Ingram’s 40 Under Forty Class of 2024


Lessons in Leadership, Vol. 26 

Since 1998, Ingram’s has showcased rising young executives whose leadership in business, civic life, and philanthropy have marked them as the region’s most promising leaders. Last year, we celebrated a milestone with our 25th class, bringing to 1,000 the number of people recognized over the years. Now … on to the next 1,000, starting with this class of 2024.

You’ll see within this talented roster a diverse range of organizations: Law firms, banks, health-care providers, manufacturers, venture-capital firms, utilities, construction firms, wealth managers, real-estate pros and more. They hail from the region’s most prominent corporate brands, but also represent the entrepreneurial spirit that defines KC as dreamers, visionaries and start-ups.

That’s the beauty of 40 Under Forty. Without a fixed business sector to focus on, anyone from any sphere is eligible for consideration. But to crack this lineup, business talent alone won’t be enough. For most working Americans, the ages of 30-39 are prime child-rearing years. Almost without exception, our 40 Under Forty alumni, like most of the members of this class, are raising KC’s future, one child at a time. The time demands at their workplaces might never be more intense than they are at this stage. Yet almost without exception, they find time to engage outside the home, too, often through schools and youth sports teams. But more often, its on behalf of local non-profits, civic groups and industry associations that work to build a better Kansas City.

These distinguished young leaders devote their time, their skills, their fund-raising acumen and their own dollars to support causes that connect with their own passions and interests. There’s a reason why 40 Under Forty is one of our signature business-recognition programs. It’s because of what these honorees represent for the Kansas City community we all hope to create.

Klassie Alcine
When it comes to touching lives, Klassie Alcine is on a whole ’nother level: As a non-profit executive, entrepreneur, and political consultant, this 37-year old has turned her passion for socio-economic initiatives into work that has supported nearly 2.2 million individuals and families—essentially, the entire metro area population. She’s the CEO of KC Common Good, a non-profit that unites the community to address the root causes of violence. The collective work for KC Common Good with partners has yielded about 5,000 violence-intervention, prevention and enforcement actions, over $3.5 million invested, and almost 10,000 hours of community engagement since June 2022. She has also partnered with the Kauffman Foundation’s Pro-X, a student internship program that has placed thousands high school students in summer jobs, and she was instrumental in the launch of KC 360, a program that brings more than 100 community organizations together to collectively address violence while building trust between the community and the police. It’s not like any of this was unexpected: Klassie flashed her leadership chops while still studying at UMKC, where as student-body president she led to a student-transportation initiative that secured bus passes used by 5,000 students weekly, eliminating a major barrier to their attending class.  “Being a convener and collaborator is not easy,” she says. “When connections are made, and projects worked on collectively, it is our greatest opportunity for common good.”  

Marco Assis
Almost from its inception in 1998, Propio Language Services found solid footing in translation/transcription services within an increasingly global economy. But if the company was a powder keg of potential, Marco Assis was the match. This Brazilian native, 39, came on as CFO in 2017, became CEO and owner just two years later, and took a small enterprise of 10 employees and $10 million in revenue on a ride toward $200 million annually and a staff of nearly 2000. And he did it during the global pandemic. “This was a difficult time for all, but I found the pandemic illuminated the crucial need to connect people to qualified interpreters quickly, easily, and affordably,” Assis says. “So, I worked with my team to improve the process while building a world-class business—often helping clients achieve 30 percent cost savings—and ultimately make a positive impact on our clients.” Propio, he beams, “will soon be the second-largest remote interpretation provider in the world and has been lauded both from within the industry and business worlds as one of the fastest-growing companies.” He and Dana recently welcomed their second child to the family, which he says “is central to my identity.” Before Propio, he spent 11 years at Shell Oil Co. and Puma Energy in varies roles in finance and M&A. “I left Brazil in 2014 to pursue bigger dreams and met my wife along the way, which brought me permanently to Kansas City in December 2016,” he says.

Alicia Beck
He was lost to the world nearly a generation before Alicia Beck was even born, but she immediately thinks of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. when asked to frame her own accomplishments. King, she says, “once phrased life’s most urgent question as ‘What are you doing for others?’ As Philanthropy Director at UMB, I have the privilege of guiding our charitable foundations to impact those in our neighborhoods and communities who need help.” That’s a tall order for multiple foundations that flowed from the wealth of an iconic banking family’s legacy—she oversees millions in assets, administering private foundation gifts as well as grantmaking for public charities. “While my non-profit tax attorney background gives me the skill set to properly manage 501(c)(3) private foundations, it is thro-ugh community involvement where I have learned how philanthropy can make a difference,” Beck says. Three years ago, she launched a community-development grant program that targets diverse populations, leading to 31 grants for charities in eight low-income communities across UMB’s footprint. Outside of her job, her volunteer work has benefitted the Lyric Opera, CCI, Variety, Catholic Education Foundation, American Red Cross, United Way of Greater Kansas City, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She has also authored a fund-raising textbook and KBA’s annual nonprofit survey, to keep current on non-profit tax law. And to top it off, just this month, the 39-year-old and husband John welcomed their fourth child to the family.

Alex Bergman
The three pillars of Alex Bergman’s life—professional and personal—are hospitality, history, and a sense of community, he says. And from a certain perspective, you can catch a glimpse of all three in a glass of the fine wines he produces. Bergman, 37, is the owner of Bourgmont Winery and Les Bourgeois Vineyards, where he says “my focus is creating a community cornerstone where people can come to commemorate any type of occasion and experience the history of Midwestern winemaking. We strive to show that Kansas and Missouri wine can be as good as the well-known wine growing regions in America.” And indeed, the wines he’s produced have already won national and international awards. “Each year, we work hard to create new varietals and increase production while including the community, such as during harvest,” Bergman says. “We are currently expanding into Oregon and Washington, using the same practices of community engagement, land conservation, and leveraging local resources.” On a personal level, service to the Kansas City community has focused on preserving history for future generations. “As a graduate of the College of William and Mary with a degree in history, historical preservation has played a pivotal role in my life,” he says. You can often find him leading tours at the National WWI Museum, where he’s part of the curatorial staff and helped bring about the Bergman Family Gallery exhibit. He’s also been a volunteer and member of Church of the Resurrection since its inception.

