"Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning." Maya Angelou
Jill Young-Menears is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. At a young age ,her major interest and hobbies were gymnastics, dancing, choreography, and clothing design. These interests had already begun to pave the way to her destiny. At age 10, her mother bought her a used Singer sewing machine where she began to create and design fashionable unique clothes for her Barbie doll, but it was only a matter of time until she desired life size designs, the best choice, herself. Up through high school, Jill would design and create her own clothes to wear solidifying an aesthetic and skills she would use throughout her career. In addition to fashion, a love for gymnastic and dance led her to become a cheerleader at Lutheran North High School then on to the cheerleading teams at Mizzou. She was the first black freshman cheerleader in 1968 and 1st black Varsity Cheerleader in 1969 at Mizzou. She then shifted to the Mizzou Pom Pom Girls squad in 1970 and 1971 and was elected Co Captain of the squad. She attended the Orange Bowl and Gator with the ever so strong Mizzou Tiger Football team.
Also, while attending Mizzou she competed in many beauty contests and pageants where she utilized her love for dancing in the talent competitions. She was in the top twelve finalists for the Miss Mizzou contest, 2nd runner up for Miss Independent Queen. And proudly she became the First Black Homecoming Queen representing Schurz Hall Dormitory. This accomplishment and honor opened the door to her first job interview in merchandising and in the fashion world. .
Jill Young-Menears broke many color barriers at the University of Missouri. She became the First Black Cheerleader in 1968 and the First Black Homecoming Queen in 1971.
In 1972, Jill graduated from Mizzou from the School of Home Economics as a Fashion Merchandising /Clothing and Textile major. Jill’s career began at the Famous Barr Department Store in St. Louis, Missouri as an Assistant Buyer in Sportswear then became Department Manager in Ladies and Children’s Apparel. She quickly moved up the corporate ladder to Associate Buyer and on to Buyer, specializing in Ladies Sportswear traveling to New York City. In 1981, she moved to New York City, the Fashion Capital of the World, as a Senior Buyer of Designer clothes at Saks Fifth Avenue. In 1984, she joined May Department Store International Fashion Office making a shift from the Buying side of the business to the Product Development/Designing side. This was the beginning of her becoming a visionary of predicting color, trends, and styling for the next year. She started as a Market Representative, promoted to Product Manager then reaching the level of Divisional Merchandise Manager specializing in ladies apparel. In 2006, her career took her to Green Bay, Wisconsin where she joined Shopko Corporate Headquarters. She started as Product Manager where she helped establish the framework for the newly created Product Development Department. In 2007, was elevated to Divisional Private Brand Manager of Ladies Apparel. In 2009 was promoted to Director of Apparel for Ladies, Men’s and Kids clothing. Throughout her entire career, she has made over 75 professional trips around the world taking her to Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, China, Thailand, Czech Republic, India, Korea Indonesia, London , Paris, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago to negotiate prices, work with factories, shop retail stores, buy fabrics and trims to develop clothing.
Mrs. Menears devotes time to volunteering in community services such as holding/rocking new born babies born to crack addicted mothers, to feeding and clothing the homeless, reading to the elderly in Nursing homes and mentoring young girls. She is passionate about donating to charities, medical research, college funds and church. In addition to volunteering, Jill also has a passion for traveling for rest and relaxation. This passion that has taken her to Spain, England, Hawaii, the Canary Islands, The Caribbean, Canada, Mexico, and recently to Greece on her honeymoon.
In 2006, Jill married her childhood sweetheart Mario Menears, a retired Police Detective. They reside in Green Bay, Wisconsin where they serve the Lord. They are very active in Faith Tabernacle Outreach Ministries. Her husband is an ordained Deacon and teaches bible class and prison ministry. She is the Director of Promotions Ministry, Women to Women Fellowship Coordinator, church announcer and church secretary.
I am happy to say I had the privilege to get to know Mrs. Young-Menears over the past couple of months and we have developed a mother-daughter relationship. She is the SWEETEST person and I am glad I had the opportunity to bring her back to the University for a positive cause!
Now that gets 3 sNaPz