Staff

Need a speaker? Our talented staff can deliver keynotes, present workshop and sit on panels for your conference or forum. Areas of expertise include food policy, school programs, storytelling, community development, fundraising, starting a new nonprofit and more. To schedule a speaker, call us at 816-523-5353.

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Barbara Beddingfield
Vice President, Finance and Administration
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As VP of Finance and Administration, Barbara partners with all areas of the organization in strategic decision-making. Her support of operations includes contracts and grants management, human resources and facilities, and financial management. Barbara’s role provides guidance for goal-setting and attainment, supporting the leadership team with actionable information and analysis.

Barbara’s career path was in corporate finance and accounting, in the Boston area. For many years she served as liaison and director of a Mexican company, providing oversight and transparency for their US communications. The opportunity to know and serve people of a different culture was very meaningful, and after returning to her native Kansas City, Barbara migrated toward mission-driven work.

At Front Porch Alliance, Barbara’s role expanded from board service to finance and operations, which led to several years as Executive Director.

“I was personally enriched by that broad experience, to have a more hands-on knowledge of the nonprofit challenge and joy in serving others. KC Healthy Kids has a leadership team that is already making a big impact. I’m here to help them grow their impact – and strengthen the lives of kids and families,” she says.

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Michelle Dake
Director, Youth Initiatives
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Michelle joined the KC Healthy Kids team in 2014. In her role as the Youth Initiatives Director, she creates resources for schools and community organizations to empower students to speak out for healthy schools and communities. As a classroom teacher for 6 years, she is intimately familiar with the challenges facing teachers, students and schools when it comes to promoting a healthy lifestyle.

In her current role, Michelle oversees the coordination and administration of all aspects of the Champions for Health and Walking detective programs as well as serving as the event chair for the annual youth summit.

Michelle received both her Bachelors of Music Education and Masters of Secondary Education from Vanderbilt University where upon graduation, she received the Outstanding Educator Award, which is presented to the graduate student in secondary education with the most outstanding professional promise. She is currently an active member of the and CoRPs, Commodore Recruitment Program, alumni volunteer.

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Rhonda Erpelding, Project Director, Healthy Kids Bright Futures
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As project director for Healthy Kids Bright Futures, Rhonda provides leadership and fosters partnerships to strengthen early education, health and food systems.

Rhonda began her career teaching two-year-olds at a large Early Head Start/Head Start program in Waterloo, Iowa. Within a few years, she was promoted to oversee a new 18-hour center that served families working late-night and early-morning hours.

In 2005, she accepted a position as program director for YMCA of Greater Kansas City. Under her leadership, the YMCA’s early care and education center achieved national accreditation through National Association for the Education of Young Children and earned a three-star rating in the Quality Rating System in Kansas.

Rhonda was director at Bright Horizons, an employer-sponsored early care and education center at Research Medical Center, for six years, and just prior to joining KC Healthy Kids, she was a program manager at American Heart Association. There she was partnered with early care and education programs in Wyandotte and Johnson counties to address childhood obesity. She helped centers create wellness policies and trained center staff on topics such as infant feeding, nutrition, physical activity and screen time best practices.

Rhonda is a professional development specialist with the Council for National Recognition: Child Development Associate® National Credentialing Program. She holds an undergraduate degree in early childhood/elementary education from the University of Northern Iowa and a master’s degree in early childhood from Capella University.

Committees and Appointments

  • Alive and Thrive, Healthy Communities Wyandotte, since 2015
  • Turn the Page KC, 2018
  • Wyandotte County Early Childhood Interagency Coordinating Council, since 2014
  • Educare Head Start Policy Council, 2015-2016
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Heather Winslow Gibbons
Creative Director
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As creative director, Heather oversees communications for KC Healthy Kids. She also builds strategic partnerships with artists and arts organizations to encourage broader civic and community involvement around our policy and programmatic priorities. Heather’s big-picture thinking paired with a strategic focus and collaborative approach allow her to effectively work across channels and with diverse partners to advance the organization’s mission.

Before coming to KC Healthy Kids, Heather worked for the American School Health Association, the Missouri Coordinated School Health Coalition, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, and other health-focused organizations. She also spent 10 years developing product at Hallmark Cards, where she led creative teams in the development of gift and stationery products, music collections, and seasonal cards, including licensed products like Harry Potter, American Girl and classics like Peanuts, Winnie the Pooh and Mattel characters. She also established Hallmark’s grassroots EcoTeam, which is now supported by the company’s social responsibility department.

 

Awards
2017 Philly Awards, Media Relations Silver
2016 Philly Awards, Award of Distinction with Dazium Design

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Ashley Jones-Wisner
State Policy Director
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Ashley joined KC Healthy Kids in 2013 with a focus on creating a policy environment that supports and promotes healthy eating and active living. She spearheaded KC Healthy Kids’ initiative to reduce/eliminate Kansas’ state sales tax on food, currently the second highest in the nation. Her efforts garnered national attention.  During her career, Ashley has worked on and passed more than fifteen pieces of legislation in Kansas and Missouri.

Before joining KC Healthy Kids, Ashley worked at Greater Kansas City LISC, the local program area for the nation’s largest community development organization. There she advanced local, state and federal policies around housing and community development. Ashley holds a BA in Business from Baker University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas.  

Committees & Appointments
Douglas County Food Policy Council, Since 2012
Tenants to Homeowners 2012-2014

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Beth Low-Smith
Vice President, Policy
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Beth leads efforts to shape policies in government, schools and businesses so that everyone has opportunities to make healthy choices wherever they are. She works closely with community leaders, political officials and many other organizations to improve the regional food system and built environment in the Kansas City metro area.

Beth came on board in 2010 to serve as the Greater KC Food Policy Coalition’s director. In that role, she is responsible for advancing the coalition’s policy agenda and creating a presence for the coalition through regional food system activities.

“First and foremost, I’m an advocate for increased opportunities for everyone,” Beth says.

Advocacy and policy have always been at the heart of Beth’s work, whether she was serving the Missouri Pro Vote as a community organizer, Hope House as a social worker or her constituents as an elected official.

During her three terms as a Missouri State Representative (January 2005- January 2011) she served on several committees and earned a number of Outstanding Legislator awards from the Missouri Bar Association, Missouri Judicial Conference, Heartland Multiple Sclerosis Society and Partnership for Children. She also received the Torch Award: Young Woman of Promise from the Greater KC Women’s Political Caucus (2003) and the Pillar Award for Outstanding Community and Public Service by the Missouri Association of Social Welfare, KC Chapter (2010).

She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, as well as numerous other civic and community organizations. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Missouri.

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Rachael McGinnis Millsap
Director, Farm to Institution
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As director of the farm to institution programming, Rachael works with local growers, distributors and schools districts to make fresh, locally grown foods more available to students. She also builds crucial partnerships and provides training to empower districts to overcome barriers to serving local food.

She helped found the Johnson County Food Policy Council and has served as vice chair since 2017. She also chairs the council’s Local Food Development Work Group.

Rachael has a long career of bringing about social change through agriculture. She spent nine years as nutrition and gardening educator for the University of Missouri Extension and was director of the Eating from the Garden program in Jackson County, which taught gardening and nutrition concepts to elementary students. Through KC Healthy Kids’ partnership with Community Housing of Wyandotte County, Rachael operates Splitlog Farm and Orchard, which is owned by the housing agency.

“Schools and communities have a huge potential to address health disparities by reinventing themselves as places that promote healthy eating and active living and educate families about healthy food,” she says.

Rachael graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelors in Plant Science and received her Masters in social work from UMKC. She stays active in that field by facilitating direct intervention and group counseling at a local medical center on a part time basis.

She holds a certificate from Community Development Academy, a series of intensive, experiential courses offered by the University of Missouri Extension Community Development Program.

Other Committees & Appointments
National Farm to School Network Kansas Core Partner, 2017-2019
Farm to School Consultant, Lawrence Public Schools, Since 2017

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Danielle Robbins-Gregory
President
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Danielle is a healthcare executive and children’s advocate with nearly twenty years of experience developing health and wellness programs and speaking out on behalf of children and adults across the Kansas City metro area.

Previously Danielle served as vice president of quality development at ReDiscover, a community mental health agency with a staff of 600 healthcare professionals who serve 10,000 clients annually. In this role, she created and managed cross-system collaborations among community organizations and secured funds to sustain programming. The scope of her work at ReDiscover involved Kansas City area children’s services, health departments, service agencies, school districts, health clinics and support service agencies.

Earlier in her career, Danielle served as associate director at Resource Development Institute and as a case manager at Cornerstones of Care’s Gillis Campus. She held a clinical instructor appointment at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, for 12 years.

Danielle holds a Master of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Black Hills State University.

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David P. Ross
Consultant, Business & Fund Development
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David Ross has been with KC Healthy Kids since the very beginning. His main responsibility is raising funds to support KC Healthy Kids’ efforts to reduce childhood obesity.

David has been instrumental in acquiring the organization’s Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funding, hiring core staff in the organization and developing school-based programs.

Before joining the organization, David spent 38 years with Bank of America. In that time he managed the bank’s charitable trust department.

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Lucinda Noches Talbert
Vice President, Programs
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Lucinda Noches Talbert currently serves as the Vice President of Programs at KC Healthy Kids. In her current role, she is responsible for designing, executing and overseeing the organization’s programmatic strategies that advance health and improve Greater Kansas City’s food and built environments. She has 17 years of program planning, grant writing and fund development experience at government and non-profit organizations in Kansas and Missouri. From 2007 to 2010, Lucinda was part of the team that successfully raised $25 million for the new Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center building in northeast Kansas City. She has a Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Science from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Kansas.

Lucinda has served as the Vice President for the Heart of America Chapter of the Grant Professionals Association and is currently serving on the Boards of the Nettleton Foundation, Northeast Neighbor to Neighbor and Riverview Health Clinic. Lucinda is a 2011 graduate of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Centurions Leadership Program and a 2005 recipient of a Central Exchange AHEAD program scholarship. She is originally from Topeka, Kansas and has resided in the Kansas City metropolitan area for nine years.

Committees & Appointments
Association of Fundraising Professionals, Kansas City Chapter, Since 2007
Nettleton Foundation Board of Directors 2012-present, Since 2012
Riverview Health Services Board of Directors 2012-present, Since 2012
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Mamiko Vuillemin
Policy Assistant
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As policy assistant, Mamiko provides invaluable support to the policy team and helps advance policies that strengthen our regional food system and encourage healthy eating and active living. She works on many local and state policy initiatives while advocating for a strong and equitable food system, and currently leads our Fare Food Shopping project.

Before coming to KC Healthy Kids, Mamiko studied socio-economic disparities, community development, food systems and public policy at Ohio State University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies. She has written about restaurants and local food for a Japanese-language newspaper and has volunteered at a summer feeding program, analyzing ways to improve the access to healthy food.

“With my passion for community development and food security issues, KC Healthy Kids is a perfect place for me to learn and grow,” Mamiko says.

Committees & Appointments
Healthy Communities Wyandotte Food System Action Team, Since 2017
Healthy Communities Wyandotte Policy Committee, Since 2017

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Lori Watley
Executive Administrative Assistant
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As executive administrative assistant, Lori provides administrative support for daily business and program operations, finance and human resources. She brings with her ten years of professional administrative experience and fifteen years of experience in customer service. Additionally, Lori provides event support for the annual Champions for Health Youth Summit and organizes our progressive dinner, A Taste of the HeARTland.

Lori has been immersed in the Missouri and Kansas food scene since 2004 when she connected with the Kansas City Food Circle.  In 2009, Lori took an internship at Fair Share Farm in Kearney, MO to see first-hand the world of organic and sustainable farming.  This experience further fueled her passion and she continues to research and learn about sustainable food systems and lends support to opportunities which nurture and develop access to healthy, fresh food around the KC area.

“My love of food and passion for community engagement and social activism, make KC Healthy Kids the perfect place for me to continue to learn and grow in this work.”