THRIVE! Butler Leadership

Phil Benedict

Executive Director

Andover, KS

Mr. Benedict has over thirty years’ management experience in the general aviation, airline, and computer software industries.  During that time, he has been the President and GM of a small, entrepreneurial Avionics company, led Business Development and Product Marketing teams within larger aviation and marine businesses, led acquisition due diligence and divestment initiatives, facilitated many Strategic Planning events, and has been the MC or featured speaker at a number of industry events around the world.  


He and his family relocated from Minneapolis to Wichita, Kansas in late 1999.  Soon thereafter, Phil and his family joined St. Vincent de Paul parish where he has served on the Pastoral Council for over 12 years and is an active Lector and Eucharistic Minister. Phil also was the Vice Chair of the Andover Chamber Board of Directors.  

Rae A. Thiel

Board Chair

Andover, KS

Rae was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri.  She graduated from Southeast High School and then earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas.  She earned an additional bachelor’s degree in computer science from Wichita State and then a master’s degree in mathematics education from Wichita State.

She taught in several high school in Kansas, including schools in Washington, Kansas and Dodge City, Kansas. Rae spent 36 years teaching high school mathematics at Wichita Collegiate School, where additional responsibilities included mathematics department chair, keeping statistics for high school basketball teams, overseeing the graduation ceremony and helping with the annual dinner theater.

Rae is now retired.  She spends her time working at the Open Door Klothes Kloset, Open Door Food Ministry, and Andover Community Food Bank.  She has enjoyed talking to groups about Thrive! Butler and is a member of the steering committee for the state-wide poverty reduction program called Stronger Ground.
 

Jessica Dunbar

Rose Hill, KS

Jessica has over 10 years of experience in sales & marketing. She is currently the Treasury Management Officer for Sunflower Bank and manages the commercial operating account relationships for the Wichita market. Jessica graduated from Pittsburg State University with a Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies. Staying active in the Wichita business community, Jessica is a graduate of the 2014 Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce Leadership Wichita Class and the 2017 Wichita Business Journal’s Career Women Program.

 

Jessica is currently a member of the Wichita Manufacturing Association & Women in Commercial Real Estate organizations. She has also given her time to serve charitable organizations such as St. Vincent de Paul Pastoral Council and The Lord’s Diner, in leadership capacities as well as volunteering.

Rita Dishon

El Dorado, KS

Rita is a Kansas native and has lived here her whole life.  With her husband Terry, they relocated from Troy, KS to Alta Vista, KS in 1986, for his work at Ft. Riley.  In 2007 they relocated to the Council Grove area then relocated again in December 2010 to the Wichita area, due to Terry’s health.  They came to El Dorado in May 2012, and by June Terry passed away, after 31 1/2 years of marriage.  Rita’s world had turned upside down in every which way.  She started college after she turned 50, seeking certification in CNA, HHA, ACA.  She worked in Home Health for a while but had to take a break as it hit too close home.

She has survived colon cancer, a broken leg, multiple strokes, plus many other things since she turned 50.  Rita believes the best thing that happened to her was the Thrive! Butler program which she started in the fall of 2017.  She graduated in February 2018, then worked with her Ally till mid-2019.  She felt honored to have been a part of the Thrive! Butler program as it was a life changing experience for her.  She stated once "I'm living in abundance".   She now is honored to be a part of the Thrive! Butler board as a graduate student.

Rita is a participant with Workforce Alliance of South-Central Kansas - SCSEP (Senior Community Services Employment Program), with placement at RCIL (Resource Center for Independent Living) in El Dorado.  She works at the front desk greeting people as they come in, handling receptionist’s duties, and handling the loan program for the DME - Durable Medical Equipment. 

Tyffani Herrman

El Dorado, KS

Tyffani graduated from Gardner-Edgerton High School in Gardner, Kansas. She then moved back to El Dorado to attend college and began working at Drs. Joyce and Joyce office. She began volunteering at the Family Life Center-Safehouse, a shelter for women and children fleeing abuse, when she was 18. Shortly after her 20th Birthday she accepted a position at the organization and advocated for women and children and presented in high schools throughout the county on teen dating violence, for the following ten years.  In 2017 she expanded her career path by accepting a position at Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital as a community liaison where she currently works towards improving Health Equity in Butler County. 


Tyffani served on the board of El Dorado Charities and is currently serving on the board of the United Way of El Dorado. She recently expanded her knowledge in civic leadership and is a member of the Leadership Butler class of 2018.


Tyffani has been happily married to her best friend, Jordan, and they have been blessed with four fabulous children, Alawna, Aidan, Austyn and Ariah. 

Mary Moon

Andover, KS

Mary is the Executive Director of Community Advancement at Butler Community College where her current responsibilities include managing the Advance Kansas diversity initiative and organizing fundraising events on behalf of the college’s foundation.  During her tenure at Butler, Mary has also served as Director of Workforce Development, and Director of Business and Industry Training.  While most of Mary’s professional career has been at Butler, she previously worked in corporate training and human resources in banking and at Royal Caribbean’s Wichita call center.  Mary earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Home Economics Education at Western Illinois University and a Master of Science Degree in Adult Education at Kansas State University.  Mary is a Leadership Butler alumni.  She has served on the Andover High School site council and the boards of Leadership Butler and Butler Community College Foundation.  An Illinois native, Mary’s home has been in Wichita and Andover for more than 35 years.  .

Dr. Kristen Craft

Andover, KS

 

Kristen has 25 years of experience in public education working as both a teacher and administrator.  She has served many districts across the state including Shawnee Mission, Burlington, Maize, Derby, Emporia, and Andover.  She is currently the principal of Andover High School. Kristen graduated from the University of Kansas with a BS in Education.  She earned a Masters in Educational Leadership from Emporia State University and her doctorate from Kansas State University in Educational Administration.  In 2019, Kristen was named Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals Area IV Regional Principal of the Year.

 

Kristen resides in Wichita, KS with her fiancé, Rod Craft.   She has two children, McKenzie and Maddox, two step-children, Kyle & Macey and granddaughter Amelia.  In her “free” time, Kristen enjoys reading, cross-stitching, working out and just relaxing with family.

Brittany Kenneson

El Dorado, KS

Brittany currently works as a Community Support Coordinator at Mid-KS Community Action Program in Augusta. Brittany has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is currently in the Advanced Standing Master Social Work program at Wichita State. She has 10 years of experience working in the social service field. Brittany has spent many hours volunteering with the annual Medical Mission, at Ronald McDonald House, and homeless shelters in the area. Her passion is helping those in need by teaching them the tools to work towards self-advocacy and maintaining stability in their daily lives.

Brittany currently resides in El Dorado with her two dogs and spends as much free time with her nieces and nephews that live in the area.

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