Celebrating six women business leaders in the Heartland

Women’s History Month is a great opportunity to not only reflect on the contributions women have made in the past but also to celebrate women who are paving the way towards a brighter future today.

Earlier this month we profiled five pioneering women breaking barriers in public service. Below are six women who are making a difference in the private sector – shattering glass ceilings and claiming corner offices across the heartland.

Wendy Guillies

President and CEO of Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Wendy Guillies is the current president and chief executive officer of the Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the United States.

As CEO, she works to boost student achievement in the city and to promote entrepreneurship all across the country. Previously, she used her marketing, organizational development, and talent management skills to build the Foundation’s credibility on the local and international stage.

Outside of the private sector, she gives back to the community through serving on the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, KCSourceLink, MRI Global, Folience and the Enterprise Bank Advisory Board.

Whitney Bartelli

President, Bank Midwest and Chief Marketing Officer

Whitney has served as NBH Bank’s Chief Marketing Officer and President of Bank Midwest since 2015. She also has served as a member of NBH Bank’s board of directors since 2017. She leads the bank’s community building initiatives, integrated brand strategy, marketing programs, product development, and client service initiatives.

Before taking on the roles of CMO and President, she was previously Director of Marketing and has over 25 years of experience in financial services, specializing in branding, marketing, and communications.

Whitney is also involved in many community organizations, including the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors — where she serves as Vice-Chair for the Executive Women’s Leadership Council — Kansas City Central Exchange, and the Board of Directors for Hope House, an organization providing domestic violence victims with shelter and comprehensive services.

Karen Daniel

Before retiring from Black and Veatch, the largest engineering firm in the Greater Kansas City area, Karen Daniel served as Chief Financial Officer and was at the company for over 20 years. Karen also became the first black woman to ever serve as chair of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

A champion for promoting greater economic and educational opportunity in the Kansas City region, Karen challenged her fellow business executives to be more inclusive.

She continues to devote her life to strengthening the Kansas City region, providing an inspiring example for aspiring businesswomen everywhere.

Melinda Estes, MD

President & CEO, St. Luke’s Health System

Since 2011, Dr. Melinda Estes has served as President and Chief Executive Office of Saint Luke’s Health System, a not-for-profit, faith based health system consisting of 16 hospitals and campuses.

A board certified neurologist and neuropathologist, Dr. Estes is active in many professional organizations and currently serves on the board and executive committee of the American Hospital Association. She is also serving on the American Hospital Association’s Board of Trustees as chair-elect.

Modern Healthcare recognized Dr. Estes as one of its 50 Most Influential Physician Executives and Leaders. She’s been named in Becker’s Hospital Review lists of leaders to know and was elected to the 2018 Kansas City Power 100.

Esther George

Esther George is the current president and chief executive officer of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. As CEO, she leads a workforce of more than 1,600 employees in offices located around the country.

Outside of work, Esther is also an active participant in her community. The Missouri native is a member of the federal open market committee, which has authority over U.S. monetary policy. She was also the former chair of the Federal Reserve System’s Community Banking Organizations Management Group and served as the acting director of the Federal Reserve’s Division of Banking Supervision

Lisa Ginter

Lisa Ginter joined CommunityAmerica as chief executive officer in 1995. During her tenure as CEO, she has overseen nearly every function of the Credit Union, successfully growing the organization and launching a series of innovative business divisions.

Lisa is also an active participant in the community, serving on the Board of Directors nationally for the Credit Union National Association, and locally for the Kansas City Area Development Council, the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, City Year Kansas City and Heartland Credit Union Association, as well as the Board of Trustees for Rockhurst University and St. Michael the Archangel.