The crowd at Stifel Theatre erupted when they got a glimpse.
Just when everyone was settled into Downtown STL, Inc.’s inaugural Show-Me Downtown event, St. Louis Blues President Chris Zimmerman hauled out the glistening Stanley Cup trophy which was in the hands of Blues players just days before.
“One of the highlights of the event is to present the Levee Stone Award, which is something we do every year and have done since 1971, and the award has been given to an individual or entity that has had a significant and lasting impact on Downtown St. Louis,” Missy Kelley, President & CEO of Downtown STL, told FOX 2 News. “The day I called Chris Zimmerman and said ‘We’d like to give you this award,’ the Blues were dead last in the division. The award isn’t about the performance of the team but the leadership the team took in redeveloping this Enterprise Center because it has such a significant impact on Downtown St. Louis and our economy.”
The Stanley Cup wasn’t the only trophy that made an appearance at Stifel Theatre, though.
LaShana Lewis is (Officially) Downtown STLMade
In conjunction with the recent STLMade movement sweeping through St. Louis, Downtown STL, Inc. announced its first-ever Downtown STLMade award recipient whose backstory is as compelling as the impact she’s made on the Downtown community.
LaShana Lewis was forced to drop out of Michigan Technological University, where she was studying computer science. Her family couldn’t afford to drive her back and forth between Michigan and her hometown, St. Louis. After years of working odd jobs, including bus driving, Lewis enrolled at LaunchCode, a Downtown St. Louis nonprofit that trains people without a traditional coding education and places them into tech jobs nationwide. Upon graduating, Lewis earned a job as an engineer at Mastercard, an accomplishment that Barack Obama highlighted in a 2015 speech.
While most people would have been satisfied with a job at a Fortune 500 tech company, Lewis wasn’t satisfied. “I loved doing all the things I learned at Mastercard,” Lewis told St. Louis Public Radio. “It was just that I got to a point where I wanted to do something more community-focused.”That drive led Lewis to start L.M. Lewis Consulting, where she draws on her experiences to help companies attract and retain minority tech talent. Her grit and relentless work ethic is Downtown St. Louis personified, and that’s exactly why she’s “STLMade.”
Local Stars Rock Stifel
As if a surprise Stanley Cup appearance and local success stories weren’t enough, Show-Me Downtown featured dazzling musical performances by The Voice finalist Kennedy Holmes, blues prodigy Little Dylan, and local icon Charles Glenn who has sung the national anthem at Blues home games for the past 19 seasons.
“We wanted people to see that this is their Downtown,” said Missy Kelley. “So, we decided to have a celebration, as opposed to a business meeting, in honor of all the growth and development that’s happened in Downtown St. Louis over the past year.” It would be impossible to distill all the momentum and achievements that defined the past year in Downtown St. Louis into a four-hour event. But make no mistake: Show-Me Downtown left a visceral impact on every attendee who stepped into Stifel Theatre on June 27. A hometown (championship) hockey team, hometown artists, and hometown leaders—all gathered in the heart of Downtown St. Louis to celebrate the progress and potential of their city.
It’s tough to imagine topping the event’s success in 2020, but if there’s anything we’ve learned about Downtown St. Louis, it’s that we always find a way to come out on top. Just ask the Blues.