Meet Jill

Intelligence. Creativity. Resourcefulness. Tenacity.

A rare and powerful combination

JS 09_17_08 06That’s Jill Schupp.

“There’s an opportunity to make this better. Let’s work together and figure out how to do it.”

Born to Joan and Harry Seltzer at Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Jill grew up in a modest neighborhood in University City with her mom, dad, older brother Garry, and younger sister Joy. Her dad, a Marine Veteran and the son of Eastern European immigrants, ran a salvage yard with his father until shortly after his father’s death. Her dad refers to himself as the “original recycler.”

Hard work was no stranger to the Seltzer family. Jill’s dad went to work as a car salesman for Weber Chevrolet after leaving the salvage business, and her mom worked as a clinical audiologist. As a result, Jill had plenty of chores at home while also tending to her studies. And, while it may sound like the old exaggerated childhood story, Jill actually did walk over 2 miles each day to get to and from Brittany Junior High.

Yet Jill excelled in academics, sports and – in a bit of foreshadowing of her adult life – was voted 6th grade class president, sophomore class president and, as part of the first graduating class at Parkway North High School, Student Body President.

In this role she even had her first taste of tough but successful negotiation when she represented the student body before the central office administration about a school bus safety issue.

Her fellow students had discovered early on what many have learned since: If you want to bring people together to analyze the facts and find solutions to problems, make sure Jill Schupp is one of your leaders.

Scholarships got her to Mizzou. Hard work enabled her to graduate in three years with a Bachelor’s degree in education/recreation. Armed with her degree and a strong belief in public education, Jill was off to California to work for the city of Richmond. While there, she helped develop a program called “Play and Games for Learning” which combined and utilized her two areas of study – education and recreation – to reinforce academic goals. The program was adopted by two of Richmond’s public elementary schools.

With her roots still in Missouri, Jill grabbed an opportunity to move back home to further her studies and work in the Parkway and Normandy school districts. However, before too long, the corporate world discovered Jill’s talents for communication and project management.

For the next 20 years she worked in advertising, moving from Advertising Assistant under the direct tutelage of Milton Rothman at Rothman Furniture to the position of Senior Vice President of Weintraub and Associates – with a stay in between at D’Arcy, McManus & Masius advertising long enough to meet Mark Schupp – the man who would later become her husband.

Jill’s negotiation skills and business acumen were well-developed alongside people she characterizes as some of the most successful and savvy minds in the retail advertising marketplace. Coupled with strong skills, her creative instinct and ideas helped her succeed in an industry she found to be both fascinating and essential to positive economic growth.

In the competitive, deadline-oriented business of advertising, where millions of dollars change hands and each must be used to its greatest advantage, Jill honed her natural ability to prioritize and make the most of every dollar.

After the birth of her two boys – Brandon and Alex – Jill chose to work part-time. No one was surprised that she became active at her children’s school, Spoede School. She led efforts to design and create an outdoor classroom, as well as a school store – two pet projects of hers that remain integral and valued features of the school today.

No one was more surprised than Jill when her experiences led her from room parent to politics.

Jill served as Co-President of the Spoede Elementary School Association for two years, during which time two experiences helped to light the fire which originally propelled her into public service.

First, when Jill researched and revealed to the district administration that recorded temperatures in the classrooms were as high as 98 degrees, she was blithely informed that there was no research that the temperature of a classroom affected student achievement. It became clear to Jill that there was a need for more progressive leadership within the district.

Around the same time, Jill was becoming increasingly concerned about the size of classes at the elementary school. Research was showing that student achievement was enhanced by smaller class sizes. Having learned that she needed more than her opinion and a bit of research to back her up, Jill rallied parents and teachers to gather for a forum to discuss the matters in a public meeting and invited the school board. The passion on the parts of parents and teachers, and the lack of administrative response, propelled Jill to the next level.

Not about to let her artistic side languish, Jill entered and won a contest for designing the logo used to promote Creve Coeur’s 50th Anniversary celebration.

