BBBSKC is having one of the best years in our history and as a result we are continuing to grow rapidly. In the last 2 weeks, we've been able to add 5 new full time staff members to our team. We're so excited about each and every one of them and we want you to learn more about our incredible new staff. Take a minute to read all about them in their profiles below.
Justin Pessetto, Individual Giving Manager
Tell us about yourself. I am the 4th of 5 children. My younger and older brother both live in KC. I have two older sisters, one who lives in Seattle and the other in Costa Rica (Pura Vida). Also, I am recently married, March 2017, to my beautiful and intelligent bride, Meghan, who serves as a Charge Nurse on UNIT 45/Oncology-BMT at KU Med. – yes she is angel. I have an 8yr Boxer, Marlo – and 2 cats that I inherited through Marriage - Murphy aka Cross-Eyed Joe and Josh—who’s actually a girl-aka JoeSHE
What is your alma mater? Rock Chalk University – B.S.E. Sport Management and Business
Where are you from originally and where do you live now? Born and raised in Shawnee, KS – living in Overland Park – trying to get into DT KC Loft Life
What is your favorite thing about KC? There are so many amazing things about Kansas City.
1. My Bride and I’s families
2. The BBQ (Arthur Bryant’s – Joes – Slaps – Gates - no particular order)
3. Our Sports teams - Chiefs, Royals, and Sporting KC
4. Bike/Running Trails
5. The diverse culture and history
What’s a fun fact about yourself? I was recently inducted into the Kansas University Athletics Hall of Fame as a part of the 2008 Orange Bowl Championship Team (Rock Chalk)
What are your hobbies? Bow Hunting, Waterfowl and Upland Bird Hunting, Brunch, Pick-up basketball games, backyard BBQn, Golfing (at the hardest course in KS- Oak Country GC in DeSoto- challenge your golf game), Camping, Fishing, Bicycling, swimming, Yoga, shooting and archery range with my Dad, and traveling with my bride.
Who was your mentor? My mentors are my parents
What attracted you to BBBSKC? Not “What” but “WHO” attracted me to BBBSKC. Since graduation I have worked in college athletics fundraising a year at KU and another 3 or so at Creighton University. I had an amazing opportunity to come back to KC and work for the American Heart Association in corporate development transitioning into the youth market sector. I have always wanted to work with our current BBBSKC CEO, Micheal Lawrence. Micheal has always been a solid influence- whether it be at deer camp or in a professional setting. I have always been able to go to with him with questions and ideas about fundraising.
What excites you most about your position? I am excited to build lasting and meaningful relationships with community members who are as dedicated as our staff is, in helping move the needle by creating life changing friendships that are impacting our city’s youth and growing the BBBSKC organization.
Sydney Dillman, Case Manager
Tell us about yourself. I’ve lived in Kansas City my whole life, but I went to the University of Oklahoma. I have two cats, Lucy and Oreo. I love being active and trying new restaurants/cuisines.
What is your alma mater? University of Oklahoma
Where are you from originally and where do you live now? I’m from KC and currently live in the Plaza area.
What is your favorite thing about KC? So many things! The BBQ, Royals, Chiefs, our booming food/brewery scene, and just how nice people are here.
What’s a fun fact about yourself? I used to sell homemade pickles at the farmer’s market!
What are your hobbies? Running, cooking, and traveling
Who was your mentor? My grandmother
What attracted you to BBBSKC? The culture and the mission. It’s a dream to work for a company who values their employees so much. It shows in each and every person who works here. They truly care about the children, volunteers, and families we serve.
What excites you most about your position? I am so excited to see Bigs and Littles find each other through BBBS, make a match, and see their relationship grow into a lifelong friendship that changes both parties for the better!
Kara Phillips, Case Manager
Tell us about yourself. I was born and (mostly) raised in Lee’s Summit, MO. I moved around a lot in high school and wound up in Mason, OH where I graduated high school. I came back to Missouri to go to school and to be on the dance team at Avila. I have danced for most of my life, I danced competitively and was on every high school dance team where I lived. I met my now husband, Spencer in college and we just celebrated our first wedding anniversary on the 24th. We have two dogs, Millie and Rue who are our lives. Any conversation we have somehow our dogs get brought up. Since graduating I was a child welfare worker.
What is your alma mater? Avila University, Bachelor’s in Social Work
Where are you from originally and where do you live now? I’m originally from Lee’s Summit, MO. I currently live in Roeland Park, KS
What is your favorite thing about KC? What isn’t there to love about KC?! I don’t think I have just one favorite thing about KC. The BBQ, the fountains, the opportunities, the skylines, the city itself.
What’s a fun fact about yourself? My friends tell me I’m a human radio, I love music and know majority of the words to every song.
What are your hobbies? Dancing, drawing, painting (anything that deals with the arts I’m all about)
Who was your mentor? My mom has always been my mentor.
