, she started Beyond Concepts, an innovation consultancy focused on business growth and transformation.

As a proud mother of five children, she sought assistance for her family and one of her daughters suffering from addiction. During her intense journey, she turned to the expressive arts of poetry, collage and photography that provided a sense of ease, beauty and hope. Hope Creates was born out of her belief that creating a sober, creative and celebratory community of artists and entrepreneurs could help youth and young adults recovering from addictions and provide support to their families.

Vice President of Board
Larry Guess

Larry has enjoyed a career of more than 30 years in financial and operational management, including roles as a CFO and COO for companies in the manufacturing, retail and service industries. He joined Plancorp in 2016 as Director of Exit Strategy Advisors. In this role, he uses his extensive experience buying and selling companies in both the private and public sectors, as well as his time consulting in this arena, to connect on a personal level with clients looking to chart their own transitions.

Helping others has always been a strong motivation for Larry. When confronted with the staggering human suffering and economic loss resulting from the current epidemic of drug and alcohol abuse, he felt compelled to support the efforts of Hope Creates to make a meaningful difference in the lives of recovering young adults.

Treasurer of Board
Susan Shackelford-Davis

As Director of Wealth Management for KEB Asset Management, Susan has been helping clients solve their most challenging financial problems for more than 30 years. Her more recent focus has been on helping families; businesses and independent women obtain their most important objectives through a sound plan executed exquisitely with the support of a dedicated team of advisors.

Susan has experienced the transformative power of sobriety firsthand. Her interest in Hope Creates is to help ensure both the young people struggling with the disease of addiction and their families can experience this kind of success. Also, Susan’s financial and organizational savvy will be leveraged to make Hope Creates a meaningful and viable non-profit organization and keep it running right.

Secretary of Board
Kate Gregor

Kate, a Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor, has more than 19 years of experience working with young people and families struggling with substance abuse. Kate works at The Crossroads Program, St. Louis’ top drug/alcohol rehab treatment center for teens/young adults. She has been involved in nearly every level of substance abuse treatment, including inpatient, outpatient and residential facilities.

Kate’s involvement in Hope Creates is born out of a desire to provide positive sober growth experiences for talented young adults recovering from drug/alcohol addiction. Her professional expertise is an important component of the Hope Creates Board of Directors.

Robert Bullivant

Robert is the owner of Bullivant Gallery and Consulting, a business he started 25 years ago to work with artists, photographers, museums and galleries. The Gallery creates and exhibits his work as well as that of many talented and internationally recognized artists. The Consultancy works with museums, cultural institutions and manufacturers to help them discover innovative solutions to their needs.

Over the years, he has supported a variety of non-profit organizations that utilize art as a medium to encourage those with physical and emotional challenges. It is an honor for Robert to be part of Hope Creates’ important mission and to connect those in need with strategies that will help them achieve success and satisfaction in their personal and professional life goals.

Jill Butler

After working in advertising and marketing, Jill started a career in residential real estate working with Janet McAfee and Sotheby's. In 2012, she founded RedKey Realty Leaders, a residential real estate company dedicated to providing love and service to clients and the community through real estate.

Jill's passion for Hope Creates is based on her own personal experience. In her daughter's journey through addiction and recovery, she saw the healing that comes from sharing stories, hope and understanding. She also sees how art, creative expression and community support healing. Jill is dedicated to building supportive and loving communities in business and life.

Dr. Marty K. Casey

Marty K. Casey is a philanthropist, actress and diplomat. She founded Show Me Arts Foundation, a non-profit focused on providing multi-cultural artistic development for under-served youth, ages 5-18. She has provided access to the arts for more than 2,500 children. Marty is most proud of her work with the Juvenile Detention Center where she teaches Un-GUN, which is designed to encourage mentoring, dance and DJ engineering. In 2018 Marty became an ambassador for orphan children to Shine Ministries in Uganda, Africa. She is the first female Ambassador in the Midwest to receive these highest honors from the United Nations. Marty is a Regional Arts Commission Community Artist Training (CAT) Institute Fellow from class of 2015.

Her passion for recovery comes from her personal experience and seeing the impact of addiction in her family.

Amita Chinnadurai

With more than ten years of experience in the financial services industry, Amita focuses on risk management leadership with a detailed understanding of business due diligence, control development, data analytics, reporting, business continuity planning administration and audit/regulatory response.

A participant of Leadership St. Louis, a development program for leaders with a deep and active commitment to community improvement and making the St. Louis region stronger, Amita is active in the St. Louis region and passionate about educational equity and youth development. She volunteers with St. Louis Arc, empowering people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead better lives.

Amita is energized by the opportunity to empower and develop youth/young adults in recovery, celebrate sobriety, shift cultural norms pertaining to substance use and transform the dialogue around addiction from shame to support.

Devan Ixta

Devan has worked for the Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis with developmentally delayed children and adolescents. Currently, she works as Facilities Management Coordinator for Cushman and Wakefield. Devan is pursuing a Certificate of Ministry through Global University. She is passionate about supporting individuals’ growth to achieve their full potential. She is an active leader of Celebrate Recovery at Faith Community Church, currently hosting a women’s weekly step study group. Her passion for mission work led her to Joyabaj, Guatemala and New Delhi, India to assist women and children.

Devan is committed to support the sobriety of youth/young adults, seeing firsthand how working an active recovery program can save and positively change lives. Devan lost her father to alcoholism at the age of 17. Devan’s was motivated to participate in Hope Creates because of observing how this programming empowers youth/young adults in recovery.

Parker Denny

Owner of Rädenn Technology, Parker serves clients as an expert in contract technology and IT Services. A seasoned technical professional, expert problem solver and skilled communicator, Parker supports clients in a range of technical areas. He is able to talk to technical professionals of all levels as well as the average end user. Committed to leadership development, Parker trains others who strive to stand in their excellence and discover their leadership potential. He focuses on guiding individuals and business owners in attaining their goals.

Parker has seen how life and work can challenge and handicap individuals, making them comfortable accepting less than their worth. He believes in the results that Hope Creates delivers to recovering young adults, and is passionate about empowering them to operate at a higher level while being in service to their peers.

Kimberly Peluso

After 25 years in retail management and being a small business owner, Kimberly founded KP Images in 2015 to follow her passion for photography. Her work focuses on landscapes around the United States, including mountains, deserts, seascapes, valleys and forests. It was her passion for photography that drew her to Hope Creates. As a photographer, Kimberly has always found that immersing herself in art was therapeutic in so many ways.

She is devoted to instilling these benefits to the young people who are participating in Hope Creates. Further, as an entrepreneur, she is passionate about helping others learn how to create sustainable careers by effectively marketing their art.

Mike Weiland

With more than twenty-five years of experience helping young people and their families recover from addiction, he has worked in outpatient, in-patient and residential settings. Previously Mike was the co-head of behavior health and wellness for the Concordance Academy, leading the team in providing behavioral health wellness services, ensuring overall effectiveness of interventions in the Concordance Re-Entry Model.

Having been fortunate to have entered recovery at the age of eighteen, Mike has worked passionately to help others achieve recovery from drugs and alcohol. He gives back what had been so freely given to him, knowing that if young people can learn to be joyful and confident without the use of substances, they will enjoy bright and successful lives.

Jerry West, CFA, CAIA, AIF, CRPC

Jerry is an experienced senior financial advisor, skilled in securities, asset management, investment strategies, retirement planning and equities. As a "Family CFO," Jerry works with families, professionals and business owners, combining institutional level knowledge and consistency with a personalized relationship to help simplify and meet complex needs.

Being raised in the home of an alcoholic, Jerry has empathy for the effects of addiction on individuals and families. He is deeply concerned by the pandemic of addiction that is growing exponentially. Jerry is passionate about working to stop this significant social issue by helping young adults recovering from addictions as well as their families.