Meet the Women Behind the Center

Jessie Yankee

Director

Jessie has led the MoWBC team since February 2018. Jessie attended the University of Missouri and graduated with a bachelor’s in business administration – management, followed by a master’s of business administration from William Woods University. While in school, Jessie worked for the Missouri Small Business and Technology Development Centers, where she was first introduced to the world of entrepreneurship. Shortly after receiving her MBA, Jessie opened her first business, EasyPC IT & Computer Repair, which she ran for seven years before it was acquired. She describes it as nothing less than fate that shortly following the sale of her business, the directorship for the MoWBC opened up, describing the opportunity as “meant to be.”

My Passion

Assisting women in entrepreneurship, economic development, and cultivating small business growth in our community.

Community Involvement

Heart of Missouri United Way Board of Directors, the Chamber Small Business Committee, and Chamber Ambassadors.

My Inspiration

Local “lady boss” business owners Erica Pefferman, of The Business Times Holdings, and Susan Hart, of Huebert Builders. I hope to inspire and mentor the way these two women have led so many in the Columbia community.

Sherry Major

Business Coach and Training Coordinator

Sherry provides training and coaching to potential and existing business owners in our eight-county service area and coordinates workshop presenters and an array of topics that will benefit our clients on their entrepreneurial journey.

Born and raised in St. Louis, Sherry came to Columbia to study marketing education at the University of Missouri and has been in the Columbia area ever since. Sherry has had several positions including marketing director of Capital and Columbia malls, advertising sales, high school business management and marketing instructor, director of a Sylvan Learning Center, and most recently, business development for a local payroll processing company.

During her time teaching, she earned a master’s in business administration degree from William Woods University.

My Passion

To pay it forward by encouraging others and helping them follow their dreams.

Community Involvement

Columbia Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, Small Business Committee, Best Leadership Columbia class of 2019, Women’s Network, One Million Cups planning committee, Elks Lodge #594, DOLLS

My Inspiration

Doing the best I can all day everyday and helping others to do the same.

Shaunda Hamilton

Business Coach

Shaunda Hamilton is the owner of Heart and Home Professional Services LLC, a State Certified Minority and Women Business-Owned Enterprise, where she has contracts with federal and state agencies for different project-based needs, transportation and courier services, and provides others subcontracting opportunities.

Shaunda is also the co-founder and executive director of Boone County Community Against Violence (BCCAV), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. BCCAV is committed to providing advocacy in and throughout the community to those who have been affected directly or indirectly by violence, grief, loss, and traumas. This is done by providing support aimed at empowering others through quality training, unification projects, and valuable supports to inspire a strengthened community.

Shaunda has over 20 years of quality management and process improvement experience, a degree in health information management, and she’s a Certified Victims Advocate and a Certified Non-Profit Executive.

In her spare time, Shaunda enjoys spending time with family, especially her three grandsons.

Sarah Cyr

Business Coach

Sarah Cyr is an experienced business and wellness coach with a passion for helping entrepreneurs grow their business.

My Inspiration

Sarah started her first business in 2003, former Columbia restaurant, The Wine Cellar & Bistro. There she was certified by The Court of Master Sommeliers, and developed an award-winning wine list featuring organic and biodynamic wine. She says the key to running a successful restaurant for 15 years was to focus on customer happiness, to provide excellent hospitality, and to consistently deliver an amazing, seasonally-connected dining experience. Running the restaurant taught her how to persevere as an entrepreneur. Today she wants to give back to other entrepreneurs, showing them how to overcome obstacles while staying inspired and profitable.

Community Involvement

Since then, Sarah has owned two other businesses, including her current private wellness practice, FB/EatDrinkThinkCoach. Working with Sarah as a wellness coach, food and wine lovers benefit from a whole-health coaching package. Her unique coaching practice not only accomplishes weight and health goals, but her clients also learn improved self-care techniques. They receive healthy food and wine recommendations, and they get private mindset and lifestyle coaching sessions. In addition to her private practice, she leads a Womens' Wine & Wellness Club in Columbia. The club meets monthly to drink wine and discuss all things wellness. Her goal is to help other women keep their passion for food and wine while implementing a balanced, healthy lifestyle that they love.

My Passion

Sarah's passion for coaching can be traced back to law school, where she competed on the negotiation team and specialized in assisting both parties to reach a beneficial decision. She also received her BA in psychology at Central College in Fayette, where she studied pre-law and business. Looking back, that was the time in her life where she learned that helping people achieve more is a skill and a passion. Whether clients want to improve their health, their relationships, or their business, Sarah thrives in one-on-one sessions. After coaching, clients often report back saying, "I feel like I struck gold," and "I didn't know this was possible."

Jennifer Schenck

Rural Support Business Coach

Jennifer is in charge of community connections, training, and coaching in our Cooper, Howard, and Moniteau county areas.

Jennifer grew up in the Dallas, Texas area, and attended college at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, earning a BA in international business and Spanish. She started her career at IBM Dallas in Global Marketing, and quickly realized she is an entrepreneur at heart, starting her first business at age 23. A serial entrepreneur, Jennifer has started several businesses from the ground up including a children’s bedding and accessories boutique that transitioned into a line of wholesale baby furniture and bedding. She and her husband also owned and operated an ice cream franchise in the Dallas area before moving to Mid-Missouri in 2010. She also has years of corporate experience in operations and marketing along the way.

Currently, Jennifer is the chief connector of The Connection Exchange, a welcome service that connects new businesses and new residents with the resources, products, and services they need in Mid-Missouri and beyond and provides software to other welcome services nationwide.

My Passion

Jennifer is passionate about making others feel welcome, connected, and empowered with the knowledge to be successful.

Community Involvement

Jennifer stays involved through her roles as Chamber ambassador, Women's Network, Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge (Class of 2018), 1 Million Cups Organizer, Delta Zeta Alumnae, and P.E.O.

My Inspiration

Jennifer’s mother was her first business partner, and she learned (and still learns) so much from her like how to balance life as an entrepreneur/wife/mother, be an authentic friend, give generously, and set healthy boundaries.

Adonica Coleman

Business Coach

Adonica Coleman is the owner of A2D Events, which was established in Columbia, Missouri, in 2011. The company specializes in corporate, fundraising, and community events. The company has recently partnered with a tech team to create the virtual event platform VenueLive. Adonica is one-half of the professional emceeing duo AC|DC Emcee, and recently completed a two-year stint as an adjunct instructor at Stephens College in the Event and Convention Management program.

My Passion

Adonica’s passion is connecting people through networking and lending a hand to help others succeed in business and life.

Community Involvement

Adonica is a long-time volunteer and current board member of Granny’s House, The BOLD Academy, and she is also an advisory board member at COMO magazine.

My Inspiration

Adonica’s inspirations are her mom and four daughters, as they inspire her to be her best every day.

Sarah Fuller

Administrative Assistant

Sarah maintains the day-to-day operations of the Missouri Women’s Business Center.

Originally from Illinois, Sarah moved to Columbia to pursue degrees in Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Missouri. Upon graduation, she spent time traveling and managing a local coffee shop before coming to the MoWBC. 

Sarah is currently studying for her MBA at Columbia College.

My Passion

Sarah is passionate about helping others, the outdoors, and learning from those around her.

Community Involvement

Sarah has volunteered with Services for Independent Living and the Tri Sigma Foundation; she currently teaches swim lessons in her free time.

My Inspiration

She is inspired by the many trailblazing women who have worked to create a better world both locally and abroad.

Learn more about our advisory board and their affiliations, as well as our community sponsors and partners.