Staff & Leadership

“The right to play on any playing field? You have earned it. The right to study In any school? You have earned it. The right to hold a job? You have earned it. The right to be anyone’s neighbor. You have earned it.”

- Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder, Special Olympics.


We, the staff of Special Olympics Missouri, believe in the following guiding values, which are engrained in the way we think and act:

Accountability, Excellence, Integrity, Optimism, Unity

These beliefs guide our choices and define for us integrity and the right
course of action that bond us together as TEAM SOMO.

If you are looking to contact a specific staff member or a specific area,
select the "Staff" tab below to find who you are looking for.

Have a question, but aren't sure who to ask? Email us!

Headquarters staff

Central Area

305 Special Olympics Drive
Jefferson City, MO 65101
Phone: 573-635-1660
Fax: 573-635-8233
Area webpage

Kansas City Metro Area

KC Metro Area
9150 E 41st Ter, Suite 213
Kansas City, MO 64133
Phone: 816-535-9610
Fax: 816-535-9611 
Area webpage

North Area

702 Woodbine Road
St. Joseph, MO 64507
Phone: 816-233-6232
Fax: 816-233-0130
Area webpage

Southeast Area

1625 N. Kingshighway
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
Phone: 573-339-6733
Fax: 573-339-6370
Area webpage

Southwest Area

2702 Richard Joseph Blvd, Suite 114
Joplin, MO 64804
Phone:  417-624-5505
Fax: 417-624-5517
Area webpage

St. Louis Metro Area

2945 S. Brentwood
St. Louis, MO 63144
Phone: 314-961-7755
Fax: 314-961-0660
Area webpage

The Special Olympics Missouri Board of Directors is responsible for setting the direction of the organization. They formulate and establish policies and oversee the President/CEO of the organization.

The Board also protects the assets and resources of the organization and develops goals to meet our financial needs to ensure the long-range financial stability of the organization. The Board members are independent voting members serving for a two-year term and can serve for four full consecutive terms.

Are you interested in joining the board of directors? Let us know!

Cathy Bumb, Chair

Cathy Bumb

Director, Remediation & Sr. Environmental Counsel, Eastman Chemical Company
Kirkwood

Cathy has 35 years of practice in environmental and construction both as a civil engineer and lawyer, working both inhouse and as a consultant. A graduate of St. Louis University with a BA in Physics and JD cum laude and Washington University with a BS in Civil Engineering, she currently manages the environmental liabilities worldwide for the Eastman Chemical Company including managing the inhouse Remediation Group that manages all remediation projects for the company. She also provides legal support for major capital projects, including the retention of design, procurement and construction services along with claim resolution.

Though she does not have personal experience being involved with SOMO yet, her son has assisted with coaching and used the experience for his college entrance essay. To see the impact his coaching experience had on him, as well as the athletes' enthusiasm for the organization, was inspiring. SOMO was the first organization that came to mind when looking for something to get involved in.

Audrey Verret, Vice Chair

Audrey Verret

Employee Engagement & Culture Specialist, Moneta Group
St. Louis

Audrey started her Special Olympics volunteer career in 2008 at a regional track & field competition in Washington. Since that time, she has served athletes in several states as a coach, volunteer program coordinator, games management team member, Athlete Leadership Programs mentor, and fundraising committee member. Audrey also volunteered at World Summer Games Los Angeles in 2015, World Winter Games Austria in 2017, and at the USA Games Seattle in 2018.

Her favorite role has been serving as a mentor in the Athlete Leadership Programs. “The ALPs program offers our athletes an immensely valuable opportunity to develop personally and professionally,” Verret said. “The training provides an inclusive platform for our athletes to grow, influence, and thrive in meaningful roles. My athlete-leader, Daxton, graduated from the Global Messenger training program in 2018 after two years of training. I learned more about life and what it means to be brave from Daxton than he could possibly have learned from me.”

In 2016, Audrey established a partnership between her St. Louis-based employer, Moneta, and Special Olympics Missouri. Since then, the firm’s Charitable Foundation has awarded several grants, provided volunteers for area competitions, and encouraged employees to participate in the Polar Plunge, Over the Edge, and Gold Medal Gala committees.

“Sharing my love for the Special Olympics movement with my Moneta family is incredibly rewarding,” Verret said. “It is wonderful to be part of a company that has invested in our athletes and remains committed to promoting inclusion across the community.”

Ken Theroff, Treasurer

Ken Theroff

President & CEO, Jefferson Bank
Jefferson City

Ken Theroff's daughter, Grace, has recently become active in Special Olympics activities. Through their experience, he and his wife Susie have been overwhelmed with the optimism and energy of the volunteers. When he was approached about becoming a board member it was an easy decision, "as I am drawn to an organization with such wonderful people who are involved at every level of SOMO."

Ken Theroff is a graduate of Westminster College. He currently serves as the President/CEO of Jefferson Bank and possesses 30 years of experience in the banking industry.

Mr. Theroff serves the Jefferson City community by volunteering with a number of civic and not-for-profit organizations.

