Evan Absher:

Evan Absher is a program officer in Entrepreneurship for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where his work includes identifying ways to help cities further innovation and growth in their communities. He also is focused on helping to educate policymakers on new insights and understandings that result from Foundation-supported research and providing support for the Foundation’s Entrepreneurship and Education departments in the formation of applicable local policies and programs. Prior to joining the Kauffman Foundation, Absher worked as a special assistant for Policy in the Office of Mayor Sly James, Mayor of Kansas City, Mo. Earlier, he founded a small theatre company in Chicago and was a professional actor. Absher earned both his juris doctor and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He enjoys music, art, theatre, sports, and reading.

Ruben Alonso;

Under his leadership, AltCap has grown from a CDE specializing in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) facilitated financing to a socially entrepreneurial CDFI providing a variety of innovative financing products that support small business investment in low- to moderate-income communities. Since becoming a certified CDFI, Ruben has lead the development of AltCap’s targeted loan funds which provide alternative, nontraditional debt capital to underserved businesses (e.g. minority contractor loans) and communities (e.g. facade improvement loans).  He continues to lead AltCap’s participation in the federal NMTC Program which has resulted in $158 million in NMTC allocation authority awarded from the CDFI Fund since 2008.  In addition to his role with AltCap, Ruben is also founder and Executive Director of AltCap’s “sister” 501(c)(3) organization, Community Capital Fund, which he established to promote and support neighborhood capacity building in Kansas City’s economically distressed communities. Prior to his role with AltCap, Ruben was a Project Manager for the City of Kansas City, Missouri’s Development Finance Division, a program manager/consultant for the Los Angeles Minority Business Development Center, and Finance and Royalty Accounting Supervisor for EMI Recorded Music.Ruben holds a B.B.A. in Accounting from the University of Miami’s School of Business Administration and a Master of Public Policy with a concentration in economic development from the University of Southern California’s Price School of Public Policy.

Mark Beam

Mark is the inaugural Maverick In Residence at the Kauffman Foundation where he also directs Convening & Engagement. As a social architect, he is passionate about realizing ideas at an ecosystem level integrating vision, innovation, design, culture, collaboration and investment. His experience as an entrepreneur, impact investor and cultural theorist follows a decade on Wall Street managing big egos and billion dollar portfolios. He went on to produce a pivotal technology event series in San Francisco just as the Web was born, (New Minds 1998); co-founded the largest annual social impact investment & social entrepreneurship gathering globally (SOCAP 2008); and    a festival and platform for social innovation to inspire Mexican youth to solve their own communities challenges (CATAPULTA 2011). Mark often looks to Marshal McLuhan for insight into media and technology and to Buckminster Fuller on social architecture and inspiration for his new book on Integrity, set to be published in early 2018. He has been a Member of the Buckminster Fuller Board of Directors for the past decade and has directed his own social architecture firm and creative agency “beaming” for nearly 20 years where you can learn more. Mark calls Kansas City and Oaxaca Mexico home.

Bob Berkebile:

Any list of accomplished, influential environmentalists and preservationists includes Bob Berkebile. Highly regarded by fellow professionals, Bob focuses on improving the quality of life in our society with the integrity and spirit of his firm’s work. In 2009, Bob received a Heinz Award from Theresa Heinz and the Heinz Family Foundation for his role in promoting green building design and for his commitment and action towards restoring social, economic and environmental vitality to America’s communities through sustainable architecture and planning. Among his contributions to his industry, Bob is the founding chairman of the American Institute of Architects’ National Committee on the Environment (AIA / COTE) and was also instrumental in the formation of the US Green Building Council and its LEED rating system, and the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge. He has received numerous national awards and honorary degrees and was named “Change Maker Emeritus” by Metropolis Magazine.Locally, he is co-chair of the Environmental Management Commission and the Mayor’s KCI Advisory Group, and serves on the Mayor’s Climate Advisory Group, as well as the boards of MINDDRIVE, Bridging the Gap, and The Nature Conservancy.Bob is a partner in two development companies that are engaged in urban acupuncture, with the transformation of the Westport schools to Plexpod Westport Commons, the largest coworking campus in America, and the conversion of Commerce Tower to a vertical neighborhood.

Barbara Bichelmeyer:

Barbara Bichelmeyer serves as Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UMKC. Prior to joining UMKC in August 2015, Barbara held several roles at Indiana University, including Executive Associate Vice President for University Academic Affairs and Senior Director of the Office of Online Education.  She also spent a year as interim chancellor of Indiana University Southeast, in the Louisville metropolitan area. Barbara’s research and grant-activities are focused on the study of how educational systems integrate new technologies and how the introduction of new technologies change educational systems in order to better support student-centered learning and improved human performance.  She has served as a consultant for the design, development and evaluation of instructional programs and performance improvement initiatives with numerous organizations. Barbara holds four degrees from KU:  B.S. in Journalism; B.A. in English; M.S. in Educational Policy and Administration; and a Ph.D in Educational Communications and Technology.

