2022 Keynote Speaker Adam Grant!


Mark your calendars for the fifth annual C3KC conference March 8, 2022, at Union Station Kansas City. We will continue to deliver educational, thought-provoking panel discussions and bring together people from the civic, corporate, and community sectors to spark change for a better Kansas City. We are proud to announce our 2022 keynote message will be delivered Livestream by Adam Grant. an organizational psychologist, Wharton professor, and one of Fortune magazine’s 40 Under 40. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know and hosts a chart-topping TED podcast called WorkLife. Grant is known for his ability to show others that unlearning to relearn is a necessary skillset in a constantly evolving world, to problem-solve as well as affect positive change. We look forward to sharing more about our keynote in the months to come.

2022 Speakers

Check back often for updates to our speaker panel.

Terri Bradford

Senior Payments Specialist, Federal Reserve of Kansas City, Economic Research Department

Terri R. Bradford is a research specialist in the Payments Strategies Division at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Among her responsibilities are monitoring and analyzing global payments system developments, authoring articles for the Payments System Research Briefing, and making presentations to internal and external audiences, especially related to alternative and emerging payment instruments.

Ms. Bradford joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in 1989. Prior to joining the Payments System Research group in 2000, she held various positions in the Retail Payments, Payments System Support, Savings Bonds, and Automation departments of the Bank. Ms. Bradford received her B.S. degree in business from Kansas State University and is an Accredited ACH Professional.


Executive Director, United Community Services of Johnson County (UCS)

Julie Brewer is the Executive Director of United Community Services of Johnson County (UCS).  The organization specializes in identifying needs and providing information to inform human service planning, policy development, and identification of funding sources.  Through data collection and research, its efforts contribute to program development and planning of initiatives, including transitional housing, addressing adolescent substance abuse, positive health outcomes, and how poverty and inequality can contribute to factors resulting in inequity when it comes to health.  Before coming to UCS of Johnson County, Julie was the Chief Operating Officer of the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy County in Nebraska with an emphasis on closing the achievement gap amongst students in poverty.


Executive Director, Socrates Program, The Aspen Institute

Cordell brings 20 years of experience to his leadership of the Aspen Institute Socrates Program, a global education forum for leaders and Expectant Advisory, a privately-held leadership consultancy. Previous to his current roles, Cordell held leadership roles with TechTown Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Business Roundtable, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and the IBM Corporation.

Honors include: an Eisenhower Fellowship to China; designation as a White House Champion of Change for Computer Science Education; designation as a “40 under 40” by business and civic organizations in Washington State and Tennessee; University of Notre Dame Law School alumni of the year awardee; selections as a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow for Young American Leaders and a Broad Foundation Resident in Urban Education. Current board service includes the Alumni Council for Cultural Vistas, AIPAC National Council and the privately-held blockchain start-up Injii. He previously served on the Advisory Council for the Center for Democracy and Technology and the boards of the United Way of Greater Chattanooga, United Way of King County, Downtown Seattle YMCA and the Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation.

Cordell speaks at conferences, leads workshops and moderates panels and seminars all over the world. Recent appearances include: Congressional testimony before the US Congressional Commission for Security and Cooperation in Europe (December 2019); 2019 Horasis Conference (Las Vegas, NV); 2019 SmartCity Expo (Atlanta, GA); 2019 Concordia Summit (Bogota, Colombia); 2019 Young Leaders Academy of Macedonia (Skopje, Macedonia); 2018 Blockchain Trends Summit (Seoul, South Korea); 2018 The Wright (Golden, CO); 2018 SXSW Festival (Austin, TX); 2017 YSEALI Summit (Manila, Philippines); Confluence ROME (Rome, GA); Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank District’s Reinventing Community Conference (Philadelphia, PA); US News STEM Solutions Leadership Summit (Dallas, TX); ACT Board of Directors Annual Meeting (Washington, DC); Council of Chief State Schools Officers Legislative Conference (Washington, DC); and the Association for Career and Technical Education’s National Policy Seminar (Washington, DC).

Cordell earned a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School, a M.Sc. in Public Policy and Management Studies from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington.


President and CEO, El Centro, Inc.