"Our family has already gained a great deal from our participation in Special Olympics events. Grace looks forward to all of the competitions, and has made some wonderful friends. Susie and I admire the people who donate their time, talent and treasure to make it all possible."

Glenda Knebel, Secretary

Glenda Knebel

St. Louis

Glenda Knebel grew up watching the kind of impact Special Olympics had on her younger sister, who received a lot of joy from an organization that did so much for people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics helped her sister grow in confidence, social skills and sports all while having fun. 

“I’ve always been grateful for the impact this organization had on her and I now want to work toward providing those same opportunities for other athletes and family members,” Knebel said about wanting to serve on the SOMO board.

“My first experience with Special Olympics was over 35 years ago attending events to cheer on my sister but my sister and so many of the other athletes inspired me to embrace differences, find courage to try new and difficult things, have fun and support each other.  I look forward to working with today’s athletes!”

Knebel has spent the majority of her professional career – more than 20 years – with Express Scripts in various roles including human resources, product management and sales and account management. Before than she worked for the YWCA in (Albuquerque), America West Airlines (Phoenix) and Charter Communications (St. Louis).

As a native of Missouri, she received her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in science from the University of Central Missouri. 

Knebel and her husband Joe have two children, Austin, 20, and Jordan, 18. 

Gary Wilbers, Immediate Past Chairman

Gary Wilbers

Owner, Ascend Business Strategies
Jefferson City

Gary Wilbers has been an entrepreneur and owner of multiple companies in the Jefferson City area for the last 27 years.  Gary was a pioneer in the wireless industry growing his company to 150 employees.  He is currently the owner of Ascend Business Strategies which provides Speaking, Coaching and Training services to businesses and organizations. 

Gary has served on the board for Special Olympics from 2008 to 2016, he was the Capital Campaign Chair for the Special Olympics of Missouri Training for Life Campus from 2013 to 2017.  Gary is involved in his community, giving time and resources to organizations such as United Way of Central Missouri and his local church.  Gary greatest passion is playing unified golf with Keith Lueckenhoff.  He and his wife Dana have three children Chris, Adam and Elle.

Rich Banahan

Rich Banahan

Chief, St. Louis Community College (ret.)
St. Louis

Chief Banahan's career started with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police department in August 1973 and in his time in law enforcement he served as a police officer, detective and sergeant. He also served as a sergeant assigned to Chief Ronald Henderson’s office where he was one of his administrative assistants.

Banahan retired in 1998. He has been the vice president of the board of directors for Do The Right Thing for more than 10 years and a member for 15 years. The Do The Right Thing initiative was started in the St. Louis area in 1994 by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Since then, more than 1,000 children have been recognized each year. The organization has its annual kick-off breakfast at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park, where the culinary chefs and students volunteer their time and effort to produce a world class breakfast and event. 

He has also refereed both high school and college soccer for the past 25 years and served as president of the High School Soccer Referees Association for the past 10 years. 

Banahan has been involved with Special Olympics for more than 25 years as a runner, volunteer and fundraiser. He started out on the second Law Enforcement for Special Olympics Torch Run when they ran from Columbia to Jefferson City. In 1992, he was selected by the Missouri Police Chiefs Association to be the co-chairman of the LETR. The structure that was instituted when he was chairman has continued to this date, which helped raise more than $2 million in 2013.

During the last 25 years, the LETR has hosted the St. Louis Police Department Trivia Night where more than $175,000 has been raised. 

Banahan received the John Michael Letz Award, which was established in December 1994 for the purpose of recognizing an individual whose unselfish efforts and contributions are directly responsible for the success of the Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR) for Special Olympics Missouri. 

During these years, his participation has gone from state LETR chairman, to regional coordinator of eight states, International Law Enforcement Torch Run Executive Council and then being elected to the LETR Hall of Fame in 2006. Induction into the Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding individuals who have demonstrated a sustained and significant contribution to Special Olympics and the SOMO LETR at the local, national and international levels.

He has been on the LETR Final Leg committee for more than 10 years, during which time he traveled to Idaho, Nebraska, Iowa, Japan, Ireland, Greece, Bulgaria, Austria, England, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Italy, Turkey and Canada where Special Olympics was introduced and featured. 

All this and he still considers it the greatest privilege because, "No matter how many times I have become involved with the athletes and recognized for my achievement, I always receive a lot more from the athletes than I give."

Linda Brokamp

Linda Brokamp

Global product manager, IDEXX BioResearch
Osage Beach

More than 40 years ago, a doctor told Linda Brokamp that her daughter would never walk or talk and that she should look into putting her in an institution best suited to fit her needs. Brokamp didn’t listen to her doctor and her daughter Beth is now one of the most recognizable SOMO athletes, especially in the Columbia area.

Beth started SOMO through Columbia Public Schools in 1997, participated in many sports, became a Global Messenger and was eventually elected into the SOMO Hall of Fame in 2012. “At first my involvement was just as a parent, but soon after I became a volunteer as well,” Linda Brokamp said. “It sure grows on you!”

Brokamp said she has seen what the program has down not just for her daughter, but the other countless athletes over the years and she wanted to serve on the board as “a true honor and privilege and my small way to give back for all SOMO has done for my daughter and us as a family.”

