Author Archive

Roshann Parris


What an honor and a joy it is to be amongst so many smart, energized and thoughtful women!

I grew up in the back of my parents’ corner drugstore in Louisville, Kentucky.  It was there that I learned life’s greatest lessons: work really hard, exceed expectations, be kind to people from all walks, and treat everyone as you would want to be treated.

My beloved Mom, Stella, was raised by my very modest Greek grandparents.  She never went to college.  But she was one of the wisest and most inspiring women I’ve ever known.

She encouraged me along a dual-track life for the last 45 years.  One has been in strategic communications, and one in national service to our country’s leaders.

In that time, I’ve had the chance to work with some extraordinary people both right here in Kansas City, and in over 75 countries around the world on behalf of The White House.  Alongside U.S. Presidents and First Ladies, it’s been a front-row seat to world history.


Motherhood for me has been a magnificent journey in some non-traditional ways.  There are our 5 beloved children and their spouses, our 5 magical grandchildren and our 3 rescue pups.   There are the hundreds of  “children” I’ve had the chance to raise through decades of national service; they are truly carrying forward a legacy for our country’s future.  And there are the 4-legged children we have spiritually adopted at the Kansas City Campus for Animal Care, which we founded in honor and memory of Adele Hall – an angel mother to all she touched.

Thank you for the privilege of being in this beautiful Life Unlimited room.  Each of you has left a handprint on the heart of Kansas City.  I feel so grateful to live in your midst!

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Missy Love


Missy, daughter of Marsha Pachter and Myron Wang, inherited her parents’ and grandparents work ethic and strong family values, both of which are reflected in her life’s most meaningful experiences.

Missy attended Pembroke Hill School and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from The University of Kansas. Soon after college, she began working at Alaskan Fur Company, and in 1991, she not only gave birth to her second child, David but she also became the president of Alaskan Fur. Missy is the third generation to lead the privately held business founded in 1926.

My husband Bill and I share a love for many things. We met in the HEMP (Helzberg Entreprenurial Mentoring Program) and are still very active in the program. We spend time in the summer in Vail where we get to bike, hike and play golf together. We love to travel and share many of the same interests. We also help and support each other in our respective business and community endeavors.

Ten years ago, Missy and Bill started BioStar Renewables, a company which offers renewable energy solutions to medium to large businesses in the U.S. Missy and Bill’s daughter, Sarah is our office administrator and their son, David is Vice President of sales for the company. . Their daughter Kelly works at Lockton Insurance

I have always enjoyed volunteering and being involved in our KC Community. I have been involved in the BOTAR organization for many years. I was BOTAR president in 2016. I am also involved in the American Royal where I currently am a Board Member.I have been a volunteer for the Kansas City Musuem, Science City at Union Station and the Halo organization. My husband Bill and I love being involved in our Kansas City community.


My hats off to all the mother’s in the room. I am so honored to be in the room with all these wonderful Mother’s and past Honorees. I never thought anyone would honor me for being a mother! Isn’t that one of our jobs! I had many people helping me during motherhood and can’t take sole credit for how wonderful my kids are. Motherhood taught me many things too. I learned patience and unconditional love. I was always hopeful that I could give them wings to fly on their own. I am very proud of who they have become. They are successful, loving, independent and strong. They all know the importance of our family.

There is nothing I love more than hanging out with the kids over dinner. We try and have weekly dinners. We love going to the Chiefs game as a family, sporting events are always a family affair. We also have at least one family trip every year together. I so enjoy being with them and am so proud of who they are today. Not a day goes by that they don’t check in with me. I am also

beyond grateful for my granddaughter Steevie Rose, daughter of my son David and his wife Jacquelyn. I had no idea how fantastic being a grandma can be. It is very rewarding watching your kids be great parents!

Special thanks to Bonnie Illig and the event committee for organizing this luncheon to support the important work of Life Unlimited.


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Patty Kincaid


Patty Kincaid is a mother, grandmother, and philanthropist, who has committed her life to supporting children and her community. Patty was born as Patrica Ann Hickey in Atchison Kansas on St. Patrick’s Day. She was named by her father for their Irish Catholic Heritage and is one of six children. As a young girl, Patty moved to Mission, Kansas where she began her education at St. Pius grade school and later attended Bishop Miege High School. After graduating Patty decided to forgo college and begin her career that was short lived because she met the love of her life, Don Kincaid.

