Reona Wise


“My commitment to the community is to make a positive impact, transform lives, and offer my God-given gift to be of service to others… As CEO of Guardian Angels Settlement Association, I will continue the work.”

Matthew LeDuc

Chief Impact Officer


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead.

Matt is the Chief Impact Officer at Guardian Angel Settlement Association. Prior to his current role, Matt served as a Caseworker, Development Associate, Director of Grants and Evaluation, and Interim CEO. Matt received a B.A. (Anthropology) from the University of Michigan and an M.A. (Anthropology) from George Washington University. It was at GWU that Matt met his future wife, Amy, and together they relocated to St. Louis. They have two wonderful kids – Avery and Evan – and a not-so-wonderful cat, Charlie. In his spare time (ha!), Matt likes to try his hand at backyard gardening.

Kirsten Brauch

Senior Director of Development


“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Kirsten Brauch is currently the Senior Director of Development at Guardian Angel Settlement Association. After nine years working in public education, Kirsten made the leap into the Nonprofit Development world five years ago. Kirsten is a mission-driven, goal-oriented, and resilient individual who puts whole heart and effort into every project. With a B.A. and M.A. in Secondary Education from Maryville University, and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Webster University, Kirsten thrives in leadership roles, especially involving fundraising, marketing and communication, implementing large-scale events, and inspiring the community to find meaningful ways to give back. Kirsten also excels at relationship building, especially when building corporate/community partnerships and collaborating with colleagues. In the evenings, Kirsten teaches a leadership class for neurodiverse adults that focuses on social and workplace skills through iSocial. She also loves spending time with her husband and dogs, hiking, singing, and cooking vegetarian food.

Zenique Gardner-Perry

Senior Director of Programs


“I think it is healing behavior, to look at something so broken and see the possibility and wholeness in it.” – Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds

Zenique Gardner Perry is an advocate, community organizer and curator of creative spaces. Through her previous work as the Prevention Education Manager of Safe Connections and, most recently, as the former Project Director of the Youth Safe Spaces Initiative with the St. Louis Area Violence Prevention Commission, Zenique has created pathways to safety and well-being for St. Louisans since 2015, when she returned to the Midwest from Philadelphia. In her role as Senior Director of Programs at Guardian Angel Settlement Association, Zenique leads and empowers our Social Stability team to meet the needs of our community members. With her careful and deliberate consideration of the barriers that exist to inhibit the upward mobility of our neighbors, Zenique oversees the implementation of GASA’s community hub concept, which will utilize a collaborative model to provide an ecosystem of compassionate care and social services for GASA members. Zenique’s guiding principles are to lead with empathy and to approach each interaction with humility; to dignify every encounter with love and grace.
Zenique is also a creative nonfiction writer with an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis and a BA in English from Eastern University in Philadelphia. Zenique is married to a social worker with whom she decompresses with sci-fi movies, watching Philadelphia sports teams or playing Go Fish! with their littlest niece and nephews.

Gyvonne Dawkins

Senior Director of Operations


“Human, not financial capital, must be the starting point and ongoing foundation of a successful business strategy. For you can have the best strategy, but if you don’t have the right people to initiate that plan, you just end up with a dream.”

Gyvonne Dawkins is the Sr. Director of Operations at Guardian Settlement Association. She is responsible for people operations and managing the day-to-day systems and processes across the organization. As a seasoned professional with more than 20 years of HR management and business operations, she possesses the unique ability to problem-solve, maximize operations, and deliver high performance. Around GASA she is famous for her “to-do list” and she gets the job done.
Her educational background includes a Master of Science in Human Resource Development from Villanova University with a certification in HR Business Partnership, a Bachelor of Theology from Advantage College, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Robert Morris University. When she is not devoting herself to fulfilling the Mission of Guardian Angel, she enjoys serving her community through ministry, helping the homeless, educating, promoting racial equality, and working with the Illustrious ladies of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.

Venita Oatis

Senior Director of Early Childhood Education


“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

Venita Oatis is the Senior Director of Early Childhood Education for Guardian Angel Settlement Association. She is an accomplished leader with a unique combination of experience in early childhood education, business administration, and human resource management. Holding both an MBA and MA in Human Resource Management from Webster University, she brings a comprehensive understanding of organizational dynamics and strategic leadership to her role. Mrs. Oatis oversees a diverse team of educators and advocates, guiding them in creating inclusive and stimulating learning environments. She is passionate about fostering partnerships with families, communities, and stakeholders to support unique needs of each child.

Driven by a dedication to excellence and equity, Mrs. Oatis advocates for policies and practices that promote high quality early childhood education for all children. Her leadership empowers educators to make a lasting impact on the lives of young children, laying the foundation for lifelong learning and success.

Board Members

Amanda McClerren

Board Chair

Chief Information Officer, Bayer

Ayanna Pierce

Vice Chair

Vice President, Benefits and Talent Relations, Mercy

Dave Heger

Finance Chair

Equity Analyst, Edward Jones

Bill Hinderer



Yoli Alovor Director of Civic Engagement, Focus St. Louis

Scott Carver – President/CEO, FirstSpear

Lynn Davis – Chief of Staff, RubinBrown

Steve Degnan – Advisor. CHRO. CPG Executive. Board Member

Sr. Mary Catherine Dunn – Daughters of Charity

Warren Holmes – Principal, COO & CCO, Conway Investment Research

Jimmie Howlett – Impact Capital Manager, AVP, US Bankcorp Community

Edward Hussman – Vice President, Finance, Emerson Hermetic Motor Division

Anwar Lee – Commercial Credit Analyst II, People’s National Bank

Jessica Leonard – Director of Undergraduate Programs – Assistant Professor, Saint Louis University

Mary Beth Portuese – Senior Director, Communications, Ascension

Br. Bill Rehg – Professor of Philosophy, Saint Louis University

Joe Solari – Vice President, Customer Experience, Ameren

Become a Board or Committee Member

Interested in joining our board or one of our committees? Follow the link below to let us know and we will reach out to you with further information and application materials.

Mission Moment

Marcia’s Story

Marcia’s journey with Guardian Angel Settlement Association childcare is just beginning. In fact, she’s still awaiting the birth of her son.