Carol Hallquist is the founder of PrincipalsConnect, rallying the community in support of urban schools. She created the nonprofit during her year-long fellowship at Harvard’s 2016 Advanced Leadership program. Hallquist retired as the President of the Hallmark Corporate Foundation and held several executive positions with Hallmark Cards in her 32-year career with the company. Her community involvement focuses on education, diversity, and women’s leadership as she served on five education-based nonprofit boards. Hallquist has been recognized for her work with honors such as the Greater Kansas City’s Chamber of Commerce’s ATHENA Award and Hallmark’s Senior Leader Award for Diversity. Hallquist was appointed by Governor Parson in 2018 to serve on the Missouri State Board of Education, where she was elected Vice Chair.

Chris Jones was formerly CFO of Hallmark International and North American Businesses before retiring 12 years ago. He has a BSBA in Finance from the University of Missouri Columbia and an MBA from University of Missouri Kansas City and has passed the CPA exam. Jones’ volunteer activities have included serving on The Kansas City Repertory Board and Restart Housing Services Board. He also volunteers his financial services to a few area nonprofits. Jones’s retirement work was the inspiration for PrincipalsConnect.

Janice Kreamer is the retired president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and Affiliated Trust. Kreamer is known nationally for her leadership of community foundations, and especially for her pioneering work focused on donor intent. Under her leadership, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation’s asset base grew from $14 million to $1 billion.

Kreamer was instrumental in creating the Partnership for Children and YouthNet organizations, as well as New Start. Kreamer serves on the boards of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the Baum Family Foundation and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Her past board service included chairing the Kauffman Board of Trustees, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield, as well as participating on the boards of The Johnson Foundation, Midwest Research Institute, the Village Presbyterian Church Endowment Trust, and the Kansas City Industrial Foundation. Kreamer has received numerous honors, including the Entrepreneurial American Leadership Award and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s ATHENA Award.

John Fierro has served as the President/CEO of the Mattie Rhodes Center for 17 years. Under his leadership, MRC has received numerous awards for serving 15,000 individuals annually. MRC’s behavioral health, vaccination clinics and rent and utility programs have had significant impact in the Hispanic community. Fiero has served on many local government boards, including the KCMO Housing Authority, Chair of the Parks and Recreation Board, PortKC, Jackson County Jail Taskforce, the KCMO Health Commission and was elected to the board of the Kansas City Public School Board. Fiero is known as a “collaborator who works well with ‘both sides of the aisle.”

Jon Hile, with more than 20 years of philanthropic, civic, non-profit, and board leadership experience, serves as an education leader with the Hall Family Foundation. Prior to his appointment to this role, Jon served as Executive Director of Citizens of the World, where he grew a thriving charter school community. Prior to that, he spent 10 years as Chief Operating Officer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City, during which time his operational excellence gained recognition and helped double the number of children served. Hile was elected to the Kansas City Public School Board in 2012 where he served four years, including two years as President. He is a board member at City Year KC and previously served as President of the Centurions Alumni Association, and Program Committee Chair for the KCPS Foundation.

He earned a Bachelor’s in Justice Systems and Political Science from Truman State University and a Master’s in Public Administration and Non-Profit Development from the University of Missouri–Kansas City.

Melissa Patterson Hazley is a Ph.D. researcher in education, health, and economic equity, with a strong focus on affordable housing in many of the board and commission seats she has held the past five years. Patterson Hazley is a fierce advocate for her community and has succeeded in bringing in over one million federal, state, and local dollars to close disparities in health, education and economics, affordable housing ($50 million), and several million dollars dedicated to critical public improvements. She has played a major role in leveraging dollars for new day care centers, more affordable housing units, and soon, the only Class A office space in the Kansas City urban core housing a philanthropic foundation that invests millions of dollars into the community.

Growing up in Kansas City, Melissa was raised by strong women who taught her to advocate for herself and others who needed help. Although she had a strong support system, she moved 13 times and was evicted twice. This upbringing of both trials and triumphs motivated her to run for City Council so that she can help even more people.