BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Rob Elsey – President
Known for his sense of humor, Rob knows that addiction is not a laughing matter; and he’s determined to do something about it. Also known as “Rob the Realtor,” he brings real estate expertise to the board from his role as Senior Sales Executive with Reece Nichols. Yet, Rob’s greatest contribution is his charismatic and passionate leadership toward the GRACE mission.
Says Rob, “My wife and I first learned about Oxford Houses when our daughter was released from residential treatment and needed to transition back into the community. We met many people through Oxford and were amazed at how well most of the houses operated. It became clear that more houses were needed on the Missouri side of our metro area. The idea for GRACE came out of my sincere desire to create an organization that could help build a stronger sober living community in Kansas City, MO by improving and increasing the Oxford House capacity.”
Anissa Elsey – Vice President
Anissa’s drive and energy has always been inspirational, but watch out when she’s pursuing something in which she believes with all her heart. Holy cow! Anissa brings a multitude of talents to the board, including executive leadership skills that she’s honed as Vice President of Human Resources at Nazdar. Anissa can organize anything and anyone and has never met a stranger.
Says Anissa, “I have been impacted by addiction in my family for most of my life. I have witnessed, first-hand what it can do to a person and to a family. My husband and I have worked diligently to help our daughter through the recovery process. We have experienced the benefits that Oxford Houses can offer its residents, as well as the peace of mind it provides the family members. We see a real need for more sober living homes in the Kansas City, MO area.”
Doug Ballou – Vice President
Within two minutes, Doug can find something in common with anyone he meets (he’s been timed). That’s what makes him a remarkable connector of people and ideas, especially when it comes to a cause like Grace. Doug is a profound thinker and brings extensive knowledge of addictive behavior from his role as Founder/Managing Director of Blue Window, a behavioral health consulting firm, and The Center for Health and Wellness Engagement & Research.
Doug, a journalism major, cites Edward R. Murrow’s quote as his personal mantra, business philosophy, and passion for Grace: “Our major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions.”
Nancy Whitworth – Secretary
If the ideal Board member includes compassion, business acumen, and strategic leadership Nancy is the embodiment of that profile. What has led to her success as the Vice President of Strategic Services at McCownGordon also greatly benefits the GRACE board. The adage that if you want something accomplished ask a busy person. That’s Nancy.
Michael Fox – Treasurer
As a CPA, Michael keeps the GRACE financial records in top order. As a Philanthropist, he keeps an open heart for the GRACE mission. Michael’s background as an accountant, and now Controller of Pinnacle Plumbing, brings an impressive level of financial and business savvy to our board. We depend on him for sound advice, and a little levity with his periodic one-line quips that make us laugh.
Michael says, “GRACE is close to my heart because people deserve the chance to live in recovery. Addiction/alcoholism grips thousands of people throughout Kansas City and there are not enough programs/housing to empower these people to evolve from a life of dependence to independence. Seeing friends and family struggle with these diseases has shown me the great need that exists. GRACE’s role in the Kansas City recovery community is fill the void of safe sober living by opening up new Oxford Houses. I am proud to be a part of the organization and contribute to the recovery community in any way I can.”
As an attorney with Jackson Lewis, Shelly brings legal and contract expertise to our board, and much more. She has a way of asking insightful questions and then eloquently summarizing the answers to make us sound really smart; it’s amazing! Shelly’s intelligence keeps us sharp, and her quick wit makes us laugh; equally important qualities.
Michelle is a planner and executer extraordinaire, and she does it with creativity and energy like no other. With a generous spirit that overflows, no wonder she’s a principal with Overflow – a firm that strategically plans and executes meetings, conferences, incentive travel and events. Michelle’s experience, connections and resources are a true blessing to our board.
Marlene has an amazing spirit and has built her career around people, in both education and the business world, with the ultimate goal of serving both an organization and the people who make it great. Her passion for helping provide safe, sober living is based on her own personal experiences with family and friends who have struggled with addiction.
Says Marlene, “I have watched both family members and friends struggle with addiction. Some have been successful and some have lost their battles but all have been good, kind, loving people who faced the unfortunate demons that come with addiction.”
Marlene’s drive to help others goes beyond her personal life. Her career has been centered around working with and for others. Marlene currently serves as the Chief People Officer at Saving Sight, a non-profit organization that changes lives through the gift of sight. Prior to her time in HR, she spent six years working as a behavior interventionist and positive behavior support coach.