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Morning Co-Emcee

Lea Ann Seiler

Manager, Entrepreneurship, Southwest Region

NetWork Kansas


Lea Ann Seiler joins NetWork Kansas as the Manager, Entrepreneurship, Southwest Region. Previous to her role with NetWork Kansas, Lea Ann served as the Hodgeman County Economic Development Director for the past 15 years. Lea Ann is very passionate about the work she does and is an influential and respected leader not only in Hodgeman County but in southwest Kansas.

Her vast experience includes being an Ice House facilitator, Certified Destination Creation Facilitator, Hodgeman County Maker Space Creator, Growing Rural Business Completer, Hodgeman County Maker Camp, YEC, and Acton Children’s Business Fair Director, and CDBG Grant Administrator.

Lea Ann is also the host of the podcast, Espresso with Entrepreneurs

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Opening remarks

Erik Pedersen

President and Chief Operating Officer

NetWork Kansas


Erik is the President and Chief Operating Officer for the Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship DBA NetWork Kansas. Erik’s initial task was the development and growth of the NetWork Kansas referral center. Erik’s responsibilities have grown to oversee the Entrepreneurship (E-) Community partnership. This partnership, which has grown to 69 E-Communities, includes an injection of capital raised locally through the NetWork Kansas Entrepreneurship Tax Credit Program to help start and grow businesses in rural Kansas communities.


Erik graduated from Friends University in 1988 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Erik began his career in 1990 when he went to work for a Wichita-based technology startup company, Brite Voice Systems, owned by Stan Brannan. At Brite Voice, Erik worked in marketing and business development. In 1997, Erik left Brite Voice to start a manufactured housing dealership with Steve Radley, President of the Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship. The business was later sold to the largest manufacturer in the country, Champion Enterprises, and Erik remained with Champion as General Manager until May 2005.


Erik’s work experience centers on the overall operation and management of fast-growing businesses and organizations.


Morning Co-Emcee and Huddle Leader

Christy Preston

Senior Product Manager, Rural Entrepreneurship, Western Region, NetWork Kansas


Christy joined NetWork Kansas in 2019 as a Product Manager, Rural Entrepreneurship, Western Region. Christy grew up on a small family farm in the corner of Northwest Kansas. She comes to NetWork Kansas with more than 15 years of real estate sales experience and nearly four years of economic development experience. Christy worked as the Director of the Thomas County Economic Development Alliance in Colby, Kansas. For Christy, it is about building relationships and helping people. She is passionate about promoting rural entrepreneurs and assisting them in finding solutions and opportunities to enhance their success. Christy is an outdoor enthusiast, loves traveling and most of all spoiling her grandchildren! Christy and her husband live in Selden, Kansas.

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Fireside Chat: Building Functional Networks and Communities

Sarah LaRosh

Director of Entrepreneurship Engagement

NetWork Kansas


Sarah eagerly joined NetWork Kansas in 2017 as a Product Manager of Rural Entrepreneurship, Western Region. She comes to NetWork Kansas with a degree from Tabor College in Business Administration and a concentration in Accounting and Finance. Her top strengths are Achiever, Positivity, Responsibility, Learner and Belief. Sarah is based out of rural Osborne County where the LaRosh family homesteaded in 1871 and is still deeply entrenched in agriculture.


She currently serves as the board chair of the Osborne County Community Foundation and has a tremendous passion for rural Kansas, is “Rural by Choice” and a Kansas Explorer. With three young children, Sarah has devoted countless time, talent and treasure to ensuring the betterment of Kansas.


Power Talk: Health Equity

Valerie Black

Community Impact Officer

Kansas Health Foundation


Valerie Black works specifically with KHF’s Building Power and Equity Partnership Initiative, helping to coach and develop grantees for the purpose of greater health and social impact.


Black serves as community impact officer for the Kansas Health Foundation and has been with KHF since 2002.

Black’s responsibilities include building and maintaining trustworthy relationships with community organizations and agencies whose mission aligns with the Foundation’s values and who serve communities impacted by racial and health inequities in Kansas.
Before becoming a community impact officer Black held previous roles as KHF’s senior community organizer and information technology officer. Black received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Wichita State University with an emphasis in business management and received her Master of Divinity degree from Phillips Theological Seminary. She is a member of Dellrose United Methodist Church and serves as minister.


Power Talk: Health Equity

Juston White

Community Impact Officer

Kansas Health Foundation


Juston White works specifically with KHF’s Building Power and Equity Partnership Initiative, helping to coach and develop grantees for the purpose of greater health and social impact.


White comes to KHF with extensive experience in both the nonprofit and private sectors. Recently, he served as executive director for KVC Hospital, a 54-bed children’s psychiatric hospital located in Wichita. He also served as executive director for the Boys & Girls Club of South Central Kansas and as campus director for Youthville in Dodge City, Kan.


With a strong desire to give back to his community, White has often served on local boards and committees. He is a former board member of the Greater Wichita Chamber of Commerce, the Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County and the Matlock Community Resource Center. He also served as co-chair of Project Wichita, is a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters and a former member of the Kansas Citizen Review Panel.

