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Girl Power

Chamber leadership provides community support.

There’s something to be said for the collective awesomeness of women, and that’s evidenced by the polished professionals at the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce. 

Led by President Matt Baird, this team has more than 1,000 members relying on its expertise. Luckily, these women possess a veritable Swiss Army knife of skills. “Our Chamber office ladies are dedicated to ensuring we represent our members and the business community with excellence. Their individual abilities and talents complement one another; together they create a strong team that exceeds expectations,” says Baird.

Cathy Young

Staff veteran Cathy Young is the longest-tenured Chamber employee, having served the organization for 24 years in almost every capacity and working for five Chamber presidents. “When I started, everything was faxed; very few members had email. We also had a typewriter that was actually used!” 

Young currently serves as Director of Financial Services, handling all items related to bookkeeping. She enjoys the variety of ways the Chamber gets counted on, including the day “I had a lady call about a beauty salon but had no idea the business name. After gathering a few details and doing a Google search, I was able to figure it out. Not my job description, but people count on us. We want to be there for them.”

There are so many options downtown, but Smoke Brewing Company offers amazing options for mac and cheese! -Cathy Young

Linda Driskill

Member Services Coordinator Linda Driskill, a former award-winning school teacher, says her favorite part of the Chamber is being involved in the community and the relationships built along the way. “I believe Chamber membership is essential. It’s the link connecting your business to networking opportunities, timely professional development, widening your prospective network and allowing you to develop priceless business relationships and friendships.”

Driskill’s role encompasses membership engagement, retention, recruitment and the execution of events. She believes women in business have much to gain through Chamber membership. “The Chamber supercharges your business, expanding your business knowledge, providing a unique opportunity to market and brand, and connecting you to community leaders,” says Driskill.

Downtown LS is my ‘happy place’ to grab a bite to eat, enjoy a beverage, shop the boutiques or get outside for a stroll. -Linda Driskill

Megan Gray

Director of Special Events Megan Gray channels the drive and determination she honed as a two-sport collegiate athlete into creating meaningful fundraising and networking events that engage members. Coordinating monthly networking and programming events like Business Before Hours and Chamber luncheons, along with fundraisers such as Oktoberfest and the annual Gala, fall under her umbrella. “Our Oktoberfest is a sight to behold; more than 200 volunteers from businesses, church groups and individual families come together to make it successful. It truly is a team effort,” she says.

Gray also enjoys the ways she’s been able to leverage support for businesses, non-profits and the community. “Our 2022 Women in Business Conference featured a ‘Pretty Purses’ drive where we gathered donations and filled purses full of pampering items. They were donated to the women of Hope House for the holiday season.”

I love the All A’Bloom ladies. They’re an amazing group that really knows what working hard is. -Megan Gray

Denise Elam

Although she’s new to the Chamber, Director of Marketing and Communications Denise Elam brings four years of experience with chambers of commerce around the country and is passionate about using media to amplify member voices. “I believe everyone has a story worth sharing; I hope to inspire and empower members by making sure Chamber announcements, events, legislative opportunities and individual stories are marketed on numerous platforms.”

Elam may be capturing events to share stories, but she herself is often impacted by the experiences. “One of my first events was a Recess for Success on hiring and retention. Inspired by the amount of dialogue and discussion, I could tell the session left members chewing on ways they could retain and empower their own employees. I felt proud to work for an organization helping facilitate such meaningful resources.” 

I love KD Books. They have a great selection of books and educational toys for kids. -Denise Elam

Lisa Frogge

A self-described brand ambassador, Director of Membership and Ad Sales Lisa Frogge is found with a smile and a yellow ribbon at virtually every new member ribbon cutting. That’s no small feat, considering the Chamber adds an average of 175 members annually. A  member years before joining the staff, Frogge believes deeply in her work’s mission. “I truly enjoy visiting with members, learning what motivates them and who they hope to serve. When I see them succeed, I know I’ve done my job,” she says.

She shares: “A member recently told me when he first joined the Chamber, he was nervous about attending events because of the large audience, but he said I spotted him and started introducing him to others. He felt ‘seen’ and accepted. He’s now one of our strongest supporters and has made valuable business and personal connections.”

How do I narrow it down? If I must, Whistlestop is my go-to for coffee and Konrad’s for lunch. -Lisa Frogge

Janet Shelman

The newest addition to the Lee’s Summit Chamber ladies is Janet Shelman. Joining the team this spring, Shelman is still learning the ropes as the Administrative and Events Coordinator. “Being part of the Chamber and working with this dynamic team has already been great. I’ve met so many who have shared their stories of Chamber involvement helping them grow, and I’m excited to be part of that,” she says.

The administrative support she’ll provide on the back side of events will be invaluable, as the coordination and execution of multiple monthly events require a customer service-oriented personality. “I’ve done work in the theatre world and am comfortable being in front of groups. You never know what ‘character’ I may be working on at an event!”

I’m still learning the options that abound for coffee, snacks, lunch or meeting friends downtown. I’ll have to get back to you on a favorite! - Janet Shelman