Jill realized that in order to foster significant change, she was going to be more effective working from the inside and ran for the Ladue School Board. Typical of Jill, she ran with specific goals to accomplish:

  • Air condition the schools
  • Reduce class sizes
  • Institute an elementary foreign language program
  • Develop both strategic and capital spending plans, and
  • Improve communications among all district stakeholders, including the community at large

When Jill stepped down six years later in 2006, every one of these goals had been achieved. In addition she was twice elected president of the board by her fellow board members and held a board office every year except for her first.

Prior to her School Board service, Jill was appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of Creve Coeur. As part of her work on the commission, she carefully reviewed and researched plans for the Danforth Plant Science Center and became interested in encouraging bio-tech and other related industries. She recognized early on the employment and economic opportunities they would provide our community.

In 2007, Jill ran for and won a seat on the Creve Coeur City Council. Armed with yet another set of goals in support of her community, Jill worked to:

  • Support the needs of both the community and environment, by determining the feasibility of a public shuttle service to transport residents to area business and restaurants
  • Initiate a long term city-wide plan to reduce the vulnerability of the power grid by burying power lines
  • Ensure that economic development in Creve Coeur enhances, and does not interfere with, public safety and quality of life
  • Support a much needed traffic light at Dautel and Olive Blvd.

In addition to elected service, Jill remains committed to the many causes and organizations that are near and dear to her heart. Through her work at Congregation Shaare Emeth, Jill formed a partnership with the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW)and created a nationally-recognized, award-winning educational program on legislative advocacy. In addition, Jill helped her congregation initiate a partnership with Catholic Charities to find homes for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Combining her understanding of issues, her passion to serve and her eagerness to collaborate with others for positive change, Jill helped create “Life, Learning and Legislation” at Congregation Shaare Emeth – a program which received an award and national recognition for its ability to help people understand how they can personally affect the legislation that governs them.

Jill is a former board member of NCJW, Congregation Shaare Emeth, the Creve Coeur Pension Board, and the Ladue Finance Advisory Committee.  She currently serves on the boards of the Gladys and Henry Crown Center for Senior Livingthe Children’s Trust Fund, the St. Louis Crisis Nursery and the Missouri Veterans History Project.   She devotes substantial volunteer time to serving in and around the 82nd district.

However, her interests certainly do not end at the borders of St. Louis, or even Missouri. In May of 2000, Jill took part in the Million Mom March to support gun control, bringing her younger son, Alex, to Washington DC to begin to understand how people can use their voices and unity to deliver a message. Jill has actively participated in working with the Jewish Community Relations Council to help teach about and draw attention to the genocide occuring in Darfur. Jill knows that change takes more than words. It takes commitment and action.

Jill is the first to say that she couldn’t have achieved any of these goals, much less taken on the daunting task of running for state office, without the unconditional support of her husband of 27 years –Mark, and their two sons, Brandon and Alex. Brandon is a graduate of Emory University and now works in the healthcare field and Alex is a graduate of the University of Missouri in the School of Journalism.  –Go Mizzou! Alex works in Social Media in Boston.  Mark and Jill love visiting the boys and family time is still a priority!

Mark Schupp, Jill’s husband, is the President of Schupp Co., Inc. an advertising firm located in downtown St. Louis at Fourth and Pine. Mark started the business almost two decades ago, fulfilling his dream of creating a successful advertising agency. Mark is proud of the business he has built along with his team, which has earned many national awards and has been recognized by the St. Louis Business Journal, St. Louis Magazine and KSDK – Channel 5, for being one of St. Louis’ “Best Places to Work.” Any one of his 42 employees will likely attest to that characterization!

Jill’s siblings still live in the area. Her brother, Garry Seltzer, is an attorney practicing in Clayton; his wife Dede Seltzer is a retired school administrator. Jill’s sister, Joy Seltzer, works for Bonneville Radio Stations, and is married to Wayne Hoffman, CFO of Gershman Mortgage.

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Questions? Concerns? Jill would love to hear from you! Click here for more information about how to contact her.