David M. Brain

Mr. Brain has served in a number of roles throughout the Kansas City area.  He served as President and Chief Executive Officer as well as a Board Member/Trustee of Entertainment Properties Trust/EPR Properties (a company he co-founded in 1997 and for which he served as its original CFO); on the Board of American Residential Properties, Inc., (ARPI) and Board of Maxus Properties (MRTI). He has also served as Senior Vice President in the Investment Banking department of George K. Baum and Company as well as performed as the Managing Director of the Corporate Finance group in the Kansas City office of KPMG.  Mr. Brain currently serves as CEO of Brown Cow Capital, LLC, a real estate development and investment firm he founded in late 2015 located in Kansas City. Mr. Brain has received numerous honors throughout his career.  Some of his accomplishments include: recipient of the 2011 Ernst & Young Master Entrepreneur of the Year;  2010 Real Estate Industry Innovator of the Year by the Grasskamp Real Estate Center at the University of Wisconsin; appointed to the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trust’s (NAREIT) Board of Governors; and was honored at the UMKC 2013 Regional Entrepreneur of the Year.  In addition, Mr. Brain has appeared on numerous national programs including Mad Money, Squawk Box, Closing Bell and Power Lunch and regularly contributes and appears as a guest commentator on television networks including CNBC, CNNfn, and Fox Business Network. He has also served on numerous community and charitable boards and currently contributes to: AltCap; UMKC – Board of Trustees for the University of Missouri at Kansas City; and ULI – District Council Chair for the Urban Land Institute Kansas City. Mr. Brain received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with honors from Tulane University, where he was also named Phi Beta Kappa in 1978, and a Masters of Business Administration from the A. B. Freeman Graduate Business School at Tulane University in 1979 where he was honored with an Academic Fellowship. He resides in Kansas City, where he was born, with his wife Cathi with one of their four children still at home.

Jeffrey Byrnes:

Jeffrey’s decades of experience in the nonprofit sector continues to improve lives through philanthropy and build clients’ capacity by connecting stakeholders to missions. His intensive work with numerous organizations, with thousands of volunteers and on scores of client projects has provided him invaluable experience in the field of fundraising. Jeffrey brings a distinctive, client-focused philosophy to fundraising, financial development, and capital campaign planning and management. A fourth generation farmer, Jeffrey’s client relationships reflect his upbringing, work ethic and strong commitment to advance philanthropy. Jeffrey has spearheaded campaigns for a broad spectrum of clients:  from rural nonprofits needing to increase healthcare services within their communities to national membership organizations seeking to improve programs for constituents throughout the country. Among his successes are The Harry S. Truman Library Institute for National and International Affairs, National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, American Academy of Family Physicians, The Nature Conservancy – Kansas Chapter, Powell Gardens, Bishop Spencer Place, The Foundation for Mount Nittany Medical Center, hundreds of YMCAs and dozens of faith-based campaigns. Jeffrey founded the only Kansas City firm to be accepted into The Giving Institute, which is most recognized for embodying the values of ethics, excellence and leadership in advancing philanthropy.  He currently serves as Chair for The Giving Institute and is also on the Board of the Giving USA Foundation. Jeffrey and his firm’s associates have successfully guided more than 320 nonprofit organizations through campaigns raising more than $1,250,000,000, for clients across all subsectors: arts/culture/humanities, education, environment, faith-based, healthcare, senior living and social services. Jeffrey’s efforts as a leading fundraising practitioner were recognized in 1998 when he received the “Excellence in Fundraising Award” presented by the Greater Kansas City Council on Philanthropy (known today as Nonprofit Connect.). Today, Jeffrey’s fundraising leadership is shared with the nonprofit community through numerous workshops, seminars and keynote addresses he delivers throughout the country on a broad range of fundraising topics. His writings appear in numerous publications and he is also a recurring guest on KC Cares, Kansas City’s only radio program by, for and about the nonprofit community. A graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Jeffrey serves on numerous nonprofit boards and is the proud owner of Kensington, a Border Collie, and Hollyrood, a Miniature Australian Shepherd.