Jeff Bergman
“I couldn’t have imagined,” Jeff Bergman muses, that “when I started 17 years ago as an entry-level actuary at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas that I would be in the position I am today.” Frankly, nobody else could have imagined that for themselves, either: Bergman is one of a kind as chief financial officer for the biggest health insurer in Kansas. In that role, he oversees $2.3 billion in revenue and $1 billion in invested assets, directing a team of more than 150 in a never-ending battle to deliver health-care coverage at the most affordable rates. “The best part of my work,” Bergman says, “is serving Kansans in everything we do. Our work during the peak of COVID exhibited that—we eliminated copays for COVID health care, provided interest-free loans to health-care providers, gave premium rebates to our dental customers, and raised provider payments as relief from inflationary pressures.” Being able to ensure that the funds were available to accomplish those goals, while maintaining financial security for customers, he says enthusiastically, “is rewarding work!” Health care is complicated and rapidly evolving, Bergman says, “so we have no shortage of problems to solve to make it simpler for our customers and to be there when they need us.” Outside of work, he lends his financial acumen to boards and organizations that make Topeka a better place to live. And at home, he says, “from cross-country cheerleader to chauffer for play rehearsals, I also support the goals and hobbies of my three children, Lucas, Anna, and Joseph.”

Taylor Breen
Motivation starts at home for Taylor Breen, who says his greatest accomplishment is being the father of three young boys. “Along with my wife, Whitney, they are my biggest motivation in life and I strive to make them proud every day,” he says. Well, he’s certainly given them reason to be proud: At 34, he’s vice president of business banking at Commerce Bank, serving as a trusted advisor to owners and executives with family-owned and privately held companies in manufacturing, transportation, distribution, construction and service-oriented businesses. Among others.  “I’m passionate about helping customers navigate complex financial challenges along with obtaining financing for commercial real estate, equipment purchases, business acquisitions and establishing working-capital lines of credit,” the 34-year-old says. “In the past two years, I have doubled my commercial portfolio,” a testament to his work ethic and strong commitment to customers. His client-first approach has earned him the bank’s Commercial Sales Excellence awards four years running, followed by the Kansas City Sales Recognition Award last year. Breen serves as a mentor for the bank’s expansion-market trainee program as well as its Ascend Trainee Program, and in those capacities, “I enjoy providing guidance and being a sounding board for younger bankers so they can forge their own successful career path.” He’s also logged service on the Olathe Planning Commission, the Kansas City Sports Commission’s Emerging Leaders Advisory Board and volunteer youth sports coach.

Jordan Brunk
Where Jordan Brunk treads, growth follows. It was true at the social-radar company Infegy, where he was part of an effort that tripled revenues, and it’s been even more evident since February 2020, when NorthPoint Logistics stood up WarehouseQuote, a logistics company where annualized revenues are up an impressive 25-fold, and where he’s coming off the best net-new-business quarter in that enterprise’s short history. Brunk, 37, is chief marketing officer there, leading all revenue operations efforts, including the company’s sales and marketing practices. “My team focuses on customer acquisition, supply-chain solution design and brand health,” he says. After moving from social-media monitoring into logistics, with the global forwarding company, he was tasked with co-founding WarehouseQuote, and developed the initial provider network and customer base across the platform. After earning his degree in communications and business from KU, Brunk moved to Kansas City to secure an executive MBA from UMKC’s Block School of Management. He’s leveraged that in various ways within the local supply-chain and technology space, and is committed to spreading the knowledge. “I have many lessons learned from developing multiple businesses in the past and it is always a joy to share my experiences with others, hoping to have them learn from any prior shortcomings,” Brunk says. He and Alisha have two daughters, Sophia and Olivia, and he’s supported various charities like Harvesters, Hillcrest Hope projects, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and more.

Brandon Buckley
In earning a degree in international political science from Columbia University, one must be able to discern the big picture. Combine that up with a master’s in real estate from UMKC’s Bloch School of Management, and you have the tools to create that picture. That’s precisely what Brandon Buckley has done in 15 years with LANE4 Property Group, where he’s gone from assistant property manager to partner. Along the way, this 38-year-old has mastered commercial realty development, owner’s representation, retail tenant expansion, landlord representation, asset management, property management, and concept development. The results of that are changing the built face of Kansas City: He’s played a lead role in the development of approximately $150 million of completed, or projects under construction since 2012, including the Downtown Lee’s Summit Market Plaza, Red Bridge Shopping Center, Cedar Tree Shopping Center in Belton, Santa Fe Square and the Downtown Public Library in Olathe, to name but a few. He’s currently tacking development projects that included 4711 Belleview, a proposed $140 million, 12-story, 300-unit, Class-A multifamily project on the Country Club Plaza. His roster of completed brokerage transactions totals approximately $200 million. Outside the office, he’s currently in his third year as a board member for Wonderscope Children’s Museum, where he serves as the chair for the Development Committee and helped steer its relocation to the new facilities in the Red Bridge Shopping Center.

Jack Caffrey
There’s something to be said for being in the right place at the right time on your career arc. In Jack Caffrey’s case, it was right place, right time—and right skills. He leveraged all three to become a key part of one of this region’s biggest entrepreneurial success stories at Rx Savings Solutions. The youngest member of this year’s class, 33-year-old Caffrey came on board as financial analyst in 2017, as the pharmacy-solutions platform’s growth was rocketing. Within five years, he was vice president of finance, managing finances for a firm with 1,500 percent revenue growth. Navigating the diligence process central to acquisitions yielded the 2022 sale to McKesson Corp. for $875 million, “one of the most significant exits in the history of Kansas City,” he beams. Now, he continues to work with senior executives at McKesson, one of the nation’s biggest companies. “Such rapid progression in my career has demanded a considerable commitment of time, balancing professional responsibilities with the joys of raising my young family,” Caffrey says. His son Louis was born in early 2020, and daughter Charlotte arrived in 2022, just six days after the acquisition by McKesson was finalized. “Outside of work, I cherish every moment spent with my wife and children,” he says. From his time at Rockhurst High School and as an Eagle Scout, he developed a commitment to service that showed up when he became a founding member of the Rx Gives Back Committee, which has supported local charities with gifts of donations and volunteer hours.

