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.

Janet Broll

Janet Broll’s favorite quote:  “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”– John Kennedy 1961

After a successful corporate career, Janet is turning her experience and expertise toward supporting the non-profit sector. Janet credits her focus to growing up with eight siblings and her parents’ belief that we are here to help others. As a leader, Janet strives to live authentically and enhance the lives of others. This sense of responsibility begins with her children, extends to her larger family and friends and ultimately branches out to the community.

Janet Broll has 35-years of leadership experience as a marketing professional whose work focused on guiding domestic and international brand strategy, product development and multi-media channel marketing for three Kansas City-based companies: Helzberg Diamonds, Applebee’s International and Hallmark Cards.

Janet completed her MBA at Rockhurst University, and she has a BS in Business Administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Scott Burnett

Scott is a seasoned public servant, consultant and professional volunteer.  Burnett served in the Jackson County legislature from 1998 to 2022. After graduating from Kansas State, Scott worked in the offices of Representatives Bill Roy and Martha Keys and in the Carter White House,  He held leadership roles in PPM, an environmental cleanup company and now has a communications consulting business. Burnett is an amazing volunteer with a truck,  He uses it to pick up food, furniture and other donations from businesses and takes them those in need. He’s signed on as one of our friendly drivers with the Food Hugs program. We are fortunate to have his skills–and his truck!

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.  Hallquist has served on five education-based nonprofits prior to being appointed by Governor Parsons to the Missouri State Board of Education in June of 2018.  Her passions include education, diversity, and women’s leadership.  She is the founder of PrincipalsConnect.

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.

Diana Keating

Diana Keating spent 36 years with Hallmark Cards, Inc.  Her roles included Executive Leadership, Sales and Customer Management, P&L Management, New Business Development, Cross Functional Team Leadership, Product Development, Marketing Management, and Business Strategy.  She has a BA in Business Management from Rockhurst University.  She is actively involved in the community with organizations focusing on children, youth, and families, primarily in the urban core.

Keith Kennedy

Keith is a seasoned professional with over 30 years of experience in supply chain leadership, information technology, human resources, project management, retail thrift, and facilities. He’s held leadership roles in family owned, faith-based non-profit, and private equity organizations. In addition, Keith is a retired Lieutenant Colonel with over 28 years in the United States Air Force and United States Air Force Reserve. He has degrees in Applied Statistics and Operations Research, Mathematics, and Electronics Systems Technology. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Air Force’s Air Command and Staff College and the Department of Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute.

With a passion for the community and service, he helps lead a weekly ministry for the homeless in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. He also supports a youth outreach and mentoring ministry in the urban core. Keith is an advisory board member of Blessings Abound Thrift, and a board member of Freedom Works. He was a past board member of several non-profits, which include Seven Days Foundation, INROADS of Kansas City, New Horizons of Northern Connecticut, and the Urban League Board of Governors. Keith is active with the Heart of America Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Association, and has served as its vice president in the past.

Katie Levi

Katie obtained her BSN in nursing from the University of Kansas and has been a nurse for over 35 years. She currently works part-time at the Neonatal ICU at University of Kansas hospital. She has a passion for educating children with special needs which led her to cofound the FIRE Foundation whose mission is the inclusion of children with special needs in the KC Catholic schools. She has served on its board for 16 years. Katie has been a regular at Trailwoods Elementary, where she’s volunteered as a “Laminator” and clothing closet organizer.

Shelly McVay

Shelly is a life-long learner, voracious reader, passionate teacher, seasoned marketing and brand professional, vicious card player, committed community volunteer, and busy wife, mother, and grandmother. Shelly spent 30 years gaining marketing, consumer research, and product management experience both at Hallmark Cards and as an Adjunct Professor at Baker University and UMKC before moving to her act two as a full-time Business Professor at William Jewell College, where she recently retired. It was here where Shelly fully married her passion for teaching the critical thinking skills required in business and her belief that the next generation holds the promise for our future. In addition, Shelly had her own marketing consulting company for several years with such clients such as Helzberg Diamonds, Walt Disney Companies, and Major League Baseball Players Association.

