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Portraits of KC

It’s more important to understand someone than to judge them. We think the first step to understanding someone is asking them the fundamental questions about who they are and how they became the person they are today. Understanding and empathy are essential building blocks for a better, more compassionate world. We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to ask these questions each week through our interview series. Below you’ll find inspiring interviews from in and around KC.

Kristin Mudgett

I remember sobbing in the back of my parents’ Lincoln. they were moving us from St Louis to a small town in Indiana my junior year of high school. This was my 7th move, my 7th house. I was 16. My name is Kristin. I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and Realtor. I married in Vegas and had 2 of my 3 kids in Las Vegas. We moved to KC in 2004 from Nevada. This is my life “after having kids”. Read more>>

OLIVIA FOX Lauren Flynn, Tiffany Smith, and Aubrey Dykeman

Our lead singer and guitarist Lauren Flynn has been a singer/songwriter for over a decade, and had dreamed of creating something new – a band with three-part harmonies and deeply emotive music combined with a fresh, modern sound. Over the course of 2016, she met Aubrey Dykeman (vocals, keys) and Tiffany Smith (vocals, violin, guitar), and before we even landed on a band name, we played our first open mic night in September. It was magical how it all came together and though we all have very different voices, we blend together incredibly well. Read more>>

Justin Holt

(Background): Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is a United States Air Force Auxiliary of volunteer citizens serving communities. Members ages 12-18 can join as cadets (and remain cadets until the age of 21), and members 18 and older may join as Senior Members. The three main missions of CAP are Emergency Services (Search and Rescue), Aerospace Education, and Cadet Programs (youth leadership development). Read more>>

Michelle Schmidt

Hey there! My name is Michelle and I grew up in a little white house on the other side of the world.No, really. I guess, officially, I’m called a TCK – Third Culture Kid. I was born and raised in the tropics of Indonesia, moved to the snowy mountains of Colorado, went back to Indonesia for high school, flew to Texas for college, then finally settled in Lawrence, KS to marry my best friend Evan back in August 2019 🙂 Read more>>

Nicole Harnisch

It starts as early as growing up in the suburbs of Chicago! I spent the first 10 years of my life there with two older siblings – Harrison (34) and Marissa (30) and both my mom and dad. Much of my dad’s side of the family lived in the Chicago area, which is definitely where the high exposure to athletics began. My dad played DI and DII football, his brothers played DI football and baseball. His dad (my grandpa) was an All-American DIII tackle. Read more>>

Kaleigh Thomas

I was a middle school special education teacher for 10 years, but recently decided to leave the profession and stay home with my two young children. In February I hosted a bridal shower for my sister and put together a huge grazing table with one of my best friends. I quickly realized how much I loved creating beautiful spreads of food and after receiving a lot of positive feedback, Village Boards was created. It has been so rewarding to tap into my creative side and also utilize my love for design while creating custom boards and grazing tables for people to enjoy! Read more>>

Joe Kosior

Me and my brother Dan grew up in the Berkshire hills of western massachusetts. Painting and remodeling work is in our blood. Both of our grandfathers and multiple uncles and aunts either worked or still work in the industry. I remember quite a few summer days as a kid doing projects together with a grandpa such as installing a roof on a home addition or building a tree fort together. As a teenager I worked for a local building contractor in the summer. Dan did the same working for a painting contractor. We were lucky that both of them were small time operations with less than five or six employees. We were able to learn so much by working side by side with the seasoned owners of the companies. Read more>>

Faith Maddox

I grew up surrounded by music. I started taking piano lessons when I was four and sang in the church choir from the time that I could talk. My mom was a classically trained singer and would often bring me on stage with her, so I’ve been performing longer than I can remember. We moved to Kansas when I was in middle school, and I got really involved with Topeka Civic Theatre. For a long time, my only exposure to music was through theatre, classical lessons, or jazz. In high school, a friend took me to see a local math-rock show and that completely changed my life.  Read more>>

Alessandra Dzuba

Oracle started in 2013 as an oddities and curiosities shop as we ourselves were avid collectors; wanting to share our enthusiasm of the natural world to our local community. Over the years, Oracle evolved as we strived to source our specimens sustainably, carrying environmentally conscious products alongside other artists who share our same ethics, and using our enthusiasm for the natural sciences through classes, workshops, and fundraiser in hopes to inspire others for future nature conservation. In our new store front in the Bauer Building, we met our goal as a taxidermy studio and shop as Oracle Natural Science; now not only offering our artistry and classes through our store front but also pet memorial services and community work servicing customers nationwide. Read more>>

Kat Anstine

As the youngest of 6, I’ve always been a natural peacemaker and problem-solver, which came in handy as a marketer; starting at the bottom and working my way up to Chief Operating Officer of a marketing CUSO (Credit Union Service Organization). Over the past 18+ years, I’ve helping others expand and inspire. As a Top Tier communication expert with experience in advertising, marketing and media, I know the ins and outs of strategic marketing, communication planning, operations and development by heart. Read more>>

Keyahna Glass

My name is Keyahna but most people call me Killa K. I drew on anything and everything I could get my hands on growing up but realizing I’m a painter came much later in life. I’m originally from a couple different places in Oklahoma. My family moved about every 2 years growing which constantly made me the new kid. I saw my first real painting in the 8th grade. I started babysitting for the family who lived across the street. The mother was a painter and she had converted an old bedroom into an art studio. I had never seen anything quite like it before. In the center of this neatly organized, color coordinated room was a hyper realistic painting of two ducks swimming in a pond. It changed my life. Read more>>

Desiree Vuocolo

The story of localgood is full of twists and turns just like life itself. The only thing I can say with certainty is that I love art! My love affair started while I was living in NY and going to college. I was taking art history classes and learning about frescos, tempura, and other mediums that felt foreign and familiar at the same time. It was also when I learned about art patronage that allow artists to be supported by kings, popes, and wealthy families. It was a fantastic system that recognized the importance of paying artists to create, not just buying their work but actually giving them the funds to practice their craft and develop work for the love of the process. Read more>>

Kennadi Cobbins-Fowler

When I was in 8th grade I seen this video on Facebook about how you can use Nair to arch your eyebrows. Usually my mom would take me to get them waxed by a professional, but I figured if I did it myself then my mom could save money. Once I put it on my eyebrows I had forgotten about it and fell asleep. I woke up a few hours later and I went to the bathroom to wash the Nair off and it took all the hair off of my eyebrows. Before I went to school every morning until my eyebrows grew back I would just draw them on. My family and friends would let me practice doing they’re eyebrows so I could get more familiar with doing all different types of shapes and sizes. Read more>>

Brett Judson

I guess it all started when I met my husband and built him a hair studio back in 2015. He worked there solo for about a year and I started thinking why on a business I can’t work in. As a young couple and small business owners we couldn’t afford to send me to hair school But we could afford to get my husband certified so that I could apprentice under him. In all actuality I would spend the next two years cracking open my book, going to every hair class I possibly could, taking online tests and hands on in salon.  Read more>>

Tim Kearns

I got my start working with my grandfather. He gave me an appreciation for wood and carpentry. More recently my good friend Michele Dechadenedes with Creative Vibes Design gave me the push I needed to pursue this passion. Read more>>

Candace Haltom

I went to a chamber lunch with my job a few years ago and was introduced to small business owners there. I spoke to a few of them about their businesses and how they got the word out about their products and services. Once I learned more about that community, I did research and decided to become a social media manager to start. I marketed on Facebook and gained a few new clients and as my business grew, so did my services. After 3 years in marketing, I took a mental health break to revisit my passions and decide what it was I really wanted to do. After planning and checking in on my mental health, I decided that showing new business owners how to start and grow their businesses was what I am meant to do. Read more>>

Ascension Alejandre

What made me interested in makeup was watching beauty by Bianca on Facebook. I do badly wanted to be an influencer like her. So I practiced on my daughter and myself. I studied makeup and just learned what products I needed for me and for other people, because I knew I wanted to be a makeup artist before an influencer. Halloween of 2019 Bianca had done a pop zombie look, and I told myself I’m going to give this a shot. I immediately went to my mom and daughter and told them my idea and they both were just excited as I was. So I went to Walmart and got some facepaint they had there and did it. Read more>>

Sabrina Fountain

Starting back in college, I’ve pursued basketball for 14 years consecutively and finished off my last two years at a college I attended in Iowa. After obtaining my Associates degree I finished out my career at University of Central Missouri where I received my Bachelors in fine arts with a major in Graphic Design. That’s when my very first business was born, Bri-D Graphics. Bri-D Graphics is a Graphic Design Agency that services the public, including established businesses and start-up businesses. We provide services from logos, flyers, banners, websites, to business identity systems such as business cards, letterheads, social media content & banners, and more. Read more>>

Ev Mathurin

Pure Hookah Lounge came to fruition with an idea of bringing an out of town hookah experience to Kansas City. A lot of businesses went down during the pandemic and my partner and I took it upon ourselves to invest in this business venture when everyone was calling it quits. Almost 2 years later it has paid off and business is thriving. Read more>>

Meredith Harris

Hi! I’m Meredith. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) ten years ago. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PCOS is a condition that affects 6-12% of U.S. women of reproductive age. It’s one of the leading causes of infertility in women. And “more than half of women with PCOS develop type 2 diabetes by the age of 40”. (https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/pcos.html) Some common symptoms are: weight gain, acne, facial hair, infertility, hair loss, fatigue, and irregular/absent periods. Read more>>

Hilary Hamilton

I grew up in the Midwest in the 80’s with lots of great friends, a great family, and really everything going for me, until one comment was made to me in passing by a ‘guy friend’ the beginning of my senior year of high school that would change the entire trajectory of my life. The comment made was that my ‘guy friend’ thought that my butt was getting too big, and he said it in a way that told me that this was extremely distasteful to him and to the entire world. Read more>>

Jean Hershey

In The Beginning… It was a dark and stormy morning. I was born. A long, long time ago. In a little railroad town called Argentine, Kansas. By the KAW river and railroad tracks. A little town of bungalows and blue-collar workers. My dad wore overalls, not blue collars and Dad worked at the Santa Fe railroad as a crane operator. Pretty cool. Mom cooked lots of delicious cherry pies. Pretty cool. Read more>>

TyGee Faulkner

I grew up living in KCMO so standing out has always mattered to me and I think that’s where it really started…How I started is crazy. I grew up always loving music from dancing which lead to me becoming an artist. During middle school and high school I would always ask my friends to record me dance. I use to dance all day everyday up until graduation really… during high school I meant this guy name Donnell who knew how to audio engineer, I would watch him for years at the time, meeting more artist …like Kye Colors, Rory Fresco really learning how to work things a little and what exactly I wanted to do once I started making music. He would host session in this place we built at our friend Shawn house called the “Wonka Shop” it was legendary… Read more>>

Ric Westman

I began my pursuit of becoming a photographer 10 years ago while living in Australia. What started as a hobby has become an abdication for which I hope there is no cure. I started out photographing sunrises, sunsets and birds. I found a great deal of enjoyment in the beauty and solitude that I experienced while waiting for the sun or looking for a bird. There are very few days that I’m not out somewhere photographing something. Read more>>

Faith Essence Chiney

Born & raised in KCMO, I always had a desire to help others. Wanting others to win, While being a “mommypreneur” Taking a chance on my daughters junior fragrance line, I’ve learned the in’s/out’s of being a self taught entrepreneur. I’m a licensed business and marketing director. My mission is to help other aspiring women who want to start businesses. Starting WomenOnTheMove(KC) #WOTM with workshops to help acknowledge/highlight other women on the move, #WOTM is becoming a household name just as I intended to give back and help all women on their journey to becoming a legal boss. Read more>>

Trevor Tannahill

Hey there, my name is Trevor Tannahill, Loan Officer with Tannahill Lending. I started my career in the software sales industry. This is what catapulted my career into really learning how to talk with strangers, understand someone’s needs, and determine the best solution for them based on the issue they were having. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at each of the different companies I was fortunate enough to be employed with. I also was able to create some life  Read more>>

Brooke Burris

I started making candles in October 2019 while I was pregnant with my son. I LOVE candles so I thought why not make some. I made a few and packed them to work with me a few days later. At the time I was working at a call center and word traveled fast about my candles. Next thing you know I have a notebook filled with orders. By December my hobby was on its way to becoming a business. Read more>>

Channing “CHAN” & Morgan Smith

All of my life i grew up in a rough household. I didn’t ever feel loved or cared for and that’s because i never was. I developed depression at a young age and have always battled with it. A huge part of my life i always knew i was gay, but was always scared to come out due to how my family and some of my friends were. I have always had a huge passion for music, singing and songwriting as well. I hid who i was for so long to please others and hopefully get excepted by the people who i thought we’re supposed to accept me anyways. One day i woke up and decided i was done with that. So i made a youtube channel, a twitter account and a younow account. Read more>>

Taylor Brown

I am a SC native who has always had a passion for the arts. From a early age I knew that my creative abilities would grow with me into adulthood, I studied at the Art Institute of Charleston obtaining a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Fashion Marketing and Management. There I discovered my love of creative aesthetics such as pr,creative direction,and graphic arts. Read more>>

Omar Barakat

Hey! I’m Omar. Stories Matter, So Here’s Mine! Everyone has that one area of skill they gravitate towards when they’re younger. For Me, all through my childhood I loved being an artist and visually representing ideas through drawing, photography, design, architecture, videography,…etc. Read more>>

John Couture

In 2006, I went to Europe with my friend, Dan Kiefer. We traveled to Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. In a brewery in Cologne, Germany, we discussed how much we loved the European presentation of beer. We appreciated how so many pubs and breweries were local gathering places. You may see a group of moms with strollers enjoying a pint next to an elderly man downing a liter. Read more>>

Cheyenne Matter

I have always been fascinated with shopping and cutting hair, as most of us are as kids. I was never one to cut my own hair, but I did cut everyone else’s hair around me in daycare, and retail therapy is so real. After high school I headed to college because I never really thought my career in cosmetology would be enough to provide for a family one day so I started my Bachelors in Business Management. Read more>>

Madison Vogelsmeier

My business and small project, Visual Culture & The Artistic Chair, started as a small project in an undergraduate program. It became something more when I received a lot of feedback from my fellow students and faculty members. I did a lot of research and incorporated the art club at Missouri Valley College into my company. Now, it is something that allows limitless expression to define us as individuals and our own cultures. Read more>>

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