2022 Class Of Rising Stars – Alisha Thomson
For some, service is what they do, and for others, it is an extension of who they are. Alisha Thomson is the latter; engaging in volunteerism is something that is woven through every stage of her life story and is the backdrop of her career success.
Alisha grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and later moved to Jefferson City, Missouri. She attended Lincoln University, where she earned dual bachelor’s degrees in history and political science. An accomplished student with numerous leadership roles on campus, she later moved to Oklahoma City to attend Oklahoma City University and earned a master of business administration degree and a juris doctor.
Alisha, a first generation college student on her mother’s side of the family, strives to provide opportunities to those who may not have access to them. She also feels a strong responsibility to use the opportunities she has been given to support others who may not be as fortunate. “A lot of the work I do,” Alisha said, “comes from a place of being passionate about reinvesting in all that I’ve been given. I love reinvesting in the community and encouraging others to do so. We’re all part of lifting each other up, whether it is on the education front, an affordable housing front, domestic violence front, or animal welfare front—whatever it may be.”
After Alisha graduated from college and was living in Oklahoma, she experienced the greatest catalyst for her on-going engagement in the community. A tornado in 2013 had left large portions of Oklahoma devastated, and Alisha wanted to support survivors as they struggled to rebuild their lives. She was struck by the numerous stories of displaced pets and decided it was an area where she could support those in need. Alisha began fostering displaced pets (primarily dogs) with the goal of reuniting furry loved ones with their families. She also volunteered as a driver with Paws on Wheels, an organization that relocates pets from overpopulated shelters in Oklahoma to underpopulated shelters in other parts of the country.
During the course of seven years and 125 foster pets later, Alisha’s impact on the animal rescue community is undeniable. She served as the senior director of development for Great Plains SPCA in Merriam, Kansas, an extension of her passion for animal welfare. During her one year tenure as a member of the senior leadership team at Great Plains SPCA, she personally helped to secure more than $300,000 in grant funding and major gifts, more than $600,000 from special events, and approximately $100,000 from community events and special campaigns. Alisha also revamped a Young Professionals Board and helped the organization plan its first fundraiser—a dog-friendly pub crawl that raised more than $26,000. Even after she left the organization as an employee, Alisha continued to serve on the young professionals board.
Alisha is currently a vice president, wealth strategist, for Country Club Trust Company. Suzy Hall, Country Club Trust Company, said, “Alisha leads by example within Country Club Bank by investing in the Kansas City community. Recently, she was instrumental in forming the Team Impact Committee. Through her leadership and vision, Country Club Bank associates now have the opportunity to volunteer and organize around other philanthropic opportunities in our community. Creating this committee took a great deal of time, planning, and recruitment. Now, nearly two years later, it is wonderful to see how her hard work is putting smiles on the faces of our fellow associates – and, the community we serve and care about.”
Alisha’s love of history has been a guiding force in her volunteerism. She is passionate about historic preservation and specifically works to ensure the accurate portrayal of American history to include the stories of people of color. Alisha believes in the power of our collective stories and has been inspired to uncover and share the untold aspects of history that have traditionally omitted information related to slavery and oppression.
Alisha serves on the board of the Wornall/Majors House Museum, a local non profit that manages the historic preservation and programming of the John Wornall House and the Alexander Majors House, two nationally registered historic properties located in Kansas City, Missouri. In her first year on the board, Alisha spearheaded the creation of a new signature event, the Boots and Pearls Barn Dance, and served as the event chair for two years. She served as board chair in 2019 and currently serves as board development chair. Alisha also serves on the planned giving committee of the Kansas City Symphony and has previously served on the planned giving committee of Truman Medical Center.
When talking to Alisha, it is evident that she has had a great impact on the community, and one gets the sense that we are only beginning to see what her legacy in Our Town will be. One of her favorite quotes by Gifford Pinchot says so much about her values and beliefs, “The vast possibilities of our great future will become realities only if we make ourselves responsible for that future.”
Alisha resides in Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband, Lendsey, and their two beloved rescue pups, Kiko, a pitbull, and Kevin, a Boston Terrier.
Featured in the October 15, 2022 issue of The Independent
Photo Credit: Tom Styrkowicz
By Nicole Jacobs Silvey
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