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Power Talk: Community Outreach: Mobile Robotics

Betsy Davis

Director of Community Services

McPherson Community Foundation


Davis’ previous experience comes primarily from her work in local libraries. Graduating with a Master of Library and Information Science from Emporia State University. Her most recent experience was as the Library Director for the Moundridge Public Library from 2018 through 2022. Davis joined the foundation in August of 2022.

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Power Talk: Community Outreach: Mobile Robotics

Chuck Laughlin

Family & Community Wellness and Community Vitality Agent 

K-State Research & Extension in McPherson County


Chuck Laughlin is the Family & Community Wellness and Community Vitality Agent at K-State Research & Extension in McPherson County where he is responsible for programming to bring families together, promoting community/county wellness, and building stronger more vital communities. On a mission to strengthen and revitalize the rural communities, he is focused on improving access to programming and opportunities to develop thriving communities. This mission is fostered through access to systems and technology to promote sustainability and growth while helping to mentor and develop tomorrow’s leaders.


Prior to taking on his role at K-State Research & Extension in McPherson County, Chuck gained experience in growing communities and fostering tomorrow’s leaders through his work as Director of Information Technology & Services at Medical City Dallas Hospital in Dallas, Texas and most recently as the Executive Director of the North Lake Highlands Public Improvement District also in Dallas, Texas. Chuck continues his passion to promote wellness as a Manager with AVACEN Medical, a class II non-invasive medical device that works systemically through the palm of your hand to improve microcirculation to provide temporary relief of minor muscle pain, joint pain, and stiffness along with temporary relief of joint pain associated with arthritis, muscle spasms, and minor strains and sprains, while promoting muscular relaxation.


Chuck is a certified lifestyle coach with the Association of Diabetic Care & Education Specialists, a trained presenter with Development International, and a trained facilitator.


He attended Kansas State University and holds a degree in Clothing and Textiles Apparel & Textile Marketing. Chuck has returned to McPherson County after over 30 years living and working in Dallas, Texas.

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Huddle Leader: DEI Practitioner Roundtable

Jonathan Long

Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Executive Director, Mosaic

Tulsa Regional Chamber 

Tulsa, Oklahoma


Jonathan Long is a catalyst; not a complainer who is facilitating progress in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion, community leadership, economic equity and attracting and retaining talent. 


Long serves as the Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Tulsa Regional Chamber. Prior to that, he held the Director of Community Advancement and Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion positions at the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce. In both roles, he focused on helping to create transformational change and foster an atmosphere where individuals have the opportunity to live their best life. 


He has been recognized locally and nationally. Some of his accolades include the following:


• 40 Under 40 (Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives)

• 40 Under 40 (Wichita Business Journal)

• 2017 Leadership Wichita Participant

• Leadership and Mentor of the Year (Wichita Visionary Awards)

• Leaders in Diversity (Wichita Business Journal)

• Distinguished Young Professional (Young Professionals of Wichita)

• Twyla J. McFall Young Achiever (Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Gamma Chi Sigma Chapter)


Long received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the Jennings A. Jones College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN and has earned a MiniMPA Certificate from the Hugo Wall School of Public Affairs from Wichita State University. 

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Power Talk: Reimagining Rural: Empowering Community Engagement

Logan Stenseng

Policy and Strategic Initiatives Coordinator

Thrive Allen County


Logan Stenseng is Thrive Allen County’s Policy and Strategic Initiatives Coordinator, overseeing the development of the organization’s public policy program and building relationships with partners statewide.
Logan also provides policy research and advocacy trainings to community members, with his main focus being the Zero to Thrive project and early childhood education advocacy.
Logan graduated from the University of Kansas in 2021. During his time at KU, he served as the Government Relations Director to the Student Senate as well as working for several voting rights non-profits. He is originally from El Dorado, Kansas.
Outside of work, Logan loves spending time with friends and family, volunteering, hiking, wood-burning (pyrography), tennis, and exploring new hobbies/rabbit holes.

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Power Talk: Reimagining Rural: Empowering Community Engagement

Deborah Kohl

State Specialist for Community Vitality and Program Leader Coordinator

K-State Research & Extension


Deborah Kohl currently serves as a state specialist for community vitality and Program Leader Coordinator with K-State Research and Extension. Her primary role on the CV team is to shepherd the KSRE Facilitation Initiative, to which she brings two decades of facilitation, business development, team building, marketing, and project management experience.


Early in her career, Deborah coordinated several volunteer organizations with participants of all ages. Situated within a development and programming model intended to build on the strengths of a unique community, these experiences set the stage for much of the work she does today. Attention to detail, moving barriers, and enabling the success of others are the strengths she brings to a team. Deborah earned a Bachelor’s degree from Emporia State University, a Master’s degree from Kansas State, and a graduate certificate in Project Management from the University of Kansas (her COVID gift to herself). 


In their free time, Deborah and her husband, Ben follow the adventures and exploits of four children aged 22, 19, 18, and 14. If you have ideas for or lessons learned in building relationships with adultish children she would love to hear them.

