MEMBERS

Spring 2022

Jessica Phipps is the HR Manager for Musselman and Hall Contractors, LLC, who she recently joined to build out and lead the HR function.  She is excited to leverage her experience and passion to help the company grow. 

 

Jessica graduated from Baker University with a degree in Business Leadership, and has worked in Human Resources in a variety of industries for over 13 years.  She's earned a PHR Certification, as well as a certification in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  

Jessica loves spending time with her husband and son, and likes to go camping and hiking with her family. She also loves to read and try out new activities. She has recently started practicing Taewondo, earning her green belt.  She is thrilled to be a part of Driving Pursuits, and can't wait to grow personally and professionally through golf while partnering with a network of amazing women. 

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Brittany leads global financial planning and analysis group for Cboe Global Markets out of the Lenexa, KS office. She works with business leaders and her team to provide decision support, long term strategy and all the fun of budgeting and forecasting. She loves all things finance, excel modeling and budgeting (personally and at work!) and is always up for learning something new. One of her favorite things about the role she is in now is the team of amazing people she gets to work with. She loves getting the chance to work through problems, develop process improvements and systems to result in a better outcome. She helped to set up a Women’s Mentorship program within Cboe last year; providing mentorship opportunities to other women has and continues to be a passion of hers which stems from having amazing mentors throughout her own life.

Brittany enjoys spending time with her family; her four kids keep her and her husband very busy and always entertained. She loves her two French bulldogs, spending time at the lake, cooking and reading. She is looking forward to learning the game of golf, which has been a long-time goal of hers, alongside a group of amazing women.

Jasmine is the co-owner/producer at Stellar Image Studios(SIS), a dynamic sister-owned video production company. Her experience ranges from working in Corporate America and Nonprofit Leadership.SIS produces content for  corporate, industrial, non-profit, and educational clients who use mid-range video for websites, training, social media, and internal communications.

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Amber Baudler co-owns Stellar Image Studios with her sister, the only 100% women-owned video production company in KC. Founder of SHOW (SIS HANDS ON WORKSHOP) where the mission is to reduce the gender gap in video production by hosting a free intensive 9 week program where they teach video from pre to post production hosted at Avila University. She is the co-founder of On Stage with SIS which is an annual event to showcase emerging talent in the local music scene in front of a diverse crowd of creatives and business leaders throughout KC. This year she is focused on editing and photographing her poetry book called "Seasons of Sobriety" which will be released in 2023.

My expertise is working with individuals exploring business ownership as a career option or investment opportunity, matching them with businesses to explore that best fit their unique goals and talents. I help clients understand the pros and cons of franchising, costs and financing options, types of industries and business models, and keys to effective research. The best thing about my services is that they are offered at no cost or obligation to my clients.

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Mary is a partner with Connie Jabara at Sunflower Benefits Group.  We have a passion for helping small businesses and individuals find “quality healthcare” and benefits (more than just an insurance policy) to match many unique needs.  Making a difference has always been more important than making a sale throughout her various careers.  Mary has also joined the Gift of Life, a nonprofit organization supporting organ donation, as an education and fundraising volunteer.  Her deep commitment to this cause comes after her husband received a life changing kidney donation in 2019 from a close family friend.  

Mary’s childhood was full of athletics starting out as a dancer and gymnast then moving into track, cross country, and cheerleading.  Football has also been a huge part of her life.  After moving to Kansas City from Iowa in 1990 it didn’t take long to be a huge Chiefs fan.  Her brother, husband, sons, nephews, and father-in-law all played and coached.  They also are all avid golfers.  During her family golf outings Mary was always the one that needed the extra “coaching.”  Now after raising 3 children, she has time to really pursue this wonderfully humbling sport. 

“Through fortunate business connections, I found Driving Pursuits KC.  Feeling very blessed to be in this group of amazing women, it is a perfect fit for my desire to continually learn and challenge myself in a welcoming and nonthreatening atmosphere.  I believe this organization is going to be a game changer for women!”

Kathleen Ismert Allen is the Business Developer Manager for GE Johnson’s Kansas City office. Her background in the construction industry provides the knowledge and expertise for spearheading an increased focus on local client and partner relationships. Kathleen leads strategic planning and the growth of GE Johnson’s footprint in the region focusing on healthcare, advanced technology, and higher education markets.

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Jill Biesma
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As a licensed civil and environmental engineer, Jill's passion is development of practical risk management strategies for acquisition, investment/financing and asset management of commercial real estate and engineering infrastructure systems.

 

Jill is a strong advocate for supporting business growth and career leadership opportunities for women.  She is the majority owner and President of Environmental Advisors and Engineers, Inc., a certified Woman-Owned business which has been in business since 1998.

 

On a personal note, I am an avid KC Royals, Chiefs and college sports fan and enjoy photography, travel, barbequing, gourmet cooking, biking, golfing, swimming, and fishing.  My husband, Ken and I have two sons, Mark and Jason, who are 28 and 25 now. Both were Division 1 College Athletes (K-State Baseball Pitcher and Boston University Decathlete).  All of us are active practicing engineers (civil, mechanical, architectural, and biomedical).

With a degree in Interior Design from Kansas State University, Rachel has served the Architecture + Construction industry in Kansas City since 2015.  Since then, she has worked in varying capacities ranging from a practicing interior designer, to client relations, strategic marketing, and business development. Rachel’s experience in supporting building projects through critical design and procurement milestones has evolved into her current industry position as a leading advocate of workplace design strategy for the commercial real estate market in KC.

 

Rachel has supported a variety of organizations promoting female advancement in the building industries, including, the Kansas City Urban Land Institute’s Women’s Leadership Initiative, CREW Kansas City, Women in Real Estate Development (WIRED). She currently holds leadership roles as the Women’s Chair of 180-member business peer group Top Gun Kansas City, and is the 2022-2023 Board Chair for CoreNet Global’s Kansas City Chapter, focused on serving the corporate real estate profession in Kansas City.

 

She is passionate about the power of authentic connection in the business landscape of Kansas City, the pursuit of design that supports the human experience, and the advancement of women in the commercial real estate industry, in particular.  In her spare time, Rachel loves watercolor painting, DIY home projects, and antique hunting. Rachel lives in midtown KC with her husband Tucker, dog Waylon, and new baby girl Annaliese

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Tina Branine 
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Tina is focused on being a dedicated advocate for her clients. She is also motivated to ensure that her clients are receiving the highest level of service so that it alleviates their stress. Tina’s personality and caring attitude will put a smile on your face. However, just know, that she is also a fierce negotiator.

 

Tina takes her passion for the customer experience seriously and is very appreciative that the majority of her business and success is thanks to referrals from past clients. As a graduate of KU, she is a dedicated college basketball fan and is the loving mother of a furry child. Tina specializes in the Johnson County, Kansas Market area.

Brandy Branstetter

I once read that to find the work you were meant to do, you must satisfy three things: doing something you’re good at, feeling appreciated, and believing your work is making people’s lives better. I can truly say that as a financial planner and co-founder of Beyond Wealth, I have found my calling. My mission as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ is to empower my clients to take control of their financial lives by providing the guidance and education they need to make important financial decisions with confidence.

I started my career in finance in 2005 and over the course of the last 17 years have been dedicated to continually learning everything I can about ways to help my clients achieve amazing things with their money. Early in my career, I was discouraged by the lack of engagement with our female clients. I decided I wanted to do something about it! I am passionate about working with female professionals, executives, and entrepreneurs, giving them the opportunity to fully engage with a trusted advisor who is as enthusiastic as they are about achieving their goals.

 

When I’m not at the office, I enjoy spending time with my husband, Jon, and two kids, Alexa and Ethan. When we are not chauffeuring our children to sports and activities, my husband and I enjoy playing golf and love all forms of live entertainment—anything from rock concerts to Broadway musicals. I’m a major sport junky and especially love watching Oklahoma Sooner football along with our beloved Kanas City Chiefs. My lifelong dream is to live on the beach someday, but until then, I enjoy exploring new vacation destinations with my family whenever we can.

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Hayley Cacioppo
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Hayley is focused on helping clients meet their business goals through digital marketing. With 15 years of experience in a few  of the top Kansas City marketing agencies she has honed her trade and marketing strategy chops. Thinking big, strategies over tactics, can be gruelling work but the ROI is always there.

 

On a personal note, Hayley lives in Leawood, Kansas as mom to three awesome kiddos ranging from 3 years to 19. She enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with her husband, kiddos and friends.

 

“I was so lucky to be accepted into the Driving Pursuits KC Program! What an awesome way to merge networking, supporting women and learning something new. It is probably the most selfish thing I have done for myself lately!”

Meghan Dudek

Meghan is a method-driven designer, with over 18 years of experience in the interior design industry. She works on projects of varying scale, scope and style with a focus on The Healing Environment and the overall concept of evidence-based design. Meghan's experience and project oversight include owner representation within the healthcare community, turnkey operations, complex phased renovations for large hospital complexes and new construction. She is accustomed to working as a member of the architectural design team to help create an image and environment that fulfills the client's vision, meets all functional demands as well as the clinical mission.

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Lindsey Jones
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Growing up, I played every sport I possibly could.  For me, it was about broadening my strengths and constantly growing.  This habit has definitely followed me into adulthood and shoved me directly into the construction industry.   Everyday in construction is an exciting challenge to explore new ideas and relationships. 

 

My role as Business Development Manager for BlueScope Construction fosters this desire by allowing me many different avenues to focus on, with building relationships being at the top.  Covering the eastern half of the country, from Kansas City to the East Coast, I constantly look forward to growing and strengthening all relationships I possibly can;  with the hopes that some sports (golf/Chiefs) get thrown in from time to time.

Julie Klima is the Executive Director of Gift of Life, a national model for the support, awareness and success of organ, eye and tissue donation through education and mentoring. She thrives using her breadth of nonprofit and private sector experience to add value to the community and loves learning with and from other strong female leaders. Julie is a returning member of Driving Pursuits and serves as the Secretary of the board of Digital Women Kansas City, co-facilitates Leadership Drive for Central Exchange, and is on the Operations Committee for Support KC. 

 

"I feel so fortunate to have been invited into the DPKC community to learn about the game of golf.  Professionally, this unique opportunity will help build confidence in my techniques in order to lean into opportunities for conversations and interactions I may have been previously left out on."

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Julie Coover
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Julie Coover is an Agency Owner with American Family Insurance, offering over 13 years of experience across all lines of insurance.  Her agency has 3 locations in Johnson County, KS, and is licensed in Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, Arizona and coming soon to North Dakota.  Her team-service approach allows clients to work with a specialist in the area they need while Julie focuses on Business Development and Expansion.  She corners her agency on Personal Insurance Reviews to eliminate costly overlaps or unforeseen gaps in coverage to protect the assets and dreams of her clients.

 

Julie is a member of the Lenexa Chamber of Commerce, member and Former Board Chair of the De Soto Chamber of Commerce, member of the De Soto Economic Development Council, and participates in several networking groups that build relationships and further business development.  She is a graduate of William Jewell College and lives in Overland Park with her husband and three sons.  When she’s not attending their activities, she enjoys reading and social outings.

 

“My grandfather instilled in me an appreciation for golf, my husband and sons all play, and the insurance industry is known for business outings on the course.  I’m looking forward to being part of DPKC for the relationships as well as building the confidence to join in the game personally and professionally.”

Melissa Lyon

I joined Striem in 2016 as the accounting manager, where my responsibilities have grown to include the HR function.  Prior to Striem, I was Vice President of Accounting for Nations Valuations Services.  Throughout my career, I have really enjoyed enhancing and implementing new processes to help departments and companies operate more efficiently.   

I graduated from the University of Phoenix with a Master of Science in Accountancy. 

I currently live in Kansas City with my youngest daughter, Chase, and my miniature English bulldog, Beaux.  When I am not keeping busy with work or kids, you can find me outside reading a book in the sun, preferably by the beach!

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Mariel Walker
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 As a UnitedHealthcare Agent Manager Mariel helps support the External Distribution Channel (EDC) in the Kansas City market. She started her professional career as a Medicare agent in this market and understands the importance of having an agent to help navigate the healthcare world. Her favorite part about her role is getting to spend time learning about our agents’ businesses and hosting training sessions.


In her spare time she enjoys volunteering as the Recruitment Advisor for the Tau Chapter of Alpha Delta Pi at the University of Kansas.

 

She is passionate about being a role model to young college women and helping them develop personal and professional skills to prepare them for life after college.

Deb North

Deb North is the President/CEO of True North Consulting, LLC, a Woman Owned Search Firm in the Kansas City area.   Deb brings over 20 years of experience in search and staffing!  She is active in the staffing industry and holds 3 key certifications- CPC , TSC and CSP.  

 

Deb is very passionate about encouraging women and girls to pursue careers in STEMM and is a board member of the WiStemm Initiative through the Central Exchange as well as on the Technical Advisory Council for TCALC.   Deb has 3 very active daughters and is pursuing initiatives to encourage girls in non-traditional sports. 

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Jessica O'Donnell
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I am an experienced Operations Executive focused on success through transformational leadership. Over the course of my career, I have focused on developing and empowering people to achieve their greatest potential. I am a workflow and process improvement champion and have identified significant expense reduction opportunities. I am experienced in journey mapping and roadmap development, always keeping an eye to the future. 

 

I currently reside in Lee's Summit with my two children, Emmersyn (4) and Greyson (2). When they are not keeping me busy, I enjoy watching/attending sporting events especially the Chiefs and Jayhawk basketball.

Emily Esparaza

With nearly 20 years of experience, Emily has acquired an extensive background in strategy and research, managing internal and external relationships, expanding existing business ventures, and creating new business partnerships, all while maintaining a proven and consistent track record of success. Most importantly, she’s managed to foster this record of success via a results-oriented approach to work, one which is encapsulated within a friendly, personable demeanor. 

 

Emily harbors a passion for marketing strategy, an uncommon commitment to co-worker and client success, and an unwavering desire for personal and professional self-improvement.

