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BBBSKC celebrates incoming and outgoing board leaders

A new year brings new changes to our BBBSKC boards, and we are so excited about what our new leaders bring to the table. Help us welcome our new leaders and thank our outgoing leaders for all they’ve done to defend potential!

Jeff King, incoming President of the Board of Directors

Jeff started his career as an intern at Barkley, where he now serves as CEO. Jeff has helped grow Barkley into one of the largest independent agencies in the U.S., all while nurturing a purpose-driven culture.

Jeff became a Big more than 20 years ago and has supported BBBSKC ever since. He became more deeply involved when BBBSKC moved its headquarters to the Crossroads just two blocks from Barkley, and he was one of the original members of the committee that helped create RISE!

Most recently, Jeff led the team at Barkley that collaborated with the national BBBS office to rebrand the entire organization.

“It is an honor to serve such a well-run and respected organization,” said Jeff. “As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, I am optimistic about the future and excited to help usher in a new era of growth — especially with volunteers and Matches.”

Sahin Hoque, incoming President of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Board

Sahin is a Project Manager at AssistRx and has been involved with BBBSKC since he became a Big in 2013.

In the spring of 2017, Sahin joined the DEI Advisory Board. In addition to his work on the board, he has been a crucial support for BBBSKC through his involvement in Bowl for Kids’ Sake, the Big Draft, and recruitment efforts for Eastern Jackson County. Sahin has also been instrumental in efforts to help recruit more Bigs from the LBGTQ+ community.

“For the upcoming year, I decided to choose a quote to inspire myself to give, serve and carry out acts of kindness to others,” said Sahin. “Here it is: ‘The smallest act of kindness is work more than the grandest intention.’”

Katasha Kumar, incoming President of the Big Impact Group (BIG)

Katasha is a Global Manager of Sales Operations at MSTS, where she manages the Credit as a Service team.

Katasha began her involvement with BBBSKC as a Big nearly 4 years ago. Since then, she has joined the Big Impact Group (BIG), co-chaired the BIG recruitment committee, captained a Bowl for Kids’ Sake team, and fundraised for BBBSKC as a Most Wanted Honoree!

In 2021, Katasha is looking forward to increasing awareness and visibility for BBBSKC in the community through programs, fundraising, and recruitment.

“This junior board is unlike anything in KC, and the lifelong friendships we form are irreplaceable,” said Katasha. “I have an amazing group of other leaders around me who are passionate about connecting with like-minded, driven individuals, and it inspires me. I’m so pumped for 2021!”

Brandon McManamy, current President of the Donation Center Board

Brandon is a Sales Director at Accenture for Midwest-based energy and natural resource clients.

Brandon has been involved with BBBSKC for over 20 years. In that time, he has been a Big Brother, member of the Board of Directors, President of the Board of the Directors, member of the Donation Center Board, and President of the Donation Center Board. Brandon is BBBSKC’s longest-serving board president with over a decade of service.

While the COVID-19 pandemic was a significant barrier to the global thrift business in 2020, Brandon is hopeful about the Donation Center Board’s opportunities to come back strong in 2021.

“On the surface, what we do is pretty simplistic: We pick up used clothing and household items and deliver them to our partners. However, every year seems to bring a new set of challenges, and 2021 will be no exception,” said Brandon. “I am excited to work with the board and agency leadership to evaluate our business and find new and different ways to evolve and raise more money to support the mission of BBBSKC.”

Elise Kirchhofer, outgoing President of the Board of Directors

Elise is a Principal at Hoefer Wysocki and has been on the Board of Directors for 5 years, serving as President for the past 2 years.

Elise originally got involved with BBBSKC through her work at CBRE helping BBBSKC move into its new office space. From there, Elise joined the Board of Directors, eventually becoming board president, and then became a Big herself, too!

“Though there have been challenges, I am so proud of how the agency has handled adversity and come through each obstacle with a more solid foundation, strong leadership, and financial status,” said Elise. “And most importantly, they kept their focus on the Littles and families they were supporting.”

One of Elise’s favorite memories from her time as board president was the creation of the Voice of Potential role.

“They are shining examples of our brand and mission — they show how much kids can accomplish with the support of their community,” said Elise. “I see and hear weekly the difference the agency is making in the lives of so many kids and families in our area. It has been a huge honor to work with the leadership of this agency and be a part of all we have accomplished together.”

India Williams, outgoing Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Board

India serves as the Director of KIPP Through College & Careers at KIPP Endeavor Academy.

India has been a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Board (DEI Board) for six years and previously was a Big in Topeka, KS. For the past two years, she has served as co-chair of the DEI Board alongside Gene Willis.

During her tenure as co-chair, India was proud to collaborate with the agency’s leadership to make a statement of support for Black Lives Matter. She is also excited for the ongoing efforts to recruit and retain both Bigs of Color and Bigs from the LGBTQ+ community.

“Hands-down, my favorite memories are from Bowl for Kids’ Sake! After six years of participating, I finally led my own team last year, and it was amazing!” said India. “A quote that I think sums up my experience with the DEI Board is this one from Elizabeth Andrew: ‘Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.’”

Gene Willis, outgoing Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Board

Gene Willis is the Chief Engagement Officer for United Inner City Services.

Gene is a longtime supporter of BBBSKC, having been matched to his first Little Brother all the way back in 2004. In 2014, he was recognized as the Kansas City Big Brother of the Year!

Outside of his Matches, Gene has been a guest blog-writer, Summer Bowl for Kids’ Sake participant, and longtime member of the DEI Board. Nearly a dozen people have become a Big because of Gene’s advocacy.

One of Gene’s proudest accomplishments was representing the DEI Board at the 2019 BBBS National Conference in Charlotte, NC to help other agencies improve their efforts to recruit Bigs of Color and Bigs from the LGBTQ+ community. He’s also proud of the DEI Board’s work to create a Zoom career series for Littles during the COVID-19 pandemic that helped connect them with highly regarded professionals around the city and country in specialized career paths.

“Being a Big has made me a better man, plain and simple. Through being a Big, you are reminded on a weekly basis of the importance of ‘walking the walk,’” said Gene. “I’m very proud of my service and to have been a part of this organization, and I plan to continue to support the agency in some capacity in the future.”

Tommy Kennedy, outgoing President of the Big Impact Group

Tommy is the Vice President of Industrial Real Estate at AREA Real Estate Advisors.

Tommy’s time with BBBSKC goes back 8 years, starting as a Bowl for Kids’ Sake participant and team captain. Since then, he’s become a member of the Big Impact Group, a Big Brother, a Match Maker, a Most Wanted Honoree in 2016, and the President of BIG for the past two years.

One of Tommy’s favorite events was the 2019 graduation celebration.

“The graduating Littles were so proud and excited, and the Bigs were beyond proud — the speeches the Littles gave moved me to tears,” said Tommy. “What a testament to the impact their Bigs and the entire BBBS program has had on their life.”

“I believe the children of our community are our future,” said Tommy. “The life-changing friendships I’ve made through my Little, fellow board members, and the BBBSKC staff will be with me forever.”

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