Teresa Cain
Fintech executive, business consultant, entrepreneur, wife, mother of three: Teresa Cain checks all the boxes for career and personal success. She’s the product and technology leader at TreviPay, a B2B payments platform that processes $7 billion in transactions per year across 32 countries. For the past five years, she’s managed and grown a portfolio of solutions to more than $100 million and increased user adoption by more than 200 percent—per year—while leading the product, user experience and design teams. But the work doesn’t stop there. “I also lead the women’s vertical for TreviPay’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee, developing training for employee growth, mentoring early career leaders and regularly speaking at Women in STEM events across the community,” she says. That includes gigs for Burns & McDonnell STEM, Ad Astra Technology Summit, Pipeline Entrepreneurs events for startups, and MINK-WIC (Missouri Illinois Nebraska Kansas Women in Computing).  At home, where she and Ryan have children 9, 6 and 3, she tries to lead by example with her own volunteer efforts to inspire the next generation of leaders: Girl Scout leader for two years and a youth sports coach for six. She’s a consultant to business startups, she’s also author of the business how-to book “Solving Problems in Two Hours,” and was a 2022 Women in IT Summit & Award Series Finalist for Advocate of the Year and was last year’s honorary co-chair for the Midwest Leadership Summit. A KU English/journalism graduate, she holds a pair of master’s degrees.

Scott Campbell
There are entrepreneurs, and there are rapid-growth entrepreneurs. Scott Campbell falls squarely within the latter subset. A KU finance graduate who holds an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, he says his background “is based in building businesses, teams, and spreadsheets. I’m fortunate to have accrued unique professional experiences alongside exceptional people,” and he has leveraged that history effectively. He spent nearly 10 years with Spring Venture Group and was the senior finance executive for that digital platform, which helps consumers shop for insurance products. From its launch to more than 1,000 employees and $175 million in revenue, he led its finance and accounting operations through more than eight years of accelerated growth, complex debt financings and equity events. In 2019, he launched a search fund that led to the launch of SMT-Midwest, a B2B disruptor within the waste management industry. At 38, he serves as managing partner, overseeing expansions into Ohio and Utah that have helped drive annual recurring revenue growth of 225 percent since 2021. Then he found time to launch Exponent, a tech and data-driven recruiting platform for financial sponsors and portfolio companies nationwide; its recruiting services focus on investment professionals, CFOs and other high-performing finance and accounting pros. That, too, is on a triple-digit arc, with 290 percent annualized customer growth the past three years. Success at home—“I married up,” he says—is a tag-team effort with Janelle to raise their three children.

Patrick DeBrecht
Ask Patrick DeBrecht what makes him tick, and he’ll tell you: He’s extremely ambitious. He’s data-driven. He’s sales-oriented. He ably demonstrated the ambition piece in 2020—a year many companies would like to forget—by co-founding Interest Media. Then, he drew on the data and salesmanship pieces to build that venture into a $60 million book of business in just three years. “As an entrepreneur,” DeBrecht says, “I have a clear passion for cutting through the noise and delivering powerful digital marketing strategies that generate actual results, not only for clients but also for the industry as a whole. I love working with and developing innovative technologies to create profitable business opportunities and success within the digital marketing landscape.” As president of the digital marketing concern, he’s been responsible for leading business development, digital strategy, audience acquisition efforts and overall operational management. There’s more growth coming, too. This year, he’s launching a new product that he believes will add $1 million in additional monthly revenue by the end of the year. Before jumping into the startup world, he was CMO at InsideResponse, helping build it into an acquisition target for SelectQuote, and before that, he was at Adknowledge for a decade, responsible for generating an estimated nine figures of revenue across a variety of its business lines. Real success, though, starts at home, he says, with his wife Abby and their two children. “Without her love and support,” DeBrecht says, “I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all of these achievements.”

Melody Dickson
Melody Dickson is all about corporate accountability. “In my legal journey, I’ve been dedicated to high-stakes personal injury and commercial litigation, with the goal of championing the rights of those adversely affected by corporate misconduct,” says the 39-year-old partner at the law firm of Wagstaff & Cartmell. She’s been on the job for 14 years, starting out in personal injury and wrongful death cases, which she calls “a pursuit that fulfilled my passion for justice and allowed me to give individuals and families a strong voice during their most challenging times.” That enthusiasm and zealous advocacy for clients have helped obtain multiple seven and eight-figure results. She’s since added nationwide class action to her book of business, including one prominent RICO class action on behalf of 140,000 business owners hit by an extensive over-billing scheme. That, she beams, “achieved the largest known settlement of its kind, providing over $80 million in available relief to the class.” Dickson recently received a federal appointment to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Steering Committee in the Insulin Pricing MDL, litigation focused on holding drug manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers accountable for inflating the price of insulin in the U.S. Off the clock, she demonstrates her passion for giving back to the community with volunteer efforts for the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault and Legal Aid of Western Missouri. “I also strive to instill the values of integrity, compassion, and community in my four sons: Mason, Maddox, Tyler, and Sabastian,” she says.

Zack Donnelly
When Zack Donnelly says he started on the ground floor at John A. Marshall Co., he’s not kidding: He was assigned to the Lenexa office design company’s flooring division. From there, he cultivated a robust client base and worked to expand the company’s offerings to cater to more facets of client needs. That, he says, led him to explore the architectural products division, where he became sales leader and immersed himself in the realm of office furniture. That, he says, was “the final, substantial offering within our company’s portfolio.” It paved the way for me to become director of business development and part of the ownership there. Still only 34, Donnelly is a model of optimism. “Maintaining a positive outlook is integral to my philosophy,” he says. “I firmly believe in finding the silver lining in every situation, whether personal or professional.” The office world took a hit during the pandemic, but Donnelly has helped lead the recovery for a company that marked its centennial last fall with a record sales year north of $125 million. Outside the office, he’s been engaged with the Kansas City Chamber’s Centurions program and working to benefit non-profits like the KC Children’s Assistance Network and United Way. Such efforts, he says, “align with my passion for community impact and enjoyment derived from meaningful contributions.” At home, he and Corinne welcomed a daughter in 2022, and now he has something else to work for. “Kansas City is not just a place I work; it’s where I envision creating a fulfilling life for my family for years to come,” Donnelly says. 

