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 with Amber Rothermel Team with Keller Williams. 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, and watch out when she’s pursuing something in which she believes with all her heart. She’s unstoppable. Anissa brings a multitude of talents to the board, including executive leadership skills that she’s honed as Chief Human Resources Officer 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 firsthand 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 Chief People Officer at McCownGordon also greatly benefits the GRACE board. The adage that if you want something accomplished ask a busy person. That’s Nancy.
Says Nancy, “Individuals fighting addiction show incredible bravery and they need support, and they deserve our grace. That’s what we’re all about.”
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.
Says Michael, “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.”
Lindsey is a fundraising professional with an event planning background and an unwavering dedication for making our community a better place. She feels lucky to be able to offer her skills to an organization like GRACE and its mission, to which she has a strong personal connection. When not serving GRACE, Lindsey is COO with Starlight Theatre.
Says Lindsey, “Supporting Oxford through GRACE saves lives and provides the best chance for individuals in recovery to benefit from community, resources and accountability. As someone who credits her father’s life today with the Oxford model, serving GRACE is my small way of saying ‘thank you’ for an immeasurable gift.”
Jeff has a background in organization/leadership development, executive/retirement coaching, and theatre acting/directing, all of which arm him with the creative and organizational skills so valuable to our Board. He also plays the drums, owns a fleet of random boats, and has a superpower of never being lost. (He says, “I might not exactly know where I am but am able and very much enjoy finding my way, which includes asking for directions.”)
Jeff says he is passionate about GRACE because, “I have witnessed people struggle with addiction. My friend Tim was so incapacitated after a night of drinking he never saw the people who severely beat and robbed him as he walked home. It took him numerous attempts to stop drinking, but he did it and I was amazed. His turn around has stayed with me for decades and by being part of GRACE I honor him and all those who battle addiction, and those who stick it out with them.”
Mallory joined the GRACE board because of a strong and heartfelt desire to help individuals in recovery. She also brings boundless energy and a multitude of skills, including legal and contractual expertise. When not volunteering for GRACE, Mallory is Associate General Counsel at McCownGordon Construction.
Says Mallory, “GRACE and our recovery mission with Oxford is near and dear to my heart. My brother battled addiction for over 10 years and lived in Oxford homes throughout. Sadly, we lost him in 2018. GRACE has given me a way to honor his memory and help others in the recovery journey. GRACE + Oxford is saving and changing lives here in KC and I’m so blessed to be part of it.”
Renae brings deep marketing and strategy experience to our board, as the co-founder of ER Marketing and former Vice President of Marketing for Payless Cashways. After recently exiting her marketing business after 20 years, she is focused on being a marketing consultant, entrepreneur, mentor, wife, grandmother, mother, daughter, and friend. Lucky for GRACE, she’s also a community volunteer.
Says Renae, “Addiction seems to touch everyone in some way at some time in their life. Either through a friend, family member, employee or co-worker. Having a safe place to embrace recovery and be held accountable is the answer in my view. More beds are needed, and GRACE is passionate about providing those. I hope to contribute to that mission.”
Mickie has that rare ability to truly listen to others and use insight to ask meaningful questions. Just ask any of the hundreds of her former clients who’ve benefited from her executive/life coaching over the years. She is fiercely loyal to those she cares for and serves, and her sense of humor makes her delightful to be around. In addition to reading, connecting, traveling and learning, she’s hoping to add pickle ball to her list of hobbies.
Says Mickie, “One of my close family members has been challenged with addiction and I have seen the devastating impact. It’s horrifying to watch a person become someone they don’t want to be! Those who suffer with this disease need help and I am committed to being part of an effort that provides resources and brings stability and life back to those who think their options no longer exist.”