conducts study on startup economic development
Renamed Enterprise Center of Johnson County,
begins management of early-stage, equity risk
capital in Kansas City
Bi-State Investment Group and
Kansas Women's Business Center formed
Mid-America Angels investment network
First successful MAA exit:
Rush Tracking Systems acquired
listed in Inc. 500 | 5000
Second successful MAA exit:
Zave Networks acquired by Google
Another successful MAA exit:
Aratana Therapeutics IPOs
Enterprise Center in Johnson County rebrands,
relocates, begins mentoring program
MEET OUR TEAM
CEO, President and Executive Director of Mid America Angels
Jeff Shackelford is the President & CEO of the Enterprise Center in Johnson County. The ECJC is a 25 year organization that has had an economic impact of over $3B for our region by supporting and funding early-stage, high-growth potential companies.
Prior to joining the ECJC in July, 2019, Jeff was executive director of Digital Sandbox KC, a proof-of-concept center designed to help move early-stage entrepreneurs from concept-to-commercialization. Since inception, Digital Sandbox has assisted in securing over $85M in equity investment for 70 companies that have created over 700 new Kansas City area jobs.
Mr. Shackelford has a unique and diverse professional background with a rare combination of Fortune 100 enterprise experience coupled with entrepreneurial, start-up and early stage ventures that includes a successful track record in capital fund-raising of over $500M.
Mr. Shackelford holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Kansas.
Christina has her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of MO – Columbia and her Master’s degree in Accounting and Finance from Keller Graduate School of Management.
She started her accounting career at the Housing Authority of Kansas City, MO, where she held several positions in the accounting department. She went on to work at SkillPath Seminars as the General Ledger Accountant, and then worked several years at RSM US LLP in the Entrepreneurial Services department, servicing clients who outsourced their accounting functions.
In April 2021, Christina joined Enterprise Center of Johnson County as the Controller.
Investment Analyst, Mid-America Angels
Investment Analyst, Financial Analyst, Consultant with a history of working with high growth businesses.
Rebecca Gubbels presently works for the UMKC Small Business & Technology Development Center teaching entrepreneurial classes, doing one-on-one business consulting, and working on special projects for technology start-ups. She is both an experienced banker and business owner. Rebecca’s finance background includes managing an SBA Microloan Program, a decade of commercial lending, and financial product development for the small business market.
Her entrepreneurial experience runs the gamut from packaging loans for pizza and beer money in college to building a greeting card company to now consulting with banks and entrepreneurs. Her skills include financial analysis, business operations, process improvement, executive coaching, peer roundtable facilitation, and adult business training.
Rebecca is a Kansas City area native who holds a B.B.A. in Entrepreneurship from Baylor University. When she’s not working with business owners she enjoys kayaking, reading, and snacks.
Director, Policy and Strategic Development
Patty Markley joined the ECJC team in March, 2019 as Vice President of Policy and Strategic Development. She is the Principal at Markley Strategies LLC, a public affairs and advocacy consulting firm. Patty served District 8 in the Kansas House of Representatives from 2017-2018.
Prior to serving in the legislature, she was a full-time parent, community volunteer, and
member of the Prairie Village City Council. Her previous experience includes work as a not-for-profit executive, and as a staff member for a United States Senator.
She received an undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Patty lives in Overland Park, KS with her husband Brian and two daughters.
Administrative Assistant & Office Manager
Jenn joined the Enterprise Center in February 2011 after graduating from Pittsburg State University with a degree in Commercial Graphics. She completed an internship with a printing company, Spangler Graphics and also was an eCommerce intern at the Kansas City Sports Commission.
Jenn lives in Olathe, KS, with her husband Jay. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, Chiefs football, KU basketball, and traveling.
WOMEN’S BUSINESS CENTER (a program of the ECJC) and the OneKC for Women partnership
Established in 2000, the Women’s Business Center (WBC) operates as a program of the Enterprise Center of Johnson County. This program was initiated to foster the participation of women entrepreneurs in the economy, especially those who have been historically underserved or excluded, however, the WBC serves the entire metropolitan area. In any given year the WBC touches over 1,000 individuals seeking to start or grow businesses. The WBC is one of 100 such organizations in the U.S. partially funded by the Small Business Administration.
Also, in 2008, The Women’s Capital Connection (WCC) officially launched. Committed to investing in women-led ventures, WCC is a regional network of accredited angel investors dedicated to identifying and funding the most promising start-up business opportunities in the region.
The WBC and WCC are both proud partners of the OneKC for Women Alliance.
Founder of OneKC for Women and Executive Director, Women’s Business Center
With a variety of experiences from corporate management to business development to entrepreneurship, Sherry Turner now serves the Kansas City metropolitan area in a leadership role with the Women’s Employment Network, the Women’s Business Center, the Women’s Capital Connection. and the WE-Lend Micro loan Initiative. Mission alignment of these organizations creates financial independence for women in our community through sustained employment, the advancement of women business owners in all stages of their businesses and access to capital through angel investments. Branding this new alliance of non-profits focusing on women was launched in June, 2009 as OneKC for Women.
Previously, Sherry was Director of Small Business and Entrepreneurship with the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. She believes Kansas City is a great place to grow a business and she is committed to making the Kansas City bi-state region a stronger entrepreneurial economy with a talented workforce.
Entrepreneurial ventures include management consulting in the corporate sector and enhancing applied academic programs through promoting work-based learning opportunities for academic institutions throughout the Midwest.
Sherry holds a B.S. from Northwest Missouri State University and is a native of Kansas City. In 2015, she was the recipient of the Legacy Award by Thinking Bigger Business Media and was awarded the Missouri Women’s Council Award of Distinction. She is a KC Business Journal’s Women Who Means Business honoree, joining the class of 2017.
Managing Director, Women’s Capital Connection
Kelly Sievers spent 18 years in the trenches of retail entrepreneurship. She has purchased, grown and sold four different retail businesses. She was owner and CEO of Scandia Down on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, a business she sold in 2003.
Kelly then spent five years as the Client Services Manager of the Women’s Business Center, where she consulted with entrepreneurs and helped develop programming. She began her current role as the Managing Director of the Women’s Capital Connection, an angel investment group of more than 40 women who invest in women-led companies in 2009. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the angel network including managing deal flow, application screening and presentations, due diligence, investment coordination and post-investment management and reporting. In 2010 and 2011, she also acted as Managing Director of The Show Me Angels, a group of accredited investors that invest in companies in the Eastern Jackson County area of Kansas City.
Currently, Kelly serves as a network mentor for Pipeline Entrepreneurs, is a certified Kauffman FastTrac facilitator, is a St. Louis Prosper Startup Accelerator Advisor, and is a mentor for the Sprint Accelerator. She also assists Digital Sandbox in company selection and advises students involved in the Blue Valley School CAPS program.
Kelly has a BS degree in Communications and Business from Iowa State University. She was awarded the Kansas Women Business Advocate of the Year in 2007 and made the Kansas City Techweek 100 list in 2015 and 2016.
Program Director, Women’s Business Center
Brande Stitt currently serves as Program Director for the Women’s Business Center in Fairway, Kansas. The WBC helps develop, mentor and fund women led businesses. In her new role, Brande provides counseling services for women entrepreneurs and plans training classes to assist starting and growing businesses. She is also responsible for the implementation of the WBC’s WE-Lend microloan fund.
Brande previously served as the Network Builder for KCSourceLink, an organization connecting small businesses to the right resource at the right time. Prior to her time at KCSourceLink, she served as the Director of Small Business & Entrepreneurship for the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. She began with The Chamber in June
2002 after completing her M.Ed. in community/agency counseling at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She also received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Drury University in Springfield, Mo.
Her responsibilities with KCSourceLink included partner recruitment and outreach, marketing to the small business community and coordinating grant-related events. Past experience with The Chamber included planning and implementing a weekly educational series, Small Business Celebration awards program, an annual Innovation Conference and managing volunteer committees for small business members.
Her passion includes event planning and marketing for her alma mater, Drury University. She previously served on the Board of Directors for Nonprofit Connect. She currently serves as a volunteer for the Ottawa Main Street Association in Ottawa, Kansas.
Client Services Manager, Kansas City Women’s Business Center
Judy Bumpus currently serves as Client Services Manager for the Women’s Business Center in Overland Park, Kansas. The WBC helps develop, mentor and fund women-led businesses. In her role, Judy provides counseling services for women entrepreneurs and plans and facilitates training classes to assist starting and growing businesses.
Judy previously owned a consulting company that specialized in business and workforce skills development. Prior to her time operating her own business, she served as the Program Manager with First Step Fund a local microenterprise program. Her responsibilities with First Step Fund included coordination and effective execution of all programs offered, supervision of staff and volunteers, managing training events, including the delivery of content of training, management of micro-loan program, grant program, and development and delivery of peer training in the field of microenterprise development.