Brokamp studied at the University of Missouri and at Stephens College with an emphasis on marketing and psychology. Now she is the global product manager for IDEXX BioResearch. She has served on the board of the Lutheran Children and Family Services and currently sits on the steering committee for the Training for Life Campus.

“I enjoy my interactions with the athletes and seeing them realize their potential both in sports and in life due in large part to the SOMO program,” Brokamp said. “The confidence and skills that they learn through Special Olympics is indeed life changing for the athletes, their families and their communities.

“It is pure joy to watch her and all the other athletes not only compete but to excel in sports and in life due in large part to Special Olympics.  As a parent, a volunteer and a spectator I gain as much or more than the athletes, I learn from them and am inspired by them.”

Jeanie Byland

Jeanie Byland

Executive VP, Mid America Mortgage
Columbia

Byland has been involved with Special Olympics for more than 30 years as both a volunteer and a parent; her daughter Sarah participates in the program. Byland loves working with the athletes and served on the board from 2006-2014 and been an important part of the traveling souvenir team for more than 10 years.

Byland has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Missouri. She is executive vice president for Mid America Mortgage for more than 31 years. In her free time, she has served on the CMSE Giving Gardens Board and loves traveling, making wreathes and creating music with English hand bells.

Her favorite memories with SOMO involve her daughter Sarah rappelling down the Tiger Hotel in Columbia as part of the Over the Edge fundraiser, watching her win a gold medal at the 2006 USA Games in Ames, Iowa and reach a bowling personal best at the 2010 USA Games in Lincoln, Neb. Byland competed as a Unified Partner in bocce at the 2014 USA Games in New Jersey.

“I never get tired of watching the athletes compete and seeing the joy on their faces when they receive their medals,” Byland said. “It is as if each medal they receive is their first. What they gain from Special Olympics is amazing. SOMO is a huge part of my life and my support team.

“It is my family!”

Dr. Phil Cook

Dr. Phil Cook

Superintendent, Carl Junction Schools
Carl Junction

In his first experience with Special Olympics as a volunteer 19 years ago, Phillip Cook says he got his first opportunity to witness the enthusiasm and excitement of the athletes participating. 
 
Years later, Cook is no stranger to volunteer organizations. In addition to Special Olympics, he is on the Board of Directors of the Missouri Unified School Insurance Council, is active in the Webb City Elks Lodge #861, the Webb City/Carl Junction Rotary Club, Pittsburg State University Alumni Association and his local Shop with a Cop program.  He also officiates basketball and is the trainer for the Joplin Basketball Officials Association
 
Cook is currently in his 14th year as superintendent of Carl Junction R-1 Schools. Coming from a family of educators, including his mother, father and brother, he started his teaching career in 1992 as a teacher in Fairland, Okla. He was assistant superintendent for his current school district from 2002-2005 and assistant principal at Carl Junction High School from 2000-2002. 
 
One of his best memories of his years with Special Olympics was during a State Championship basketball game he was officiating in Joplin, Mo. One team was much older and bigger than the other and was in turn winning the game. That didn’t change the attitudes of the athletes; he says they were all still having fun. "At one point, one of the bigger athletes picked up the smallest opponent and held him up so he could dunk the basketball," he said. 
 
Cook is married to his wife, Stacy. He has five children: Lindsay, Andrew, Cooper,  Kenley, and Kylee.  He also has two granddaughters, Madelyn and Abigail. 
Jonathan Curtright

Johnathan Curtright

CEO, MU Health Care Administration
Columbia

Jonathan has over 20 years of experience in healthcare leadership. He joined MU Health Care in 2016 and has been responsible for all acute and ambulatory care operations, as well as achieving short- and long-term clinical and operational goals.

Prior to this appointment at MU, he served as COO at Indiana University Health where he led Methodist and University hospitals, the largest academic medical center in the state, as well as COO at University of Kentucky HealthCare in Lexington, Kentucky. He also served as an administrator for various departments at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, including its cardiovascular services with more than 160 physicians and 700 full-time employees.

Jonathon was one of the voting members of the University of Missouri system that approved the statewide partnership with SOMO and building the infrastructure for the healthcare components of the partnership that will benefit Special Olympics Missouri, MU Health, students with healthcare related majors, interns, and most importantly, SOMO athletes.

Larry Ewing

Larry Ewing

Chesterfield

Ewing is excited about and humbled by the opportunity to serve the Special Olympics Missouri mission as a member of its Board of Directors.  He previously served on the Board from 2001 -2009, including a stint as the Board Chair.  He looks forward to getting reacquainted with his SOMO family now that he is fully retired and has moved back to Missouri.
 
Ewing spent 34 years in Missouri public education including five years as a high school principal and 24 years as a superintendent of schools.  He retired from the Fort Osage R-1 School District in Independence.  During his tenure he served on the Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA) Board of Directors and as the MASA president.  He served as one Missouri’s first representatives on the American Association of School Administrators Governing Board.  Ewing served on the Board of Directors for the Missouri United Insurance Council and as the Board Chair.  Quite involved in Rotary over the years, Ewing was the president of the Rotary Club of Independence.  During his time as Superintendent of Schools at Fort Osage, he received the Pearce Award, was named Administrator of the Year by the Missouri School Public Relations Association, and was named the MASA Superintendent of the Year.
 
After retiring from public education Ewing worked for Scantron as a Senior Client Program Manager serving the Alabama State Department of Education and the New York City Department of Education.  While at Scantron, he was awarded a Quarterly Core Values award for Trust and Integrity as well two Pinnacle Awards for Trust and Integrity and for Respect.
 
Ewing enjoys all SOMO games and special events because they afford him the chance to associate with the wonderful athletes competing and representing their teams and themselves.  He particularly appreciates those chances to recognize and thank the hard-working and dedicated coaches and the athletes’ families – all of whom make the games possible.  
 
Ewing has been married to his best friend, Joy, for over 45 years.  They have been blessed with three children and five grandchildren – Sam, Bennett, August, Maxine, and Everett.
Roger Gardner

Roger Gardner

Chief Culture & Communications Officer
Jefferson City

Gardner has been involved with SOMO since 2010 primarily through Jefferson City-based Learfield, a diverse media enterprise where he has served in numerous operating and management roles since 1982.  Learfield is a dedicated corporate supporter of SOMO.  The company has hosted numerous internal fundraising campaigns and challenges to engage its employees among its 60 offices nationwide.  Additionally, Learfield has hosted several athletes for lunch and activities at its Jefferson City offices, and former SOMO Board member and Learfield President/CEO Greg Brown participated in the 2012 Over the Edge event. Many Learfield employees volunteer throughout the year, including assisting with the 2012 state competition held at the University of Missouri, Gardner’s alma mater and Learfield’s flagship collegiate partnership of more than 40 years. 

He is lead representative for the company’s joint venture partnership with Levy Restaurants and its joint venture collegiate ticketing business with IMG College, (IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions).  He also oversees management of the prestigious Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, which the company has been involved with for six years alongside the award’s founding partners, NACDA and USA Today.

With an agriculture degree, Gardner’s career start at Learfield was as a farm broadcaster before transferring to its Sports Division in 1984, when he assumed initial responsibilities for launching the Iowa State Network. 

“I'm pleased that the athletes get to participate and enjoy the experience and the competition.  I also appreciate the opportunity to be reminded, first-hand, of the love and dedication of the parents, trainers and other care-givers for the athletes," Gardner said about SOMO. "It's a display of tireless devotion and love, and it deserves my utmost respect.”

Gardner lives in Jefferson City, Mo., with his wife, Cheri.  They have two grown children, Sam and Andee.

Brad Grill

Brad Grill

Attorney, The Grill Law Firm, LLC
Kansas City

Brad Grill graduated from St. Louis University and received his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He has been actively engaged in the general practice of law for more than 40 years in the state of Missouri, and has authored various legal publications, served on various committees and as President of the Platte County Bar Association. As a practicing attorney, he has received numerous awards, including the Judge James A. Moore Award given by the Lawyer’s Association of Kansas City in recognition of his efforts as a practicing attorney, “…who exemplifies generosity of spirit and a deep concern for others and who has truly ‘made a positive difference’ in the life of another person or persons.”

Over the years Grill has been very active in his church and has served in various leadership roles on numerous community service organizations, such as, The Boy Scouts of America, Lions Club and Optimist Club. In 1991, he was the recipient of the National Catholic Educational Association, Distinguished Graduate Award, awarded for exemplifying “the highest qualities of Catholic Education” and for rendering “distinguished service to the Catholic Church and United States of America.” He has worked extensively in the area of community services dealing with drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and poverty issues and as Chairman of the Board of the Don Bosco Community Center, in Kansas City, a United Way Agency.

In 1990 Grill became a member of the Knights of Columbus and in 2000 commenced service on the Missouri State Council. After serving in numerous capacities, he was elected in 2012 as the State Deputy of the Knights of Columbus for the State of Missouri. Currently serving as Immediate Past State Deputy is overseeing the expansion of the partnership between the Missouri Knights of Columbus and Special Olympics Missouri. The Missouri Knights are being challenged to raise $1 million over the next five years in support of the construction of the Training for Life Campus. Under his leadership, the Knights in Missouri (with approximately 43,000 members) will be working hand in hand with Special Olympics Missouri in a team effort to support our special athletes.  

As a practicing attorney and having had the good fortune of being involved in numerous community service activities, including participation in Special Olympics Missouri activities, he looks forward to both the challenge and opportunity to make a difference in reaching the common goals of the Knights and Special Olympics Missouri. 

Jim Hagale

Jim Hagale

Former COO (Retired), Bass Pro
Nixa

Jim Hagale, a well known leader in the outdoor retail industry, was named President and Chief Operating Officer of Bass Pro Shops in January 2003 with responsibility for the overall day-to-day operations of the company.