Derrick Collins:

Derrick Collins has spent the last 25 years serving as a results-driven leader in the nonprofit and social enterprise sectors, collaborating with government, civic, businesses, community and faith leaders to create/provide affordable housing, business and workforce development opportunities for residents of disenfranchised communities.  Mr. Collins currently serves as the President and Co-Founder of Good Company (GC), a non-profit, Social Enterprise Hub whose mission is to support and advance the field of social enterprise in the Metropolitan Kansas City region through advocacy, networking, training, public education, business/legal services and technical assistance.  Good Company also intends to foster the growth and development of a social enterprise ecosystem as a sustainable way to address the social needs of disenfranchised communities.  Lastly, GC will measure both the economic and social impact its membership has had on the region. Mr. Collins also serves as the Managing Member of The DECO Group, LLC, a Management Consulting firm he established that partners with non-profit organizations to develop and implement strategies to increase an organization’s level of economic independence while improving the organization’s effectiveness and efficiency.  DECO provides CFO Services, organizational assessments, social entrepreneurship, workforce development, resource development, and real estate development (RED) consulting services to non-profits nationwide.  To date, the DECO Team has successfully procured approximately $25 million in federal funding for nonprofit organizations. These grants have created social enterprises that provided training, employment and self-sufficiency opportunities for approximately 5,000 low-income residents from disenfranchised communities. Derrick earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the University of Central Missouri, and attended the Executive MBA program at the University of Missouri Kansas City.  Derrick has also been certified as an Economic Development Finance Professional by the National Development Council, and has completed the Minority Business Executive Program from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.  He also has served as a Fastrac business consultant with the Kauffman Foundation.  His charitable work includes serving on the Board of Directors of selective nonprofits in Kansas City.  Derrick lives in Kansas City, MO.

Rita Cortes:

Rita Cortes was named executive director of the Menorah Heritage Foundation in July, 2015. Prior to joining the foundation, Rita practiced law with Seigfreid Bingham, P.C., where she was a shareholder.  She served as president of Hoffman Cortes Contracting Company before joining the law firm.  Rita’s community involvement includes prior board service and leadership roles with diverse organizations in the greater Kansas City business and civic communities, as well as the Jewish community. In addition, she serves as a mentor in the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program and tutors B’nai Mitzvah students at Congregation Beth Shalom.

Robert D’Intino:

Robert S. D’Intino, PhD is Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship in the Rohrer College of Business at Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey. His current academic research focuses on social entrepreneurship leadership and comparative analysis of new global legal forms for hybrid social enterprise organizations. He teaches undergraduate and MBA entrepreneurship and strategic management courses at Rowan, and previously taught entrepreneurship at Penn State University and Virginia Tech. He has twenty years of business experience as a financial executive with three large multibillion-dollar corporations and founder-owner of a successful manufacturing firm.

Tom Esselman:

Tom Esselman was named CEO of Connecting For Good in January, 2016, succeeding co-founder Michael Liimatta, who relocated to Washington DC to lead the national Connect Home initiative of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Tom has always been passionate about community engagement and leadership.  He came to Kansas City in the late 1980’s to work for Hallmark Cards, and eventually became an Innovation Director, responsible for creating Hallmark’s ‘Song Cards’, and Recordables.  After retiring from Hallmark in 2012 as a senior innovation executive, Tom was recruited to be the CEO for the Institute for the Ages, a startup nonprofit in Sarasota, Florida, where he built a successful record of leveraging healthcare technologies and digital inclusion for the senior market.  He gained experience bridging public and private funding as well as local and national efforts to drive the mission of a nonprofit entity.  Tom, and his wife Mary, returned to Kansas City in 2015 to be closer to their children—and two recent grandchildren. Connecting For Good hired Tom with a mandate to strengthen its work within the KC Digital Inclusion Coalition, and to scale the impact of its model for providing Connectivity, Hardware, and Training to residents in the Digital Divide.

Kevin Flattery:

Kevin Flattery has had an extremely diverse career in the Greater Kansas City community. Following graduate school he worked in management at the old General Hospital and Truman Medical Center. He then went on to become Executive Director of the first hospice organization in Kansas City, the first Director of Institutional Advancement at St. Teresa’s Academy, and the first Director of Development for the Center for Advanced Heart Care at The University of Kansas Hospital. In addition, Kevin has worked in the for-profit arena building and selling several companies. As a consultant, he used his for-profit business skills to guide and assist nonprofit organizations in their efforts to develop a more entrepreneurial, broad-based approach to their fundraising activities. His expertise is in organizing, educating and inspiring staff, board and volunteer leadership to successfully implement fund development plans and major gift campaigns that exceed expectations and goals.

Kathleen Garman:

Kate Garman is the Innovation Analyst for the City of Kansas City, MO. She is the legal and policy analyst in the Office of Innovation with the purpose of drafting ordinances and policy recommendations to foster a culture of innovation in Kansas City. She jgraduated in May 2016 from the University of Missouri ­­ Kansas City School of Law, after concluding her year-long role as Student Editor-­in-­Chief of The Urban Lawyer, the ABA publication on state and local governance. Before entering law school, Kate was the Government Affairs Specialist at Black & Veatch.

