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Leadership

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Leadership

julie cortes

Julie Cortés

Founder/Acting President

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Julie Cortés is an award-winning freelance advertising/marketing copywriter and proofreader, who works in all mediums and most industries. Her client and account lists run the gamut, from ad agencies and design shops to corporations and small businesses. Cortés has dedicated her 20+ year career to helping other freelancers be successful as well. She is the founder of The Freelance Exchange of KC, an adjunct professor at the KC Art Institute where she created her own course, Freelancing 101, and a professional speaker and business coach targeting both freelancers and the people who hire them.

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Holly Hempfling

Holly Hempfling

Treasurer

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Holly has over eight years of design and marketing experience. She began her career as a freelance graphic and web designer and has worked on in-house marketing teams in the insurance and financial industry until returning to freelancing full-time in 2020. Holly is a fourth generation entrepreneur, and is committed to education and perfecting her craft. She is currently attending the Entrepreneurship Scholars program at the Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Holly joined The Freelance Exchange to get to know other freelancers in the community and share what she’s learned. In addition, Holly is training for her 200 hour yoga teacher certification and incorporates mindfulness and the philosophy of yoga into her marketing and design strategy.

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Board of Directors

Estella Luttrell

Social Media

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A Kansas City native, Estella attended Texas Christian University. She started photographing abstract images after receiving her first camera at age three, a Polaroid and has loved being behind the lens ever since. The culmination of photography and a love of reading and writing has led to gallery exhibits of her photography (Art Basel Miami 2019), three screenplays, a collection of short stories, poetry/lyrics, and a novel, Jaded. Currently, Estella uses her creative skill set to produce content ranging from fine art, content marketing, and short films.

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Kelly Ziegler

Kelly Ziegler

Communications

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Kelly is the owner of Numerical Tree. Kelly has been a marketing and advertising professional for more than two decades. In that time, Kelly has worked with a wide variety of industries and clients, from consumer goods to manufacturing. What’s more, Kelly has worked on both the client side and the agency side, giving her an excellent 360-degree view of the entire marketing cycle from strategy development through execution all the way through the sales cycle. Today, Numerical Tree clients are reaping the benefits of Kelly’s expertise and unique insight through digital marketing focusing on email, social media and SEO.

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Erin Albright Headshot

Erin Albright

Marketing Director

Kansas City native Erin Albright is driven by a need to create, whether that’s a memorable graphic, her own business or a children’s book. She’s the owner and founder of Albright Creative, LLC, where she helps businesses put their best visual foot forward with graphic and web design services. Erin is also the author of “Sassie’s New Home,” a whimsical, comforting children’s book that helps kids cope with the death of a beloved pet. In her spare time, she loves going on road trips, watercolor painting, reading a good book, and listening to true crime podcasts.

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Michelle Schneider

VP / Social

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Michelle has done marketing and design for 15 years focusing primarily on email marketing and web design. She freelanced for several years on top of working full-time in various in-house marketing teams, including Sporting Kansas City, AMC Theatres, and as a Creative Director for Airshare. She recently transitioned to freelancing full-time and is excited to connect with others in the freelancing community.

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Amber Monaco

Amber Monaco

Programs

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Amber Monaco is the owner of You Need An Amber, LLC - an agency dedicated to backend operations.  Her goal is to create efficiencies in businesses so owners can have more white space in their calendars. Amber graduated from the University of Maryland and attended The Johns Hopkins University.  She lives in Gladstone, MO with her partner, Andrew, his two kids, one cat, some chickens, and more tomato plants to feed a small army. She is currently working on her first book based on her 2 year expedition as a digital nomad.

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Yolanda Villegas

Yolanda Villegas

Outreach

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Yolanda Villegas is an experienced brand, marketing communications and social media strategist for both B2B and B2C industries. Driven by a passion for all things related to the customer experience, she takes pride in questioning the current strategy so that together, we can think outside the box for new and enhanced solutions. Yolanda's consistent desire to learn new things and meet new people led her to the Freelance Exchange of Kansas City in hopes of expanding her network while becoming more involved with the freelance community. A firm advocate for empowering women leaders, Yolanda also belongs to Digital Women Kansas City and InnovateHer. As the new Director of FX of KC Outreach, her goals include an increase in engagement for current members and prospective employers.
In her spare time, Yolanda loves spending time with her family, volunteering in her local community and staying healthy as a runner.

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Jose Ramirez

Special Events

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Jose Ramirez, owner of Moss Printing, has been in printing since 1984. He started with a 1-year internship, then got assigned to sales rep at a commercial printing company. After 12 years as a commission-only sales rep, he was laid off. As it turned out, it was a blessing. He started his own printing and graphics company. He bought equipment, kept growing and is now one of the Top 25 Commercial Printing Companies by Ingram's Magazine. He has won Small Business of the Year and Volunteer of the Year awards by the NEJC Chamber of 10 cities. He also won Philanthropic Business of the Year from the NAACP. His business philosophy is: "It is not a job ticket; it is a person. Because getting it done is for a person, and we are here to serve the person." Having a serving attitude in business is why he continues to grow his printing and graphics company.

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Matthaus Klute

Web

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While working full-time in Kansas City, Matthaus found his real passion - solving problems for small and medium sized businesses, especially eCommerce! As a full-time freelancer, he's brought his knowledge of Web, IT, and Business to make life easier for owners, agencies, and fellow freelancers. Matthaus joined the FX's Board of Directors to meet fellow freelancers and to give back to the local freelance community. He loves mountain biking, watching sports, live music, cooking and getting together with friends.

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Masoom Khawaja

Masoom Khawaja

Membership

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Masoom for the last 22 years worked in different positions such as HOD, program coordinator, assistant professor, adjunct in higher education including universities and colleges. Recently teaching as an adjunct for graphic design and foundation courses at Park University, MO.
Her passion is photography too. She states that traveling has helped her to see different perspectives related to art, religion, culture and economics and her photographs demonstrate these ideas.
She worked as vice president and president for Crescent Peace Society which is a non profit organization in the Kansas City area and its mission is to build bridges among faith communities.

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Max Sheffield (they/them)

PR

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Max believes that every organization has a unique and powerful story that allows their business and marketing to connect in a way that’s sincere and doesn’t feel sleazy. Max brings a decade of healthcare experience with them into their career path as a copywriter and content strategist. Max has been helping business owners feel confident about their copy and marketing strategy since 2018 and is excited to work with community organizations such as the Freelance Exchange, No Divide KC, Catcall Magazine, InnovateHER KC, and others. In Max’s free time, they like to hike, listen to podcasts, and dance around their house with the music turned all of the way up.

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McKenzie Smoot

Design Chair

McKenzie Smoot found her passion for graphic design while studying journalism at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. After working as the lead designer for Washburn’s student-run publications and venturing into the corporate world to expand on her design skills, she formed her freelance design company, McKenzie Smoot Designs. McKenzie Smoot Designs has brought graphic design, writing, marketing, and branding knowledge to businesses since 2018. McKenzie is thrilled to bring her passion and knowledge to the Design Chair seat and is always excited for new connections and adventures. In her spare time, you can often find McKenzie reading a book, experimenting with makeup, or playing outside with her two miniature Aussiedoodles.

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