Kayla was born and raised in rural Eureka, Kansas. Farm animals and 4-H were very much a part of her outdoor lifestyle. Kayla graduated from Hamilton High School and Butler Community College in 2006, before moving to Topeka to attend Washburn University. In 2011, Kayla graduated with honors from Washburn University with a Baccalaureate Degree in Business Administration. During this time, Kayla found herself drawn to tourism, and spent ten years working in the Hospitality Industry, most recently as the General Manager of the Holiday Inn Express on Wanamaker and Director of Regional Operations for Maple Management. Through her work in the tourism industry, Kayla was involved with the Downtown Plaza effort. It was this project that inspired Kayla to pursue a career in Community Development. When she learned of the Momentum 2022 Strategy, she immediately knew that she wanted to be involved. Kayla is thrilled to now be on board as the Strategic Coordinator for Momentum 2022 and to be able to focus her efforts entirely on making Topeka a place where people want to live, work, and play.
Who is your hero? And why?
I have two heroes, and they’re smaller than most. My heroes are my children, Easton and Jaxon. They’ve taught me how to be selfless, and how to genuinely care for others. Their childish enthusiasm is my daily reminder that life is beautiful and exciting.
What ‘lesson from Mom’ do you still live by today?
When I was young, my dad traveled a lot. Back home, then, it was often just myself and Mom. My mom was never very good at sitting still, and she was constantly taking on some kind of home improvement or remodeling project by herself. As a young girl, I regularly saw my mom do things like refinish floors, build cabinetry, knock down walls, etc. The greatest lesson from Mom was not something that she said, but something that she showed me. If you truly want to do something, you can do it. Be fearless and independent.
Aside from necessities, what is one thing you could not go a day without?
Music. I listen to music throughout most of the day. (Yes, I am THAT person that belts out Shania Twain lyrics in the shower.) If I don’t have my morning music time as I’m getting ready for work, I am a cranky mess for the rest of the day. Seriously, ask my family.
What’s the most unusual place you have visited?
Puerto Rico. My sister and I went there for my birthday last year. We kayaked in the bioluminescent bay – it was gorgeous!
Senior Vice President of Entrepreneurial and Minority Business Development
Entrepreneurial & Minority Business Development