CARMEN DEHART Regional Director • Missouri Small Business Development Center at UMKC Director of Outreach Programs • UMKC Innovation Center
Carmen DeHart directs a team of SBDC business advisors, working with public, private and educational organizations, to support business development and technology commercialization to promote economic growth in the region.
With extensive business experience and expertise, Carmen offers comprehensive and personalized coaching for clients. Her portfolio of skills includes executive leadership coaching, business strategy, financial analysis and business operations from start-up to acquisition.
An entrepreneur for more than 20 years, Carmen co-owned and managed several successful businesses in industrial sales and engineering and fabrication for the metal manufacturing industry. Her family business twice earned the Boeing Eagle Award for Outstanding Performance.
Carmen has been awarded the U.S. Small Business Administration’s SBDC Excellence & Innovation Award, Missouri SBDC State Star by Association of Small Business Development Centers, Economic Development Contribution Award by MU Extension and MO SBDC and the Economic Development Contribution Award by MU Extension and MO SBDC.
She is an ICF Professional Certified Coach, a Missouri SBDC Certified Transformational Coach, Certified Economic Development Finance Professional and Certified Kauffman NewVenture and GrowthVenture Facilitator.
Carmen is an alumnus of the Henry W. Bloch School of Business and Public Administration, University of Missouri-Kansas City, receiving a BS in business administration and finance. She earned a master of theology degree from Holos University.
RYAN COMEAU Technology Development & Commercialization Consultant
Ryan Comeau brings real-world technology perspective to the Missouri SBDC team. He brings a decade of experience leading a healthcare and performance technology company from inception through sale. Ryan was the key early business driver for the human motion data and analytics market. His experience includes development of new technology markets, early-stage and growth capital, strategic corporate partnerships, population health programs, government contracting, and international business expansion.
Ryan now works with all stages of technology clients from start-up to growth and beyond. Ryan is passionate about both organizational team development as well helping clients focus on how best to sell their products and services, at any stage.
Ryan has a Juris Doctorate from Washburn University School of Law and two Bachelors degrees, in Communications and Psychology, from the University of Kansas.
REBECCA GUBBELS Business & Program Development Consultant
Rebecca Gubbels brings a banking and business entrepreneur background to her role of SBDC business and program development specialist and business coach. She teaches entrepreneurial courses, consults with business owners and manages special projects.
Her finance background includes managing a Small Business Administration Microloan Program, a decade of commercial lending and development of financial products for the small business market. Her entrepreneurial experience runs the gamut from packaging loans for pizza and beer money in college, to building a greeting card company and now consulting with small business owners. Her skills include financial analysis, business operations, process improvement, business coaching and classroom facilitation.
Rebecca coordinates and teaches ELEVATIONLAB courses and business training classes for partner programs Digital Sandbox and the Urban Business Growth Initiative.
In 2017, Rebecca was awarded the Missouri SBDC State Star for being chosen as the state’s outstanding business counselor for her contributions to local business growth. In 2016, she received the Associated Industries of Missouri Extension Industry Award for her leadership in providing educational programs that support the economic viability of Missouri firms.
Rebecca earned a bachelor of business administration degree in entrepreneurship from Baylor University.
JILL HATHAWAY Business Development Consultant
Jill Hathaway brings her expertise to start-up and established businesses to create opportunities for growth. As a former business owner with an extensive background in sales and marketing, she teaches ELEVATIONLAB courses and coaches business owners on financial analysis and marketing strategies.
With corporate experience in banking, sales and management and entrepreneurial experience as an owner of multiple retail and consulting businesses, Jill share her 20 years of experiences with business owners. She understands the foundation and strategies necessary for small businesses to succeed.
Jill earned a BA degree in economics and French from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. She serves on several non-profit boards and committees in the community.
DELIA MARIN Business Development Consultant
Delia Marin developed her entrepreneurial acumen through more than 30 years growing up in a family business and her own broad base of experience in diverse industries.
