Executive Director, Cherokee Street Community Improvement District
Emily Thenhaus is a St. Louis native with ten years of experience managing communications, engagement, policy, and design projects for non-profits, academic institutes and government agencies. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Cherokee Street Community Improvement District, managing the district’s investment in business development, beautification, public safety, the arts, marketing and events on Cherokee Street in South St. Louis. Prior to her role on Cherokee, Emily served as the media and engagement strategist for the City of St. Louis Mayor’s Office. In this role, she coordinated the roll-out of priority policy initiatives, including the Mayor’s Vacancy Plan and the campaign for Prop 1 in August 2018, which passed with 75% of the vote. She also represented the Mayor on the City of St. Louis Planning Commission. Before her return to St. Louis in 2017, Emily spent ten years working in and learning from other cities. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from DePaul University and worked for numerous community organizations during her time in Chicago. During undergrad, she also studied in El Salvador as part of the Casa de la Solidaridad program at the University of Central America. After college, Emily moved to New York City and served as the Assistant NGO Representative at the United Nations for the Loretto Community and worked with NGO coalitions to advocate for environmental justice and women’s rights at the international level. She attended New York University Wagner School of Public Service, where she earned a Masters in Public Administration and Policy and worked at research institutes including the NYU Furman Center and the Gov Lab. After graduating from NYU, Emily worked for the Regional Plan Association, managing external communications for the influential urban planning non-profit and helping draft the Fourth Regional Plan for the New York metropolitan region. Outside of her professional roles, Emily serves on the alumnae board for her alma mater Nerinx Hall High School. She can occasionally be found at a pottery wheel or behind a camera.