Joey Saunders

Director of Policy & Systems Change

Joey leads the Tomorrow Builders Fellowship. He is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, educator, and policy wonk committed to creating meaningful, equitable change in his home state, Missouri. He has written for the Kansas City Star, is a winner of Shark Tank:Teacher Edition, and served as a policy fellow to Kansas City Mayor Sly James. Known to his former students as "Mr. Joey," he served as a Teach For America corps member in one of Missouri's communities most harmed by poverty and racism. He obtained his bachelor degree at Arizona State University and his master's degree from Johns Hopkins University.

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Caitlin Lee

Director of Communications & Storytelling

Caitlin is a writer, researcher and designer. She comes to WEPOWER with a background as an environmental justice community organizer and a researcher of low-income rental property ownership, development incentives, and political donor networks. Caitlin loves to create tools and tell stories that engage stakeholders in regional policy initiatives to build collective capacity for social change. She has strategized with a host of clients, including community coalitions, local electoral and issue campaigns, non-profits, small businesses, statups, unions, and farms. Recently,Caitlin won Arch City Defender’s Excellence in Journalism Award for her reporting on the rental housing landscape in South East St. Louis. Always one to blend disciplines, she holds dual bachelor’s degrees in environmental science and architecture from Washington University.

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Charli Cooksey

Founder & CEO

Charli is a St. Louis native who returned home in 2009 to serve as a middle school English educator through Teach For America after completing her undergraduate studies at Prairie View A&M University. In 2011, Charli co-founded an educational access venture called inspireSTL. During Charli’s tenure, each senior class of inspireSTL Scholars celebrated 100% high school graduation and four-year college acceptance rates. inspireSTL has inducted seven classes of scholars, and it is on track to serve approximately 400 scholars annually. Charli went on to serve as an Executive-in-Residence at the United Way with a focus on education innovation. Prior to WEPOWER, she served as the Interim Executive Director/Lead Catalyst of Forward Through Ferguson.

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