Most Influential Business Women 2019: Ronda Sauget, Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois

By on August 13, 2019

From St. Louis Business Journal:  Ronda Sauget works to grow the economy of the Metro East and beyond.

Sauget, 56, is executive director and CEO of the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, where she represents a coalition of 250 board members representing a variety of industries.

A key initiative there driven by Sauget is the re-accreditation by the federal government of Mississippi River levees to 100-year levels, allowing for more development. A public-private partnership invested about $110 million in that initiative, she said, after more than 60 community meetings that helped build a coalition on the issue. Work is underway to meet a 500-year standard, Sauget said.

If not for the levee efforts, which began after Federal Emergency Management Agency decertification in 2007, “a lot of economic development in the Metro East would not have occurred or would have gone elsewhere,” Sauget said.

Other projects include working with legislators to pass license reciprocity for military spouses in 2012. As a board member, Sauget was part of a council committee that pushed the change. That legislation provided for temporary expedited professional and educational licenses for active duty members of the military and their spouses, allowing “these dedicated professionals to waste no time in finding work and making a difference as they settle into their new home,” then-Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said at the time.

Sauget has also spearheaded Building Workforce 2030, an initiative launched by the council that connects employers with students, teachers and parents to promote science, technology, engineering, math and arts education. One driver of that is nearby Scott Air Force Base, which needs pilots and maintenance workers.

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