DT | Quarterly Fishbowl Conversations
How do we create a conversation that’s organic and real?
With Fishbowl Conversations, CX members will have the opportunity to connect with me and have a conversation that comes without an agenda or any preconceived notion. We’ll never know what we are going to discuss until we get together and we draw a topic out of the fishbowl.
This authentic, transparent dialogue is what conversation is all about. Facilitated by Central Exchange CEO, Courtney Thomas, participants will have the chance to write down their thoughts, questions or ideas and drop them in the fishbowl to discuss with me and our group of CX members. It provides space for transformative, face-to-face connection and the potential for positive impact on the group involved and all those they influence.
When we engage in genuine, unrestrained conversation, we will open doors into new areas of growth and togetherness, create a stronger sense of connection and truly allow ourselves to celebrate and tap into our authenticity.
Courtney Thomas is a native of North Carolina and holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Bryan School of Business and Economics at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In September of 2002, Courtney moved to the Kansas City community and began her journey as an executive leader at Wayside Waifs, focusing on Marketing, Public Relations, Fundraising and Operations.
Following eight years of delivering an innovative vision and strategic focus to significantly expand Wayside’s financial position and mission impact, Courtney led the merger of two Kansas nonprofits to form Great Plains SPCA, where she served as President & CEO for over six years. Great Plains SPCA is Kansas City’s largest animal welfare organization, serving over 35,000 pets every year. As President & CEO, Courtney led a staff of 160 at bi-state campuses and managed a budget of $7M. During her tenure, she grew the organization’s mission impact by over 350%, budget by 290% and established new facilities on both sides of the state line. As the top executive, she set the vision and strategy for Operations, Marketing, Fundraising and Business Development, while leading agency Culture, Human Resources and Finance activities.
In February of 2017, Courtney took the helm at Central Exchange to enhance and execute a new strategic plan to advance the organization through 2020. Courtney’s leadership is centered around goals to Enhance Brand Equity, Grow Membership, Focus and Elevate Programming, Upgrade Technology and Improve the Agency’s Financial Strength. In her first six months of service at Central Exchange, financial performance improved six figures to budget and she led a complete organizational revitalization campaign, unveiling a new vision, mission, logo, website and membership model.
In 2017, Courtney received the Silver Stevie Award for “Female Executive of the Year” in the nonprofit sector. In 2015, Courtney was featured on the cover of HerLife magazine, highlighting her successful career path. KC Magazine named Courtney one of Kansas City’s Top 100 influential people in Kansas City in 2013, and that same year Courtney received the 2013 Rising Star Award from Nonprofit Connect. Courtney also serves on the board of Newhouse, a Kansas City domestic violence shelter, as President of the Board for Changing Leads Equine Rescue, Vice-Chair for Big Shifts Foundation, Greater Kansas City Chamber’s Executive Women’s Leadership Council, YMCA’s Global Diversity & Inclusion Council, Advisory Board Member for Camp Fire Heartland and is a member of the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program (HEMP). Courtney was also the Founder and President of the Pet Animal Coalition of Kansas (PACK) and represented the state of Kansas on the Companion Animal Advisory Council for the Humane Society of the United States. She is a Certified Animal Welfare Administrator, a prestigious designation of less than 150 across the country, acknowledging excellence in leadership, financial and operational acumen, public relations and veterinary medicine.
Courtney is the mother of three beautiful children and has been married to her husband Jeff for thirteen years. She loves spending time with family, riding horses, photography, supporting our hometown teams and participating in civic activities that make Kansas City a better place for all of us to call home.