As a business development consultant with SBDC, Delia works with established businesses providing one-on-one coaching to address a variety of entrepreneurial and growth business management issues, including assistance with accessing capital needs, financing and equity, marketing, international trade, strategic planning and business assessment.
Delia is bilingual in English and Spanish and offers a multi-cultural and community outreach expertise that bridges the gaps in business teams, enabling organizations to expand opportunities for business development across all markets.
Through Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC), Delia also assists clients with understanding federal, state and local government requirements applicable to contracting for services, manufacturing, construction and other markets. She advises and assists clients with government application preparation, certifications, registrations, procurement counseling, bid preparation and matching proposals.
Delia’s background includes work in human resources, event management, higher education, work skills training and development, public affairs, not-for-profit management and culinary curriculum management. She earned a BA degree in human development from St. Mary’s University.
SALLY WILLIAMS Technology Development & Commercialization Consultant
Sally Williams is an innovation expert with a focus on driving growth through business innovation, new product development and commercialization, marketing and strategy. She has more than 30 years of management experience spanning a wide range of innovation and marketing positions with Bayer Healthcare, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Ralston Purina Company, Frito-Lay, Inc., and ALCOA. She has successfully led businesses from start-ups to national brands.
At Missouri SBDC at UMKC, Sally works with entrepreneurs developing various technologies, with products ranging from mobile apps to medical devices. She helps business owners focus on research and potential technology within the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), providing consulting and entrepreneurial training to UMKC’s faculty and researchers. Her expertise is helping entrepreneurs move technology from the lab to the consumer. She is an ELEVATIONLAB instructor, specializing in technology venture courses.
Sally has a bachelor of music degree in vocal music education from the University of Mississippi, and a master of business administration degree with marketing specialization from the University of Illinois at Urbana. She is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota Music Honorary Fraternity and Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity.
MICHELLE KRETSINGER Program Coordinator
Michelle Kretsinger is the first person most clients contact when they are looking for assistance from the Missouri SBDC at UMKC. Her role is to help entrepreneurs find the correct trainings or counseling for their stage and type of business. She coordinates registrations, updates website information and ELEVATIONLAB course materials.
Michelle previously worked in the fields of education, insurance and program administration. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Missouri – Columbia.
JOEL BARRETT Business Development Consultant – Contractor
Joel Barrett brings a coaching/consulting and business entrepreneurship background to his role of contract business development consultant at the SBDC. He is a coach and co-instructor for ELEVATIONLAB NEW VENTURE and facilitates Entrepreneurial Mindset Program and First Steps courses.
Joel has decades of experience as an entrepreneur and business owner. He currently operates his own business, Joel Speaks Out, where he is a LGBTQ writer and speaker. He has worked in the public and private sectors as a general manager, director of marketing, business consultant and community organizer. Joel is recognized for his intuitive ability to determine the next steps for entrepreneurs. His coaching/consulting experience is influenced by his active involvement in community organizations.
He serves as a board member of Transformations: a KC Trans and Gender Expansive Youth Group and as a member of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee for the Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Joel earned a master’s degree in liberal studies with a sustainability focus from Indiana University.
JILL MEYER Director of Innovation • Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center Senior Director of Technology Ventures
Jill Meyer is an experienced and successful senior manager with more than 20 years of leadership, marketing, human capital and consulting experience. In her role with the UMKC Innovation Center, she will drive the strategic vision, direction and development of the center’s technology pillar.
At Missouri SBDC, Jill will continue to work with technology companies to assist in innovation, product development, grant and capital sourcing, management improvement and revenue growth.
Previously, Jill had her own consulting practice, working with entrepreneurs to grow their businesses through innovation and operational execution in alignment with business priorities. Her experience as an executive coach as well as business driver further insures the implementation of her clients’ new strategies.
Jill earned a bachelor of arts degree in economics and public policy studies from Duke University and a MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL.