Nanci Bobrow is the ultimate juggler. As a mother, grandmother, psychologist and community leader, she has mastered the art of balancing family, work and volunteer life—with a little social time thrown in here and there.
The Brooklyn native, who has spent much of her adult life in St. Louis, will be the first to tell you she doesn’t know the word ‘no.’ In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find an area event, program or initiative related to children’s or women’s care and abuse prevention that does not involve Bobrow as a leading contributor. “I love what I do, and that passion leads to being able to do it,” she says.
Bobrow is driven by her belief that women are the backbone of the community and children are its future. A clinical psychologist and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, she works with children and families at the division of endocrinology at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center. One of the biggest issues she helps today’s youth through is bullying. By consulting with children and connecting families who have been affected, she is helping to heal students and prevent bullying in local schools.
As a further testament to her devotion to the city’s most vulnerable population, Bobrow has served as president of Nurses for Newborns in the role of primary caregiver for high-risk infants after their discharge from area neonatal intensive care units. She also has been a volunteer for 26 years at Saint Louis Crisis Nursery, including five years as board president. “Whenever I say yes to a board, I always end up becoming the president,” she says.
Bobrow’s work also stretches throughout the state and nationwide through her appointment by Gov. Jay Nixon to the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board. For her efforts, she was named the 2008 World of Children Honoree for Community Volunteerism and Child Advocate of the Year, the highest honor from Prevent Child Abuse in the state.
And serving as president of the National Council of Jewish Women-St. Louis has allowed her to expand her work with abused and neglected women, children and families, for which she earned the organization’s most prestigious honor, the Hannah G. Solomon Award. In just one of her groundbreaking moves, Bobrow brought the Silent Witness Project to the organization in 1995. The nationally touring exhibit of red statues each feature the name of a murdered woman in an effort to bring awareness to, and eventually eliminate, domestic violence deaths. Bobrow also has taken part in domestic violence legislation. “I was involved to make sure the highway department investigates and records hit-and-run domestic violence deaths,” she notes.
Bobrow’s consistent support for these nonprofits through the years led to being named a Woman of Achievement in 1996; and today—true to form—she is the organization’s president. As the leader of an organization that recognizes women’s volunteer contributions to the community, she sees firsthand the impact of its members, who all come together from different generations and ethnic backgrounds to make a difference across St. Louis. “They are such incredible role models in the community—so active. What would we do without them?” Women of Achievement is a wonderful way to honor these women and all of the agencies and lives they have touched, she adds.
In the few spare moments amid her busy calendar, Bobrow and her husband, Jim, have traveled the world—apparent from the broad collection of international artwork accenting their stately home in the historic Central West End. From colorful tapestries to intriguing paintings and stunning glass sculptures, Bobrow says each piece tells a story from the couple’s trips to such far-off lands as China, India and Australia.
Across the globe and back at home, Bobrow believes women should pull each other up. “I want to help repair the world and empower people to do for themselves,” she says. She urges women to “just do it; get involved.” Every volunteer position teaches you different skills—from leadership to communication and teamwork, she notes. “Ask a Woman of Achievement to be your mentor…or just give me a call.”