 

On a personal note, Emily enjoys hiking, traveling, trying new dining experiences, and spending time with her friends and family, all while keeping up with her two very active children.

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Katelyn Peter
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Director of Marketing & Business Development for Phenix Label, a family-owned printing company specializing in labels, tags, and flexible packaging for a wide range of markets.

 

Prior to joining the family business last year, I was living in Chicago and working as a Product Manager in the EdTech space. I graduated from KU with an undergrad in Management and a Master’s in Business Analytics.

 

When I’m not at work I’m spending time with family and friends, reading, working on my tennis game, and/or trying out a new recipe.

Trish Reedy
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Trish Reedy is a local Mortgage Broker with over 10 years of personalized experience. In 2020, Trish ranked in the top 1% of all lenders nation-wide and was the top Loan Officer in Kansas as awarded by United Wholesale Mortgage. Trish and her team strive to make all home financing options quick, affordable, and overly convenient for seasoned and green buyers alike.

 

Trish is a Mom of two little girls, dog mom of two rascal boys (Hi Andy Reedy and Otis!) and a Kansas City fanatic. Trish is very active in her community, including serving with the Overland Park Rotary Club, Safehome, Girls on the Run, and as an Overland Park Chamber Diplomat among other local organizations. Trish was named a 2013 Influential Woman by KC Business Magazine and completed Leadership Overland Park..

Bethany Riley

After a few years working on high-rises in Las Vegas, Bethany returned home to Kansas City and joined Turner as a Project Engineer. She has held multiple positions within Turner, and currently works as a Senior Project Manager.

 

Bethany is extremely involved in NAWIC and will take over the presidency this year.  

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Bridget Snodgrass
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As Partner and Vice President of Senior Operations at Overland Property Group, I play an integral role in the product innovation of our senior segment brand platform, vision and culture. My primary focus includes our newest concept, Boutique Retirement Clubs and Communities, which are designed as a Live-in Country Clubs for retirees.

 

The Fairways of Ironhorse in Leawood, KS opened in May 2019, and coming soon: The Fairways of Flying Horse in Colorado Springs and Canyon Ridge in Lenexa, KS. I also am directly responsible for the operational effectiveness across our age restricted independent senior living portfolio throughout the Midwest..

Shea Stevens

Shea Stevens’ practice concentrates exclusively on family law issues including: divorce, legal separation, paternity, custody, child support, maintenance, post divorce modifications, common law marriage, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements in both Kansas and Missouri. Ms. Stevens has experience in all aspects of family law, and has a team of professionals from accountants, financial advisors, realtors and therapists to provide client’s the best possible service and outcome of their case. Ms. Stevens is a graduate of Kansas State University and University of Tulsa School of Law. She is actively involved in the local bar associations,and has been recognized as a Rising Star in Superlawyers (KS & MO) and Best of the Bar – Family Law by the KC Business Journal.

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Rachel Treanor
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With a degree in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Kansas, Rachel is passionate about the built environment and has served the Kansas City Architectural/Engineering/Construction industry since 2000. Since then, Rachel has engaged in every aspect of the project life cycle. From environmental abatement and remediation to architectural engineering, general contracting, real estate development, and now architecture. Her multi-skill experience enables clear communication with clients on project milestones and outcomes.


Currently, serving as the K-12 Education Business Development Leader at DLR Group, a national architectural firm, she identifies, validates, secures, and retains business relationships and growth opportunities by aligning design resources to support school districts. Rachel is active in a variety of organizations including, Healing House, Olathe Public Schools Foundation-Women’s Giving Circle, the Northland Regional Chamber Education Committee, and the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) in which she holds the Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM) designation and was named Marketer of the Year. She wants to continue her family’s art-centric approach to the power of art, color, and design. Rachel is from Lawrence, Kansas and currently lives in Leawood, Kansas.

 

"I believe that golf allows for opportunities to connect with prospects on a personal level and to make lasting memories. People do business with people they like and trust, and these bonds take time and repeat contact to establish. It is important for me to be accessible to my clients and industry advocates and to give my company a competitive advantage in the current crowded construction market. I know that my ability to play golf will elevate my accessibility and connections with others."

Kristen Rising

Kristen Rising is the Owner-President of Rising Construction Services, Inc (RCS). In this role, Kristen leads a continually growing team that has expanded its work scope since its inception.

 

She has more than 10 years of experience in the construction industry.

 

Her business offers a wide range of products and services, from Official MUTCD Traffic & Safety Signs to Flaggers and Erosion Control.

 

Passionate about RCS and its possibilities, Kristen strives to provide excellent service to her entire customer base.

 

To contact Kristen, please go to https://risingcsinc.com.

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Driving Pursuits KC is always accepting applications for the next season. Feel free to contact us to learn more.