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Power Talk: To Infinity and Beyond

Dallas Haselhorst


STEM Harvest


Dallas Haselhorst is an information security engineer, researcher, and entrepreneur. He has consulted on cybersecurity for numerous industries all over the world. Much of his career was spent starting and growing a managed service provider until its acquisition in 2016. He then founded TreeTop Security with the primary focus of  improving the cybersecurity posture of small businesses. The free cybersecurity awareness presentation from TreeTop Security have become some of the most widely used training resources for businesses of all sizes. Dallas has multiple computer degrees from FHSU as well as a master's degree in information security engineering from the SANS Technology Institute. Dallas holds numerous information security certifications including the GSE certification, which is often considered the most difficult credential to obtain in the IT security industry. Dallas is a co-organizer of the annual BSidesKC cybersecurity conference in Kansas City and is also the founder of STEM Harvest, a technology-centric STEM space for kids. When not working, Dallas enjoys learning, sharing what he has learned, promoting STEM education, spending time with his family, and molding his four daughters into card-carrying nerds.

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Huddle Leader: Community Development - Leveraging Private Funds with Public Funds for Community Projects

Kayla Savage

Director, Community Development Division

Kansas Department of Commerce


Kayla Savage is Director of the Community Development Division at the Kansas Department of Commerce and a member of the Executive Leadership Team since May 2020. Before coming to Commerce, Kayla spent 14 years in nonprofit management and community development, including serving as the Executive Director of Emporia Main Street. Originally from the small community of Alma, Kayla has a strong passion for supporting Kansas businesses and communities. This drives her to create initiatives that leverage existing and new resources and work collaboratively with public and private partners for the growth of businesses and communities. She has been instrumental in the growth of Kansas Main Street, Covid-relief programs, and the creation of the Historic Economic Asset Lifeline, or HEAL, program at Commerce.

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Huddle Leader: Community Development - Leveraging Private Funds with Public Funds for Community Projects

Andrew Hayman, Director

Community Development Block Grant Program,

Kansas Department of Commerce


Andrew Hayman is Director of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program at the Kansas Department of Commerce (KDC). In this role, Andrew provides strategic direction for CDBG initiatives, manages operations, and works collaboratively with public and private partners to execute the vision of KDC. The CDBG grant program includes funding for local improvements in 10 areas, including Youth Job Training, Regional Water Planning, Architectural Barrier Removal, and building Early Childhood Education and Care Facilities.


Before coming to KDC, Andrew spent 8 years in program evaluation, public administration, and consulting. Andrew started his evaluation career as project manager at Hezel Associates, conducting evaluations of federally funded educational grant programs. He served two years as a management and program analyst for United States Department of Education supporting leadership utilizing data to measure success of programmatic objectives. Andrew earned his Master of Professional Studies in Environmental Studies from State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Master of Public Administration from Syracuse University. He is a practitioner of project management and program evaluation principles that he will apply to improve CDBG outreach and effectiveness.

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Huddle Leader: Community Development - Leveraging Private Funds with Public Funds for Community Projects

and Taking Care of the Childcare Crisis in Your Community

Sara Bloom

Community Development Specialist,

Kansas Department of Commerce


Sara Bloom is a Community Development Specialist for the Kansas State Department of Commerce. In her role, she coordinates the Community Service Tax Credit program, Individual Development Account Tax Credit program, and takes lead on Commerce’s efforts in childcare across the state. She also proactively engages with communities to address opportunities for childcare, youth development, and downtown development. Bloom provides specialized skills in project planning, project management, and evaluation of communities, working with the resources of Community Development and Commerce.


She received her bachelor's degree from Fort Hays State University in Communications but her past boasts a background in everything from marketing, journalism, sales, graphic design, and economic development. Bloom's path has never been a boring one and she’s had many unique positions including TV News Producer for a major metropolitan station and even Yellow Page Telephone Sales. For just over seven years, she served as the Executive Director for the Downtown Hays Development Corporation. She is an award-winning Graphic Designer winning the 2015 MARCOM Gold Award. She was recognized by the Hays Area Chamber of Commerce as the 2017 Rising Star in recognition of leadership and service within their profession and the community. Most recently, she graduated with the Leadership Kansas class of 2022. No matter her location or position Sara has always been community and outreach minded. It’s never just about the job but how she can make a difference in the world around her.


At home, Bloom enjoys spending time with her husband of 16 years, Kael, a pastor at Celebration Community Church in Hays, and three young children, Isaac (14), Judah (11), and Kadance (8). Her hobbies include reading, motorcycles, Cardinals baseball, and playing the cello. She is active on several community boards and within her church.

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Huddle Leader: Entrepreneurship Support

Nadia Arbelo

Interim Director

Kansas Small Business Development Center at Washburn University


As the newly-named Interim Director of the 12 counties in the NE Region for the Kansas Small Business Development Center’s at Washburn (KSBDC@WU), Nadia is excited about the collaboration and synergy this opportunity brings. Nadia worked in a similar role in Western NC (SBTDC) as a Business Advisor and independent consultant in both public and private sectors.

Nadia brings a broad international consulting background back to Kansas. As an entrepreneur, Nadia has owned and operated small businesses from computing to Art and Interior design.

In the larger business world Nadia has worked across sectors, from retail to manufacturing and delivered educational and administrative services to public and private schools from Kansas City to Abu Dhabi. During her sojourn as head administrator for a private UAE American school, she also obtained a British master’s degree in Leadership & Change Management. Furthering her belief in lifelong learning Nadia entered the European Union’s only PhD program in Philosophy and Theory of Visual Culture, focusing her research on gender equity and Female Identity in Public Spaces.

While in Europe, she continued educational consulting, developing a joint Hungarian-USA International English Language secondary school program.

Returning to the US in 2016, Nadia volunteered for civic organizations and began serving as a Board member for the National Center for Craft, Creativity and Design, Facilitator for WNC Building Bridges, Western Women’s Business Center/AB Tech Business College. She also developed college mentoring programs for female STEM students and for minority male student advancement. After serving as Director for a pilot project with the YWCA-WNC Student Enrichment program she continued consulting in cultural and minority community business development.

In addition to her work with KSBDC, Nadia serves as a Member for Topeka Small Business Council Advisory, Board Member of Spark MHK, current memberships in Topeka Independent Business Association (TIBA), Sales & Marketing Executives of Topeka (SME), WKI Certify, and Rotarian.

As an area SBDC Interim Director, Nadia believes that supporting lifelong learning develops the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit in every individual. She believes her role in KSBDC and in cooperation with affiliate organizations is to encourage and support small businesses, put ideas into practice, which fulfills individual dreams and especially lifts underserved urban and rural communities and businesses.


Huddle Leader: Entrepreneurship Support

Glenda Washington

Chief Equity and Opportunity Officer

Greater Topeka Partnership


Glenda Washington serves as the Chief Equity and Opportunity Officer at the Greater Topeka Partnership. She came to GO Topeka in October of 2013 as the Vice President of Entrepreneurial and Minority Business Development. Glenda oversees entrepreneurial and minority business development programs for Shawnee County. She is also responsible for managing the Topeka/Shawnee County First Opportunity Fund, LLC, a micro loan program for entrepreneurs.  

She has 24 years of providing services to and advocating for small businesses. Prior to joining GO Topeka, Glenda worked with the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce (Jacksonville, Florida) as the Director of Small and Minority Business Development and Senior Director of Economic Inclusion. She also served as the Procurement and Technical Assistance Center manager. Prior to leaving Jacksonville, Glenda was the Director of Multicultural Accounts for Visit Jacksonville.


Glenda received a Bachelor of Science in Workforce, Education, and Development from Southern Illinois University, a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and a master’s in business administration from the University of Phoenix. She has received several certificates and awards in her area of expertise including a DEI in the Workplace Certificate from Muma College of Business at the University of South Florida, and a Certificate from Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences in Leading Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.


Glenda is a graduate of Leadership Jacksonville, Regional Leadership Jacksonville, and the Jacksonville Political Leadership Institute. She has also graduated from the Economic Development Institute and attended Chamber Leadership Institute.


Glenda is also a graduate of the Economic Development Fellowship program as an ACCE Fellow for Inclusive Economic Growth. She was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for the KFMC Health Improvement Partners and the Capper Foundation Board of Directors. She is also a member of the Racial Impact Analysis Workgroup with the Shawnee County Health Department, on the Board of the Capper Foundation and the KFMC Board of Trustees. Glenda recently received the Positive Image Award from the Topeka (KS) Chapter of the Links Incorporated and the I Change Nations Award.


Huddle Leader: DEI Practitioner Roundtable

Cecilia Thibault

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategist



Cecilia, a 12-year veteran of INTRUST Bank, has held positions in client service and financial literacy and currently serves as Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategist. As a member of the human resources team, Cecilia fosters an environment of inclusion and belonging, at work and in the larger community. Cecilia has held numerous board positions at local nonprofits such as Girl Scouts of the Heartland, Wichita Festivals, Cairn Health, and Empower. She is a founding member of Young Latino Professionals of Wichita (YLPW) and has received numerous recognition awards including the Wichita Business Journal’s DEI Award, and the American Bankers 40 Under 40 in Wealth Management award. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wichita State University.

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Huddle Leader: DEI Practitioner Roundtable

Stacy Clark

Rice County Economic Development Director

One Voice: Creating more equitable and accessible services in Rice County for Spanish-Speaking Neighbors 


Stacy Clark is the Rice County Economic Development Director.  She grew up in Wichita, Kansas and graduated with an Elementary Education degree from Baker University.  As a former teacher, she is a lifelong learner and enjoys discovering new ideas to benefit Rice County.  Stacy’s favorite aspect of her work is the relationship building as well as connecting residents and businesses with resources to improve the quality of life in Rice County.  Stacy and her husband, Mark, own Brew 56 Coffee and Tap House in Lyons and savor time spent with their 3 children and 8 grandchildren.  Stacy loves the mountains, music, and flower gardens.

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Huddle Leader: DEI Practitioner Roundtable

Claudia Yaujar-Amaro

Owner, AB&C Bilingual Resources, LLC

One Voice: Creating more equitable and accessible services in Rice County for Spanish-Speaking Neighbors 


Claudia Yaujar-Amaro is the owner of AB&C Bilingual Resources, LLC a bilingual marketing & media company based in Wichita KS. 

She is the founder and Chief Editor of Planeta Venus, a Spanish local newsroom. Claudia is a natural connector who likes to travel through the state of Kansas to connect with different communities, teaching leadership, civic engagement and inclusion. 

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Huddle Leader: DEI Practitioner Roundtable

Karly Frederick

Executive Director, Rice County Community Foundation

One Voice: Creating more equitable and accessible services in Rice County for Spanish-Speaking Neighbors 


Karly Frederick is the Executive Director of the Rice County Community Foundation. She grew up in rural Rice County and moved back to the place she called home in 2021. Previously a Marketing Manager for an agricultural equipment dealer and K-State grad. She loves mostly being a dog mom, a farm kid, and rural by choice.

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Huddle Leader: Reimagining Rural

Dan Steffen

Graham County Community Development Coordinator


Dan received his BA in Business Communications and his BS in Industrial Arts, from Fort Hays State University.  After a short stint in Radio, he was one of the first Field Rep.’s for the Kansas Dept. of Commerce in 1987, covering N.W. Kansas.  During this time, Dan received certification as an Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP), thru the National Development Council (NDC).

After his position was eliminated, Dan worked for Discover Financial Services, as both a Service Rep. / District Service Supervisor and Sales/Service Executive, in the area of Business Development.  Desiring to return to the world of Economic Development, Dan returned to the Kansas Dept. of Commerce as a Regional Project Mgr. for N.W. & N.C. Kansas.  From there, he worked for the N.W. Ks. Planning & Development Commission thru the Economic Recovery from COVID, before accepting the position of Community Development Coordinator for Graham County. 

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Huddle Leader: Reimagining Rural

Mary Beth Jarvis

President & CEO 



Mary Beth Jarvis is President and CEO of NXTUS, Inc., which helps entrepreneurs grow companies of significance. NXTUS works to connect startup founders to community resources, capital, and customers, as it focuses on expanding Kansas’ participation in the innovation economy. NXTUS manages  the Accelerate Venture Partners angel-investment group and NXTSTAGE startup programs, which help growth-minded entrepreneurs gain access and traction to expand their customer base in Kansas.


Her previous roles included President and CEO of Wichita Festivals, Inc. and 15 years at Koch Industries, Inc., including serving as Vice President of the Public Affairs Division. Before that, she was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force.


Mary Beth is the current chair for the Greater Wichita YMCA and a director of its Y360 digital venture, and she serves on the board of Visit Wichita. She was honored with a 2023 Shine award by Storytime Village, by ARISE at its 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Heroes and Sheroes event, and by Ingram’s as one of 50 Kansans You Should Know. The Wichita Business Journal has named her a Women Who Lead, Women in Business (Hall of Fame inductee), Newsmaker, Innovator and 40 Under 40 (Hall of Fame honoree).


Resource Roundtable: IFF

Andrew Bradley

Managing Director of Lending



Andrew Bradley is the Managing Director of Lending - Southern Region at IFF (CDFI), overseeing loan originations to support nonprofit changemakers throughout MO, KS, and Southern Illinois. He has 10 years of experience in real estate and community development finance and 5 years of experience in education and nonprofit/social enterprise administration. Prior to IFF, he was the finance director at one of the nation’s largest affordable housing developers. A returned Peace Corps volunteer, Andrew hails from Southern California but has made St.Louis, MO his home since 2009. Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn.


Resource Roundtable: IFF

Amber Korf

Senior Lender



Amber Korf is IFF’s Senior Lender for the Southern Region, covering MO, KS, and Southern IL. Amber is located in the Kansas City office and works with non-profits, affordable housing developers, and healthy food providers across Kansas through IFF’s community-centered lending, development, and real estate consulting programs. Amber is a native of rural Iowa and transplanted to Kansas City 15+ years ago. She has over 10 years of experience working in local government, non-profit community development, real estate, private banking, and as an independent consultant for non-profits and native communities across the United States.
Connect with Amber on LinkedIn.

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Lunch Keynote Speaker: When Everyone Leads

With Ed O'Malley, Keynote Speaker

President & CEO, Kansas Health Foundation

Co-Author, When Everyone Leads


Ed O’Malley joined the Kansas Health Foundation in 2022 as president and CEO.


O’Malley came to KHF after 15 years at the Kansas Leadership Center, a non-profit organization committed to fostering leadership for stronger, healthier and more prosperous Kansas communities. He joined KLC, which is primarily funded by KHF, in 2007 as its founding president and CEO—taking the organization from a new startup to an internationally recognized leadership training hub. Under O’Malley’s leadership, KLC played a significant role increasing the number of diverse and underrepresented groups in civic leadership throughout Kansas.


Prior to his time at KLC, O’Malley served two terms as a state representative in the Kansas Legislature, gained experience in the private sector and worked on the staff of Governor Bill Graves. He is active in civic organizations, including as past board chair of the Boys and Girls Club of South Central Kansas and chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Board for the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce. He has also been on an advisory committee for the Colorado Health Foundation, a director for the Beta Theta Pi National Fraternity and a coach for youth sports.


