With more than twenty-five years of experience in public policy and community affairs, Dena Ladd has been involved in issues that have both local and national impact. She has used her experience to advocate in both Washington, DC, and Jefferson City for medical research, the children’s health insurance program, and other critical issues. Prior to her role as Executive Director for Missouri Cures, Dena was the principal of DSL Consulting, specializing in governmental relations. Her clients included the Missouri Leadership Council—a PAC in which she acted as the state director.
In 2006, Dena worked on the Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative campaign, securing medical and patient endorsements. In 2010, she was named executive director of Missouri Cures, whose mission is to promote and protect medical research in Missouri. She is responsible for cultivating and maintaining relationships with key policy makers, business leaders, patient advocates, and opinion leaders in the medical research field on the state and national level.
In 2011, Dena oversaw the implementation of the nonprofit Missouri Cures Education Foundation. She developed and implemented the Women in Science & Entrepreneurship conference in 2013, now held annually in five cities across Missouri. She cultivates and stewards relationships with major donors who provide funding to support the initiatives of the organization.
In 2016, she oversaw a campaign bringing together consultants, patient advocacy groups, volunteers, and business leaders to defeat a ballot initiative that contained language that could potentially harm medical research in Missouri.
Dena’s work experience includes acting as a regional training director for an international retail company to develop and implement a training program for the Midwest. She also worked as a consultant to the Grand Center, the premier art district in St. Louis.
Dena has received several notable awards, including the Woman of Distinction Award from the Missouri Athletic Club and the St. Louis Business Journal’s Character Profile. She was a panel speaker at Washington University’s Office of Technology Management’s Women in Tech and Informatics Institute Symposiums. She also participated in the International Cardiology Regenerative Medicine Symposium and the World Stem Cell Symposium.
Dena is involved with the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine out of Washington, DC, and served on its board for seven years. She is on the BioSTL Coalition board and serves on the external advisory board for the Washington University School of Medicine’s Institute for Informatics. She is on the Dean’s Advisory Committee for the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri and is on the MOCANN Trade Association board. She has also received two gubernatorial appointments for state boards.
Dena has a BA in communications from Drury University and MPA degree in public administration/public policy from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville.