KU’s biggest party is coming soon to Kansas City.
Rock Chalk Ball, the annual celebration of KU and its alumni is set for April 27 at Bartle Hall.
Sasha Flores Boulware is entering her third year as a Rock Chalk Ball chair, after attending the ball for years with her husband Al, c’98, l’02, g’02.
Boulware, c’98, g’00, earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and remained at KU to complete her MBA. She formerly worked for Pfizer and Accenture Foundation and is currently a part-time consultant. Sasha also has volunteered for Jayhawks for Higher Education and the Emily Taylor Center’s advisory board.
We reached out to Boulware, who lives in Fairway, to hear about her experiences at KU and with Rock Chalk Ball.
Why did you want to be a co-chair of Rock Chalk Ball?
The ball is one of my favorite events and it never disappoints. Every year there is a new twist on what is offered to attendees. The detail I’m most excited about this year is the beneficiary of the Fund-A-Need, the Jayhawk Career Network. This tool gives Jayhawks the ability to truly connect and help each other far beyond their days on the hill and I love that!
What is your favorite Rock Chalk Ball memory?
Watching Dan Besco do a live carving of a Jayhawk in 2017 was amazing. I will always remember his excitement that day when he finished and presented the sculpture. That positive vibe is what Rock Chalk Ball is all about!
What advice do you have for young professionals looking to take the next step in their careers?
Networking and more networking, and not just with people in your current industry. I found that when I was ready for a change, it was the people I had meaningful relationships with who took a chance on me. It’s also how I learned about different opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise considered.
Hosted by the KU Alumni Association and the Greater Kansas City Network, Rock Chalk Ball unites Jayhawks in the nation’s largest KU community and raises funds for Association programs to advocate for KU; communicate to alumni and friends in all media; recruit students and volunteers; serve current students, alumni and KU; and unite all Jayhawks.
Jayhawks celebrated their alma mater’s past, present and future at the 23rd annual Rock Chalk Ball, held April 28 at the Kansas City Convention Center. This year’s event concluded a week of inauguration festivities for Chancellor Douglas A. Girod.
Hosted by the Alumni Association and the Greater Kansas City Network, the annual event unites Jayhawks in the nation’s largest KU community and raises funds for Association programs to advocate for KU; communicate to alumni and friends in all media; recruit students and volunteers; serve current students, alumni and KU; and unite all Jayhawks.
Chancellor Girod and his wife, Susan, served as honorary event chairs. Curtis Marsh, j’92, director of KU Info and the DeBruce Center, lent his voice—and his wealth of KU knowledge and traditions—as this year’s emcee. The event featured silent and live auctions and the enthusiastic sounds of the Patrick Lentz Band, one of Kansas City’s premier cover bands. The KU Libraries exhibit, History of the Jayhawk, was on display during the cocktail hour.
Sasha Flores Boulware, c’98, g’00, and Billy Marshall, c’00, served as network co-chairs for the event.
In keeping with the Alumni Association’s mission to strengthen KU, proceeds from the 2018 Rock Chalk Ball will be used to benefit legacy student recruitment and student programs. Proceeds from the Fund-A-Need portion of the auction will benefit the Jayhawk Career Network. A new KU Alumni Mentoring Program will be launched this fall to give students easy access to the power of our alumni base.
Thank you to the event’s title sponsor, Tickets For Less, and the presenting sponsors—Boulevard Brewing, Charlie Hustle and Gohagan— for their contributions to the live auction.
Check out some of our favorite social posts from Rock Chalk Ball below! Official photos from the event, courtesy of Steve Puppe, are available here and may be downloaded for personal use. If you attended this year’s Rock Chalk Ball, we’d love to have your feedback—please complete our survey.
The Greater Kansas City Network has elected its officers and six new board members for the 2016 to ’17 term. Kansas City is the nation’s largest community of Jayhawks with more than 94,000 alumni. Lindsay Hare, c’02, l’05, lives in Leawood and will lead the board as president. She is an attorney and partner at Norton Hare.
Jessica Nelson, j’11, managing director of TeamKC, Kansas City Area Development Council, lives in Olathe and is executive vice president. Another Olathe resident, Sheri Hart, f’93, who manages compliance at Adknowledge, is secretary.
Executive committee members include Jace McClasky and Andrew Wank. McClasky, c’95, l’01, lives in Prairie Village and is principal attorney at Burke McClasky Stevens. Wank, b’09, enterprise relationship manager at blooom, lives in Leawood.
Six alumni who join the existing board members are:
- Sasha Flores Boulware, Fairway, c’98, g’00, owner of Esbee;
- Bobby Burch, Kansas City, j’11, editor in chief of Startland News;
- Kimberly Hobbs, Kansas City, j’94, vice president of partnerships and premium sales at AEG Worldwide/Sprint Center;
- Billy Marshall, Prairie Village, c’00, territory sales manager at Straumann, USA;
- Todd Moore, Kansas City, c’96, project director at KU Medical Center; and
- Melissa Thomson, Overland Park, j’01, business development manager at TREKK Design Group.
“We have six exceptional new additions to our board membership that will, without a doubt, be incredible assets to the network,” says Hare. “We cannot wait to get to work and further develop our local alumni programs and outreach to the Kansas City community over the next year.”
Hare succeeds Matthew Taylor, a senior wealth adviser at Frontier Wealth Management, who served as executive vice president from 2014 to ’15 before becoming president last year. He also led the membership committee for two years and will now serve as ex-officio president.
Taylor, b’98, g’03, has hosted and helped organize several Kansas City area alumni events, including the Jayhawk Career Networking Series, and he has served on the committee for the Rock Chalk Ball, the Alumni Association’s largest fundraiser. For his commitment and service to the Kansas City Network, Taylor received the 2016 Dick Wintermote Volunteer of the Year Award.
Nine additional board members will continue their service on various committees, including membership, community awareness, student recruitment and the Rock Chalk Ball. They are:
- Jake Ballard, Leawood, b’01, senior vice president and unit manager of Lockton Companies;
- Jason Booker, Olathe, b’99, senior director of corporate sponsorship and broadcast sales for the Kansas City Royals;
- Scott Fiss, Leawood, b’87, principal at Johnston Fiss Insurance Agency;
- Mallory Hammersmith Hannah, Kansas City, j’08, strategic marketing consultant at Mallory Hannah Inc.;
- Christina Stephenson Hopkins, c’10, clinical research coordinator at the University of Kansas Cancer Center;
- Grant Kollman, Prairie Village, c’10, associate director of Berkadia;
- Susan Anderson Leonard, Fairway, d’96, g’07, associate principal at Shawnee Mission East High School;
- Joe Mulvihill, Overland Park, b’06, director of inbound marketing at Keypath Education; and
- Mark Van Blaricum, Lee’s Summit, b’99, l’02, m’08, owner/operator of Pita For Good food truck.
“The growth in the quality of programming offered in Kansas City, in addition to volunteer opportunities, student recruitment, legacy relations and the impact KU makes in community, is directly tied to the strength in leadership on our Kansas City Network board,” says Betsy Winetroub, c’05, director of Kansas City programs. “Each year our leadership gets stronger, and I couldn’t be more excited to work with Lindsay and the rest of our new officer team.”