O’Malley holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Kansas State University. He has also completed the Emerging Leaders Streetwise MBA program offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration and received executive training from the Harvard Business School and the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government.


Huddle Leader: Entrepreneurship Support

Alejo Cabral

Program Director

Create Campaign, Inc.


Alejo Cabral a first generation American, the son of two immigrant parents, the youngest sibling of three, and husband to a wonderful wife. He was born and raised in Chula Vista, California but has called Wichita his home for the last ten years. Over the last five years Alejo has been a valuable team member at the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, where he oversaw the rebranding and expansion of talent efforts like W (formerly Young Professionals of Wichita), #internICT, Group Mentoring, and laid the foundation for Campus Wichita. 


Alejo Cabral sees himself as a door stop, working to ensure opportunities remain open and available for underrepresented professionals, organizations, and communities. In addition to the work he has done at the Chamber Alejo also serves on community boards like the City of Wichita Board of Park Commissioners, Arts Partners Wichita, the Wichita Art Museum, and Wichita Parks Foundation. 

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Huddle Leader: Entrepreneurship Support

Michael Odupitan

CEO and Founder

Omni Circle


Michael Odupitan is a Social Entrepreneur with over 15+ years of experience working directly and indirectly in Social Services and three years of experience uniting and strengthening people and communities. His goal is to invest his personal and professional skills in a community conducive to his purpose of building equitable communities for all. Working collaboratively to discuss issues, set goals, and formulate solutions for a better society is what Michael is most passionate about.

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Huddle Leader: Entrepreneurship Support

Trish Brasted

Senior Vice President

Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures


Trish Brasted leads Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures (EGV) for NetWork Kansas. EGV’s mission involves building and enhancing the network of resources to increase the capacity and support for innovative, high-growth entrepreneurs in Kansas. EGV collaborates across the state with community leaders, economic development organizations, universities, government entities and other entrepreneur support organizations to provide the entrepreneurs of Kansas valuable access to education, mentorship and capital. These high-growth companies aspire to transform markets with radically innovative products and services to grow jobs, wealth and prosperity across the state.

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Huddle Leader: Entrepreneurship Support

Jenn Laird

Manager, Urban Engagement

NetWork Kansas


Jenn Laird has been engaged in the journey of cultivating entrepreneurial ecosystems for over 10 years in the State of Kansas. Working in both economic and community development, Laird joined the NetWork Kansas team in 2021. Working with both rural and under-resourced urban distressed communities across Eastern Kansas. Laird recently became the first Manager of Urban Engagement for NetWork Kansas. She is dedicated to empowering, supporting, and inspiring the growth of equitable and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems.

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Huddle Leader: Reimagining Rural - Small but Mighty

Mike Scanlon

City of Osawatomie


Too often rural Kansas communities, which are some of our poorest, believe their futures are set. Many times thinking it impossible to overcome the winds of change. So how does a small rural community in the bottom 10 of sales tax collections, with a State Hospital that pays no property taxes, and one of Kansas poorest communities based on average household income reimagine itself when everything is stacked against them. The answer starts with .....they begin from the heart. They embrace a cause greater than today and if there was ever a community living the Athenian Oath you will find it here. It's the intersection of trust, work and love of place that's making the difference. It's being unafraid to take up tough conversations. And in the end it's doing the work -- something every Kansans know how to do. Learn about the town of Osawatomie where American History collided and how a town founded during the "Bleeding Kansas" period is about to take on the next century with a vision that's beyond today. Learn the lessons of Osawatomie and see if the framework they've used can help you reimagine your community, business or organization.

Mike Scanlon has been in local government for more than 35 years. He has worked in a diverse set of communities from Columbia, Missouri a town and gown community to Basalt, Colorado a mountain resort community. In addition, Mike serves on the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee (AHAC) for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka, which serves Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado. He's a member of the International City/County Management Association's  (ICMAs) Sustainability Committee; has hosted International City Managers from Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, New Zealand and Australia. He's participated in US State Department international exchanges with Townsville, Queensland, Australia. Mike currently serves on the Miami County Economic Development Council.  Additionally Mike has worked as Development Director for the Roaring Fork Valley Habitat for Humanity and built one of the first Net-Zero Affordable Housing projects in the United States just outside Basalt, Colorado.  Three years ago Mike came back to Kansas and is now serving as the City Manager for Osawatomie, KS. The City of Osawatomie has received more than $4.5 million in grants the last six months ranging from downtown planning to the development of two trail loops that connect to the Flint Hills Trail (8th longest rails-to-trail in the U.S.). The City of Osawatomie in partnership with Evergy will build a 5 MW solar array capable of providing about 2/3rds of the daily electricity demands of the city. Mike believes that issues of Affordable Housing, Child Care, Economic Development, Climate Change and Social Equity are intertwined and you can't start solving for one if you don't understand the others.

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Closing Keynote Speaker

Kira Cheree Cobb

Founder & CEO

Entrepreneur Business Basics, LLC


Entrepreneur Business Basics (EBB) was founded by Kira Cheree’ Cobb in the Fall of 2014 under the parent umbrella of Integrity Designs and Consulting, LLC. , which she founded in March 2005.

