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ICON Awards 2021: Sandra Moore, Advantage Capital

When Sandra Moore started work at Legal Services fresh out of Washington University Law School, she began in the elderly unit but quickly Sandra Mooremoved to dealing with labor and employment matters.

“I enjoyed winning for people who didn’t win a lot,” she said.

As someone who has been extensively involved in a variety of positions both in and outside of government, she’s had the chance to do that, as an advocate, a judge and as someone making or influencing policy at the highest levels.

“I decided to go to law school because I wanted to work in areas where I could make the world a better place,” said the 67-year-old St. Louisan. “I thought the law was a great place to do that. I found that much of the inequity of life resulted around the law.”

She said her work in labor law “fit the mission center in me” and later she became an administrative judge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a job she was appointed to by future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. She was the first African-American to assume that role in the St. Louis area and adjudicated more than 500 administrative complaints under a wide variety of federal anti-discrimination laws.

Later, she’d go to work at the state level as director of the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

“Until then, I had only seen my pathway through change through the law,” she said. “When I went to work for [Governor] Mel Carnahan, I realized that the pathway for change also includes policy and policy is made at both the legislative and the executive level.”

After a stint in state government, she worked with former Senator John Danforth as a senior vice-president for the St. Louis 2024 initiative before becoming president of a national not-for-profit started by developer Richard Baron, which afforded a chance to use her undergraduate degree in urban planning.

The past five years have seen Moore move to Advantage Capital, where she serves as chief impact officer helping to bring businesses, technology and jobs to underserved communities that have previously lacked resources.

Moore has taught as an adjunct professor at her alma mater’s school of social work and as a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania in a post-graduate seminar on human and social capital development.

Moore is a member of the boards of directors for the Moving to Opportunity Fund, National Trust Community Investment Corporation and the St. Louis Blues Museum. She also serves as a trustee for the Missouri Historical Society and is a member of the Washington University School of Law National Council.

ICON Awards 2021