Irene received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. After graduating college, she developed children and youth programs for nonprofit organizations including El Centro and Wyandotte Mental Health Association in Wyandotte County.  In 1994, she took a job with the Kansas City Missouri Health Department as the first minority health outreach coordinator. Her duties included educating health providers on how cultural beliefs and practices impact health behavior. In 1997, she returned to Wyandotte County as the Executive Director for Youth Opportunities Unlimited, Inc., an agency devoted to developing and maintaining collaborative efforts, advocating, and supporting services to improve the quality of life for Wyandotte County youth. In 2004, Caudillo joined Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas as the Director of Family Strengthening where she directed and managed their social services throughout their 21-county service area.  In 2011, Caudillo became Director of Clinic Operations for Swope Health Services where she provided day to day, operational leadership and direction to their satellite clinics.  Caudillo ensured clinic operations meet expected financial and operational targets and that all clinics were functioning in a highly efficient and effective manner.  For the last nine years, Caudillo has led the agency she started her career with, serving as President/Chief Executive Officer for El Centro. She oversees the day-to-day operations for the agency. Caudillo is a member of numerous community boards including the Wyandotte Health Foundation, Health Forward Foundation, KU Advancement Board, Greater Kansas City United Way, and the University of St. Mary Board of Trustees. She has received numerous honors for her work, including named by City Union Mission as one of five women in 2010 as the recipient of Women who Changed the Heart of the City award, the 2015 NFL’s Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award, the 2015 Donnelly College’s Delta Award, the 2016 Legend of Diversity award from the Wyandotte Ethnic Festival Committee and 2020 the Sisters of Charity Vincentian Charism Award.  Irene is married and the proud parent of three young adults.


Deputy Director KC Public Library, previous moderator for The Digital Divide

Carrie Coogan is Deputy Director for Public Affairs and Community Engagement at the Kansas City Public Library. She works to advance the Library’s vital role in the city and larger community, providing free access to information and resources, encouraging literacy, and supporting lifelong learning. She spearheads efforts to bridge the digital divide by providing free access to the internet and formulates innovative solutions to enhance services and resources. Coogan oversees several successful and innovative Library initiatives, including a hotspot lending program, Career Online High School, an award-winning digital encyclopedia of local history, and a pioneering Tech Access digital training initiative that targets marginalized populations and has served nearly 2,000 people since its inception in 2017. Coogan is a founding member and current president of the Kansas City Digital Inclusion Coalition, serves on the board of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, and was part of a select team that drafted Kansas City’s Digital Equity Strategic Plan. Previously, she was the Executive Director of Literacy Kansas City and a reporter for 15 years in television and radio.


Clinical Psychologist, Author

Dr. Caroline Danda is a clinical psychologist in private practice who specializes in working with children, adolescents, and their families with emotional and behavioral difficulties. She is passionate about normalizing mental health challenges and building resilience. She has been a strong advocate for the social-emotional well-being of the youth during the pandemic. She recently co-authored From Surviving to Vibing: Filling in the Gaps, the latest in The Invisible Riptide series. The series was developed out of a need for community resources that open dialogues, create connections, and identify strategies to navigate challenging times.



Director Public Affairs,

As Director of Public Affairs, Elizabeth Danforth leads Evergy’s Corporate Social Responsibility including Community Relations and Customer Affairs Departments.

Guided by shifting customer and community needs, her teams work to advance the Company’s corporate citizenship and social responsibility programs with an emphasis on:
• improving policy and programs to assist disadvantaged customers and communities,
• working to establish Evergy as a leader in environmental sustainability, and
• helping to retain and attract business to the region.

Internally Elizabeth has led multiple, Company-wide initiatives. Externally, she serves on the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Reconciliation Services, and Downtown Council Boards. She has also served on Missouri Energy Initiative Board, Child Protection Center Board, NonProfit Connect Board, Hospital Hill Economic Development Council, Friends of Powell Gardens Board, the GKC Chamber’s Energy Committee, and Executive Women’s Leadership Council, and United WE’s policy and fund development committees.

Prior to Evergy, she was a development and marketing professional where she led multi-million-dollar capital, endowment, and operational campaigns, as well as comprehensive marketing communications and media initiatives.

Elizabeth lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Kyle Foote, a partner at Stinson. They have two children – Bella and Piersen.


Project Architect

Sam De Jong, AIA LEED AP, is a project architect who pursues design with a deep level of care and rigor. His passion of design for social impact is coupled with the belief that interdisciplinary teams create architecture of high quality and innovation. While at BNIM, he has played a significant role in the design, documentation, and implementation of numerous projects, including the award-winning Rockhurst University Parking Garage; the revitalization of Bancroft School; a new Patient-Centered Care Learning Center at the University of Missouri School of Medicine; numerous high-performance projects with the Boy Scouts at the Summit Bechtel Reserve; and the reconstruction of Westport Presbyterian Church.