What attracted you to BBBSKC? My younger sister is a Big Sister and that is all she talks about. Being able to see the difference my sister has made on her little really caught my eye. I also attended Summer Bowl For Kids’ Sake twice now and just seeing the involvement BBBSKC has throughout the community is something I just cannot pass up. I remember when I was at the last Summer Bowl, I looked around at all the fun people were having and the impact they were making and thought I really have to be a part of BBBSKC.
What excites you most about your position? I am excited to see all the changes the Bigs make in their Littles lives. Working as a child welfare worker I saw a lot of negativity. I am looking forward to being able to see all the positivity that is out there in the world!
Hilary Moore, Engagement and Foundation Manager
Tell us about yourself. I grew up in a small farming community in Northcentral Missouri and learned about the importance of community service and pride at a very young age. (Go Bulldogs!) I studied political science in college and became determined to have an impact on my community through the avenue of public service. Before joining BBBSKC, I served as the Senior Advisor for Communications to Kansas City Mayor Sly James for three years. I’m a Big Sister to the most hilarious 9-year-old girl and I recently got married to the love of my life, Josh, in June. We’re settling into life as newlyweds and we enjoy cheering on the Kansas City Chiefs, traveling, and no longer talking about wedding plans!
What is your alma mater? William Jewell College
Where are you from originally and where do you live now? From – Brookfield, MO; Currently Reside In – South Kansas City
What is your favorite thing about KC? The people! Kansas City is home to some of the nicest and most welcoming people. You almost never meet a stranger. Also, the food! I love trying new restaurants and cuisine.
What’s a fun fact about yourself? I took two years of Japanese in college mostly just to prove a point. (Yeah, it maybe wasn’t my best idea!)
What are your hobbies? Spending time with family and friends, traveling, reading, hanging out with my Little, trying new restaurants, and keeping up with all the latest drama happening on my favorite TV show, Scandal.
Who was your mentor? My mom! She taught me about the importance of being kind to others, working hard to achieve my goals, and staying true to myself. She’s my rock and there’s no way I’d be the person I am today without her constant love and support.
What attracted you to BBBSKC? The mission and impact of the organization. I became a Big Sister last October and ever since then have seen the difference one-to-one mentorship has made in the life of my Little. So, when I began thinking of transitioning out of the public service sector and into the nonprofit sector, I knew BBBSKC was the place I wanted to be. I was already seeing and experiencing the impact of the organization and I wanted to do my part to help further the mission.
What excites you most about your position? My position is all about engaging and thanking our supporters and I’m so excited to help BBBSKC share its story and express its gratitude to all those who make our meaningful work possible. I’m also really excited to strengthen our existing relationships and to help grow new ones within the community.
Taylor Book, Case Manager
Tell us about yourself. I am originally from Appomattox, Virginia. I am a “Double Duke”, meaning that I graduated with a B.S. and M.S. from James Madison University in Virginia. The past five years I served in student affairs at Wake Forest University directing intramural sports, club sports, summer camps, and several special events. During that time, I also taught in the classroom as an adjunct professor at Wake Forest and Winston-Salem State University. On my nights off, I had the pleasure of getting yelled at while officiating varsity high school basketball. But it is not all work and no play! I spend most of my free time with my fiancée and two dogs. We love to eat, travel, and try new things. My new favorite sports teams are the Royals and Chiefs, but college football is my absolute favorite sport. Go Hokies!
What is your alma mater? James Madison University – B.S. Justice Studies & M.S. Kinesiology
Where are you from originally and where do you live now? I’m originally from Appomattox, VA and now live in the Brookside/Waldo area.
What is your favorite thing about KC? The people are kind, generous, and hardworking. There is a real sense of pride in the community. I recently moved from the east coast and it has taken very little time to feel like home. I was nervous about moving to the Midwest, not having a beach or mountains nearby. In the absence of a beach or mountains the people of KC create their own fun. There is no shortage of festivals, recreational opportunities, music, and good food. I would be remiss not to mention BBQ!
What’s a fun fact about yourself? My go-to wedding dance is the leg guitar.
What are your hobbies? I enjoy spending time at home with my fiancée and two dogs. We love to travel, try new restaurants, watch live music, and get hooked on tv shows. I am currently learning how to play the blues guitar and loving it!
Who was your mentor? I have been blessed with an amazing family. My parents and two older brothers still play an integral role in my personal development. Over the years, countless individuals have served double duty as both mentor and coach, teacher, boss, and friend.
What attracted you to BBBSKC? BBBSKC makes a huge difference in individual lives and the Kansas City community. My prior work and volunteer experiences have helped me understand what is truly important. I want to be an integral part of providing support and guidance to youth who are motivated to succeed.
What excites you most about your position? This position allows me to use my greatest strengths and be an active member of the positive change in Kansas City. I am excited to work with like-minded individuals and support our Big’s and Little’s in any way possible.