Laura McKnight

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Laura is an executive, attorney, and author. Laura is an expert on the effects of today's work-life-community-wellness mindset on market dynamics, human behavior, communications, productivity, purchasing decisions, workplace performance, and rapid enterprise growth.

Laura founded One Celebrations in 2010 to create media and tools to engage audiences in today's changing culture. In 2016, Ann-Marie Harrington became a partner in One Celebrations and the company was relaunched under the Embolden brand. Embolden, founded by Ann-Marie in 1998, built a track record as a leading digital communications and marketing strategy firm specializing in high-growth sectors, such as financial services, philanthropy, and health care.

Laura began her career practicing tax, corporate, and estate planning law at the Kansas City firm of Spencer Fane Britt & Browne. After practicing law, Laura held a variety of positions at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri, which is one of the largest organizations of its kind in the country and manages nearly $3 billion in assets. Laura served as the foundation’s president and CEO for six years. In 2012, Laura left that position to work with Curran Companies, a Kansas City-based private equity firm. In that capacity, from 2012 and 2015, Laura served on the advisory board of Crown Philanthropic Solutions, a software company with more than $6 billion in assets administered on its SaaS platform. Laura assumed the CEO position at Crown in May 2015 and facilitated a series of transactions that resulted in RenPSG's acquisition of Crown in September 2016 and the simultaneous re-launch of One Celebrations LLC under the Embolden brand.

Laura is recognized as a national expert on today's marketplace mindset, including the interconnectedness of workplace culture, community engagement, and rapid business growth. Her articles and editorials have appeared in publications across the country, including the the Wall Street Journal‘s online WSJ MarketWatch, the Downey Patriot, Las Vegas Tribune, Hawaii Reporter, Atlanta Journal Constitution, newsroanoke.com, SunSentinel, Kansas City Star, NJToday.net, Sun Advocate, Island Dispatch, Greater Tulsa Reporter Newspapers, and the Roanoke Star-Sentinel. While serving as president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, She frequently appears in television segments and, for five years, co-hosted the Live with Rink and Laura business radio show featuring CEOs as in-studio guests.  

Laura’s first book, Cereal for Dinner, Cake for Dessert, published in May 2012, is a true story to inspire women to think differently about how work, life, and community are intertwined in their lives. Laura is a leading expert on the connection between philanthropy and positive psychology, a theme she explores in Do Good, Feel Better, her second book, published in January 2017. Embolden's tools continue to reflect the firm’s commitment to social impact and making a difference in the community.

Laura earned a degree in philosophy at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She earned a law degree, with honors, from the University of Kansas School of Law, where she served as managing editor of the Kansas Law Review. Laura has served on several boards of directors over the course of her career, including the Mattie Rhodes Center, Mid-America Planned Giving Council, Nonprofit Connect, Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute, Young Presidents’ Organization, National Association of Corporate Directors Heartland Chapter, United Way of Greater Kansas City, American Royal Association, Start Up Weekend, and the Children’s Mercy Hospital Foundation. She is the grateful recipient of honors that include the Kansas City Tomorrow Distinguished Alumni Award.

Today, in her management consulting role at Embolden, Laura helps companies and institutions achieve goals in a marketplace where the convergence of work, life, community, and wellness have dramatically changed the behavior of target audiences. Laura has worked with a wide range of Embolden’s clients, including DST Systems, EPR Properties, Honeywell, Baker University, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, Perceptive Software/Lexmark, as well as several high-growth start ups..