Wendy Guillies:

Wendy Guillies is the president and chief executive officer of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Established in Kansas City, Missouri, by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist, Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the United States with an asset base of more than $2 billion. Guillies is a native of Kansas City, Kansas, and she and her husband are the proud parents of two daughters. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska.

Adrienne Haynes:

Adrienne B. Haynes is an attorney and business woman who specializes in helping entrepreneurs develop sustainable infrastructure and business practices. She is the managing partner of SEED Law, a business law firm, and owner of SEED Collective, a consultancy. Adrienne uses her business and leadership experience to create legal and strategic planning solutions for her clients and to speak and write on topics relating to law and entrepreneurship.She prioritizes community service through her leadership of several nonprofits, including the Construction Business Institute, the Multicultural Business Coalition and Black Female Attorneys network.  Adrienne is a graduate of Buena Vista University, where she studied Entrepreneurship and Spanish, and of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law with an emphasis in Entrepreneurial Law. For more information on Adrienne, please visit her website at adriennebhaynes.com.

Scott Helm:

Dr. Scott Helm is a senior fellow with the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership and faculty member of the Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he teaches program evaluation, financial management, and social entrepreneurship. He also directs the Bloch School’s Executive M.P.A. program. Building on his background in economics and nonprofit management, Helm assists organizations with program evaluation, market research, business planning, strategic planning, and board development. His research focus is social entrepreneurship, and his work has led to publications and presentations at numerous conferences. Helm and Fredrik Andersson received the Nonprofit Management and Leadership 2011 Editors’ Prize for Best Article for “Beyond Taxonomy: An Empirical Validation of Social Entrepreneurship in the Nonprofit Sector.”

Joan Heminway:

Professor Heminway brought nearly 15 years of corporate practice experience to the University of Tennessee College of Law when she joined the faculty in 2000. She practiced transactional business law (working in the areas of public offerings, private placements, mergers, acquisitions, dispositions, and restructurings) in the Boston office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP from 1985 through 2000. She has served as an expert witness and consultant on corporate finance and federal and state securities law matters and is a frequent academic and continuing legal education presenter on business law issues. Professor Heminway also has represented clients pro bono on political asylum applications, landlord/tenant appeals, social security/disability cases, and not-for-profit incorporations and related business law issues. In her research and writing, Professor Heminway focuses most closely on disclosure regulation and policy under federal securities (including insider trading) law and state entity (especially corporate) law. Some of her work explores these topics in the context of sex or gender difference. Other areas of interest manifested in her work include institutional reform at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, teaching business law, and corporate finance and corporate governance planning and drafting. She has coauthored a number of annotated merger and acquisition agreements and related ancillary documents for Transactions: The Tennessee Journal of Business Law. Her work has been published in a wide variety of general and specialty journals. She also has authored numerous academic and trade book chapters and co-authored two business law teaching texts: Business Enterprises: Legal Structures, Governance, and Policy (LexisNexis, 3d ed. 2016) and Martha Stewart’s Legal Troubles (Carolina Academic Press 2006). Professor Heminway is a member of the American Law Institute and is a Research Fellow of the UT Center for Corporate Governance and the UT Center for the Study of Social Justice. She has been a Visiting Professor at Boston College Law School and at Vanderbilt University Law School and has taught business law courses in study abroad programs in Brazil and England. She was President of the campus Faculty Senate for the 2010-11 academic year.

Alan Howze:

Alan Howze is working to advance innovation, open government, and operational improvement as the Chief Knowledge Officer of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, KS.As CKO, Alan leads the Information Technology, 311 Call Center, and Geospatial Services, and is standing up two new Divisions – a Data and Performance group and an Innovation Group. Working across teams, the Knowledge Department brings together analytic and data management capabilities to deliver smarter government. His team works across Unified Government departments to make data available to the public and that helps residents, businesses, and nonprofit organizations address community challenges. He is also focused on using data to create greater efficiencies, improve employee satisfaction, and deliver improved services.Prior to joining the Unified Government, Alan was a Fellow with the IBM Center for the Business of Government, where he focused on research designed to promote effective government management at the federal, state and local level.Mr. Howze has helped federal, state, and local government clients use innovation to drive improved performance and lower costs, and supported development of strategic initiatives such as smarter cities, mobility, analytics, and cloud. He has contributed to thought leadership in innovation, performance management, benchmarking, and smarter government.

Christopher Hoyt:

Chris Hoyt teaches courses in the areas of federal taxation, business organizations, retirement plans and tax-exempt organizations. Previously, he was with the law firm of Spencer, Fane, Britt and Browne in Kansas City, Mo. He received an undergraduate degree in economics from Northwestern University and dual law and accounting degrees from the University of Wisconsin. He is currently the chair of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Lifetime and Testamentary Charitable Gift Planning (Section of Probate and Trust) and serves on the editorial board of Trusts and Estates magazine. He is a frequent speaker at legal and educational programs and has been quoted in numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, MONEY Magazine and The Washington Post.

