Yemi Akande-Bartsch, Ph.D., is President & CEO of FOCUS St. Louis and Director of Leadership St. Louis.
Recognized as an accomplished, innovative inclusion strategist, and visionary leader specializing in
implementing strategic plans and organizational development, Akande-Bartsch has led FOCUS St.
Louis since 2014. She provides direction and oversight for the region’s premier leadership organization. FOCUS St. Louis is a valuable community asset that develops and engages citizens for the betterment of the St. Louis region. Through six leadership programs and numerous citizen engagement initiatives the organization impacts 10,000 people each year.
Akande-Bartsch spent ten years of her career in Cleveland, Ohio where she held senior leadership roles with Cleveland Leadership Center as Senior Director of Civic Education, and Director of the Cleveland Executive Fellowship.
With a passion to educate emerging and established leaders and mentor them to achieve success and impact, Akande-Bartsch has held key teaching positions at several universities including Assistant Professor, Communication at John Carroll University, Adjunct Faculty, School of Communication at Cleveland State University, and Adjunct Faculty, Communication Studies at Kent State University. As a leader in the community, Akande-Bartsch is affiliated with and / or serves in key roles with various organizations. Akande-Bartsch holds three degrees from the University of Oklahoma, including a PH.D. in Communications, Intercultural, Political and Organizational Communication, an M.H.R. in Human Relations and Organizational Development, and a Master of Arts in Public Relations, Journalism & Mass Communications. She earned her B.A. in Speech Communications from Southwest Baptist University.
Dr. Akande-Bartsch serves on the Board of Directors of Greater St. Louis Incorporated, The Sheldon Arts Foundation, University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy. She is a member of Urban Land Institute Advisory Committee (St. Louis), and was until December 31, 2021, Chair and Commissioner of the Botanical Garden Sub-district. She is also a member of the Association of Leadership Programs.
Akande-Bartsch is a recipient of the following awards:
• Beyond the Best (StreetScape) 2014
• Leader of Distinction, YWCA 2015
• Leadership Partnership Award, Royal Vagabond, 2015
• Who’s Who in diversity in Color 2016
• Most Influential Business Award, St. Louis Business Journal 2017
• Female Executive of the Year, Queens Ministry, 2018
• St. Louis Business Journal, Diverse Business Leaders Award, 2019
• LiftUPSTL honoree with FOCUS Team members, 2020
• Vitendo4Africa, Diversity & Inclusion Award, 2021 (FOCUS St. Louis)
• Salute to Excellence, Nonprofit Executive of the Year, St. Louis American Foundation, 2023