St Louis
Founded: August 2015
Organizer: Celeste O’Brien
The buzz is real: St. Louis is one of the nation’s fastest-growing entrepreneurship scenes. At the House of Genius St. Louis table, you’ll find panelists from all over the metro area – they represent the startups, the Fortune 500s, and everything in between. Our presenters are all driven by an entrepreneurial spirit but they come from many different types of businesses and sectors, including nonprofits. When we like an idea, we “plus one” on the spot – that’s our STL spirit showing through! Our sessions are every third Thursday of the month from 5:45 to 9ish.

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Whitney Kenter

Whitney M. Kenter, City Director
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Whitney’s enthusiasm for the House of Genius concept and belief in its power to expand and enhance the St. Louis community was a driving force behind the launch of House of Genius St. Louis. She has been helping entrepreneurial families navigate their wealth for decades, beginning at KPMG and moving on to Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and now Matter Family Office, where she serves as a partner and managing member. She’s practically a dual citizen of St. Louis and Denver, splitting her time between Matter’s offices in both cities, but also enjoys cultivating a network of entrepreneurs and change agents from around the world as she heads to various cities throughout the year for conferences and events that feed her desire to create and innovate in everything she does. Whitney graduated from Kansas State University with a BSBA in Accounting. In between time with her three kids, involvement in several St. Louis boards, and her work with families, she stays very active with a daily yoga or cross training workout.


Phyllis Ellison

Phyllis Ellison
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Phyllis was drawn to House of Genius for its ability to capture her favorite things – people, relationships and ideas – in one magical evening. She has been developing programs and connecting people in St. Louis’ entrepreneur community for a decade and has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs – yes, hundreds! In her current work at Cortex Innovation Community as Director of Entrepreneur Services and Institutional /Corporate Partnerships, she develops programs to help people vet new ideas, grow businesses, and connect with support networks, one of which is now House of Genius. She also manages Startup Connection, St. Louis’ biggest celebration of early ¬stage entrepreneurs, with a team of 10 other support organizations and investors. Her life before entrepreneurs included EY Consulting, consumer finance, real estate, and university operations. A St. Louis native, Phyllis is married with two children – one who’s already an entrepreneur. She has degrees in Economics and Business (Finance) from Truman State University, and her MBA from Saint Louis University. When she has spare time, she likes to travel (beach, snow…wherever!), ski, and watch her kids play sports.


Celeste Doerwaldt

Celeste O’Brien, Minister of Mixed Genius Arts
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Celeste can be found behind the scenes of every House of Genius session produced in St. Louis. Getting Stuff Done (GSD) is part of her DNA, as is facilitating connections to help OTHER people GSD. Her role as House of Genius Organizer is a natural fit for her natural skills and passions, so she couldn’t help but drink the ‘Genius kool-aid. Celeste came to St. Louis in 2009 to serve as a Teach For America Corps Member after graduating from the University of Virginia with a BS in French. She taught middle school math for four years before transitioning to her current role as Communications Coordinator at Matter Family Office. In her free time, Celeste practices Muay Thai kickboxing with her fiancé and helps run St. Louis Area Women’s Sparring, a regional group she co-founded in 2014 to build community among female martial artists.



Mary Scott, Presenter Recruiter & Genius Auror
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Katy Plummer, Panel Mix Master
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Jen Disbennett, Moderator Curator
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2018 Sessions Dates

  • January 18
  • February 15
  • March 15
  • April 19
  • May 17
  • June 21
  • July 19
  • September 20
  • October 18
  • November 15
  • December 13