Clara E. Iraz’abal-Zurita:

Clara Irazábal is the Director of the Latina/o Studies Program and Professor of Planning with tenure in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design (AUPD) at the University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC). Before joining UMKC, she was the Latin Lab Director and Associate Professor of Urban Planning in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, New York City. She got her PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and has two master degrees. In her research and teaching, she explores the interactions of culture, politics, and placemaking, and their impact on community development and socio-spatial justice in Latin American cities and Latino and immigrant communities. Irazábal has published academic work in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian. She is the author of Urban Governance and City Making in the Americas: Curitiba and Portland (Ashgate, 2005) and the editor of Transbordering Latin Americas: Liminal Places, Cultures, and Powers (T)Here (Routledge 2014) and Ordinary Places, Extraordinary Events: Citizenship, Democracy, and Public Space in Latin America (Routledge 2008, 2015). Irazábal has worked as consultant, researcher, and/or professor in multiple countries of the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

Larry Jacob:

Larry Jacob is the vice president of Public Affairs and Communications at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where he leads all internal and external communications with emphasis on marketing activities, institutional branding, media relations, employee communications, and executive support. He also serves as a critical thought partner to the strategy and partnership development for Kansas City grant making under the Foundation’s KC Civic engagement program. Prior to joining the Kauffman Foundation, Jacob launched the nationally award-winning Dover Strategy Group with offices in Chicago, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, and Kansas City. As president and CEO, Jacob led all elements of the strategic communications firm that supported political and multi-million dollar public affairs campaigns from Hawaii to Kansas City to Massachusetts. Jacob was named a NextGen Leader by the Kansas City Business Journal in 2013 and 40 Under Forty by Ingram’s Magazine in 2006. A Boston-area native, Jacob lives in the Kansas City area with his family, received his undergraduate degree from Trinity College in Hartford, CT, and his Master’s Degree at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University.

Kari Keefe:

Kari is the founding Executive Director of Think Big Foundation and the KC Social Innovation Center, the nonprofit initiatives from Think Big Partners.  She works passionately to leverage technology to design and develop quality, inclusive, accessible education and impact programming in Kansas City’s urban core.  Kari has been instrumental in bringing the IEEE Smart Core City project, LRNG digital badge platform and Village programs to the KC region.  She serves on KC Digital Drive’s KC Education Innovation Team, Cristo Rey High School Technology Advisory Committee, PREP KC TechStart Academy Advisory, KC STEM Alliance EcosySTEM Advisory Council, Rockhurst High School/St. Teresa’s Academy STEAM Advisory Board, and is a member of the Kauffman Foundation’s Education Innovation Task Force and the Forbes Nonprofit Council.  Prior to Think Big Foundation, Kari spent two years on a National Science Foundation grant working for Mozilla managing an experimental fund for next-generation educational pilots that use gigabit technology to illustrate the transformative power of high-speed, low latency Internet and cyber physical systems on learning and workforce development.

 Crosby Kemper III:

 Crosby Kemper III is the Director of the Kansas City Public Library.  Educated at Pem-Day, Andover, Eton and Yale, Crosby is the former CEO of UMB Financial Corporation. He is the editor of, and contributor to Winston Churchill: Resolution, Defiance, Magnanimity, Good Will published by the University of Missouri Press.In 2003-04, he chaired the Commission on the Future of Higher Education in Missouri for Governor Holden. He served on numerous boards, including: Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which operates Monticello; Kansas City Symphony; Union Station; Lapham’s Quarterly; Heart of America Shakespeare Festival; and the National Churchill Museum. He co-founded and is chairman of The Show-Me Institute, a libertarian public policy think tank for the state of Missouri. In 2017, he was elected chair of the SHLB Coalition board, a national organization working to improve broadband access for anchor institutions and their communities.In 2008, Crosby received the Difference Maker Award from The Urban League of Kansas City; and he and the Library received the Gold Medal for Libraries from the Institute for Museum and Library Services. In 2009 he was inducted into the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame by the Kansas City Kansas Community College Endowment Association. In 2010 he was appointed to the Missouri Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission by Governor Jay Nixon, and received the William F. Yates Medallion for Distinguished Service from William Jewell College and the 2010 Harmony Humanitarian Hoffman Legacy Award. The KCPL series Meet the Past with Crosby Kemper III is a two-time Emmy winner.

