Gary Ballard

Gary Ballard’s career spans decades of leadership positions in the wireless industry working for Cellular One, McCaw Joint Ventures-Hong Kong, Nextel, and Aerial. Most recently he was President of YourTel America. Giving back to the KC Community is a priority for Gary and he has served as chair of DeLaSalle Education Center and is on the boards of the ACLU, Mind Drive, and the Palestine Community Center. He’s previously served on Junior Achievement, KU Surgery Association, Union Station, Kansas City Rep and the Girl Scout boards. He also served on the advisory board at Research Belton Hospital. His most notable civic accomplishment was as chair of building the new edifice for his church.

Mark Bryant

Mark Bryant is a public law attorney with extensive experience in land use approvals and entitlements. He grew up in Kansas City, MO, attending D.A. Holmes Elementary School, Southeast Middle School, and Southeast High School. Mark has served as board President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and President of the Freedom, Inc. board. Mark served the City of Kansas City, MO as a member of City Council from 1983 – 1991. He has organized numerous community development corporations in connection with retail shopping centers and multifamily housing projects financed with low income housing credits.

Judy Burge

Judy Burge spent 30 years as an executive with Marion Laboratories and Quintiles, Inc. Her roles included pharmaceutical research, team management and project leadership. She has a BS in education from Southern Illinois University and an MBA from Baker University. Since retiring, her focus has centered on global mission work, especially in Malawi. She supports the Global Impact Training group and is a summer reading tutor at the Mary Kelly Center.

Martha Gershun

Martha Gershun has over 35 years experience in both nonprofit and for-profit leadership. She retired from Jackson County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) in 2017, after serving as Executive Director for seven years. Gershun was Assistant Vice President of Knowledge Development at H&R Block and served as Executive Director for Reach Out and Read, a national nonprofit that helps bring books and a love of reading to 2.8 million children living in poverty. Gershun earned an A.B. cum laude from Harvard University and an M.B.A. with First Year Honors from the Harvard Business School. She also holds a graduate diploma in Economics from the University of Stirling, Scotland.

Carol Hallquist

Carol Hallquist’s 38-year career included work at two newspapers, a direct selling company and 32 years at Hallmark Cards, where she led business units and most recently, the Hallmark Corporate Foundation. Carol’s passions include education, diversity and women’s leadership. She is the founder of PrincipalsConnect.

Dr. Denice Ross Haynes

Dr. Denice Ross Haynes is a writer, researcher, advisor, teacher’s cheerleader, student learning advocate, systems thinker and public speaker.  She has worked in the public, private, and non-profit sectors with significant experience in new initiative development in business, government, community service and K-16 education.  As principal at Scope ID LLC, Denice supports the work of business leaders, diplomats and educators internationally and abroad around issues of organizational identity and design, assessment and evaluation, workforce development, teacher effectiveness and student success outcomes. Denice holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Northwestern University and advanced degrees in Education from Illinois State and Iowa State respectively.

Randy Hudson

One career dovetails to another…physician to photographer and storyteller, Randy’s work is about people and their life experiences. He grew up in the Boston area, went to college in North Carolina, and then back for medical school in Massachusetts where he found a love of seeing the world as a photographer. His transition to storytelling through photography began with illustrating some of the life-altering events happening to patients and families in his medical practice. Randy has always loved to travel and immerse into other cultures. Randy is passionate about telling the story of the uniqueness of individuals while looking for common threads of our humanity.

Chris Jones

Chris’ career spanned 30 years at Hallmark Cards where he held key senior finance leadership positions including CFO for Hallmark International and Internal Audit Director.  His work at reStart, a Kansas City based organization providing housing and supportive services to homeless men, women, youth and families, was the inspiration for PrincipalsConnect.  He currently serves on reStart’s Finance Committee and on the board of two reStart affiliated HUD 811s.  Chris is also on the board of PrincipalsConnect.

Lori Kelleher

Lori Kelleher has over 37 years of experience in retail, telecommunications, professional services, manufacturing, and engineering & construction.  She recently retired from Black & Veatch where she was the Division President and Chief Human Resources Officer in addition to serving as the Chair of the Black & Veatch Foundation.  Lori is the President-elect of the Kansas City Chapter of the International Women’s Forum, a 2015 Kansas City Business Journal Women Who Mean Business awardee, and a founding board member of SOCI.  She received a BS from Miami University of Ohio and is a NACD Governance Fellow.

Michael Roane

Michael Roane has built and led human resources functions for small and large, public and private companies. These companies include senior positions at JE Dunn, Spartech, Sage Software, Greif Inc., Owens and Minor and Philip Morris. Civic engagement is a priority for Michael. He serves on the Boards of the YMCA People’s Council, Operation Breakthrough, Metropolitan Community College Foundation, Kansas City Scholars program and Kansas City Teacher’s Residency. He has a BS degree in Business Administration from Canisius College and is a member of Kansas City Tomorrow and KC Rising human capital group.

Ron Smith

Ron L. Smith retired in 2016 as the Executive Director of the Second Chance Prisoner Reentry Program with the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission.  He is also a retired law enforcement commander with 25 years of experience in public safety service with the Kansas City Missouri Police Department.  As a commander, Ron specialized in leadership training and professional police management. Since his retirement, Ron continues his faith based advocacy of social justice and promoting peaceful human interactions.

Jackie Snyder

Jackie Snyder was the first woman chancellor of the Metropolitan Community College in its 90-year history. As chancellor and chief executive officer, she led the largest institution of higher education in the greater Kansas City area. Prior to becoming chancellor, Jackie was President of Penn Valley, Vice Chancellor of Economic and Resource Development and on the faculty and as an administrator at Johnson County Community College. She received a BA from Emporia State University, and her Masters and Doctorate in Higher Education from the University of Kansas.

Willetta Willis-McGhee

Willetta Willis-McGhee takes pride in being described as an always-curious, sometimes-quirky brand communications professional committed to continuous learning. Most recently, she served as senior vice president, partner and a member of the senior leadership team at FleishmanHillard Kansas City. Ms. McGhee holds dual degrees in public relations and advertising from Central Missouri State University and graduate-level certification in Executive Leadership from the University of Kansas. In the community, Ms. McGhee serves on the board of the Kansas City Public Schools Education Foundation and Kansas City Public Television (KCPT).

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