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Board of Directors

Rene Howitt

Rene has spent the last nine years speaking in over 240 schools and universities across the country totaling over 23,000 students. Their stories of abuse, neglect, foster care and lack of permanency in their lives led to the founding of COPE24 | Changing Our Parenting Experience. Rene believes that the way to break the cycle of abuse for the sake of future generations of children is through educating and providing our youth with a coping skill set that may not have previously modeled to them. Currently, Rene’s speaking focus targets the adults teachers,school administrators, school counselors, church leaders and congregations through her professional development presentation and workshop.

Sue Nordstrom

Sue Nordstrom is a Corporate Director of Case Management at Southern Illinois Healthcare. She has worked in healthcare for greater than 40 years. The most important things in her life are  family, faith and friends. Her hobbies include golf, playing cards, and games. Sue says "as someone who works and has worked in healthcare for 30 plus years I have seen the devastation that can happen to children and their lives when the parent/child/adult does not know how to parent and what the responsibility of being a parent means."

Tommy Wohlgemuth

Vice President
Tommy Wohlgemuth is the Chief Financial Officer of SGC Foodservice. I was raised in a family where giving back was always the norm. As I started gaining financial success it was important to me to become an influence in the communities where I live. Impacting the lives of people is where my heart is. Thus, I serve on the board of Ozark Food Harvest and COPE24. I'm one of the founding board members of COPE24. Reaching our youth before they become parents gives us an opportunity to change the future of lives, families and communities.

Billee Elliott McAuliffe

Billee Elliott McAuliffe is a partner in the Corporate Department of Lewis Rice LLC.  Billee obtained her law degree from Southern Illinois University School of Law, graduating summa cum laude.  Prior to going to law school, Billee also received a Master of Arts degree in Political Science from Purdue University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota.  Outside the office, Billee is a mother of triplets and spends her free time supporting charities focused on the education, and protection, of children.  Billee strongly believes in the importance of equipping young adults with techniques and coping mechanisms to assist them in becoming better parents and has thus served on the Board of Directors for COPE24 since 2010.

Tim Goede

Tim is the CEO of Goede Premier Recruitment. "Being on the board is important for me because supporting a local organization that wants to help kids become better parents for the future of our children and children around the world couldn’t be more important now than ever before. This is a strong mission from the existing board and to come in and help reach their goal would be such an honor."

Wes Gregory

Wes Gregory is an Edward Jones principal with responsibility for the Solutions Coaching team, which focuses on helping financial advisors provide a solutions-based approach to high net worth individuals. As an active member of the St. Louis community, Gregory serves on the board of COPE24 and on the Investment Committee for Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis.

Gretchen Thal

Gretchen is a full-time residential real estate agent serving clients in St. Louis and St. Charles counties. Heart-wrenching stories she has heard and witnessed led her to become a member of Cope 24's Board. Family health, or lack thereof, has been proven to be the root cause of so many issues we struggle in dealing with in our society. Educating our youth HAS to be a top-priority in attempting to have an impact on this root cause. Gretchen feels strongly that COPE24's mission to educate our youth is the best proactive option and wants to be a part of that goal.

Melissa Pope

Melissa and her husband are the owners of a Pet Supplies Plus Store franchise.  They will be opening their second location in 2018.  Melissa is a former elementary school teacher and author of the children’s book Storm Buddies. Her passion for her children, her students and all children led her to want to become a member of the COPE24 board. As a teacher,she saw how much family dysfunction exist and knows that with parenting and child development education we can improve the health of our families.

COPE24 Parenting Skills Program for Child Welfare Workers, Foster Care Agencies, Hospitals and Community Groups

Call 314-488-3766 or email Rene Howitt for set-up, purchase and pricing.

What does the program include?

We’ve taken 10 very common frustrating parenting situations and put them into a program, so that we can begin discussing with our youth the realities of parenting. This program includes:

  1. Teacher/Instructors manual meeting all national curriculum standards
  2. Manual also includes student worksheets and pre/post student surveys
  3. 10 parenting scenario videos. Each parenting video situation is approx. five-minutes in length. There is one video situation for each of the 10 chapters of this program

The teacher/instructor would begin the class by showing one video. Each scenario will escalate to the point of abuse, neglect, or dysfunction. The video is then stopped and the teacher/instructor can turn to class asking….what went wrong? What other choices did the parents have? What will you do?