Lauren Douville
Just a suggestion to the legal eagles at Alphabet: Before you face off against Lauren Douville in court again, you might want to Google her track record. The 37-year-old partner at Kansas City’s Shook, Hardy & Bacon was part of a team from the firm that last year secured a $339 million jury verdict in a patent-infringement case involving the search engine’s Chromecast technology. It’s the largest 2023 judgment still standing in the U.S. And before that, she was trial counsel for the former Sprint in a 2017 patent infringement action against Time Warner involving seven patents related to VoIP technology. Time Warner was represented by two large national firms. After a three-week trial, the jury returned a verdict on behalf of Sprint, finding Time Warner Cable willfully infringed all asserted claims and awarding Sprint its full damages ask of $139.8 million. Two cases, nearly half a billion in damages. Woof. Her impact, though, does not stop in court. “In addition to these professional accomplishments, I have been very fortunate to represent pro bono clients on many different matters, including asylum, juvenile, and domestic violence cases,” says Douville. She also serves on Shook’s search committee, where she participates in hiring and a variety of events aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. At home, she finds what she calls her “greatest joy and accomplishment:” Working with husband, Marshall Douthat, to raise their two boys, of whom she says, simply: “They are the best.”

Jim Erickson
After staring his career overseas, analyzing projects on World Economic Forum economic-competitiveness assessments in developing nations, Jim Erickson continued his world travels lecturing in places like American University in Cairo and Assumption University in Thailand. In 2015, this 38-year-old came back to the heartland—he had earned degrees from KU and Pittsburg State—by signing on with the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City as a business-development officer. He later had stints with Wyandotte County and the KC Area Development Council, and during that period, highlights of a few significant wins included the CVS distribution center in the Northland, TrueAccord, a CarMax operations center, and Niagara Bottling. These projects alone represent $400 million of investment and over 1,000 jobs brought to Kansas City. In 2020, his career came full circle as he returned to EDC and founded a department focused on initiatives for new pipelines. His team leads legislative advocacy efforts in Jefferson City, efforts to reinvigorate the Blue River Corridor, and also the LaunchKC program to scale startups into becoming the next generation of economic engines for KC. This has required several million dollars of new fundraising. LaunchKC has helped create 1,100 jobs and generated over $450 million of investment for Kansas City. The percentage of women and/or minority-led companies funded by LaunchKC has risen from 45 percent to now close to 70 percent. At home, he and his wife, Anné, are raising three children.

Josh Fink
How best to assess Josh Fink’s contribution as managing director at Academy Bank? As the old saying goes, “Follow the money.” Over the course of 16 years in commercial banking, he has originated more than $800 million in loans—and underwritten more than $1.5 billion, reflecting a strong aptitude for financial analysis and risk management. “One of my proudest accomplishments has been leading the Kansas City commercial banking group, playing a pivotal role in the bank’s substantial growth from $2 billion to $4 billion in assets over the past eight years,” he says. In doing so, he has consistently exceeded his goals as a producer—by a whopping 228 percent, one reason why parent Dickinson Financial Corp. made him part of the Legacy Leadership program in 2019. For the region, there’s an additional loan-to-value ratio attached to his performance. “I’m deeply committed to serving my community,” he says, and that’s reflected in board service for the First Tee of Kansas City. He has leveraged a personal passion for golf to teach life skills to children and personally raised more than $100,000 for that non-profit. He’s also been involved with Christmas in October, is a member of the Emerging Leaders Council for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City, and is a mentor at Gordon Parks Elementary School. Above all, he prizes his role as a family man and “Girl Dad,” raising three daughters with his wife, Abigail. His deep-rooted connection to Kansas City is reflected in his passion for golf, the Chiefs, Royals, and Mizzou sports.

Veronica Ford
In her 13 years with Honeywell’s Federal Manufacturing & Technology division, which oversees the Nuclear Security Campus for the Department of Energy, promotions have come Veronica Ford’s way roughly every 36 months. It’s not hard to see why. She was recognized as a Honeywell Outstanding Engineer in 2013 (the same year she won the Black Achiever in Business and Industry award), she secured certifications for Six Sigma Green Belt and Lean professional, she’s a certified Missouri Quality Award Examiner, and she secured a master’s degree in Engineering Management from the University of Kansas—while working full-time. As lead project manager/engineer, she’s making a bottom-line impact. “In 2023, I saved my company over $1 million in continuous-improvement projects and managed a portfolio of over $46 million,” she says. “I’m also very active with our employee resource network, the Black Employee Network, and have served on the leadership team for over 10 years.” Her efforts with the latter have yielded a pair of $20,000 engineering scholarships to local students. The 39-year-old describes herself as “Southern born and Midwest raised,” values that drives her community service to various organizations, including Evangel Church, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the National Society of Black Engineers, Honeywell Black Employee Network, and Black Achievers Society of Greater Kansas City, which recognized her as Black Achiever of the Year in 2018. In addition she has devoted time to a number of industry groups and charities.

Josh Goldsmith
Call it Transplant Math. For former New Yorker Josh Goldsmith, it goes like this: Four years, two kids, and one career-altering decision. That folks, is how this 39-year-old commercial realty pro ended up calling Kansas City home. “I never imagined I’d live anywhere other than New York,” he says. But he married into Kansas City roots, so when he and Lauren started thinking family, the track changed, despite his thriving career with Colliers International back east. Multiple job interviews led to a hit-it-off encounter with Cushman & Wakefield’s executive managing director, Mike Mayer, and Goldsmith was hooked. Mind you, a move like that in commercial realty—in 2020, at that—has its challenges. Nonetheless, he says, over that span, “I’ve been directly involved in generating deals valued at more than $500 million and now control more than 15 million square feet of client sites and projects nationally.” And you thought Sudden Impact was a Clint Eastwood movie. Beyond career, he says, “my parents and grandparents instilled in us a commitment to serve our community, and I’ve worked to honor them and carry on that tradition.” That includes the Chamber’s Centurion Leadership Program’s class of 2024 and service on behalf of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City. “I just felt like it would be a good thing to be a role model and mentor to a young man” during the pandemic, Goldsmith says. “That decision led me to become a Big Brother to Dashawn, who’s now 12 and part of our lives, along with Avery and Grayson, who were born here in 2023 and 2022.”

Amy Guerich
Talk about career focus: Amy Guerich started there at Stepp and Rothwell, the Overland Park wealth-management firm, as an intern, came back after finishing at K-State, and has been an award-winning rock of professional and civic engagement for nearly 20 years. Without a doubt, she says, going from intern to co-owner of the firm is her career highlight. “My dad was a laborer, my mom stayed at home to raise kids, neither finished college, and there was a point in time where we didn’t have a place to live,” she says. “But I now own a successful service business where I get to help our staff and our client families to achieve their definition of success.” Since acquiring her first slice in 2018, she’s steadily added to her partnership level, and “we have increased the number of client families that we serve by 30 percent, and we have increased our revenue by about 50 percent. Since 2020, we’ve created five new positions, which has helped us to grow and to more effectively serve clients.” Her professional success has allowed her to give tens of thousands of dollars to favored charitable causes, and thousands more donated as a firm, mainly to arts and education, as well as serving on the Starlight Theatre board of directors. She also owns a piece of her family’s farm, “including a house that my great-great-grandfather built, that has been in my family for five generations,” says Guerich, 39. “My dream is for this property to be a hub for extended family and a place that we can enjoy, where we can relax, unwind, and celebrate our heritage.”

Ben Hake
When Ben Hake signed on with Creative Planning’s tax division a decade ago, the wealth-management firm had less than $10 billion in assets under management. Today, it’s north of $300 billion. And every one of those invested dollars comes with a tax issue to resolve. So yes, Ben Hake is a very busy fellow as managing director of the tax division for the region’s biggest wealth firm. One of just three employees in that unit when he started, Hake, 38, is now leading with a team of 110. Over that span, he says, “I have assisted in hiring, training, process development, as well as being a technical resource for my peers,” he says. “I personally work with hundreds of clients across the country on a wide range of tax issues, with particular interest in working with small-business clients who need help navigating the constantly changing tax landscape. My goals are to provide clients with excellent service while helping them to understand their taxes and take advantage of every available opportunity.” In addition to his own book of clients, he consults with wealth-management clients on complex tax planning, authoring articles on tax strategies and law changes, as well as helping start a podcast explaining tax concepts. “Clearly communicating with others and doing the right thing results in the best outcome for everyone involved,” says Hake, who, along with Shawna, has three children. He also serves on the board of directors for the Jewish Community Center, where his family has been long-time members. 

Tyler Harrelson
Talk about timing: Construction company Centric was just accelerating from start-up mode when Tyler Harrelson climbed on board in 2012. He’s made the most of the opportunities two years after the doors opened there. Among them, leading the establishment of a custom-home-building division, elevating it to high-end, consistent revenue growth and a building team of up to 15 associates. Just five years in, he joined the leadership team there and has played a key role in pivotal decisions that propelled Centric’s growth to a $230 million enterprise within just 13 years. “Transitioning to my current position as a vice president in 2023, I now oversee sales initiatives and cultivate crucial partnerships that drive our company forward,” he says. “My objectives include venturing into new market segments and implementing strategies that position Centric as a top-tier contractor in Kansas City.” There’s plenty on his plate at work, but he clears space for after-hours and weekends. “I am humbled by the responsibilities of parenthood, raising three children,” Harrelson says. In coaching their sports teams, he says he hopes to instill the values of teamwork and persistence. He’s been a member of the Young Advisory Board for The Children’s Place, assisted with fundraising for the LLS Man and Woman of the Year Campaign, and serves on the board for Wonderscope Children’s Museum and the Development Committee for Kanbe’s Markets, a non-profit dedicated to providing affordable access to fresh produce.

Grant Harrison
It’s a given that, in real estate development, relationships are prized. Grant Harrison takes things beyond the handshake. At VanTrust Real Estate, where he’s executive vice president, he says a core value “is to ‘do right by the dirt,’” “To us, this means being great stewards of the real estate and its best use for the community. I wake up every day trying to make our community—our home—a better place for all families, my own included,” he says of wife Claire and their three children. As the head of VanTrust’s regional office, Harrison, 37, oversees developments in Kansas City and expansion into nearby markets, including Oklahoma, Iowa, and Colorado. In addition to leading what he calls a talented team of individuals, Harrison has developed more than 9-1/2 million square feet of projects, surpassing a combined $800 million in value. There’s plenty more where that came from, as he’s currently overseeing 15 million square feet in the development pipeline. “Throughout my career, a guiding principle has been prioritizing relationships—it’s always about the people,” he says. “One of the great aspects of this role is partnering with countless stakeholders—municipalities, designers, contractors, users, brokers, lenders, and neighbors. Together, we work to transform our ideas into projects to positively impact our region.” Each successful project, Harrison says, “has a halo effect: improving infrastructure, creating jobs, generating taxes for schools and public services, and spurring additional investment, profoundly impacting future generations.” 

Cassandra Higginbotham
Nothing about Cassandra Higginbotham’s career was gifted to her: She’s earned every bit of her success by moving up the rank from that first grocery-store job when she was just 16 years old to district sales manager today for the region’s second-largest private company, Associated Wholesale Grocers. In a run of more than two decades through the food supply chain, “the industry has grown into a tremendous passion of mine,” she says, and she stuck with it after earning a bachelor’s degree at KU. “Hard work, a positive attitude, and an eagerness to learn have led me to be offered numerous promotions over the years.” Among those were manager at the store level, leading a team of 600 employees, completing a year-long business-leadership program that covered warehouse operations, pharmacy, perishables, store operations, and more. Then, after overcoming breast cancer, she says, “I started a fundraiser to help local cancer patients financially and to show them others care about them.” Just two years ago, she signed on with AWG in a specialist position with 100 assigned stores and has been promoted twice, including executive support manager. At the district level, with 34 member retailer stores, she helped the cooperative’s member stores improve sales, profits and operations and led two successful store openings. Her latest step up will entail projects working with the executive leadership team. The 39-year-old has seen the possibilities, and she has a plan: “My goal,” she confidently states, “is to be the future CEO.”

Johnny Hilgers
The storyline of success at insurance brokerage Spring Venture Group is in lockstep with Johnny Hilgers’ professional achievement: Straight out of KU with a degree in finance, he came on board when the company was just two years old and has been The Data Guy throughout his run—at age 35—to chief analytics officer. His world embraces data mining, predictive analytics, and statistical analysis, all factors that turn complex information into insights that help the leadership make better business decisions.  He was tasked early on with starting and expanding the analytics team, which now at 40 members—bigger than SVG was when he started there. At each step up, he’s been the youngest to have held executive and C-suite roles in a company that now employs more than 1,000, and his work to implement machine learning led to gains of more than 25 percent in margins and cash flow. After taking responsibility for managing the firm’s marketing budget and team, he says, “We achieved outstanding results through effective strategies: a reduction of over 10 percent in acquisition costs and a 15 percent surge in revenue,” leading to the second-most successful financial year ever. Away from work, “My personal life is vital to who I am,” he says. Along with wife Megan, “I am a proud father to two wonderful children, Lucy and Leo, who bring immense joy and purpose to my life.” To fulfill a core value of community engagement, he supports various charitable initiatives, organizing fundraisers and mentoring young professionals. 

Adam Kilpatrick
How many of us can say we’ve made a billion-dollar impact in our chosen vocation? Adam Kilpatrick can. Since last year, he’s been market president for Enterprise Bank & Trust, a fitting achievement for someone who has surpassed that financial threshold in business and real estate development in his lending career. Kilpatrick, 39, oversees the bank’s P&L in this area, manages its lending teams, and executes the overall strategy in an inordinately competitive market. Before taking the leadership role, he was the bank’s director of commercial real estate in Kansas City for almost seven years, as that portfolio grew by more than 400 percent. That earned him the bank’s President’s Circle Award in 2019, an honor that goes to top contributors to profitability and sales leadership, as well as the third annual Bob Witterschein Award in 2022—Enterprise Bank’s highest internal honor. “I really enjoy leading our regional team with a focus on coaching and developing other lenders and bankers,” Kilpatrick says. “I feel like my greatest accomplishments as a lending partner have allowed me to be involved in some truly amazing and transformative projects in Kansas City. I am also proud of the very talented team I am fortunate enough to lead.” At home, he and Stephanie are parents to Annabelle, Charlie, and Joey, which means much of his volunteer time is spent at St. Peter’s church and school in Brookside. “I am also on the development committee for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City,” Kilpatrick says, “and make it a focus to volunteer as a family as much as possible.”

Katherine Lee
The 40 Under Forty program is grounded in business achievement, and Katherine Lee certainly has that going for her as a global real estate adviser for Element Sotheby’s International Realty. But these awards are also grounded in service, and Lee’s resume is line for line as impressive as her $36 million in sales last year. Over the last 10-plus years, she has chaired the Kappa Holiday Homes Tour three times, raising more than $125,000 for local non-profits, and was a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year candidate after raising more than $50,000 there. “In my time being involved with The Children’s Place, I chaired the Young Ambassador Board for 2-plus years, I served on the Chiefs Charity Committee, I raised $5,000-plus through the Chicago Marathon for TCP, and I’m currently chairing The Angels Board,” she says. And, without a trace of overstatement, she adds, “my passion lies in serving and giving back to others, which is why I commit so much time to giving back outside of work.” On the clock, her achievements reflect a commitment to start at the bottom and move quickly up: Last year’s sales total was 36-fold her rookie-year sales. “This journey epitomizes my dedication to excellence and relentless drive to exceed expectations,” says the 33-year-old, who already has been named in the top 1.5 percent of the firm’s agents and teams nationwide in 2021 and 2022. “My attainment of a broker’s license stands as a testament to my commitment to professional growth and expertise in the field,” Lee says.

Jennifer McNiel
It’s impossible to overstate the importance placed on patient satisfaction at The University of Kansas Health System, and that starts at the bedside with the nursing staff. There, Jennifer McNiel makes an over-sized impact on one of the region’s biggest employers as director of nursing excellence and the Magnet program. “My primary responsibility is to work hand-in-hand with leaders throughout the health system to ensure the organization retains Magnet designation and the nursing-centric culture that Magnet promotes,” McNiel says. Magnet recognition is the most prestigious and highest nursing designation in the world—fewer than 10 percent of the nation’s hospitals can claim that designation. “I led the organization to receive its fourth designation in August 2021, putting TUKHS in the elite 2 percent of hospitals who hold the designation four or more times,” she says. She also supports nursing recruitment and retention efforts, including the launch of a Nursing Extern Program, the creation of a nursing recruitment and retention fund of more than $150,000, and the launch of a Nursing Center of Excellence. At 37, she earned this year’s Early Career Achievement in Nursing Alumna award from KU. “I am most passionate about connecting with people,” says this Kansas City native. “Through relationships, I believe we can embrace vulnerability—the element that fuels connection and growth.” She and her high-school sweetheart, Dave, have three children—Macy and identical twin girls Payton and Madison, the focus of her coaching and PTO activities. 

Matt Moderson
Matt Moderson, 38, is about as hometown as it gets in Kansas City: Rockhurst High grad, UMKC law school grad, got married at Union Station, works as a commercial/construction-law litigator as a partner at Stinson, LLP. There, he has a national practice representing businesses in state and federal courts across the country. “During the last 13 years,” he says, “I have represented companies in all sorts of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and other business tort matters. I represent some of the firm’s largest clients, including Koch Industries and Mitsui.” For clients, it is money well spent: Last year, for example, his team obtained a $16 million judgment against a real-estate developer in New York, and he’s been named to the Best Lawyers Ones to Watch list and noted by Missouri Lawyers Weekly as an Up and Coming Attorney. Right out of law school, he went to work for engineering firm Terracon, then did a stint at Kutak Rock before aligning with Stinson in 2018. “I grew up in Kansas City, so this community is important to me,” says Moderson. Indeed, he and Elyssa met at Union Station and were married there, and now have two sons, Matthew and Thomas. Off the clock, he’s a longtime supporter of Newhouse domestic-violence shelter, where he served on the board of directors from 2014 through 2019, including a stint as its treasurer, and supported various fundraising initiatives, such as guest bartender for its Worthy Pop-up Bar in 2023 and 2024. At home, in addition to football, tennis, and biking with the boys, he coaches his older son’s flag football team. 

Natalie Morrison
Priorities? For all her achievements as financial planning and analysis manager for Johnson County’s WaterOne, Natalie Morrison puts obligations on another plane: “The most important part of my life is my family,” the 39-year-old says. “I have two young boys (Dean and Eric) and a supportive husband (Karl). I have been volunteering to coach soccer, t-ball, and basketball for my boy’s teams for the past four years. I thoroughly enjoy this responsibility to teach the teams about sportsmanship and being a positive role model. As a member of Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church, I am part of the Christian Nurture Committee, planning the youth service activities and Sunday School programming. I have taught Sunday School, led the children’s sermons during the Sunday service, and launched a parent’s night out program.” All of that is a framework for her success, with the water utility serving 475,000 customers. There, she says, “I lead a team of talented financial analysts, preparing a $150 million annual budget and managing an investment portfolio of over $130 million,” work that has earned the Government Finance Accountability Office’s Distinguished Budget Award for seven consecutive years under her leadership. She also pulled in more than $5 million in grant funds for WaterOne projects, and participated in Leadership Overland Park and UNC’s Water Leadership program. “I am proud to work for an employer with a mission that makes a difference in the world,” says Morrison, who holds three professional certifications and an MBA from Baker University.

