Voices of the Fed

Every day, vital conversations happen all around the Eighth Federal Reserve District. Businesspeople, educators, farmers, job-seekers, homeowners, civic leaders and more have important things to say about the economy. The St. Louis Fed is listening.

Here, current and former St. Louis Fed directors and advisory council members share their perspectives on how the organization amplifies the voice of Main Street — serving as an active partner in communities big and small.

Videos: Carolyn Chism Hardy | Tara Barney | Elizabeth McCoy | Tim Lampkin | Dr. Diana Han | Ray Dillon | Brice Fletcher | Robert Martinez | Kathy Mazzarella | Jim McKelvey | Sadiqa Reynolds

Blog Posts: Steven Lipstein | Susan S. Elliott | Bob Jones

Carolyn Chism Hardy

CEO, Hardy Beverages

Hardy joined the St. Louis Fed’s board of directors in 2020 after serving two terms as director for the Bank’s Memphis Branch board. Her decades of experience in manufacturing inform the perspectives she brings to the board table about economic conditions in the Memphis region. “We try to be the voice of the community in order for the Fed to be the voice of the broader community,” she says.

Tara Barney

Former CEO, Evansville Regional Economic Partnership

Tara Barney is committed to finding better ways to connect business opportunities and talent across southwest Indiana. It’s a passion she brings to the St. Louis Fed’s Louisville Branch board of directors, where she says, “So much of our conversation becomes about how we can empower our regions.”

Elizabeth McCoy

CEO, Planters Bank Inc.

McCoy is a member of the St. Louis Fed’s board of directors and former chair of the Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council. She sees an opportunity in the Fed reaching out to local businesspeople and bankers to ask for their perspectives on the economy, industry and employment. “I think it’s important that we are in a position to influence how the Federal Reserve feels about local economies and especially about rural America,” she says.

Tim Lampkin

CEO, Higher Purpose Co.

Higher Purpose Co. is an economic justice nonprofit that works with black residents across Mississippi to build community wealth. “Poverty levels here in Clarksdale and across the Delta are still very high,” Lampkin notes. He says that being a member of the St. Louis Fed’s Community Development Advisory Council offered “a huge perspective” on the happenings in his region and solutions for tackling some of its biggest challenges.

Dr. Diana Han

Vice President, Global Health, Unilever

Dr. Han is a member of the St. Louis Fed’s Health Care Industry Council. She considers it vital for members to “share with the Federal Reserve what we see, hear and feel on the front lines in our districts.” To Dr. Han, these perspectives range from key health drivers in her region to access to high-quality care at a value price.

Ray Dillon

Former CEO, Deltic Timber

Dillon is the former chairman of the Fed's Little Rock Branch board of directors and former CEO of Arkansas-based Deltic Timber Corp. He previously served on the St. Louis Fed’s agribusiness council, one of four industry-based advisory councils. Dillon respects how much attention is paid to gathering accurate data — “real data from the grassroots level of this country” — to help form monetary policy.

Brice Fletcher

Chairman, First National Bank of Eastern Arkansas

Rural communities matter to Fletcher. Now a former director of our Memphis Branch board, he enjoyed bringing the perspective of small-town America and agricultural areas. “I think they need a voice,” he says. “It’s rewarding to be able to take their stories to the Fed.”

Robert Martinez

Owner and Operator, Rancho La Esperanza

Robert Martinez owns and operates a livestock production business in Sevier County, Arkansas. He is a former director of the Fed’s Little Rock Branch board. When asked about board meetings, he says a diverse group of leaders acts as “the eyes and ears” so that monetary policymakers have “information from every corner of the United States.”

Kathy Mazzarella

Chairman, President and CEO of Graybar

Mazzarella is former chair of the St. Louis Fed’s board of directors. “Our responsibility on the board is to share the input from not only our industries, but from our communities,” she said.

Jim McKelvey

Founder and CEO, Invisibly; Co-founder of Square, Third Degree Glass Factory, Cultivation Capital and LaunchCode

McKelvey is a member of the St. Louis Fed’s board of directors. He recalls that “the biggest misconception that I had when I came into the Fed was that it was more focused on Washington and Wall Street.” In fact, he says, the Fed does work that impacts everyday people.

Sadiqa Reynolds

CEO, Perception Institute; President of the Board, Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center

As a member of the Louisville Branch board of directors, Reynolds values the opportunity to help economic experts see how the Fed’s work can move the needle for the disenfranchised and disadvantaged. See our Community Development focus.

Our On the Economy blog features perspectives from former St. Louis Fed directors.

Steven Lipstein

Steven Lipstein

Steven Lipstein

Former CEO, BJC HealthCare

Lipstein held several positions on the St. Louis Fed's board of directors, including board chair from 2009 to 2011. Lipstein said serving on the board was “a unique privilege” and discussed the importance of the Fed maintaining independence from political considerations.

Susan S. Elliott

Susan S. Elliott

Susan S. Elliott

Founder and Chairman, Systems Service Enterprises

Elliott founded the information technology company Systems Service Enterprises, Inc. (SSE). She served as a St. Louis Fed director from 1996 to 2000 and was the board's first female board chair. Elliott recalled her time with the Fed as “one of the most rewarding opportunities” of her career.

Bob Jones

Bob Jones

Bob Jones

Chairman and CEO, Old National Bancorp

Jones served as a director from 2008 to 2013. As chairman and CEO of Old National Bancorp — a community bank headquartered on Main Street in Evansville, Ind. — Jones shared how he was able to gather insights from Main Street America and bring these to the Federal Reserve Bank.

Back to Top