Managing Director, Aperio Philanthropy

As Managing Director at Aperio Philanthropy, Courtney develops the talent of a team of consultants, designs and advises on fundraising strategies for a portfolio of clients, and catalyzes company growth through new business. Courtney has a decade of experience in professional donor-centered philanthropy and focuses her efforts on major gifts and capital campaigns. She specializes in working alongside nonprofit executives and frontline fundraisers to hone their skills and confidence. Her fundraising success has come from combining a metrics and data-driven approach in collaboration with relationship-based fundraising principles that places donor interest front and center. She’s worked directly with a wide array of nonprofit missions in different sectors including primary, secondary, and higher education, health, and community-based social services.


Global Lead, VMLY&R’s Experience Practice

Jason serves many of the world’s greatest companies and introduces Design for Business to thousands of executives and professionals across the world. He is a passionate and lifelong learner who fuses human-centered design, behavioral economics, and competitive strategy to unlock sustainable value for people, business, and culture.


Founder and CEO, Proof Positioning

Grant Gooding is the Founder & CEO of Proof Positioning, a market research firm. With his background in qualitative marketing and neuroscience, Grant created a methodology that quantifies emotional resonance and motivations.  Today, Grant speaks all over the world on Emotional Data, an emerging field that PROOF is helping pioneer.


Vice President & Director, KC Rising, Civic Council of Greater Kansas City

As VP and Director of KC Rising, which holds a shared vision of regional prosperity for all, Ms. Warren works with businesses, organizations, and leaders to promote system alignment, identify gaps, and monitor the region’s outcomes in key economic indicators. Her career has focused on economic and community development in local, state, and international contexts.


Executive Director, Community Capital Fund (CCF)

Phyllis Hardwick is the Executive Director of Community Capital Fund (CCF), a Community Development Corporation that provides grants, technical assistance, and coaching to support under-resourced neighborhoods and businesses in the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Phyllis began her career in education.  She taught in Kansas City Public Schools before working at a local non-profit that recruited, trained, and supported teachers who worked
in high-needs schools. Shortly after her work in education, Phyllis transitioned into the private sector. At EPR Properties, a Kansas City real estate investment company, she gained experience in finance and real estate development, while completing her master’s in educational studies. She has remained engaged
in civic service by serving on her neighborhood association, non-profit and education boards. In her spare time, Phyllis enjoys running, cycling, and cheering on her beloved sports teams. Most importantly, she loves being a mom to her toddler son and her husband is great too.


FinTech Founder | ICBA Bankers’ Choice 2020 Recipient, CEO First Blvd Bank (NeoBank)

With a career that covers both media and technology, Donald applies a diverse mix of skills as the President and CEO of kinly, a modern neobank unapologetically helping Black America build generational wealth by reclaiming its $1.5-trillion in annual economic impact and developing positive financial behaviors.

A serial entrepreneur, Donald has held several leadership roles in adtech, healthtech, and non-profits. Before leading kinly, Donald founded Griffin Technologies. In that role, he empowered small-to-medium size community banks, credit unions, and fintechs with contextual intelligence to better serve their existing and prospective customers.

He has been named a Top Fintech CEO by Forbes and was named the 2020 Bankers’ Choice recipient by the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA); is a member of Pipeline Entrepreneur Fellowship, the AltCap Board of Directors, Restart Board of Directors, and the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) Advisory Board.

Donald is an inspirational thought leader on representation and the changing face of entrepreneurship. He has dedicated his work to empowering underserved communities to act, and proactively be the change they want to see.


Medical Director of the Center for Better Health and  Wellness (Benton Harbor, MI) and Medical Director of Health Equity for Spectrum Health Lakeland (St. Joseph, MI)

Willie Edward Lawrence Jr., MD, FAHA, FACC is Medical Director of the Center for Better Health and  Wellness (Benton Harbor, MI) and Medical Director of Health Equity for Spectrum Health Lakeland (St. Joseph, MI).

He is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. He is a High Honors graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH. He earned his B.A. in Biology from Harvard College and M.D. from Harvard Medical School. He received his Internal Medicine training at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. It was there that he developed his interest in cardiology and the treatment of congestive heart failure. He completed his Fellowship in Cardiovascular Medicine and Fellowship in Interventional Cardiology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD where he was Instructor of Medicine, before moving to Kansas City.

In 2010, Dr. Lawrence became Chief of Cardiology at Research Medical Center. He was the founder and Director of its Congestive Heart Failure Clinic; Director of Nuclear Cardiology; Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation; and Co-Director of the Center for Cardiovascular Wellness and Integrative Medicine. He founded “Inspire,” a self-measured home blood pressure management program.   He is board-certified in interventional cardiology, nuclear cardiology, cardiovascular disease, and internal medicine.

Dr. Lawrence is a member of the Association of Black Cardiologists. He is a 30-year volunteer for the American Heart Association (AHA), where he has had many roles. In 2011, he was named National Physician of the Year by the AHA. He is a former AHA national board director, and national spokesperson for the AHA’s hypertension programs. In 2021, AHA was awarded $32 million by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to participate in a $120 million national initiative to help improve COVID-19-related health outcomes by reducing high blood pressure among racial and ethnic populations in Federally Qualified Health Centers. Dr. Lawrence has been named AHA chairman of the oversight committee for this initiative.

In June 2021, he began commuting to Michigan, where he joined Lakeland Heart and Vascular to continue his work in cardiology. He is Medical Director of the Center for Better Health and Wellness in Benton Harbor, MI, and Medical Director for Health Equity, Spectrum Health Lakeland. Most recently, he has been invited to serve also as Medical Director for the City of Benton Harbor.

He is the father of three (Xavier, Westbrook, and MacKenzie). He is married to Sandra A. J. Lawrence.


Director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives, Health Forward Foundation

McClain Bryant Macklin, JD, MBA, currently serves as Director of Policy and Strategic Initiative for the Health Forward Foundation, a foundation focused on access to healthcare, the social determinants of health, and health equity. In this role, McClain is responsible for establishing
the strategy for Health Forward’s policy priorities and executing a plan to fulfill those objectives through direct lobbying, grantmaking, and strategic partnerships and initiatives; strategically raising Health Forward’s presence, influence, and impact in the policy environment at local,
state, and national levels with a central focus on the nexus of health, economics, and equity.

Previously, McClain served as the Director of Policy and Research for the Greater Kansas City Civic Council, leading initiatives for business leaders to support equity and inclusion in the Kansas City region, as well as leading the Civic Council advocacy and public policy efforts. McClain also served as the Director of Policy for Mayor Sly James of Kansas City, Missouri. In that role, McClain advised the Mayor on a variety of policy issues, including economic development, housing, health, transportation, technology, innovation, workforce development, and entrepreneurship, and worked with city staff and community organizations to implement the policy interests of the Mayor.

Formerly, McClain practiced at Husch Blackwell LLP, where she specialized in Public Policy, Campaign Finance and Ethics, White Collar Litigation and Government Affairs, and Government Affairs. In her practice, McClain counseled clients from local politicians to Fortune 500 companies on navigating the political, legislative, and regulatory process. She assisted clients with forming and managing 527 political committees and 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations, and advised corporate clients on their political activity post-Citizens United.

McClain’s involvement in politics started by volunteering on the grassroots level stuffing envelopes and phone banking during her childhood. McClain has since volunteered for several local, state, and federal campaigns in a variety of capacities, including fundraising and GOTV. While completing her MBA at Florida A & M University, McClain worked for United States Senators Jean Carnahan (D-MO) and Bob Graham (D-FL), and United States Congresswoman Karen McCarthy (D-MO). Prior to law school at The George Washington University Law School, McClain interned for two government relations firms in Tallahassee, Florida and Washington, D.C.

Since law school, McClain not only focused her career in politics, but invests her free time in policy and the political process, as well. She served as a fellow for the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee; served as an election protection challenger on election day in 2008 and
2012, ensuring compliance with elections laws at polling places; served on the Democratic National Committee’s Youth Coordinating Council as the Midwest appointee, promoting youth engagement in the political process; served as Regional Lead for the National Finance Committee for Generation Forty-Four, the under-40 fundraising arm of Obama for America; participated in the Congressional Black Caucus Institute’s Political Education and Leadership
Certificate Program; served on then-Mayor-elect of Kansas City, Missouri Sly James’ transition team, co-drafting Kansas City’s ethics code; served on the National Finance Committee for the Ready for Hillary Political Action Committee, building momentum for the Hillary for America 2016 presidential campaign; served under mayoral appointment to the Kansas City, Missouri Board of Parks and Recreation Commission; and as the Trustee for Metropolitan Community College Sub-District 2.

McClain’s efforts have earned her the recognition of Ingrams 40 under 40, Young Democrat of the Year by the Jackson County, Missouri Democratic Committee, the Impact Award by the George Washington University Black Alumni Association, Rising Star by KC Magazine, and Up and Coming Lawyer by the Missouri Lawyers Weekly. She currently serves on a variety of non-profit boards in Kansas City, Missouri.


Executive Director, AdventHealth Kansas City Foundation

A Kansas City Native, Laurie McCormack currently serves as the Executive Director of the AdventHealth Kansas City Foundation, which serves the health system’s needs and community work in the Kansas City area. As executive director she oversees the team focused on securing philanthropic support, investing those monies, appropriately distributing gifts, conducting fundraising and stewardship events, managing social, print, and electronic media, supporting the Foundation Board of Directors and its governance, and building lasting relationships with individuals, companies, and foundations. Laurie serves on the AdventHealth Shawnee Mission Executive Council. In addition, she continues to serve higher education clients in a consulting capacity.


Associate Professor of Public Affairs at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management

Brent’s research considers the spatial and geographic implications of a decentralized human service system. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial regression methods, he has worked to identify communities underserved by human services. He has also worked to highlight clusters of financially distressed nonprofit organizations, those most likely to go out of business in the near future raising the question as to who is served by financially ‘sick’ human service providers.


Never has served as Visiting Professor in the School of Community Resources & Development at Arizona State University where he conducted research on the continued devolution of human services from government provision to private-sector provision through contracts, vouchers, and grants.

Never enjoys serving the regional nonprofit community as a Senior Fellow at the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership. His work includes executive board training, strategic planning, and program evaluation services.


Content Director, Money 20/20

Zachary Anderson Pettet joined the Money 20/20 team as the Content Director in 2021. He is passionate about financial inclusion and education, which has led him to a variety of roles in his career, including: Co-Founder of V-Sum, Director of Strategic Partnerships with Bond Financial Technologies, Inc., Vice President of Fintech Strategy with nbkc bank, and Managing Director of Fountain City Fintech. Mr. Pettet also hosts the educational fintech podcast For Fintech’s Sake, serves on the advisory board for the UMKC Bloch School’s Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Mr. Pettet is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.


Editorial Board Member, Kansas City Star

Toriano Porter is a national award-winning opinion writer for the Kansas City Star Editorial Board. A native of St. Louis, Toriano has called Kansas City home since 2007. He is a three-time author, distinguished motivational speaker, and dedicated mentor to young people in the metropolitan area.


President and CEO Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
While Mayor/CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, KS, Reardon led the effort to bring Google fiber to KCK and saw the opening of Sporting Park. He is also former President/CEO of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority.


Executive Director, Bridging the Gap

Kristin Riott began her environmental career by picking too many wildflowers in the woods of her hometown Cincinnati, Ohio. She was sidetracked for several years by a career in creative management at Hallmark Cards. Moving to Hong Kong in 2000 for her husband’s career, she and her family witnessed the rapid environmental degradation so easy to see in crowded Asian cities. Upon returning to Kansas City, she became active in various environmental movements, and in 2007 trained with Al Gore to become a spokesperson for climate change. She has served as executive director of Bridging The Gap since 2010, a time of rapid growth for the 30-year-old organization. She also serves on the City of KCMO’s Climate Protection Plan Steering Committee and with other environmental non-profit groups. She contributed a chapter on energy efficiency to a book called Climate Actions: Local Applications and Practical Solutions, to be published in 2022. In her spare time, she plants native wildflowers.


KC City Council Member
Co-Author KC Climate Change Resolution
Melissa Robinson, a Robert Woods Johnson Fellow, is currently employed with the Black Health Care Coalition as the President. She is responsible for leading the organization to fulfill strategic goals, maintain sustainable community partnerships and play a major role in community efforts that create health equity. Melissa Robinson is leading efforts to address the social determinants of health; ensuring the organization is making a significant impact on reducing health disparities in the areas of hypertension, obesity, infant mortality, diabetes, breast and prostate cancer, and childhood asthma. She is the host of “Voices From Midtown and Beyond”, a radio program that airs weekly on KPRT 1590 AM.


COO and Co-Founder, Trust Neighborhood
Kavya is COO and co-founder of Trust Neighborhoods, a Kansas City-based nonprofit helping residents fight displacement in neighborhoods that are at risk of experiencing rising rents from gentrification. Trust Neighborhoods has designed and piloted a new,
innovative approach to tackle affordable housing: the
mixed-income neighborhood trust, or MINT, which owns and operates a portfolio of rental housing to maintain
affordability. Through Trust Neighborhoods, Kavya hopes to advance racial equity both through innovative housing solutions and by putting more people of color,
especially women, in control of development in their communities. Previously, Kavya has helped young people get more civically active through helping start The Obama Foundation and has supported access to economic opportunity through her policy work in the Obama White House. She began her career at McKinsey and Company, focused on urban development. She has a BA in economics from Harvard College and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.




Connection Coach KC

Nicole Jacobs-Silvey is a community-minded connector who strives to empower others to live their best lives. With 20+ years in the not-for-profit sector, she is both mission-driven and passionate about Kansas City, the community she calls home.

Nicole is the Co-Founder of the Sisters’ Circle GKC, a giving circle for African American women, and the Rise Tribe, a group of African American women who host a podcast (Life in the Middle) addressing the unique complexities of life for women of color. She also recently launched Connection Coach KC where she serves as the CCO—Chief Connection Officer. As a connection coach, Nicole connects people to their purpose and passion so they can reach their full potential.


Coordinator, Trauma-Sensitive and Resilient Schools KCKS Public Schools

Brittany Talley, MA, LCPC, LPC, RPT-S is the Coordinator for Trauma-Sensitive and Resilient Schools for the Kansas City, Kansas Public School District. Additionally, she provides individual counseling for children, teens, and young adults at her practice, Rise Counseling, and Consulting where she is an enthusiastic advocate for children/adolescents of color in their explorations of race, privilege, representation, and identity. This work led her to partner with Megh Chakrabarti, LMSW to create a database of therapists of color (the KC BIPOC Therapist Referral Database), which has recently transformed into a website: www.colorcollectivekc.org


CEO & President of The Children’s Place

Ann Thomas is President/CEO of The Children’s Place, Kansas City’s specialized trauma treatment organization serving the mental health needs of young children.

Ann holds a master’s degree in Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor. She is also an adjunct professor at MidAmerica Nazarene University, where she teaches play therapy to mental health practitioners.

Ann serves as an advisor to Sesame Workshop, helping develop and review content for their website, Sesame Street in Communities, and for the Sesame Street television program.

Ann and her husband, Rob, have three grown daughters and are former foster parents.


President and CEO, Health Forward Foundation

Qiana Thomason, a life-long Kansas Citian, has dedicated her career to the improvement of health and wellness across the region, with a special focus on communities experiencing significant health injustices and people living in marginalized conditions. Thomason serves as the president and CEO of Health Forward Foundation. Every day, Health Forward works to build and support inclusive, powerful, and healthy communities characterized by racial equity and economically just systems.

Thomason currently serves as a board member for Grantmakers in Health, a national philanthropy serving organization, which achieves better health through better philanthropy. She also serves on the City of Kansas City, Missouri, Health Commission, and on the boards of the KC Chamber, Urban Neighborhood Initiative, and is a board trustee for William Jewel College. She received her undergraduate degree in Social Work from Florida A&M University and has a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Kansas.

Thomason came to Health Forward from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC), where she most recently served as vice president of community health. During her tenure at Blue KC, she spearheaded development and implementation of new care delivery and payment models in partnership with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) and primary care providers throughout Kansas City. She was also a successful champion for the inclusion of health equity and the social influencers of health in Blue KC’s corporate strategy.

Prior to her tenure at Blue KC, Thomason spent eight years at Swope Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center, as program manager of a regional Mental Health Court and as the director of clinical operations, behavioral health. Qiana also served as deputy director and health and human services liaison for United States Senator Jean Carnahan.


Associate Professor of Urban Planning + Design, UMKC

Jacob A. Wagner, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Urban Planning & Design at UMKC. He joined the University of Missouri in 2005. He is the faculty founder of the UMKC Center for Neighborhoods. He is the recent recipient of a Public Service Award (with Anita Dixon) for his work with the UNESCO Creative City Network to establish Kansas City Missouri as a UNESCO City of Music.

Sessions and speakers are subject to change. We are excited to welcome you to be informed and inspired at C3KC. Views expressed by our speakers and participants are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views held by the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri or the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc.