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Who's Who In Black St. Louis

This is our seventh edition of Who's Who In Black St. Louis®, and this year, we are proud to have penning the foreword, Larry Thomas, partner for Edward Jones, and the author of the introduction, Deborah Patterson, president of the Monsanto Fund. These two individuals have both been major supporters of Who's Who In Black St. Louis®. It is not their positions or titles why I admire both of them so much, it is their passion for giving and leading that inspires me and others in the region. They have helped raise millions of dollars for the United Way of Greater St. Louis. Thank you both for being impact players in the boardroom as well as in the community.

In this edition, you will find our special tribute to the late Earl Wilson Jr., the founder and president of the Gateway Classic Foundation. Mr. Wilson was a friend to many in the St. Louis community, including myself. As a mentor, community leader and corporate icon at IBM, he touched many lives in the region. I will personally miss his humor, wisdom and his leadership in the community. We at Who's Who In Black St. Louis® wanted to make sure that we could document some of the many stories and memories of Earl Wilson Jr. Please share his story with your children, grandchildren and all young people who inspire to be something great one day. You probably have heard the quote "Success leaves clues," Mr. Wilson's story has a number of clues for all us to follow.

This seventh edition also features a group of people in our Interesting Personalities section that I believe will be the next generation of St. Louis leaders. All have excelled professionally at some of the region's most respected institutions and corporations in the area. Another common trait between them all is their unselfish giving to others and not-for profits. They balance their time as givers and leaders in their organizations. Let me thank all of the people who allowed us to tell your stories in the seventh edition of Who's Who In Black St. Louis®. We applaud your hard work and tenacity to be the best you can be in your field. Finally, please remember to support and do business with our sponsors and advertisers, without them, we have no Who's Who In Black St. Louis®. Don't forget to gift a book to some young people in your life, donate them to your kid's school library, your church or a neighbor's child or grandchild. Let's show them "What they see, they can be!"

Yours for a Greater St. Louis, Keith Antone Willis Sr., Associate Publisher Who's

Additional Info

Keith A. Willis, Sr.

Veteran communications professional Keith Antone Willis Sr. joined the Who’s Who Publishing team to tell the story about the St. Louis African-American leadership. With his current focus and background in youth development, Willis has the heart to show the next generation of leaders what they can accomplish using the Who’s Who In Black St. Louis® publications.

Willis formerly served Mentor St. Louis as executive director. Mentor St. Louis is the largest volunteer organization working in the St. Louis Public School District to provide literacy-based mentoring sessions. The nonprofit organization currently offers mentoring at eight elementary schools to 700 students in the most challenged neighborhoods of St. Louis. More than 600 trained volunteers devote their time and energy to enhancing the lives of students academically and personally.

Previously, Willis blended his roles as principal and division manager for a charter high school in East St. Louis with that of associate publisher for Who’s Who In Black St. Louis® to show students the diverse role models right in their own community. He also served for 12 years as executive director of St. Paul Saturdays, a manhood leadership and development organization. Additionally, he and wife Ericca are partners in EKAW, Incorporated, an educational consulting and motivational speaking firm, which they began in 1992.

A family man with three daughters and two sons, Willis is dedicated to the St. Louis community. He has served on the boards of numerous community organizations, including the Community Women Against Hardship advisory board, The Salvation Army Hope Center, the Life Crises Services board of directors, the Governor’s 21st Century Youth and Development Task Force and the Governor’s Task Force on African American Males. He was also a member of 100 Black Men, the Frank J. Brown Lodge #80 and the local NAACP. Currently, Willis is on the board of NOPCAS (National Organization of People of Color Against Suicide) and the St. Louis Marriage Coalition. A member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. since 1979, he volunteers for the United Way Charmaine Chapman Leadership Circle.

Willis is the recipient of the Humanitarian of the Year award by the Lone Star Times, the Sons of Thunder award from the Fifth Episcopal District AME Church, the Role Model of the Year from the Stormin Stufflin School, and the Legacy Award from the Bertha Black Rhoda Section of the National Council of Negro Women. He has also received the Focus St. Louis What’s Right with the Region award and the 2001 Mental Health Board Advocacy Award for his work in the area of suicide prevention.


Willis is an alumnus of Saint Louis University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in organizational studies and a minor in psychology. He also attended Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, where he majored in communications.

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