With the help of Mr. Hagales guidance and leadership, Bass Pro Shops continues to expand their popular destination retail stores across the United States and Canada. Sporting Goods Business Magazine named Bass Pro Shops the #1 Outdoor Retailer in America two consecutive years. Internet Retailer in their 8th annual recognition of market leading retail sites included Bass Pro Shops in the Best of the Web Top 50 for the Specialty/Non-apparel category for the second consecutive year.

Mr. Hagales marketing ingenuity and strategic business vision have been recognized within his industry and community. He is currently on the Board of Directors of Wonders of Wildlife, has served on the Board of Directors of Empire Bank and on the Board of Trustees of St. John's Regional Health Center in Springfield, Missouri. He was nominated for the Theodor Herzl Award in 2006, was inducted into the Greater Ozarks Business Hall of Fame in 1992 and received the W. Curtis Strube Ethics in Business Award in 2001. The Springfield News-Leader featured Mr. Hagale in an article, "The 100 Ozarkers of the Century Who Shaped Our Future" in 1999.

Mr. Hagale received his B.A. in Accounting/Finance from the University of Notre Dame. He and his wife, Mary Martha, have six children, including two sets of twins.

Briana Haines

Briana Haines

Kansas City

Briana works for KPMG as a Service Leader and Manager for the National Design, Proposal, and Production Services (NDPPS) department. She leads a dynamic creative team in various office locations across the firm, including Kansas City, St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Denver. She is passionate about building an inclusive environment where individuals can bring their whole self to work in a collaborative and diverse space. She has active leadership roles in the firm’s national disability Business Resource Group (BRG), Abilities in Motion (AIM), and is an advocate for disability inclusion in the workplace.
 
Along with her involvement in SOMO, Briana has spent many years volunteering for Special Olympics North America through her employer and currently volunteers as part of the national golf leadership team. This involvement led her to be chosen to serve on the Unified Sports Committee for SOI as a Unified Sport Delegate (USD). She had the humbling honor of being the USD for Golf at the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. Briana has a passion for inclusion and believes that Unified Sports is one of the best ways to provide meaningful experiences for Athletes and Unified Partners across many sports. She feels that these Unified experiences naturally translate and bridge to experiences outside of sport and help promote inclusive behaviors in all life situations – at work, play, and home. 
 
In addition to her volunteer involvement with Special Olympics, she also volunteers for The Whole Person in Kansas City and for KPMG’s Family for Literacy, which partners with First Book to provide new books to children in low-income families.
 
Being involved with SOMO provides her the unique opportunity to play an active role in enhancing the Athlete experience from a board perspective on a state level. She is excited to bring her knowledge and resources from her national and international Special Olympics involvement to the local table for the Missouri Athletes. 
John Harding

John Harding

Attorney, The Limbaugh Law Firm
Cape Girardeau

John Harding is a Criminal Defense Attorney with The Limbaugh Law Firm in Cape Girardeau since 1993.

John earned his BSA from the University of Missouri – Columbia and his JD from the University of Missouri – Kansas City.

John has served on several boards going back to 1987 with organizations such as the Leukemia Society, Team in Training, St. Jude’s Alzheimer’s Association and Zero Prostate Cancer.

He has been a member of the Community Counseling Board for over 20 years and is the past president. Through his involvement with the Community Consoling Board, he has experience in running events and raising money.

John is originally from Kirksville, MO. Prior to moving to Cape Girardeau in 1992, he worked in Kansas City and St. Louis.

John is looking forward to learning more about Special Olympics Missouri, serving on the board of directors and becoming more involved with the movement.

Jenna Kerwood

Jenna Kerwood

Property Tax Services practice leader, Brown Smith Wallace LLP
Chesterfield

Jenna is a Partner and the Property Tax Services practice leader at Brown Smith Wallace LLP. She has lived in St. Louis most of her life, graduated from the University of Missouri Columbia. She is married with three sons: Aaron, 22, Austin, 20, and Adam, 17. Jenna is a sports enthusiast and avid fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, Blues and any other sport her sons are playing.

Jenna's motivation to be on the SOMO board started for professional reasons, but after spending time with another board member (Glenda Knebel), hearing firsthand her experiences at the Polar Plunge, Athletes Awards Banquet and attending a few SOMO events, she was sold on the SOMO mission. She is also super excited to witness the unconditional love and respect the athletes share and to experience the parents watching their athletes gain confidence and grow beyond their expectations.

Jenna expects her involvement with SOMO will likely be life changing. The challenges these athletes overcome is more of an accomplishment than anything she has witnessed personally. She is certain she will be completely awed and inspired by the experience!

Jared Niemeyer

Jared Niemeyer

Athlete representative
Edina

Jared Niemeyer is a Special Olympics Missouri athlete who has been participating since he was 9 years old. Currently, Niemeyer plays the following sports with SOMO: Unified softball, basketball, bowling and track and field. In the past he has played flag football and soccer. In the future, he said he hopes to get involved in swimming!

“Special Olympics has given me a lot of opportunities – it’s made me a better person,” he said.

