Covenant House Missouri gains four new board members

Covenant House Missouri (CHMO) welcomes four new members to its board of directors this month, adding expertise from a diverse range of areas.

Brad Bakker, Carmen Francis, Gerard Hempstead and Taryn Pulliam have all demonstrated their dedication to CHMO’s mission of guiding youth from homelessness to hope.

“Covenant House Missouri is honored to have the commitment of these four dynamic individuals as board members,” says CEO Jessica Erfling. “I am excited about the vision and leadership they will bring to our organization for the ultimate benefit of the vulnerable youth that we work with.”

Bakker, an attorney with Armstrong Teasdale LLC, has previously supported CHMO as outside legal counsel. He has also provided pro bono legal services on behalf of people without homes and those who have been wrongfully convicted. Bakker is involved with other community nonprofits, as well.

All of Francis’ volunteer work has centered around children, particularly advocating for children’s education. “Covenant House is an evolution to my passion – from children who have an easy pathway to education to children who have extreme challenges to get on the path of an education focus.” Francis serves as IT director at Centene Corporation.

Hempstead, managing partner with Northwestern Mutual, and his wife, Jen, have been involved with CHMO for 10 years. One of the causes closest to their hearts is eradicating homelessness, especially for teenagers and young adults. He has decided to join the board because he believes in the cause. “I want to help make a difference in the lives of these kids.”

Pulliam, sales director at Gadellnet, feels she can relate to some of the challenges CHMO youth are facing. “As a young adult who left home at 18, it was a hard road to make it on my own,” she says. “I want the youth at CHMO to know that the road may be difficult, but with the support of people who care about them, happiness and success is attainable.”

From left: Carmen Francis, Gerard Hempstead, CEO Jessica Erfling, Taryn Pulliam and Brad Bakker

From left: Carmen Francis, Gerard Hempstead, CEO Jessica Erfling, Taryn Pulliam and Brad Bakker

Katie Stalter