Tony Luppino:

Tony Luppino is a Professor and Director of Entrepreneurship Programs at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law and a Senior Fellow with the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at UMKC. In February of 2017, Prof. Luppino was named the recipient of the University of Missouri System’s inaugural Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year Award. He teaches business, tax, and entrepreneurship courses, and co-teaches several interdisciplinary courses. His scholarship focuses primarily on legal and policy issues significantly affecting entrepreneurs, and on entrepreneurship education. Luppino was also the principal organizer of the Law & Entrepreneurship Special Interest Group of the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE). He has also served for several years as lead editor of the Entrepreneurship Law website powered by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and is a frequent speaker at conferences and workshops on subjects at intersections of law and entrepreneurship. Among his activities in social entrepreneurship, along with John Tyler, Evan Absher, and Kathleen Garman, he co-authored an article published in 2015 in the Quinnipiac Law Review entitled Producing Better Mileage: Advancing the Design and Usefulness of Hybrid Vehicles for Social Business Ventures. Prof. Luppino earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Dartmouth College, his J.D. from Stanford Law School, and an LL.M. in Taxation from the Boston University School of Law.

Kristen McGeeney:

Kristen McGeeney is the owner of KRM Consulting LLC, which works with clients to help them develop funding sources and effectively manage and implement their grants and projects.  She was previously a Senior Legal Advisor at the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), which works with governments and civil society organizations to improve the legal environment for civil society, philanthropy, and public participation around the world.  At ICNL, she provided technical assistance and advice, conducted research, and led trainings and workshops for lawyers, government officials, civil society organizations, and social enterprises on a variety of topics, including the laws and regulations relating to funding, grant-making, non-profits, impact investing and social enterprises. She continues to consult for ICNL and lead workshops on the laws and policies impacting non-profits and social enterprises. Prior to joining ICNL, Kristen worked for over five years at the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Kristen is a graduate of the Washington College of Law at American University in Washington, DC, where she specialized in international law, earning a Juris Doctorate with honors. Kristen earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Iowa.  Kristen was also previously an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Georgetown University.

Laura McKnight:

Laura McKnight is an entrepreneur, executive, attorney, and author. She specializes in the influence of today’s social impact culture mindset on workplace productivity, performance, and rapid enterprise growth. Laura is a partner at Embolden, where she and Ann-Marie Harrington help executives grow their businesses through well-planned, decisive actions to achieve leaps in progress through bold moves, not incremental steps. After starting her career practicing tax law at the Kansas City firm of Spencer Fane Britt & Browne, Laura served as president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation for six years. Laura also serves as the chief operating officer at Indianapolis-based RenPSG, which offers technology-enabled business services and supports nearly $17 billion in assets. Laura is a leading expert on the connection between philanthropy and positive psychology, a theme she explores in Do Good, Feel Better, her second book, published in January 2017. Laura is a graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and the University of Kansas School of Law. She and her husband live in Leawood, Kansas, with their houseful of daughters.

Anthony Mendes:

Dr. Tony Mendes, Managing Director of the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, is an acclaimed entrepreneurial educator and administrator of nationally and internationally recognized programs. In his role with the Regnier Institute, Dr. Mendes is responsible for the integration of entrepreneurship in all of the academic units of the university. He also leads university efforts to support entrepreneurial ventures in the Kansas City area. He formerly served as Director of the Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of North Texas and Executive Director of the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership (AEL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During his tenure at Illinois, the university achieved national status for entrepreneurship education by the Princeton Review & Entrepreneur Magazine, Fortune Magazine and the National Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers and was ranked among the top 25 entrepreneurship programs in the US. Prior to the University of Illinois, Dr. Mendes was Director of College Initiatives at the Kauffman Foundation, Kansas City, Missouri. There he managed a program grant portfolio with over 150 colleges and universities. Many of the collegiate programs that he initiated have received national prominence including; The Kauffman Campuses program, the National Consortium for Life Science Entrepreneurship, the National Consortium for Entrepreneurship in the Liberal Arts, the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship and the Kauffman Faculty Scholars program. Dr. Mendes is Former President of the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) and currently serves on that organization’s leadership team.  Prior to joining the Kauffman Foundation, Dr. Mendes was founder and president of Mendes and Associates, a private consulting company, located in Kansas City, Missouri. He also spent 13 years with AT&T as manager of training and development. His teaching experience includes courses at: Rockhurst University, Kansas City, MO; Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ; Polytechnic University, Brooklyn, NY and the University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign, Illinois, and now UMKC.

William Mullins:

William (Bill) Mullins is the founder of the Kessler Institute – KC and a Governance Systems Architect by profession. Grounded upon the social entrepreneurship evident in urban designer George Kessler’s 1893 Plan for the Kansas City Parks and Boulevards System, the Kessler Institute – KC promotes a contemporary discussion about how the inclusive social principle – “ample affordance of green space” –can be replicated in the vastly more technology immersed modern metropolis. The KI-KC also encourages the adoption, exploration, and realization of ecosystemic standards of democratic governance in our increasingly complex age. Bill has designed work control systems in complex, high-consequence circumstances for more than three decades.

