erin_1_squareErin Joy
A third-generation female entrepreneur, Erin Joy understands the rewards and challenges of starting a company and fueling its success. She has made it her life’s mission to provide female business owners with the resources, services, and support they need to be successful in business and life.

After 15 years spent selling and consulting in the real estate industry, Erin founded Black Dress Partners in 2011 to help guide businesses in all sectors facing a variety of challenges–from underperformance to fast, unexpected growth. Erin’s consulting and executive coaching services have improved the productivity, efficiency, and profitability of organizations across many industries.

In response to market need, Black Dress Partners introduced Black Dress Circle®, facilitated, member-driven roundtables exclusively for female business owners. As a certified PeerSpectives facilitator through the Edward Lowe Foundation, Erin created this peer-based program in order to address the common challenges faced by women leading emerging and evolving organizations.

WBO 360 Survey

In 2015, Erin and her team conceived the Midwest Women Business Owners’ Conference—an educational, interactive event bringing powerful female business owners together to discuss relevant, provocative business topics. Annually, the event features high-performing business leaders addressing management, marketing, and operational challenges, and explores best practices for growth, mindset, corporate culture, employee retention, and more.

Black Dress Partners has been recognized several years in a row as a top consulting firm in the St. Louis area and Erin was designated one of the top 100 St. Louisans to know in 2016. Erin received her bachelor’s degree in marketing from University of Missouri-Columbia and her Master of Arts in human resources management from Washington University in St. Louis. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in business psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology .

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ESWP-102_revisedSonja Hultz

Project Manager/Consultant, Black Dress Partners

Sonja Hultz brings a unique combination of logistical understanding, project management expertise, and implementation tactics to the Black Dress Partners (BDP) team. In her role as Project Manager/Consultant, Sonja is responsible for conceptualizing and organizing structural imperatives to enhance the operations at Black Dress Partners.

Sonja also helped develop BDP Backbone, a series of courses designed to transform the foundational elements of organizations. She draws upon her experience and expertise to train executive assistants and operations professionals for optimal performance.

Prior to joining Black Dress Partners, Sonja held numerous project and account manager positions. Most recently, she served as a compliance manager for a global company and was responsible for oversight and management of policies, procedures, and compliance requirements.

Sonja graduated from Southwest Missouri State University. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, and gardening. She serves on the board of TransParent, where she develops protocol for their expansion into other markets.

LindaLevyKatz_cropped_200dpiLinda Levy Katz

Event Consultant

With a background in professional presentation and event conceptualization and design, Linda Katz brings decades of experience to her role in managing Black Dress Partners’ events. From preparing leaders for speaking/media engagements and presentations to planning and managing multi-day events, Linda is masterful at coordinating various moving parts and competing priorities with ease and grace.

Resourceful, thorough, organized, and detail-oriented, Linda helps bring focus, clarity, and integrity to complex logistical challenges. She is an expert communicator and known for insightful solutions. She is creative, and finds purpose in bringing peace, beauty, and joy to those around her.

When she is not working, Linda enjoys spending time with her partner, children, and grandchildren.


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The amount of talent among women business owners in St. Louis continually blows me away. Everyone has a distinct story, their own particular triumph, even a transformational defeat—everyone has someTHING that someONE will identify with, take to heart, and use to change their life, business or outlook.
–Erin Joy