Carmen DeHart, Director of Outreach Programs , UMKC Innovation Center and Regional Director, Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center
Carmen’s role as Director of the UMKC SBTDC involves integrating public, private and educational business and technology development and commercialization support services with individuals and businesses in the Greater Kansas City area to promote economic growth.
As an ICF Professional Certified Coach (PCC)™, Carmen’s business coaching and consulting is comprehensive and personalized for each client with whom she engages. Her portfolio of skills includes executive leadership coaching, business strategy, financial analysis and business operations from start-up to acquisition.
An entrepreneur for over 20 years, Carmen co-owned and managed several successful businesses in industrial sales and engineering and fabrication for the metal manufacturing industry. She twice earned the Boeing Eagle Award for Outstanding Performance.
Carmen is an alumnus of the Henry W. Bloch School of Business and Public Administration, University of Missouri-Kansas City, receiving a BS in Business Administration and Finance. She also holds a Master of Theology from Holos University.
Rebecca Gubbels, Business and Program Development Consultant
Rebecca has experience as both a banker and a 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 small business owners. Her skills include financial analysis, business operations and processes, business coaching, and classroom facilitation.
Rebecca is a Kansas City area native who holds a B.B.A. in Entrepreneurship from Baylor University.
Jill Z. Meyer, Senior Technology Development & Commercialization Consultant
Jill is an experienced and successful senior manager with over 25 years of leadership, marketing, human capital and consulting experience, working with start-up organizations as well as multi-national corporations to impact change and drive profit. A specialist in technology commercialization, strategy development, financing and business development, Jill brings a practical perspective to supporting entrepreneurs and their businesses. At the SBTDC, Jill works with technology companies at all stages to assist in innovation, product development, grant and capital sourcing, management improvement and revenue growth.
Prior to joining the SBTDC, Jill had her own consulting practice, working with entrepreneurs to grow their businesses through innovation and operational execution in alignment with business priorities. Her experience as an executive coach as well as business driver further insured the implementation of her clients’ new strategies.
Jill holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Public Policy Studies from Duke University and a MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern.
Sally Williams, Technology Development & Commercialization Consultant
Sally Williams is an innovation expert. Her focus is driving growth through business innovation including new product development and commercialization, marketing, and strategy. She has more than 30 years of management experience spanning a wide range of innovation and marketing positions with Bayer Healthcare, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Ralston Purina Company, Frito-Lay, Inc., and ALCOA. She has successfully led businesses from start-ups to nationally-known brands.
At the SBTDC, Sally works with entrepreneurs developing various technologies, with products ranging from mobile apps to medical devices, focusing particularly on research and potential technology within the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). Providing consulting and entrepreneurial training to UMKC’s faculty and researchers, Williams will be key in moving technology from the lab to the consumer.
Sally has a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Music Education from the University of Mississippi, and a Master of Business Administration degree with Marketing specialization from the University of Illinois at Urbana. She is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota music honorary fraternity and Kappa Kappa Gamma fraternity.
Richard Wood, Business Development Consultant
Before becoming part of the UMKC SBTDC, Richard Wood was Chief Operating Office of Eagle Datagistics. He played an essential role in Eagle’s business development, strategic marketing, and public relations. Most of his time was spent on the frontlines of networking events cultivating strategic relationships and fortifying Eagle’s brand identity. Richard has a penchant for connecting with people and fostering long-term business relationships and continues working with Eagle in an owner and Advisory Board role.
Richard held many distinguished positions with well-known companies throughout the country. He served as the VP of Business Development of State Beauty, a division of Beauty Alliance/L’Oreal; also as Vice President of Marketing and President/Executive Director for International Pizza Hut Franchisees, and was Director U.S. Business marketing for Holiday Inns. In his early career, Richard was the head of three independent schools in the Midwest.
Richard has held an assortment of noteworthy positions. He has chaired the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, served as an Organizer of 1 Million Cups in St. Petersburg, and a former Member of the St. Petersburg Sports Alliance. Richard earned his BA degree in Economics from Muskingum College and a Doctorate of Educational Leadership from the University of Cincinnati.
Jill Hathaway, Business Development Consultant
With an education in international economics and finance, Jill managed the loan department for First Union bank before feeling the pull to sales and marketing, where her true passion lies. Jill has held several positions with well-known companies (Leegin Leather, Brighton and more) as a manufacturer’s sales representative in the fashion accessory industry. Stepping her way into the footwear industry, Jill was Regional Sales manager at Lowell Shoe, an H.H. Brown division winning several awards and accolades during her tenure. She led the retail support division of Life Uniforms, training management and employees on enhancing customers’ relationships through product knowledge, sales and marketing. As a member of the board for the National Shoe Retailers Association, Jill focused on buying power from international manufacturers, succession planning for independent retail businesses and expanding the benefits for all shoe retailers nationwide.
For the past 15 years, Jill has owned multiple footwear retail stores in the Kansas City metro. She played every business owner role from management, accounting, design, purchasing, training, merchandising, janitorial, hiring, sales and marketing. She understand the foundation and strategies necessary for small businesses to succeed. Becoming involved with non-profit boards and charity committees (SWBFHC, ADA, AHD-Go Red for Women, RoseBrooks), has allowed Jill to give back to her community. Jill earned her BA degree in economics and French from Tulane University, New Orleans. She enjoys travel and sports, especially volleyball and skiing.
Michelle Kretsinger, Training Coordinator and Administrative Specialist
Michelle has experience in the fields of education, insurance and administration of programs. Michelle graduated with a Public Relations degree from the University of Missouri – Columbia.
Her role at the UMKC SBTDC is to help clients find the correct classes for their stage and type of business. She also enrolls and registers all new clients in the center for classes and/or counseling sessions.