Our Board is a balanced blend of skills and experience, allowing it to offer guidance in core areas important to COPE24.
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.
Dr. Lori Trost – President
Dr. Lori Trost, DMD is a nationally recognized clinician and dental educator. She practices and resides in the Greater St. Louis area. Early in her career, Dr. Trost felt compelled to become a volunteer legal guardian and child advocate. COPE24 is a natural fit to continue her passion.
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 – Secretary
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.
Wes Gregory – Member
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.
Cardina Johnson – Member
Cardina Johnson works as a labor and employment attorney for Illinois Education Association. She lives in St. Louis, where she really enjoys spending time with her husband, Nate Johnson, 2 fun-loving daughters and friends. Education, child advocacy and justice are her passions and she strongly believes that love conquers all.
Meike Newell-Kohler – Member
Meike Newell-Kohler is a Clinical Pharmacist at SSM St. Joseph Hospital in Wentzville, Missouri. She works with patients suffering from mental health disorders, including substance abuse. She has worked in the psychiatric field for over 10 years. Meike is also a licensed foster parent and an adoptive mother. She has welcomed more than fifty children into her home and states that she hopes to continue to foster for years to come. Meike is a strong advocate for children and identifies with the mission of COPE24, to significantly reduce the incidences of child abuse and neglect.
Sue Nordstrom – Member
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.”
Melissa Pope – Member
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.