Tom Tilley has been directly involved in more than 100 business transactions across the country. Tom’s business transaction experience over the past 10+ years has enabled him to become proficient in finding the best buyers or sellers for his clients. He is an expert at running the entire process of a transaction—from sourcing buyers and sellers, financial modeling and building capital structures to negotiating the transaction and managing the emotional ups and downs of a transaction—while keeping all parties focused on a successful close.
Tom’s experience in mergers and acquisitions spans an array of industries including service businesses, distribution, manufacturing, consumer products, financial services, healthcare and information technology.
Tom is a subject matter expert on acquisitions and divestitures and is a frequent presenter to business owner clients of local and regional banks, accounting firms and regional business advisory institutions.
Tom excels at designing creative transactions and financial structures to overcome the challenges in the ever-changing marketplace in order to close transactions. Tom’s knowledge of the current financial marketplace, his transaction experience and his entrepreneurial background as a business owner allow him to guide his various clients through the challenging process of closing a transaction.
Tom attended Michigan State University on a hockey scholarship and played on the 1986 NCAA Division I hockey championship team. He went on to play for the St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning professional hockey organizations. Tom remains involved in hockey as the president of the Kansas City Youth Hockey Association.
Kris Carlgren is a strategy manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. Her experience includes customer and category strategy, product development, brand licensing and corporate strategy. Kris has spent her career focused on developing customer insights and strategies and leading teams to grow businesses, ranging from a dot-com startup to established brands and retailers. A significant point of her career was leading the customer category strategy for Hallmark’s largest and most diverse customer retail team, generating over $1 billion in sales across 15,000+ stores. In this role, she led strategy-to-execution for joint business planning and programs with national and regional retailers. Her work experience started in the retail and design landscaping business that her parents founded, owned and operated for over 25 years.
Kris received an MBA from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing and finance from the University of Missouri-Columbia. While attending Indiana University, Kris was awarded the MBA Global Student Leadership Award by the Graduate Business Foundation, recognizing leadership, innovation and commitment to the graduate business school community. Kris is an active volunteer with startup and growth businesses in the Kansas City area, and previously served as a corporate co-champion for the United Way of Greater Kansas City's Young Leaders Society.
Cory Cairns, owner of Team Rainmaker, has over 21 years of sales experience, including 10 years of sales management and 12 years of medical sales. He has received a No.1 national ranking as a sales representative eight times.
He is a Gitomer Certified Advisor with Jeffrey Gitomer, and a member of the John Maxwell Team specializing in training and building best-in-class sales and leadership teams.
Cory has launched three different companies in cancer diagnostics, and is currently national sales director for Biocept, a cancer diagnostic company that specializes in liquid biopsy technology. The technology gives doctors results from a simple blood test rather than a traditional tissue biopsy.
Professional Certified Executive Leadership, Business, and Marketing Coach
As a West Point graduate, Army officer and airborne ranger, John has been leading successful organizations and developing leaders for over 30 years. He holds a Master of Arts in leadership development from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a Master of Arts in strategy studies from the U.S. Army War College and a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy, where he was a distinguished graduate in the top 5 percent of his class. John’s leadership in key positions within organizations ranging from 30 to 180,000 people has been marked by courage and a commitment to excellence in performance and character. He has combat experience at every level, including a combat parachute assault. John was the operational chief of staff during the troop surge in Iraq in 2007-2008. He was the director of the Army’s School for Command Preparation, responsible for preparing every leader for both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. His service at the Army’s major training, education and leader development command provided him important experience with the corporate-level Army, including strategic communications, marketing, resource allocation, organizational design, entrepreneurship and change management. As the defense coordinating officer for FEMA Region VII, he gained tremendous insight into civil-military relationships as well as the cultures of other government, non-government and civilian business and non-profit organizations. John implemented a wide range of post-Katrina improvements that became the model for the military response in support of FEMA.