Steve O’Neill:

Steve O’Neill has been with the Curry Family Foundation for approximately 16 years preceded by 11 years with the Charles F. Curry Mortgage Company. Steve also founded the Kansas City Junior Board program which teaches students the business side of both the non-profit and philanthropic worlds. Kansas City Junior Board is currently in three local elementary schools and two high schools. 

Dan Osusky:

Dan is the Director of Standards at B Lab, a global non-profit that serves people using business as a force for good.  As Director of Standards, Dan oversees the B Impact Assessment, the social and environmental performance tool used to certify B Corporations and issue GIIRS Ratings. The B Impact Assessment is currently used by over 50,000 businesses, ranging from publicly traded multinational companies to SMEs, to measure and manage their impact on stakeholders including workers, community, customers, and the environment. Prior to B Lab Dan worked in academia, and has a Master’s Degree in Philosophy from Texas Tech University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Philosophy from Wake Forest University. 

David Renz:

David Renz is the Beth K. Smith/Missouri Chair in Nonprofit Leadership and Director of the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership, the leadership research and development center of the Department of Public Affairs in the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri – Kansas City.  Currently, he also serves as Department chair for the Department of Public Affairs in the Bloch School.  A nationally-noted expert on nonprofit governance and effectiveness, David writes, teaches and conducts research on public service governance, leadership, and organizational effectiveness.  He is especially interested in helping organizations and their boards build their capacity and effectiveness, and his most recent work has focused on governance and management in nonprofit networks and socially-entrepreneurial organizations.  David has worked with more than 135 boards, commissions, and leadership networks in the past decade, and he writes frequently for both the academic and practice communities.  He also is the editor of the The Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management and co-editor of The Research Handbook on Entrepreneurs’ Engagement in Philanthropy: Perspectives.  David earned his Ph.D. in Organization Theory and Design at the University of Minnesota.

Steve Roling:

Steve Roling served as the founding president and CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City from 2004 through 2013. This foundation was created when Health MidWest sold its hospitals to HCA.  Steve obtained both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Missouri in Columbia. Steve started his work career as resident director of a youth treatment center in Marshall, Missouri while he was still in college and graduate school. After graduation, Steve worked for MASW as a community organizer for over one year.  He then became a legislative assistant to former United States Senator Tom Eagleton in Washington, D.C. For six years Steve worked with the Senator on human service issues.  He then came back to Missouri and was a banker for four years, and in 1985 he became Publisher of the Kansas City Business Journal for six years.  In 1991, he joined the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and became the Senior Vice President of the foundation until 2002.   In 2003, former Governor Bob Holden appointed Steve as the Director of the Missouri Department of Social Services. In that role he was responsible for a $6.2 billion budget with over 8,500 staff and 300 local offices located through the state.    The $472 million Health Care Foundation is committed to improving the quality of health care in the region for the medically indigent and underserved.

Sarah Shipley:

Sarah Shipley loves to find ways for nonprofits to raise money and social capital. She started her career in DC working for the League of American Bicyclists and Rails to Trails Conservancy. She has worked internationally at the USO in Stuttgart Germany. In 2010, she moved to Kansas City and founded Shipley Communications, a full-service consultancy that focuses on fundraising, creating social capital and income streams for nonprofits. She co-founded BikeWalkKC, and Kansas City B-cycle, the country’s first, private, bike sharing system, owned and operated by a nonprofit. She was on the founding team of Neighbor.ly, and won the Points of Light Civic Accelerator Prize. She has won numerous awards for her fundraising events, namely the Tour de Bier KC, and Women’s Bike Summit. Sarah loves to learn and she holds a BA from Bradley University, an MA from the University of Oklahoma, and has studied Graphic Design at the Corcoran School of Art. She is currently working on an Executive MBA from Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis. She loves rapid innovation, design, typography and has a passion for startups and civic projects.

Andy Stoll:

Andy Stoll is a serial entrepreneur and a senior program officer at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where he is responsible for the implementation and management of the Foundation’s ecosystem development strategy. Before joining the Kauffman Foundation, Stoll co-founded Seed Here Studio, a social good company specializing in building innovation ecosystems in unexpected places. He is the co-founder of six entrepreneurial-focused organizations, most recently The Startup Champions Network, the nation’s first professional association for full-time innovation ecosystem builders. His past work includes projects with The Case Foundation, The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and The Bohemian Foundation, building innovation ecosystems in technology, global health and music, respectively. At the Kauffman Foundation, Stoll leads the ecosystem development strategy, most prominently the annual ESHIP Summit, the forthcoming Kauffman Ecosystem Playbook Series and multiple large-scale grant programs to support ecosystem building in communities across the United States. Stoll is a regular speaker on entrepreneurship and ecosystem building; a global facilitator for Startup Weekend; and has taught entrepreneurship at Cornell College. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in business management and a Bachelor of Arts in communication and media production from The University of Iowa, as well as a Master of Arts in media cultures from The City University of Hong Kong.