Patty has lived by the motto it is better to give than to receive.

Patty was a stay-at-home mom and room mother for many years, but saw a need within her community and co-curated a safety initiative for school age children. Because of this Shawnee Mission School District asked her to serve as co-chair for their safety program. Patty continued to advocate for children by serving as a board member for the Metropolitian Organizaiton to Counter Sexual Assault, board member at The Childrens Place and board member at Bishop Ward High School.

Patty continued to give to other organizations within her community.

She served as co-chair of the Union Station grand reopening, co-chair for Union Station’s 100 year celebration, Auction Chair for Bishop Miege High School, co-chairs of the Cathollic Charities Snowball and Patrons committee, as well as honorary chair for the Kansas City Chiefs Charity (2015, 2016, 2017) and benefactor to the recent Wonderscope Children’s Museum renovation.

In 2017 Patty and her husband were recognized for their patronage and awarded by the Greater Kansas City Association of Fundraising Professionals Kansas City (AFRPKC) Philanthropist of the Year. Patty’s commitment to helping children and her community is timeless and she’s humbled and honored to be recognized among this elite group of ladies.


Motherhood has a plethora of feelings for me. It has given me great joy, great pride, great love, heartbreak, humility, sadness and a testament to patience! The time with my children at home was over in just the blink of an eye. How quickly they grew up and were out in the world being independent and some having families of their own. Motherhood is hard work but the rewards of seeing them as successful adults and parents is so gratifying. Today, I am honored and humbled to be in this room with all these wonderful ladies. I thank God for the gift of motherhood and am so proud of our seven amazing children and the amazing people they have become. I am so proud to be their mother!

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Teresa Walsh


Thank you to the Hats Off to Mothers Committee for this honor.  Thank You to Life Unlimited for the outstanding work you do for our community, and congratulations to all the others being honored here today and in years past. 

Raised in Oklahoma Teresa met her husband Tom in 1982.  Teresa and Tom eventually moved to Kansas City in 1986, raising their family and making KC their home.  Prior to Kansas City, Teresa and Tom lived in the Boston suburbs and Houston, TX, where Teresa followed her entrepreneurial spirits founding several successful companies.  In 1997, now the mother of 3, Teresa co-founded Silpada Designs along with Bonnie Kelly.  Over the next 15 years Silpada Designs became the largest sterling silver jewelry retailer in North America sponsoring over 30,000 sales representatives in the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  Some of Teresa’s proudest moments in her career were those celebrating the achievements of the independent Silpada Sales reps.  In 2013 Silpada was acquired by Avon capping off a wonderful career of advancing women in business.  It is especially rewarding to Teresa to watch the dozens of former Silpada employees who have launched their own successful businesses right here in Kansas City. 

Teresa is a passionate supporter of The University of Kansas Health System and the Cancer Center in particular.  In 2011 Teresa and the leadership of the KU Cancer Center created the Nurse Navigation system for cancer patients at KU.     

In 2014 Teresa and Tom founded HNC Living Foundation in the midst of Teresa’s own battle with head and neck cancer.  (Thanks to the expert care of her team at KU Cancer Center, Teresa is now cancer free.)  HNC Living Foundation provides financial assistance to patients battling head and neck cancer during and after treatments.  Since its founding, the Foundation has provided over $1.8 million in financial aid to 3,800 patients in 44 states and is the only foundation providing such aid on a national scale. 


Naturally, it all starts with my own Mom; Betty Keith; a school teacher who instilled in me a foundation of caring, effort and sharing.  She was always an inspiration to me and always had the right words to share when I needed them most.  I am so proud of my own three children who are now 42, 37 and 34 and reside in Kansas City.  We enjoy weekly dinners with their families, which now includes our 6 grandchildren ages 18 months to 7 years.  I am so proud that my kids; Hailee, Kelsey and Spencer are best friends with one another, and still lean on me as they advance through their own lives and careers.  Each has become a successful entrepreneur in their own right.  I’m most proud that I’ve influenced their belief in themselves and their desire to achieve by providing something valuable for others. 

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Jamie Cummings


I am so humbled by this honor and would like to thank all moms for what they do and the legacies they leave behind.

Born and raised in a small town on the Colorado/Kansas border; Burlington, Colorado may not be famous but it’s my hometown. After my primary education in the Burlington public schools, I accepted a scholarship to the University of Northern Colorado (UNC), where I attained a B.S. in 1988.

I began my professional career as a Surety Underwriter for the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. After some reorganization, Chubb moved me to Kansas City in July of 1989. After four years I moved to Fireman’s Fund.

In 1993 I met the love of my life, David. We married in 1994. In 1997 we were blessed by the arrival of an intelligent, independent and beautiful daughter Nicole. In 1998 we decided I become a stay-at-home mom. The beginning of the new century brought us our handsome, talented, humorous and smart son Joe. Now, with the “nuclear family” in place it became my primary job.

As our kids grew and became more independent, I began volunteering; trying to “pay it forward.” I enjoyed serving on the board of the Northland Community Foundation “Feed Northland Kids” as well as PBS station, KCPT. I have also been an active member of Platte Woods United Methodist Church since 1993.

I have two true passions in life. First, being a mother. Second, being a partner, friend and sounding board for David’s new business opportunities. Living with a highly successful serial entrepreneur presents many opportunities assessing risks and potential. We truly make a great team. We are both sincere about making the world better. We’ve worked with many charities and institutions, both currently and in the past. We have been blessed in so many ways and we don’t take it for granted.



Thanks to my mom, Jeri Troyer, and my mother-in-law, Judy Cummings, for being the greatest role models.

A mother’s legacy: To instill in her child(ren) the ability to be independent and critical thinkers. To make good choices realizing each choice has consequences and love unconditionally even when not pleased with the choices that are made. Treat everyone the way you would like to be treated. Manners are important. Do good in all your works. Give back whenever you can. Live life with no regrets.

3 important decisions in everyone’s life:

1) Faith (choosing Jesus Christ).

2) Education, career, pursuit of your best.

3) Partner in life/who you marry.

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Melanie Fenske


Melanie would like to thank the Hats Off to Mothers Committee for this nomination. She is humbled to be selected and honored to be included among current and past honorees. Melanie has attended several Hats Off Luncheons in the past and believes Life Unlimited is a great organization with an important mission.

Melanie grew up primarily in Nebraska. She is the daughter of loving parents and stepparents with two beloved siblings. She attended college at the University of Nebraska majoring in Criminal Justice. She met her husband, Mike, as they were both finishing college. They moved to Kansas City after college and began their careers. They were blessed with three children, first, Jake and Luke, then, eleven years later Ella. Following the birth of Ella, Melanie was privileged to become a full-time mother and community volunteer.

Melanie’s volunteerism began in the children’s schools and church, holding roles such as room parent, auction committee, Sunday school teacher, after prom chair and after graduation chair. She has been very involved with Kansas City Arts organizations. She has chaired or co-chaired the UMKC Conservatory Gala, the Lyric Opera Ball Silent Auction, the Ballet Ball, and the Symphony Ball. She is currently Co-Chairing the Committee of 100 Luncheon in support of the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. She has also been very involved with the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault for over ten years, chairing the Young at Art fundraiser gala and serving on the Board of Directors, currently Board Chair.

Melanie and Mike feel very lucky to have raised their family here. Jake is married to the loveliest woman, Fiona. They live in Leawood and have two children, Evelyn and Eli. Melanie and Mike love their roles as “Nini and Dude.” Luke is a brand-new homeowner in Overland Park. Ella will graduate from Pembroke Hill in May and is headed to the University of Colorado in the fall.


As any mother knows, being a mom is one of life’s greatest joys! It is also scary, frustrating, and hard- but then rewarding and fulfilling. I cannot imagine my life without my children, and now my grandchildren. I’ve been so luck to share this journey of parenthood with my husband. Mike and I have always strived to lovingly raise our children to be hard working, thoughtful, and caring. One of the greatest compliments I can be paid is to be told my children are good, kind people. I’m excited to see what the future holds for them and share in their journeys as adults.

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Maureen Kuti

It is an honor to have been nominated into this amazing group of woman who contribute so much to our Kansas City community. I consider it a great blessing to have the time and resources to be able to make a difference in our community.

I was raised in El Paso, Tx and attended the University Kansas receiving a BS in Journalism. After graduation I moved to Kansas City and I met my best friend and future husband Jayson. He is an only child had had no idea what he had gotten into when he married me and instantly had 7 siblings and 24 amazing nieces and nephews!

I was introduced to the Kansas City charitable community by Jayson’s parents, Pam and Gerhard Kuti. As actively involved and passionate philanthropists they encouraged us to examine how we could do the same. Jayson and I created the Kompass Kapital Foundation to support our charitable ventures and to ensure it continues into future generations. We choose to focus our foundation on supporting and developing Kansas City underserved youth. By investing in our youth I believe we can effect long-term change in our community and have a compounding effect on many lives.

As I am sure everyone here knows, no volunteer effort can be accomplished without an amazing tribe of support. I am very grateful to be surrounded by charitable and accomplished women that share a passion for making a difference in our community. Without the assistance of Jayson, my children and friends I would not be able to have the honor to chair events, serve on boards and donate my time and resources. I am grateful to have worked with a variety of amazing Kansas City organizations such as DeLaSalle school, Kids TLC, The Barstow School, Girl Scouts, All about Autism, Giving the Basics, Give Something Back and many more.


Being blessed with 4 kids in 5 years has been an intense and amazing experience. My family is the most important legacy I can leave in this world. Gabe, Isabell, Pamela and William are incredible humans and I am very proud of them. My goal in parenting has always been serve as a strong support system and guide them to be charitable, kind and respectful stewards of the world. As they get older they support me in my learning to do the same.

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Zulema Bassham

Firstly, I am honored to be part of this year’s Hats Off to Mothers Luncheon and am humbled to be included in this year’s event with such an amazing group of women. Hats Off to Life Unlimited for all they do for their residents, families and for our community. I am so proud to be able to contribute to this remarkable organization.

I was born in Odessa, Texas and lived there until I moved to El Paso, Texas to begin my career as an entrepreneur in the beauty industry. After meeting him, I met and fell in love with my husband Terry. In El Paso, Terry and I spent twenty years getting married, starting our family and raising our children. El Paso was the place I became a mother to Hannah, Dylan and Valentin. Our three beautiful children make Terry and I really proud parents.

Our family moved from El Paso to Kansas City in 2005, and we began our new journey in the Midwest. Living in Kansas City, I was lucky enough to become active in our new community. Since I’ve lived in Kansas City, I have had the honor of partnering with Children’s Mercy Hospital, University of Kansas Hospital, University Health Hospital, Mosca, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Operation Breakthrough, Guadalupe Center, Mattie Rhodes, Kansas City Museum, KC Arts, Nelson Atkins Museum and others. Additionally, I currently serve on the Board of Director’s for University Health Hospital.

I am sincerely grateful for this year’s Hats Off to Mothers Luncheon and for the opportunity to reflect on and to celebrate motherhood.


Motherhood has been the most gratifying experience of my life.

Yes, Motherhood comes with hard work, sleepless nights, and heartaches. But I cannot imagine life without my three beautiful children. I admire who they are today, so loving and patient with concern for others. I am constantly moved by their love for me and for my mother. I could never live without their hugs and kisses.

I work very hard to be a good example to my kids. I try and show them how to love others, how to be humble and honest. I try and teach them the importance of education, self-love, and hard-work. But of all things, I want them to be kind to themselves, to take care of themselves, and to have fun in life. Life is short! My children know that I will always be there for them, to be their rock, just like my mother has been for me.

Motherhood means everything to me.

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Kelly Von Mosch

Buffalo born but Kansas City raised, I moved to KC at 4 years old completely unaware of what the next 41 years had in store. Within a few years of arriving, my parents divorced. As is often the case, the divorce was difficult on me and my brother. Ultimately, I remained in KC with my mother while my brother and father moved to Texas. Eventually my mother found love again and with that I gained two older step brothers. I graduated Blue Springs high school where growing up in a military household instilled structure and developed a strong work ethic, but also brought about teenage conflict and challenges that took a tragedy to overcome. At 15 I moved out and worked full time in the service industry discovering a passion for helping others. At 18 my world was shattered when my father was diagnosed with cancer. Within three short months, he was gone. Shortly thereafter I was involved in a near fatal car accident. With my world crumbling and months long recovery ahead, I knew I had to make some changes. Working tirelessly to rebuild relationships with my mother and stepfather became my priority. At 23 I unknowingly met my husband, Doug. Over the course of a few years and some persistence on his part, we became friends before dating and eventually marrying at 25. We lived in Prairie Village and were blessed with our first child, Ivan, in 2003 followed by our daughter, Ella, in 2005. Ivan and Ella are profoundly deaf and received cochlear implants at 26 months (Ivan) and 9 months (Ella) of age. Developing speech and language while learning to hear required an incredible team of doctors, audiologists, speech-language pathologists, teachers, and years of grit and determination. It was during this time that my passion for helping others blossomed. I became involved in fundraising for St. Lukes, Midwest Ear Institute and St. Joseph’s Institute for the deaf. Alongside fundraising, I have enjoyed advocating for other families that have children with hearing loss.

Being a working mom and raising two special needs kids has been challenging, sometimes even frustrating, but easily the most rewarding and noble job ever! My kids are exceeding my wildest dreams. Ivan will be graduating high school this spring with honors and a CNA certification. He’ll begin pursuing medical school this fall. Ella is wrapping up her sophomore year of high school as a varsity athlete before continuing her engineering interests in the fall. Motherhood is a lifetime of endless miracles. Being honored for HOTM touches my heart. My mother simply taught me to be kind and help others. Her unexpected passing in 2020 is a reminder of how very important every moment that you share is and I will cherish this recognition in her memory. Thank you so much, forever grateful.

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Fund Development Committee Member: Monte Summers

At Life Unlimited we have multiple committees that are vital to our success and growth. One of them is The Life Unlimited Fund Development Committee. This committee is comprised of dedicated community volunteers who provide counsel to the organization about fundraising activities, including special events, mailings and grant writing.

We’d like to introduce you to one of our Fund Development Committee members, Monte Summers. Monte has been involved in philanthropic efforts her entire life, working with the state of Kansas American Cancer Society, Special Olympics, United Cerebral Palsy, and more. She has been a supporter and advocate for our organization for decades, originally volunteering her time on the development committee for Open Options (previously United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Kansas City). She served as president of the Open Options Board of Directors for two terms and was on the transition committee when Options Option merged into Life Unlimited in 2018.

In 2003, with the support of fellow board members Dr. Michael Frost and Mr. and Mrs. Ken and Roswitha Schaffer, Monte spearheaded the planning for a new fundraising event called Hats Off To Mothers. Community Volunteer Barbara Spilker served as the first chairperson. Almost 20 years later, Life Unlimited still hosts the annual luncheon and it has raised over 1.7 million dollars to support adults with disabilities. We can contribute this success to Monte and her remarkable dedication to the event and it’s mission.

When asked about why she became so passionate for disability causes, she tells a story about a man she met almost 40 years ago. Her friend in Fort Worth was planning a dance for Special Olympics so she drove down to help her for a weekend. “We were at the dance and there was a young man who was so engaged and outgoing and he was in a wheelchair. And I decided, everyone needs to dance so I asked him if he would dance and we went out on the dance floor together. We just had the best time dancing, it was wonderful. I remember the look on his face the whole time, I still remember to this day.”

Monte’s favorite part of serving on the Fund Development Committee is thinking outside the box for new fundraising events and projects. She also enjoys meeting new benefactors and community partners to discuss how they can best support Life Unlimited’s mission.

The Fund Development Committee is led by Chairperson of the Board Sayard Parrish and coordinated by Chief External Relations Officer Mark Bertrand and Director of Development Andrea Adams. Members are Ms. Brenda Lowe, Ms. Monte Summers, Dr. Tom Thomas, and Ms. Susie Whitfield. Welcome aboard, Dr. Thomas! If you would like to join the committee, contact Andrea Adams at 913-787-7190 or

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