Niemeyer is a 2011 graduate from Kirksville High School. In addition to working at his local Hy-Vee store, he is active as a member of the St. Joseph Catholic Church and Knights of Columbus. He has served as a state and national Youth Activation Council member and had remarkable opportunities because of Special Olympics, which includes: participating in the 2010 and 2014 USA Games in Lincoln, Neb. and Princeton, N.J., respectively; speaking at the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in June 2014; and as one of 14 Special Olympics athletes nationwide attending a “Unified Generation” program at the White House!

As a trained Global Messenger in addition to speaking at the United Nations and meeting the President, he has been afforded the opportunity to travel around Missouri and speak with different organizations about what SOMO is and how it affects his family.

“One of the things I shared when I spoke at the United Nations was that inclusion is important to becoming our best.   Opportunities are how we learn and become more than we thought we could be.  Special Olympics provides opportunities in sports; but then helps everyone to be better in other areas of our life.”

Cydney Ricker

Cydney Ricker

Manager of Football Communications & Administration, Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City

Cydney is a graduate of the University of Colorado - Boulder with a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication. She has worked for the Kansas City Chiefs since 2012, in various positions within the club’s Communications Department. She is currently the Manager of Football Communications & Administration where she manages all gameday credentials for both staff and media, manages the press box at home games and coordinates interviews with players, coaches, executives and the ownership group. She helped develop a new platform for the Chiefs online media guide in 2015 and has worked as a member of the NFL’s Super Bowl PR Staff at seven Super Bowls (XLVI, XLVII, XLVIII, XLIX, 50, LI, LII). In her free time, she serves as a member of the Board of Directors at United Inner City Services.

Cydney's motivation to be on the SOMO board started because of her older brother, John, who was a Special Olympics athlete growing up. She is excited to reengage with this organization and looks forward to the opportunity to get her brother involved again.

“I think this opportunity could enrich my entire family’s life and allow us all to support a great organization.”

Susan Stegeman

Susan Stegeman

President & CEO, Special Olympics Missouri
Jefferson City

Susan began her employment at SOMO in 1990 as the Director of Development and has spent her career raising funds thru collaborative partnerships.  Knights of Columbus, Casey’s, Learfield, and MADA are key partnerships that grow and sustain SOMO annually.  She rose to Vice President – Development in 2013 where she worked with the development team to meet our strategic objectives.  Mission met her passion when she was working with the Law Enforcement Torch Run© and its agencies and volunteers. 

Through very strong grassroots initiatives, the LETR grew from $56,000 to over $2M annually.  This included establishing the Polar Plunge©, the Drive it Home Raffle and Over the Edge© – SOMO’s signature events.  Missouri LETR has been in the Top Ten ranking in the world since 2000!  She served for 6 years on the Executive Council of the International LETR Council where she co-chaired the Marketing & Development Committee.  She was inducted into the Richard LaMunyon LETR Hall of Fame in 2007.  SOMO is growing our program thru relationships with those who believe in our mission to transform athletes lives.

“SOMO is so much more than sports.  Health and Wellness and life-skills are initiatives that are central to our current Strategic Plan.  Building new partnerships, identifying resources and utilizing our Training for Life Campus will transform our program to serve even more athletes.  This is a great time to become engaged with SOMO and our athletes.”

She participated in the Special Olympics North America (SONA) Leadership Institute in 2016, representing the six states in the South Central Region.  Susan is a member of the PEO sisterhood, currently serving as Vice President of her Chapter.  She served on the Final Leg Support Teams in 2006 and 2011 to support LETR runners to the USA National Games in Ames and the World Summer Games in Greece.  She is not only a fan of SOMO, she’s also a fan of basketball having cheered two sons for sixteen years of playing hoops thru their collegiate experiences.

Brad Wachler

Brad Wachler

Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, Lindenwood University
St. Charles

Brad Wachler has served as the Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics at Lindenwood University since 2016.  He oversees Lindenwood's comprehensive intercollegiate athletics program, which is comprised of 27 NCAA sports, 28 non-NCAA programs, and approximately 1,750 student-athletes.  
 
In his first year at Lindenwood, his athletics programs experienced unprecedented success both on and off the field of play.  Lindenwood finished 6th in the NACDA Learfield Directors’ Cup standings, out of 309 Division II athletic programs, their highest ranking since joining the NCAA in 2011. Fifteen of Lindenwood’s 27 sports program competed in the NCAA postseason.
 
Wachler comes to Lindenwood after eight years at NCAA Division I Central Michigan University (CMU) where he served most recently as Senior Associate Athletics Director. In this role, he ran the day-to-day operations within the athletics department, and has vast experience in finance, strategic planning, and compliance/risk management.
 
Brad’s passion for Special Olympics began back in Michigan.  CMU has a very unique partnership with the Special Olympics of Michigan as its headquarters was located on campus and fully integrated within the University community.  “I have witnessed first-hand the positive experience and pure joy the Special Olympics, it’s employees and volunteers brings to each one of its athletes.  It is a truly special organization and I will do everything I can to support its mission and purpose for years to come.”
 