Early on in her business, she saw the disconnect of her clients’ ability to fully execute brand materials she graphically created. Quickly expanding her services to include business consulting, EBB grew from traditional individual consulting into one-day workshops to eventually a 12-week training session and more. In 2021, EBB created its signature entrepreneur training JUMP© which is fully accredited and board-certified. JUMP© is now offered in urban charter high schools making EBB a stellar partner in real-world learning.

She is by trade a business coach and graphic designer. Her skills extend beyond producing marketing materials to assisting entrepreneurs construct a solid business structure, including business plan development, marketing strategies and execution.

As CEO and Founder, she has successfully assisted more than 350+ minority business owners in the state of Kansas, Kansas City metro and St. Louis regions elevate their businesses to the next level of success. Kira holds a degree in Digital Imaging, is currently completing her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis on Economic Development. 

She is a well sought-after facilitator, keynote speaker, workshop presenter in varioussettings including schools, universities, community and religious events. Kira is thewife of Cedric O. Cobb, mother of four children and grandmother of one. She hasbeen a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, INC. since 1993.


For more on Kira Cheree’ visit: www.kiracheree.comFor more on EBB visit:

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Serving as Coffeyville Area Community Foundation’s Executive Director, Janie believes in the spirit of community and enjoys working with donors and nonprofit organizations to strategically address community needs. She also serves on Coffeyville’s Reawakening and Coffeyville’s Innovation Lab boards honoring Coffeyville history and revitalizing our community.


Janie is a graduate of Washburn University with postgraduate public administration work at WSU. She has served on community boards: Leadership Coffeyville, Coffeyville Community College Board of Trustees, USD #445 School Board, and Coffeyville Regional Medical Center Board of Directors. She has participated in Leadership Kansas, Kansas Health Foundation’s Kansas Community Leadership Initiative, and served on the Kansas State Justice Commission and the Kansas Association of Community Foundations as a charter board member.


Janie believes collaboration is key to address community challenges successfully, and, embraces innovative approaches to cultivating growth for the future.


Demonstration Table: Coffeyville Youth Maker Space Labs

Jim Correll

Owner/CoachCorrell Coaching, LLC


Jim Correll just may have figured out the biggest secret to business success, and it didn’t require an advanced business degree to do it. Instead, it’s been a matter of following his instincts, sponging up knowledge from thought leaders, making mistakes and pursuing passions in a wildly diverse 25-year career working in small business, manufacturing, entrepreneurial ventures and post-secondary education. What has he learned? When your mind is open to possibility rather than paralyzed by pessimism, amazing things can happen. Jim is a business coach and life coach dba Correll Coaching, LLC and retired director of Fab Lab ICC at Independence (KS) Community College. 

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Demonstration Table: Empowering Community Engagement

Marcia Davis

Director of Community Engagement

Thrive Allen County


Marcia Davis is the Director of Community Engagement at Thrive Allen County. She works with the community of La Harpe, Kansas to empower the residents to get involved in local government, speak out, building relationships and community. All to build a better City of La Harpe. She also oversees our community work throughout Allen County, including our monthly community conversations.
Marcia is a graduate from the University of Kansas. Prior to moving to Iola and working at Thrive Allen County Marcia worked as the Minden, Nebraska Chamber of Commerce Director and the Beloit, Kansas Parks and Recreation Director.
Outside Thrive, Marcia enjoys gardening, biking, swimming, exploring Southeast Kansas, and spending time with family and friends.

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Demonstration Table: Empowering Community Engagement

Dan Carroll

Director of Communications

Thrive Allen County


Dan Carroll is the Director of Communications at Thrive Allen County. He works with the community in an effort to build relationships, to share opportunities, and to keep Thrive informed of their needs. Dan enjoys videography, which he is able to pursue in his position at Thrive. He also enjoys spending time outside, especially on the trails of Kansas' latest state park, right on the outskirts of town.


Huddle Facilitator

Dioane Gates


Kansas Leadership Center


Three words that describe KLC Field Team member Dioane Gates are encouraging, pioneering, and entrepreneurial.

Dioane pastors Mending Place, a church that he founded with his wife Heather in 2009. Mending Place is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural expression of his deep belief in the intrinsic benefit of diversity in the local church and communities of faith.

After taking the “scenic view” of postsecondary education, he graduated in 2008 with his bachelor’s in business. A native of Wichita, Dioane is a proud alumnus of a university less than a mile from where he grew up. He enjoys donning the Wichita State yellow and black, especially when he travels.

Dioane recently finished a career with the Sedgwick Co Sheriff’s Office as a commissioned deputy from 2001-2018. He finds satisfaction in continuing to train law enforcement officers and other first responders on the necessity of spiritual resiliency. Equally fulfilling are the visioning and team-building sessions he conducts for local pastors and their leadership teams. At the same time, Dioane is a small business owner who leverages that experience – and a reputation for being able to make the otherwise complex simple – to deliver team building and quality training to other local businesses.

Dioane is stirred by learning, teaching, and practicing leadership. Some of his greatest teachers have been Heather and their three children, sons Isaiah and Elijah and daughter Malone. He finds relaxation in drinking good espresso and yelling at the TV during Dallas Cowboys games.

