Jenny Connelly-Bowen
Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis, Executive Director

Jenny Connelly-Bowen is passionate about work that builds strong, inclusive communities. She currently serves as Executive Director for the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis (CBN), a coalition of community building organizations and supporting members that include lenders, philanthropic organizations, nonprofits, private developers, and government actors. CBN believes strong, inclusive communities are the building blocks for a better St. Louis and works to empower, connect, and celebrate neighborhood and regional leaders who make these places possible.

Jenny has a master's degree in Public Policy Administration with certificates in Nonprofit Management & Leadership and Policy & Program Evaluation from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a B.A. in English from Beloit College. She has long been fascinated by the multifaceted power and potential of stories. While completing her undergraduate degree, Jenny spent her senior year writing an honors thesis that examined gender, social agency, and marriage in Early Modern and Victorian British literature and traced a trajectory of female voices over two centuries as women hungered for and began demanding the right to shape their own destinies. Here and elsewhere, Jenny has seen stories unite, empower, shatter boundaries, and galvanize change. She’s encouraged and inspired by the many individuals and organizations in St. Louis who are working to help marginalized communities amplify their voices, gather strength and momentum from the inside out, and move toward the change they want to achieve.

Prior to entering the community development field, Jenny spent over five years working in distribution, buying, and pricing at Save-A-Lot Food Stores, where her first role as a warehouse supervisor challenged her to rethink what it means to be a responsive, responsible community member and servant-leader. Jenny left the private sector to pursue work that would allow her to connect more deeply with others and to be a bigger part of the change St. Louis is fighting for. She’s been an active volunteer in the community since she moved into the city in 2013 and believes deeply that change will only be possible for our region if we all pull together strategically and pull on the right levers collectively.