Wachler graduated from the University of Michigan in 1999 with a degree in exercise physiology and athletic training, earned a master's degree in sport administration from Indiana University in 2000, and received a law degree from Wayne State University in 2004.
Chief Paul Williams

Chief Paul Williams

Chief, Springfield Police Department
Springfield

Chief Paul F. Williams was sworn in as the Chief of Police for the City of Springfield, Missouri on July 1, 2010. He began his law enforcement career in 1981 with the Tulsa (OK) Police Department, retiring at the rank of Major after 29 years of service. Chief Williams holds a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Northeastern (OK) State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Northern Michigan University. He is a graduate of PERF’s Senior Management Institute for Police-Class 35 and a graduate of the FBI National Academy-207th Session.

He instructs criminal justice courses at Missouri State University and is a Missouri POST generalist instructor. Previously he taught criminal justice courses for the University of Phoenix, served as an instructor for the IACP Leadership in Police Organizations program, and was an Oklahoma CLEET instructor. Chief Williams currently serves in leadership roles with the following organizations: Missouri Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (POST)-Chairman, IACP-Board of Directors; Springfield-Greene County 911 Board-Chairman, Trunked Radio System Board-Secretary, Community Partnership of the Ozarks-Board of Directors, Burrell Behavioral Health-Vice Chairman of Board of Directors, Missouri Crime Lab Review Commission-member, Kickapoo High School Soccer Booster Club-President, as well as a volunteer on numerous advisory boards and councils.

Chief Williams was honored as Missouri’s Police Chief of the Year in 2015, and as one of Springfield's Men of the Year in 2016. He is member of Redeemer Lutheran Church and he and his wife, Regina, have three children and one granddaughter.

Special Olympics Missouri Young Professionals Board

The Special Olympics Missouri Young Professionals Board (SOMO YPB) is a career and volunteer development opportunity geared toward integrating the time, talents and interests of young professionals (ages 21-40) to help further the mission of Special Olympics Missouri.

BENEFITS OF BEING ON THE YOUNG PROFESSIONALS BOARD:

  • Expand your professional network.
  • Gain valuable leadership experience.
  • Receive recognition on SOMO website, newsletter, and annual report.
  • Make strategic professional connections through networking events with SOMO’s Board of Directors.
  • Make a difference in the lives of Special Olympics Missouri athletes.

BOARD EXPECTATIONS:

  • Serve at least a two-year term on the SOMO YPB.
  • Attend a majority of SOMO YPB meetings.
  • Participate in SOMO YPB committees as needed.
  • Collaborate and leverage members’ professional and social networks to advance SOMO’s mission.
  • Act as ambassadors of SOMO, increasing awareness of its mission and building community engagement.
  • Provide support for special events, fundraising campaigns and volunteer-related activities.
  • Increase SOMO’s volunteer and coaching network.
  • Plan fundraising events and recruit new members.
  • Be well informed and prepared for meetings.
  • Listen respectfully to all viewpoints.

SOMO is currently accepting nominations for our inaugural membership to the SOMO YPB.  If you are interested in joining, please read through the charter and fill out the online SOMO YPB Self-Nomination Form.

Athletes pose with volunteers while hugging and smiling at the camera
Young athlete faces staff member and holds up handful of colorful balls

Open positions: 

Business Development Manager

Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) is a growing and vibrant organization with a statewide footprint. We are a sports organization and so much more, transforming lives through the power and joy of sport, every day, everywhere. Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization with nearly 4 million individuals with intellectual disabilities in more than 170 countries – over 16,000 athletes, here in Missouri. We are a global social movement with initiatives to activate youth, build communities, and improve the overall health of our athletes. We’re changing the game for people young and old and asking you to be a part of it.

This is a full-time exempt position responsible for growing revenue through collaborative partnerships and business developments to support individuals with intellectual disabilities served in Missouri.

Duties:
  • Engage with the business community with the goal of gaining investors for our mission.
  • Manage a portfolio of qualified prospects and monitor all prospects contacts to ensure positive and purposeful relations; set and carry out solicitation strategies for these prospects.
  • Support the mission of SOMO to foster highly engaged donors; ensure donor interaction aligns with organizational marketing and communications efforts.
  • Represent SOMO at public functions and events, including social gatherings that will provide direct contact with businesses and donors.
  • Develop, manage and meet annual budget.
  • Provide leadership, assistance, guidance and support to staff and volunteers sufficient to inspire and motivate those individuals to achieve success and strive for excellence in their Special Olympics Missouri activities.
  • Ensure all activities conform to SOI General Rules/SOMO Policies.
  • Ensure assigned annual plan objectives are attained.
  • Ensure on-going demonstration of SOMO Guiding Values and related behaviors.
  • Other duties as assigned by Supervisor.
Required Qualifications/Skills:
  • Bachelor’s Degree in marketing, communications, business or a related field
  • Proven sales experience
  • Must be self-motivated
  • Level of comfort in reaching out to donors and prospects to develop and maintain relationships that result in funding
  • Willing to step outside comfort zone and try new things
  • Ability to see things from different perspectives
  • Ability to adapt and problem solve
  • Strong organizational skills with attention to detail
Skills that aren’t necessary, but could help set you apart from other applicants:
  • Prior Special Olympics experience
  • Experience with donor databases (Raiser’s Edge, TeamRaiser, etc.)
  • Knowledge of developing and executing a marketing plan
Benefits:
  • Employee Medical, Dental, Life, Travel and Disability Insurance
  • Paid Sick Leave
  • Retirement Plan (403B) (Up to 5% Matching)
  • Thirteen Paid Holidays/Year
  • Ten Hours/Month Paid Vacation
Reports to: Chief Development & Marketing Officer

Location: St. Louis or Kansas City

Complete Application for Employment (http://form.jotform.com/SpecialOlympicsMO/somo-employment-app) 

SPECIAL OLYMPICS MISSOURI IS AN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER.