Shelly is active in several community service organizations and currently sits on the Rehabilitation Institute Foundation and BelongKC boards and is a past board member of Inclusion Connections, Kansas City Young Matrons, and National Charity League. She is guided by the Margaret Meade quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world; For indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Yolanda Medina-Casey

Yolanda spent over 40 years at Hallmark Cards where she held a diverse array of leadership and project management positions in International, Marketing & Sales, and Visual Merchandising. She also led special assignments in Multi-Cultural marketing, Team Building, and Diversity & Inclusion. Yolanda has been on numerous national and local boards and currently sits on the Kansas City Board of Trustees. She is very passionate about her Hispanic heritage and continues to be involved in the community with initiatives focusing on women, youth and education.

Melanie Miller

Melanie Miller recently retired as the Chief Executive Officer for Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. She has more than 30 years of experience in corporate leadership positions including holding various finance, investment, and supply chain management roles at Hallmark Cards and DEMDACO. Miller is an arts enthusiast. She currently serves on the board for the Charlotte Street Foundation and is Co-Chair of the Arts Facet for the Greater Kansas City (MO) Links, Incorporated. She is also a commissioner for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated’s National Arts Camp, and a member of the local chapter. She is a former Board Member for the Kansas City Boys and Girls Choir, the Women’s Foundation, and the Women’s Employment Network (WEN).
Melanie started her education at KB Richardson Elementary School in the Kansas City, Missouri School District. She has a B.S. Degree from the University of Missouri Columbia and an MBA from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

Pete Muenks

Pete has served as head of assessment for Lee’s Summit and Kansas City Public schools, in addition to being a teacher, assistant principal and principal in KC area schools.  Muenks has served as a mentor to area principals through a unique mentorship program launched by UMKC.  We welcome Pete’s insight and involvement in PrincipalsConnect!

Susan Morgenthaler

Susan Morgenthaler spent 20 years at Hallmark Cards where she held key leadership positions in marketing and product development.  Morgenthaler is an active volunteer who has provided project management and design skills for key nonprofit organizations including The Ronald McDonald House and Bridging The Gap.  She led the project management and design direction for the teacher’s work rooms at Longfellow and East High School as a PC Advisor.

Dan Nilsen

A Southern California native, Dan has adopted Kansas City as his hometown in a big way. Dan relocated his family to Kansas City in 1992 to continue his 10-year career with Marion Laboratories. After two mergers, Dan took the opportunity to take the values he learned from Ewing Kauffman and parle them from the pharmaceutical industry to founding his own corporate meeting and events company, Bishop-McCann.

Dan has emerged as a prominent leader in Kansas City in both business and philanthropy. With Dan as CEO, Bishop-McCann was awarded the “Mr. K” Award from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, a distinction that forever sealed the endeavor to create a culture of success that he learned from his mentor. Building close relationships with his associates is just as important as the ones he has built with his clients, as evident in the longevity he has with both. Bishop-McCann celebrated 27 years this year. “Treat others as they wish to be treated.” A simple phrase that Dan not only believes, but practices.

Susan Vann

Susan has 22 years experience as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  Prior to retirement, she worked at Truman Medical Center, Kansas City, MO and  Roper Hospital, Charleston, SC.  Her primary role was to help clients/families cope with the social and emotional response to illness and hospitalization.  She listened to concerns of clients then led discharge planning meetings with the medical team and connected clients to needed community resources.

Susan received her BA from Virginia Union University and her MSW degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. Both schools are in Richmond, VA.

Susan is passionate about helping children learn to read.  She has volunteered for 6 years with Lead To Read as a Reading Mentor.  She also volunteers at Trailwoods Elementary School as part of the “laminator squad” and helped organize the clothes closet at the school.

Willetta Willis-McGhee

Willetta Willis-McGhee is an always-curious, sometimes-intense brand communications professional committed to continuous learning. In addition to serving in senior leadership roles for Hallmark Cards and H&R Block, most recently, she served as Senior Vice President and Partner for FleishmanHillard Kansas City, one of the largest communications agencies in the world. Ms. McGhee holds dual degrees in Public Relations and Advertising from Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, Missouri and a graduate-level certification in Executive Leadership from the University of Kansas. She has presented insights on integrated marketing at national conferences for the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), IABC and PRSA. In 2020, the forced pause of the Covid-19 pandemic allowed Ms. McGhee to finally make good on a 25-year-old promise. That’s when she published The Sin-Sick Soul, a novella inspired by her sister, a young wife and mother whose life was completely upended by crack cocaine. In addition to Principals Connect, Ms. McGhee is a past board member of Kansas City Public Television (KCPBS) and the Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) Education Foundation.