Christa Moss
A future in politics, not courtroom combat, was on Christa Moss’ mind when she first set foot into law school at William & Mary in Virginia. But when the call came, she was ready to answer: “Within my first-year post-law school, I managed a docket of 60 cases and conducted a dozen civil bench trials” as assistant city attorney for Kansas City. “By the second year, I won my first appeal against an attorney who later became a Federal District Judge, helped pioneer a city program addressing blighted properties, and co-chaired two major civil jury trials.” That led to a coveted federal judicial clerkship, where Moss drafted more than 400 pre-trial litigation orders and authored more than 60 substantive opinions on constitutional and federal statutory issues—everything from criminal suppression motions and Social Security appeals to mental-health commitments. Impressive stuff in its own right, but consider this: At the same time, she served nearly a score of organizations on boards, coaching athletes, mentoring students, developing DEI policies, and organizing more than two dozen educational programs on implicit bias and women’s issues. That, she said, led to the Justice Department, where in less than three years as assistant U.S. attorney, she has, among other achievements, represented the interests of the United States in more than 200 cases, solo-chaired a four-day federal tort trial, co-chaired two other federal jury and bench trials, and mediated more than a dozen cases. She’s a mother of two children with husband Maurice, himself a 40 Under Forty alum.

LaDrew Murrell
LaDrew Murrell joined home-services specialist Southwind because he saw an opportunity to ride a growth rocket. Mission accomplished: The company was coming off $18 million in revenue from the previous year and is now barreling down on $244 million in revenue—on track for an 80 percent bump, year over year. That performance has placed the company well up on the list of the region’s fastest-growing enterprises, Ingram’s Corporate Report 100, in each of the past two years. The 39-year-old Murrell is a senior executive business coach who has spearheaded transformative initiatives to alter that growth arc. “From the inception of the Southwind Podcast to the establishment of executive-coaching programs,” he says, “these endeavors have not only elevated our brand but also fostered a culture of continuous learning and growth.” His contribution extends to shaping the next generation of leaders at Southwind through a comprehensive, seven-level tiered development structure that has reached more than 400 young and aspiring leaders this year alone. Murrell’s role within the leadership team has him working directly under CEO Josh Herron, translating his vision into tangible results. To bridge the gap between aspiration and achievement, he says, and to transform concepts into concrete realities, he relies on his commitment to nurturing a culture of collaboration, innovation, and inclusivity. “By fostering an environment where every voice is heard and valued, we’ve cultivated a sense of purpose and belonging that fuels our collective success,” Murrell says. 

Amy Patel
After earning her medical degree at UMKC’s School of Medicine in 2011, Amy Patel could have written her ticket almost anywhere—and did: a fellowship at the prestigious Washington University in St. Louis, radiology faculty at Harvard, staff radiologist at the storied Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. But here we are: Kansas City. Liberty, specifically. “I have made it my life’s calling to return to the region in which I was raised to elevate subspecialized breast cancer care and access in the Kansas City metro and beyond,” says Patel, 38. She was recruited in 2018 to build a comprehensive breast program at Liberty Hospital, became medical director of its Breast Care Center, and became chair of the hospital’s entire cancer program in 2019. Less than two years after coming back, volume at the imaging center was up 24 percent, and the breast MRI program grew 240 percent. She also led the establishment of breast surgical, plastic surgery, and genetics programs. On her watch, the breast imaging unit was the first department in the hospital to achieve four consecutive quarters of patient satisfaction in the 99th percentile in 2022. The hospital opened a multimillion-dollar imaging center in June 2021, intent on delivering cancer care, testing and cutting-edge technology second to none in the region. Last fall, she and husband Joe became parents with the arrival of Kate, and Patel has an impressive, award-winning service record supporting patient housing needs, public policy initiatives in Jefferson City, and various cancer-fighting associations.

Adam Porter
Even if you put the cart before the horse, you can reach the same destination—with the right application of horsepower, that is. Adam Porter concedes that he took a non-traditional route to become CFO at Musselman and Hall Contractors by not going down the public accounting track earlier in his career. “I started on the ground floor as a billing analyst at Freightquote.com in 2006 and eventually worked into an accounting role, where I learned to love accounting,” he says. During subsequent gigs at the Federal Reserve Bank and Kansas City University, he completed work on his MBA, then attained his CPA status. “I want to be an example to people that hard work, dedication, and an inquisitive nature will lead you to success, and not necessarily a standard path,” he says. Since joining the specialty contracting company in 2019, he saved $2.5 million for the firm through a debt restructuring, led a rebuild of the accounting team and its IT team foundation, spearheaded the headquarters relocation, then helped lead an expansion just a year later. Revenue growth has been comparatively stable at 16 percent since his arrival, but the bottom line is where his impact is really being felt: up 600 percent in that span. “When I’m not working, I strive to be the best dad and husband I can be” for Amy and their youngsters, Dawson and Jackson. He’s also setting a service example with support of various non-profit cases, including City Union Mission, HopeKids, Veterans Community Project, Big Brothers Big Sisters of KC, American Lung Association, and Jazzoo.

Michael Raupp
To translate the practice of law into, say, football, trial lawyers would be the linemen who do the blocking and tackling that produces a courtroom verdict or judgment. On a more strategic level, you’ll find the appellate litigator pressing higher courts to make sure the outcome of earlier—the final score if you will—litigation was correctly decided. That’s where Michael Raupp comes in as a partner with Husch Blackwell, briefing and arguing cases in federal and state appellate courts throughout the country. “My practice has an emphasis on higher-education litigation, and I have had the pleasure of working with colleges and universities to achieve successful outcomes in a variety of litigation matters,” the 38-year-old says. Raupp’s degree from KU in finance—he was the top student in his class—was supplemented two years as an analyst with an investment management firm before he headed to the University of Texas for law school. Following a clerkship with Judge Duane Benton on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit for one term, he signed on with Husch Blackwell, where he says, “I feel very fortunate to be part of such a dynamic and innovative firm.” At home, he and Courtney have three children and his service commitment includes the foundation board for Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care and Operation Breakthrough’s leadership council. “We feel it is important for our children to see us actively contributing to our charitable, civic, and faith communities,” Raupp says, “and we hope they will do the same in the future.”

Mark Robinson
Not long after Great Range Capital was launched in 2010, its founders brought Mark Robinson on board. Good call: Since he signed on, the private equity firm has executed roughly 40 transactions across 15 platforms, nearly tripled its staff, and soared to $450 million in assets under management. Investing in growth companies requires diligence on the research side and time commitments post-investment—the firm’s interests have Robinson engaged at the board level for a wide range of diverse companies, including Roofed Right America (commercial roofing), Salon Service Group (beauty products distribution), GP Industries (gutter guard manufacturer), FairWave Coffee Collective (specialty coffee provider), Realm Companies (pallet manufacturer), Fairbank Equipment (ag parts distribution), and HeartLand (commercial landscape and lawn). In recognition of his contributions, the owners elevated Robinson to partner status last fall, and he works with them on facets of the business, driving key operational and strategic efforts, along with investments and oversight throughout the portfolio. A Kansas City native, he earned his finance degree at KU, then worked in Minneapolis and Chicago before GRC came calling. It was the right fit, he says, because his high school sweetheart—Katherine—provided the impetus to come home, and they’re raising four children now. Active at Village Presbyterian Church, he’s also been a supporter of Children’s Mercy’s Hearts & Hands auxiliary in a board role, Top Gun Kansas City, for young executives, and the O.E. Ellis business/civic group.

Datha Santomieri
“Less than four years ago,” says Datha Santomieri, “Steadily was just an idea; there was no company, no product, no team.” But she and two business partners had a vision: Let’s build the best-rated landlord insurance solution in the world. “I took a leap of faith and left my 10-year career at Brown & Brown to launch Steadily, believing that we could disrupt the archaic insurance industry,” the 38-year-old says. “At the time, I was newly pregnant with my second daughter and knee-deep renovating a 7,000 square-foot flip in Leawood.” Drawing on her background in insurance sales, customer experience, underwriting, claims, product, pricing, talent acquisition, and operations, she built what she hails as “a team of incredible leaders who are exceptional at what they do, and together we move mountains. In 3-1/2 years, we’ve grown to 130-plus team members (40 percent of whom are based in our KC office). We have grown revenue 325 percent year-over-year and provide insurance for $60 billion in property value.” There are no plans to tap the brakes: “We plan to 3x that next year,” she asserts. “We’re building to go public within a few years, and it keeps me going knowing that the event will create personal wealth for our team who have invested their talent and energy in making Steadily stellar.” Most important, though, are her “two precious little girls who want to be ‘entrepreneurs like mama’ and I have the world’s most supportive husband (Nathan). We are deeply involved in our local church in Kansas City,” she says, adding: “I’m passionate about encouraging women to figure out how to balance career and family.”

Kevin Sears
The built physical space of the nation is changing as companies in high-tech, digital and advanced manufacturing are taking on new dimensions. Kevin Sears is witness to that change as vice president of JE Dunn’s recently formed Advanced Facilities Group, which has already surpassed $2 billion in annual revenue—better than a third of what the entire company billed in 2022. “As a leader of this team, I have supported over 20 projects—totaling more than $1.5 billion—across all four regions of JE Dunn’s national footprint that include Kansas, Missouri, Oregon, Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, and North Carolina,” Sears says. The majority of those have been in the data-center industry, which he says “has instilled in me a passion for execution, adaptability, and an innovative mindset to safety.” A Rockhurst High grad, he signed on with JE Dunn as a project manager with a degree in construction management from Missouri State. Sears lives a life of service devoted to community, industry and family. On the civic and industry side, he engages in the development of the construction trades work force through local partnerships and working with community leaders to increase the diversity of the construction work force metro-wide, and he’ll soon graduate from the Civic Council’s KC Tomorrow program. He’s also part of the alumni support effort for Rockhurst’s freshman retreats, volunteered for PreKC during the pandemic, and has raised funds for Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, among other ventures. At home, he and Lisa have a son and daughter active in youth sports to also keep him busy.

Kevin Thornton
Success metrics? Kevin Thornton has them. As head of sales for Topeka-based AE Wealth Management, one of the region’s largest in that space, he’s been integral in taking the registered advisory operation’s assets under management from zero in 2016 to $25.3 billion today. Do the math: That would pencil out to an AUM increase of $9.53 million every single day since the start of 2017. His work involves continuous buildout of the firm’s platform, including creating new content, advising the team, and helping our advisors grow their AUM. “I am blessed to be surrounded by an amazing team,” says Thornton, who turned 38 this month. “Together, we support more than 1,200 financial advisers at more than 430 firms across the country.” Those advisers, in turn, serve more than 97,000 clients. Before joining AE, he was a financial adviser, then an internal and hybrid wholesaler on the 401(k) team at Ivy Investments. In addition to client service, he says, “AEWM has a great program that allows us to go out and serve our community on a quarterly basis. I have been involved with Harvester’s back-to-school shopping for local children, and I even dressed up as Santa for holiday shopping. My wife and I enjoy supporting local charities such as the Explore Foundation, which helps to pay for field trips for kids that may not have the opportunity or means to afford it.” He and Ashley, both born and raised in Overland Park, are raising two sons who are active in sports, Scouts, and school activities.

Kaley Wagner
Want to go from startup to global in five years? First, find the right solution, then ask Kaley Wagner how it’s done. At 35, she’s managing director of operations for CrowdPharm, which provides brand-communications services for health-care, medical and pharmaceutical marketers. She’s the agency’s leader in operations, strategic partnerships, talent acquisition, and quality assurance, and says, “I’ve had the privilege of building our organization from the ground up. In the five years since its inception, I have helped CrowdPharm grow from six employees to over 40 full-time team members, increased our talent network from 200 to 9,400 members across the world, and recently opened our first international office.” Her leadership is focused on improving quality and efficiency, and CrowdPharm has earned a spot on Inc. magazine’s fastest-growing company list each of the past three years, as well as its Best Places to Work the past year (there’s been zero employee turnover in five years). She herself was recognized as a PM360 ELITE Transformational Leader just last year. “Though I appreciate the fulfillment I’ve found in my career, I am most passionate about where my time is spent outside the office,” she says. “My husband (Mark) and I strive to raise our four children to demonstrate integrity, strength of conviction, kindness and faith.” She serves in leadership positions for charities alongside Mark, and says they enjoy serving as a family, particularly in adoption/foster care ministry efforts “which we cherish, because we’ve adopted ourselves,” she says.