Business Development Director

Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) is a growing and vibrant organization with a statewide footprint. We are a sports organization and so much more, transforming lives through the power and joy of sport, every day, everywhere. Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization with nearly 4 million individuals with intellectual disabilities in more than 170 countries – over 16,000 athletes, here in Missouri. We are a global social movement with initiatives to activate youth, build communities, and improve the overall health of our athletes. We’re changing the game for people young and old and asking you to be a part of it.

This is a full-time exempt position responsible for developing principal and major gifts. Individual will identify, cultivate and solicit major gifts from individuals and foundations and manage a stewardship program that values relationship building with current donors.

Duties:
  • Manage a portfolio of at least 150 qualified prospects and monitor all prospect contacts to ensure positive and purposeful relations; set and carry out solicitation strategies for these prospects.
  • Collaborate and coordinate with other development staff, SOMO Leadership and Board Members, and other fundraising volunteers to identify major gift prospects and appropriate moves management strategies.
  • Enthusiastically articulate the case for support and the mission and vision of SOMO to foster highly engaged donors; ensure donor interaction aligns with organizational marketing and communications efforts.
  • Assist in identifying and supporting volunteer leadership.
  • Represent SOMO at public functions and events, including social gatherings that will provide direct contact with donors.
  • Provide timely, written reports regarding the outcome of cultivation and solicitation efforts.
  • Maintain familiarity with salient issues relating to SOMO and fundraising, showing a desire to stay abreast of new trends and ideas, thriving on innovative approaches.
  • Maintain all information in a confidential and professional manner.
  • Ensure assigned annual plan objectives are attained.
Required Qualifications/Skills:
  • Bachelor degree or higher
  • Level of comfort in reaching out to donors and prospects to develop and maintain relationships that result in funding
  • Three to five years fundraising experience with proven success in leading a progressive fundraising effort; experience managing a diverse and large donor portfolio
  • Superior personal/written communication skills to clearly and effectively articulate the programmatic, fundraising and strategic objectives of SOMO, along with demonstrated presentation and public speaking skills with the ability to network
  • A proven ability to think and act strategically about relationships with donors and prospects; a high level of comfort in reaching out to donors and prospects to establish contact and develop relationships
  • Strong organizational skills with attention to detail
Benefits:
  • Employee Medical, Dental, Life, Travel and Disability Insurance
  • Paid Sick Leave
  • Retirement Plan (403B) (Up to 5% Matching)
  • Thirteen Paid Holidays/Year
  • Ten Hours/Month Paid Vacation
Reports to: Chief Development & Marketing Officer

Location: St. Louis or Kansas City

Complete Application for Employment (http://form.jotform.com/SpecialOlympicsMO/somo-employment-app) 

SPECIAL OLYMPICS MISSOURI IS AN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER.


If these job openings don't interest you, please check back in the future. You can also fill out our online employment application and we will contact you if any jobs open up that we feel line up with your experience.

Questions about the job application process? Email us!

Is Special Olympics Right for You?

We encourage you to apply if:

  • You have experience successfully working alongside determined individuals
  • You understand the importance of relationships as the secret sauce
  • You’re a self-starter and committed to the greater good
  • You’re results driven, bottom-line oriented and steadfastly push yourself to achieve goals
  • You enjoy navigating challenges and being solution oriented
  • You’re an out-of-the-box thinker who thrives on innovation to ensure mission success
  • You’re generous with your time and enjoy flexibility
  • You’re an exceptional team player with a great work ethic

Special Olympics Missouri loves interns! Applications are accepted throughout the year for a variety of positions within our non-profit organization. Internships are available in public relations and communications, event planning and development, sports management, health and wellness, or youth engagement. If you’re an enthusiastic leader who works independently and you have excellent organizational and communication skills, please consider Special Olympics.

While most interns are unpaid, they can receive school credit, depending on their school’s requirements. We are looking for self-starters with excellent verbal, written, and organizational skills.

With six different offices around the state, we have internships near you. They also range in subject matter from operations, to fundraising, to event planning, to public relations, to health, and much more.

There are currently no internships available. Check back again later!

We also have volunteer opportunities available for everyone. The time commitment for Special Olympics volunteers varies from a few hours per year at specific events to working several hours a week year-round. For more information on volunteering, please visit our Volunteers page.

To apply, submit a cover letter and resume that highlights your experience and career goals to the e-mail address below that is specified with each internship.