Vanessa Cooksey

Board Member – St.Louis, MO


Vanessa Cooksey is the Director of Strategic Communications & Student Engagement at Washington University in St. Louis where she is responsible for developing and managing a unified communications for all community and professional learning across the university. In this role she also leads the development of new communications platforms and programs that engage prospective students in continuing their education. A creative communicator, systems thinker and future-focused strategist, Vanessa has worked for various government, non-profit and for-profit organizations including Mary Kay Cosmetics, Cartoon Network, The City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office, Save-A-Lot Food Stores, Anheuser Busch and Wells Fargo. Vanessa believes that her three decades of continuous community service is the foundation of her personal and professional success. She currently serves in leadership roles on the board of directors for several nonprofit organizations including the SIFMA Foundation for Investor Education, Harris Stowe State University, digitalundivided, VoteRunLead and The Deaconess Foundation. Vanessa earned a bachelor’s degree in radio-TV-film from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in business administration from Webster University. A student of community, governance and culture, Vanessa has spent time in France, the Caribbean, Mexico, China, Ireland, Cuba, Japan, Rwanda and England. She also enjoys growing food on her Tower Gardens for her friends and family to enjoy. Although Vanessa has received more than 50 national and local honors for her innovative business and community work, including the 2016 Eisenhower Fellowship and 2018 St. Louis American Corporate Executive of the Year, she believes her greatest rewards come from being a wife to Antonio, mother to Andrew and daughter to Beverley Foster.