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Huddle Facilitator

Donna Wright


Kansas Leadership Center


Donna Wright is a native Kansan and best describes her work with the Kansas Leadership Center as “transformational”. She’s an authentic facilitator who believes that one of her purposes in life is to help others recognize their leadership potential. She is a servant leader and has served on numerous boards throughout her career.

As Principal of Kansas Business Services, LLC, Donna brings over 25 years of executive level corporate and non-profit experience to her clients. KBS is an administrative and business development consulting firm dedicated to delivering best practices and specializes in organizational management and corporate governance for governmental agencies and private industry companies. Her work has garnered multiple awards, distinctions and recognitions throughout her professional career.

Donna  is an alumnus of Benedict College and recently completed the Harvard Kennedy School – Executive Education Program entitled “Art and Practice of Leadership Development”.  She enjoys reading and loves spending her free time with her husband, children and grandchildren.


Huddle Facilitator

Adrion Roberson


Kansas Leadership Center


Adrion Roberson is on the core teaching team of the Kansas Leadership Center also serving as program chair for Your Leadership Edge. He serves as co-pastor of the Berean Fellowship Church in Kansas City. He also is the founder of KC United! Youth Sports & Education Initiative, which serves more than 850 youth and teens in the urban metro KC area. He also serves with the CHC (Community Health Coalition CAB group) Community Action Board and with the local Alive & Thrive group of KCK. In 2017 he completed The Art and Practice of Leadership Development at Harvard’s Kennedy School.

In 2020 Adrion served on the Governor’s counsel for criminal justice reform and in 2019 he received the Governor’s award as the Kansas Health Champion.

Adrion is passionate about developing his community through the people who make up the community.

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Huddle Scribe

Misty Bruckner


Public Policy and Management Center at Wichita State University


Misty joined Wichita State University in 2008. She is responsible for assisting governments and nonprofits with special projects, policy development, program evaluation, community surveys, facilitation and training efforts. Misty has worked in the Office of the City Manager, City of Wichita, as assistant to the city manager to start her career. Misty is a recipient of the Excellence in Public Service Award and the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office Bronze Medal Award for Public Service – the highest honor for a civilian. She was selected to participate in the Kansas Leadership Center’s Community Collaboration Academy aimed at advancing facilitation and collaboration efforts across the state of Kansas. Misty has a Master of Public Administration from WSU.

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Paula Downs joined the Public Policy and Management Center in 2012 with more than 25 years of experience in the public sector, 13 of those as a project manager. In her current role, she oversees special projects; develops and delivers training on a wide range of topics; and assists local governments and nonprofits with board trainings, strategic planning, facilitation services and professional development. In addition, Paula has spent the last several years involved in community engagement efforts including, stakeholder interviews, focus group facilitation, survey development, citizen feedback sessions, and developing and utilizing tools that increase participation around identified topics. Paula holds a Master of Public Administration from WSU.

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Huddle Scribe

Corinthian Kelly

Program Manager

Public Policy and Management Center at Wichita State University


Corinthian Kelly is a Program Manager at the PPMC for public and social service programs. After obtaining his Master of Public Administration from WSU, Corinthian completed a postgraduate fellowship with the Sedgwick County Manager’s Office where he worked on a variety of administrative, policy driven, and community-based initiatives.

Corinthian’s passion for education and youth development is reflected in his work. He returns to WSU having previously served as an Outreach Manager with TRIO Educational Opportunity Centers Program, where he was a liaison for local colleges, universities, and social service agencies that work with under-resourced adults. Corinthian previously directed an After-school Program in Baltimore, Maryland and Richmond, Virginia, as well as worked with USD 259 in Wichita, KS.

Corinthian has a bachelor’s degree in Public and Urban Affairs with a minor in Leadership Studies from Virginia Tech, along with graduate certificates in City and County Management, Public Finance, and Nonprofit Management from WSU.


Huddle Scribe

Kate Young

Program Manager

Public Policy and Management Center at Wichita State University


Kate is an experienced leadership trainer, facilitator, and ICF, certified coach and has spent the bulk of her career as a consultant supporting public transit agencies and associations nationally. Kate worked for Gannon Consult out of Gloucester, Massachusetts for 10 years. In 2018, Kate founded MayDay Group as her personal consultancy. She previously served as an adjunct professor for Rutgers University, National Transit Institute. Kate brings to the PPMC her passion for investing in communities and building thriving organizations. Kate earned her bachelor’s degree in Medical Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts.

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Huddle Scribe

Monique Garcia

Community Initiatives Manager

Public Policy and Management Center at Wichita State University


Monique Garcia is the Community Initiatives Manager for the PPMC. Monique has nearly 28 years of experience working in local and federal government and the private sector.

Monique worked on Capitol Hill for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, for President Clinton’s administration on national drug control policy, and for President Bush’s administration in the public affairs office of the National Security Council.

Upon her return to Wichita in 2002, she worked for Sedgwick County government in public health/communications, followed by ICM, Inc., Black Hills Energy and the Kansas Health Foundation.

A native Wichitan, Monique received her bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas and her MBA from Southwestern College.

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