Editor’s Note: Startland News co-founder and editor-in-chief Bobby Burch will depart the storytelling organization at the end of July. Tommy Felts will assume leadership of Startland effective immediately.
It was three-and-a-half years ago when Kansas City Startup Foundation CEO Adam Arredondo approached me with a “what if” scheme to start a publication focused on entrepreneurship.
When I think back to that time, there was a distinct motivating force behind not only our decision making but also the community that Startland News would serve.
We were hungry to prove that — despite the cynicism, doubt and indifference — Kansas City is full of meaningful stories that aren’t being told. We wanted to show that startup stories can be skillfully told, that they make a difference and that Kansas City would value them. Like so many entrepreneurs, we had chips on our shoulders.
Over time, our motivations evolved but the drive to make an impact remains strong. And it’s remained steadfast thanks to your faith in us and support of Kansas City entrepreneurship.
For that support, I’m profoundly thankful to each of you.
You’ve rallied behind Startland’s mission, believing in the power of stories to elevate and empower our community. As a result, we have a more cohesive community, more citizens that are aware of our challenges, more media coverage on entrepreneurship, more thriving businesses and more inspirational leaders from which to learn.
It is thus with bittersweet keystrokes that I inform you of my next adventure: In late July, I will be moving to Fort Collins, Colorado, to pursue my passion of visual storytelling and to be closer to the natural beauty of the world around us. As the author and naturalist John Muir once said, “The mountains are calling, and I must go.”
While I still will be involved with Startland’s operations, I’ve passed the leadership torch onto my talented friend and mentor, Tommy Felts. You’ve likely seen his mohawk or hopefully already met him out in the community over the past 11 months since he joined us. I can think of no better person to lead Startland’s storytelling in the future and to amplify its impact. Please reach out and say hello to him.
And as Startland enters its next chapter, I have an even bigger request for you.
As a team, we often talk about the intangible or anecdotal impact that stories can have on a community. We’ve heard and read dozens of comments from people like you about how a Startland article resulted in a valuable connection, discovery of an initiative, business deal, new employee or even investment. These are clear markers to us that Startland News is helping facilitate the impact it’s aiming to make.
To maximize that impact, however, it requires you to take ownership. Cultivate a part of Kansas City you care about with the intention of making it better and more accessible to everyone.
And when you do, let Startland News know about it. It’s our mission to elevate amazing stories that otherwise wouldn’t be told.
It’s incredible to think of how much we as a community have grown in just the past three years and I’m excited to keep up on the progress from afar.
Thank you to my amazing friends and teammates — Adam Arredondo, Matthew Marcus, Tommy Felts, Lauren Conaway, Katie Kimbrell and Elyssa Bezner — for inspiring me, making me laugh and keeping me sane. You’re amazing people and Kansas City is fortunate to have you.
Finally, thank you, Kansas City, for the opportunity to share your incredible stories. Startland — and its parent organization, the Kansas City Startup Foundation — would be nowhere without this incredible community of dreamers, makers, doers and collaborators.
With love and gratitude,