Upon retiring from the Army, John founded Moore Strength Executive Leadership and Business Advisors, where he has created models for developing exceptional leaders throughout organizations, creating positive organizational climates and building steady business growth. He is devoted to helping individuals and organizations develop strength and forward movement. Trust is the foundation of success, and John focuses on building leaders who generate trust through strong communications and relationship-building skills. John’s broad leadership and operational experience in complex and demanding environments; his leadership education and tenures as a leadership educator, trainer and coach; and his challenging and accountable coaching approach uniquely contribute to client success and achievement. He is trained and certified in Conversational Intelligence and Social and Emotional Intelligence and is an International Coaches Federation-credentialed Professional Certified Coach (PCC). John is an inspirational, engaging and informative speaker and seminar leader on topics ranging from strategic planning, strategic communications and building high-performance cultures to business growth, personal and organizational resilience, change management and inspirational leadership.
Parth Sheth works as a financial analysis manager at Sprint, supporting pricing and promotional decisions at the Fortune 100 Company. He leverages behavioral economics and its principles in making multimillion dollar consumer behavior decisions. Parth is actively involved in the community and serves on two non-profit boards as president/past president. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in economics and finance from Bradley University.
Parth also owns Excel Consulting Group, which helps small businesses and professionals with Microsoft Excel skills.
Debbie Leonard is the business development partner in the certified public accounting firm of Thill & Leonard, CPAs, LLC. Debbie has been a CPA for more than 30 years and is a proud KU Jayhawk! Described as the "last person you would think was a CPA," she has been dubbed the "Networking Queen." Debbie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and business administration and a master's degree in finance and marketing. She also holds a CCIM designation (Certified Commercial Investment Manager). Debbie holds an honorary degree in "Making Mundane Topics Interesting." Despite all the alphabet soup, it's the marketing and networking that is her passion.
Always taking the humorous approach to mundane topics, Debbie enjoys sharing the many secrets to effective networking that she has collected and practiced over the years. Her entertaining and unique approach to identifying the "castoffs and champions" we all face when networking—and providing solutions to managing those relationships—has made Debbie a highly sought-after speaker on a variety of networking topics. She is the founder of the Business Referral Alliance (BRA) and was co-founder of the Jewish Professionals business group in Kansas City. Debbie has also been a vibrant addition to many discussion panels, lunch and learns, and training seminars on the topics of marketing and networking, making her well-known among the networking royalty in Kansas City.
Debbie is active in several networking groups and is involved with several local charities. She loves to teach and has the ability to turn topics such as accounting and networking into entertaining lessons!
Martha's a combination of tough-as-nails determination and high style. You can imagine her climbing a mountain in six-inch stilettos. Why's she climbing? The view's better from the top—and Martha's always looking for ways to see differently and share her vision with everyone around her.
After graduating from Washburn University, Martha spent several years in retail management before joining a major Midwestern marketing firm, which helped launch her career as one of the premier marketing professionals in her field. She was responsible for guiding marketing strategy and planning for many of the firm's major clients.
In 1997, she joined Heartland Health as marketing director and built the fledgling insurance company's marketing department from the ground up. She developed marketing plans, supervised two advertising agencies, and directed communications and PR.
In 1998, MB Piland Advertising & Marketing was born. Martha started the company with a unique new philosophy—Expert Sourcing. Her goal: provide small and medium sized clients with "big agency" strategic planning and creative experience by drawing on a vast pool of independent talent to assemble customized teams for each client.
Her unconventional, holistic strategic planning ability means creative thinking is applied to client problems. Unique and powerful results follow.
Her experience working both with clients and as a client brings added value to the brands she serves.
Martha is a graduate of Leadership Topeka, Leadership Kansas and Leadership America. She was chosen as IABC's EXCEL honoree in 2008 and the 2010 Woman of Excellence by the Career Chapter of American Business Women's Association. She is also a highly sought speaker, conducting seminars and motivational talks in places as near as Topeka—and also throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Under her leadership, the firm has won numerous awards—including Topeka Chamber Small Business of the Year and State of Kansas Woman-Owned Service Business of the Year—and hundreds of local, regional and national awards for its creative work.