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2022 Board Members

Cara Voss Seiler, Board President

Cara Voss Seiler, Board Member, has sewing woven into her entire life. As a child she spent time watching her great-grandmother quilt and learned how to sew from her mother. She took her love of sewing into her career with a degree in Textile & Apparel Management from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is currently employed at Children International, a local Kansas City non-profit. At Children International, Cara works with the fundraising and donor service teams to create the best experience for their supporters. Her twelve years of sales and customer service experience includes Macy’s and Beauty Brands. During her career, Cara has held various leadership positions with responsibilities of driving the education and culture within the organizations.

An inspiration for Cara is a quote by Gandhi "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

Nancy Petersen, Vice President

Nancy Petersen, Board President, is the Chief Operating Officer with Sacred Stitches.  Nancy is also a Master Instructor, for Industrial and Entrepreneurial Programs.  Nancy brings 40+ years working in the apparel industry with small to large companies.  Her experience includes product design, line development and engineering, production patternmaking and grading, production management, sales, and merchandising management, as well as consulting.  She has sewing business ownership experience in short-run manufacturing and custom ladies’ apparel, including tailoring, bridal/special occasion, and alterations.  Nancy is an expert seamstress and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Clothing and Textiles.

Kris Smither, Secretary

Kris Smither, Board Member and Curriculum Development (volunteer) is a retired art teacher with 30+ years’ experience in teaching the arts and recipient of Missouri teacher of the year.

Barbara Hadley, Treasurer

Barbara Hadley, Board Member - 30+ years’ experience as a CPA; as an entrepreneur, created and sold a business that remains a leader in its market.

Derek Toms, Board Member

Derek Toms, Board Member, is an accomplished nonprofit professional with well over a decade of experience working in the nonprofit and government sectors.  During his career he has successfully led programmatic and funding growth for all the organizations he has served.  Along the way he has developed the unique ability to leverage limited budgets and navigate a wide variety of funding streams to create programs that exceeded organizational goals and provided meaningful experiences for the communities he served.  Derek is currently working with nonprofit organizations, both local and international, to think more creatively to help them develop long-term sustainable business practices.  

“I am excited to be joining an organization that is not only providing valuable job skills but is giving hope and building community for those that have been marginalized, for whatever reason, in the past.  No matter what walk of life you come from, you instantly feel home when you walk through The Sewing Labs’ door.”

Kelsey McLellan Huber, Board Member

Kelsey McLellan Huber, Board Member, is originally from Toronto, Canada, Kelsey has called Kansas City home for the last twelve years. She has spent her career in marketing, focusing on communication design and digital marketing for a variety of industries. She also owned and operated a local business for several years, specializing in garment cleaning and preservation. Kelsey is passionate about serving the Kansas City community and supporting The Sewing Labs' mission to support employment, entrepreneurship, and enrichment through sewing. Kelsey graduated from the University of Alabama with a B.A. in Communication and is currently pursuing her MBA at UMKC. 

Eileen Bobowski, Executive Director & Board Member

Originally from Chicago, Eileen came to Kansas City to direct an area in the Creative Division at Hallmark. After successfully leading her team through growth and innovation, Eileen entered the nonprofit sector serving greater Kansas City. The past several years has seen Eileen working as a Brand Services Director with the YMCA of Greater Kansas City, working with the prisoner re-entry “Turn Around” program at Catholic Charities of KC-St. Joseph, and as the Director of Development and Communications with Camp Fire National Headquarters. Most recently, Eileen was the Area Director for Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska with the Pinky Swear Foundation.
Eileen brings a wealth of leadership and fundraising experience, as well as her humble and passionate love of service to others. In addition to her executive skill set, Eileen has a life-long enthusiasm for sewing and is excited about serving The Sewing Labs’ mission to teach the legacy of sewing toward employment & entrepreneurship.

Dan Smith - Board Member

Dan Smith-
Dan provides organizational leadership and direction to The Porter House KC. He is a native of Kansas City, Mo and graduated from The Bishop Hogan High School. He has worked in both for-profit and not-for-profit sectors in the past 14 years, and has started/owned/operated 5 businesses, including The Porter House KC. Dan's affinity for the not-for-profit sector, and specifically helping in the underserved populations started roughly 20+ years ago when his mother exposed him to the importance of helping others. This experience gave him a deep appreciation for the not-for-profit work being done in the underserved communities of color and fueled his drive to help those in need. He currently serves on various boards including St Luke’s South, Reconciliation Services, The Latino Arts Foundation, and now The Sewing Labs.

Jacqueline Shrum - Board Member

Jacqueline Shrum-
Jacqueline Shrum, board member, has 20+ years of experience in aspects of retail including wholesale apparel design, sale and distribution, retail merchandise and assortment planning, specialty and national brand store management and retail center property management. Her passion for people and for strategic planning are coactive in helping create positive impact to bottom line with well-being and growth of people involved as non-negotiable.
Jacqueline has long believed that small things build to big things and that bringing each other along for them is the best way to progress. She is proud to be included in the The Sewing Labs mission and impassioned to aid in provision of tools and opportunities that inspire ability and hope for our Kansas City Community.

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