Tim Sweeny:

Tim Sweeny is a founding partner in Praxis Nonprofit Strategies. He has 18 years of experience in fundraising and strategic planning. His work includes: sponsorship fundraising with Habitat for Humanity; corporate fundraising with United Way; international development with the Peace Corps; and capital campaign management across religious denominations and secular nonprofits. Tim also helps organizations craft strategic and fundraising plans. Tim plays an active role in the advancement of philanthropy through his own personal involvement in local and international nonprofits and with civic bodies. Tim is a founding member of the Kansas City area Nonprofit Consultants’ Roundtable and an active member of the Kansas City Association of Fundraising Professionals. He holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration and Certificates in Fundraising Management and Community Facilitation. He has lived and worked in Central America and speaks Spanish.

John Tyler:

John Tyler is General Counsel, Secretary, and Chief Ethics Officer for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which is dedicated to fostering economic independence by advancing education and entrepreneurship. In addition to managing the legal aspects of the Foundation’s operations, Tyler regularly speaks about social enterprise, impact investing, and hybrid business forms, including for law schools at Columbia, Georgetown, NYU, Notre Dame, Texas, and Washington University; business schools at Northwestern and the University of Missouri-Kansas City; Independent Sector; Social Enterprise Alliance; Council on Foundations; and others. Tyler has authored or co-authored several law review articles on distinctive aspects of hybrid forms, including fiduciary duty, regulation, and a 2015 article with Tony Luppino and two others in which they propose a form designed to fill gaps in how current hybrids fulfill initially intended purposes, intersect with existing regulations, and approach priority of purpose and accountability for those priorities. Tyler also speaks and publishes on other topics such as the role of private foundations in society, advancing university innovation, and U.S. policy on high-skilled immigration.

Rick Usher:

Rick Usher is the Assistant City Manager for Entrepreneurship & Small Business and the City Manager’s liaison to the City Council’s Small Business, Entrepreneurship & Jobs Committee in Kansas City, Missouri.  He works with the City Departments and Kansas City’s vibrant entrepreneur community to establish a business-friendly customer service culture in City Hall and to make KC America’s Most Entrepreneurial City.  In 2009 he led the effort to launch KCBizCare, the City’s Business Customer Service Center, and the Business Customer Service Center, and the Business Advocates running this office have built the program into a nationally recognized best practice for local government.  Rick represents the City in the Coalition for Digital Inclusion and is working with the Mayor’s Office and Housing Authority on the implementation of the White House/HUD ConnectHome initiative.

William Wells:

William Wells, Jr., is well known in Kansas City and beyond as a tireless champion of access to high-quality STEAM programs for low-opportunity youth. During his six years as network administrator for Benjamin Banneker Charter Academy of Technology and through aSTEAM Village, the organization he founded to bring 21st-century skills to his students and families, he has coached a total of 700 students who have participated in Robotics and Ten80 STEM programs, including four teams that reached the Robotics World Championship. With a background in entrepreneurship as the founder of his own broadband company, William also builds students’ career interests, fosters problem-solving skills and sparks innovative thinking through his project-based summer STEAM camps and cross-country trips to national conferences. He currently serves as president of the Kansas City chapter of BDPA and chaired the 43rd Annual National Society of Black Engineers Convention Pre-College Initiative Planning Committee held in Kansas City March 29, 2017.  A 2004 Black Engineer of the Year Pioneer Award recipient, William is the proud father and grandfather of four kids and two grandchildren.

Deborah (Debbie) Wilkerson:

Deborah (Debbie) Wilkerson is president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. With more than 3,000 individual funds under its umbrella—ranging in size from a few thousand dollars to tens of millions of dollars—the Community Foundation helps its donors organize their generosity, offering tools and services for a better way to give. The Community Foundation serves donors throughout the entire Kansas City area and beyond. The Community Foundation ranks in the top ten among the more than 700 community foundations in the country, a position it has held since 1999. In 2010 alone, the Community Foundation’s donors granted more than $245 million to the charitable causes that meant the most to them. The Community Foundation is fortunate to serve a region that is one of the most generous in the nation. Indeed, Kansas City’s high income households give nearly twice as much to charity as the national average. Debbie earned her B.A. in psychology from the University of Kansas. Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Debbie was an attorney with the law firm of Shook, Hardy & Bacon where she focused on estate planning and charitable planned giving.