Cheryl D.S. Walker

Interim President & CEO

Deaconess is a faith-based grant making organization supporting a movement for child well-being in St. Louis through philanthropy, advocacy and organizing for racial equity and public policy change. 

Since 1998, the Foundation has invested more than $85 million to advance its mission. Cheryl was a Deaconess trustee from 2011 through 2017 and chaired the board from 2015 through 2017. While she chaired the Foundation board, the Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being, a 21,000 square foot community think tank, was constructed and established.  Cheryl was also the founding president of the board of directors for Deaconess Center and served in that capacity from 2017 until she became the Interim President and CEO of Deaconess Foundation. 

Cheryl is an experienced attorney and community volunteer, having done both with enthusiasm and passion for almost thirty years.  Her nonprofit experience includes children and youth, education (elementary, secondary and higher), healthcare (including mental health), and arts and culture.  Through those experiences, Cheryl has developed significant skills in the areas of capacity building, visioning, strategic planning, and executive search leadership. In recent years, she has led successful executive search committees for the University of Missouri System, the St. Louis Regional Health Commission, and the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission. In her role as Interim President and CEO, she will staff the Executive Search Committee whose role is to identify the next CEO of Deaconess Foundation.

Walker earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Missouri University of Science & Technology and her juris doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis. Cheryl is fortunate to have been recognized for her leadership skills and sincere commitment to service, having been named One of the Most Influential Women by the Saint Louis Business Journal and One of the 100 Most Inspiring Saint Louisans by the NAACP, Saint Louis Chapter. She also received the Excellence in the Legal Profession Award from the National Society of Black Engineers, St. Louis Chapter, and was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame at Missouri University of Science & Technology. Cheryl’s love for family is shown in many ways, but mostly through the blessings of her three children and three grandchildren.