MEET OUR FOUNDER
Born and raised on KCMO’s eastside, it was hard for a young African American male to find opportunity outside of the streets. I got myself into some pretty bad situations, mainly to fit in and impress others. By the time I was 16, I was on my own because I was too much for my mother to handle. My actions put me on the streets. Homeless and hardheaded, I continued making bad decisions.
I began to make a change after I found out I was going to be a father. I was only 21. But then and there I knew that I wanted to set the best example for my kid. My daughter, Nevaeh, was born September 9, 2009 when I was 22. This new responsibility demanded that I work a full-time job and be very independent. Around the time Nevaeh turned two, I fought for sole custody. Thankfully the courts granted it.
Then came January 14, 2012 – another life-changing day. At 24, I was shot multiple times by someone I’d never even met. I spent three weeks in the ICU and woke up paralyzed from the waist down with a spinal cord injury. It was a new life, and restricted by wheelchair. Extra challenging with my two-year-old Nevaeh. I weighed 230 pounds, suffered from depression, and had medical complications from the weight. Knowing I had to set an example for my daughter, I worked hard and found a solution.
Fitness and nutrition were a way to not only lose weight but to feel happier and healthier. In the first year of this new routine, I lost 100 pounds and left the dark cloud of depression. I realized the importance of fitness, especially for those who have disabilities. So I started The Disabled but Not Really Foundation a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to empowering the disabled community through nutrition, fitness, and wellness.
Nevaeh is my heart and soul, motivating me to be the best version of myself that I can be. I strive to stay humble in my success and set a good example. Positive attitudes go a long way when you’re battling the tough stuff. And fitness and nutrition play an important role in building and maintaining positivity. One of my main goals in life is to encourage others to believe in themselves and achieve their own greatness.
THE BOARD OR DIRECTORS
Jeff Czernicki | Chief Operating Officer
Jeff served four years in the Army working within the military intelligence arena, primarily in West Berlin. His time in the service developed a belief in personal accountability and valuing the efforts of others in a collaborative environment.
Jeff retired from UPS as an executive with over 30 years of service in operations, transportation, human resources, and planning. As an iPEC (Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching) certified professional coach, he is currently the CEO and founder of Perpetual Compass Coaching, LLC.
He is a graduate of Shawnee Mission South H.S. and he received his B.S. in Business Management from Baker University.
His pursuit of coaching as a second career aligns well with the intentions of the Disabled But Not Really Foundation. Jeff’s passion is in helping others develop their talents in a way that serves their values system and assists them in the shift from “Who am I?” to “Who I am!” Moreover, create a sustainable intention towards the outcomes they desire. Jeff is married, and he and his wife, Rea live in Prairie Village, Kansas.
Anthony Trakas | Chief Financial Officer
Anthony is a Kansas City native who grew up on the east side of the metro and graduated from Rockhurst High School. Anthony earned a Bachelors degree in Economics and Finance from Loyola New Orleans followed by a Masters of Science in Finance from Villanova University outside Philadelphia.
Upon graduation, he stayed in Philadelphia to pursue a career in Marketing and Finance. Anthony worked for multiple Fortune 50 companies during his time on the east coast, specializing in marketing and finance within the semiconductor manufacturing industry and ultimately with the world leader in water purification technology and sustainability.
He has served on the board of directors for a not-for-profit financial institution as well as being involved in various non-profit organizations focused on promoting the arts and sciences with underprivileged youth.
Returning to Kansas City has allowed him to rediscover the city he has always called home and reconnected with people that make it such a beautiful and vibrant city.
Emmaniel Maxi | Director of Partnerships
As a native of Kansas City, Emmaniel is committed to providing positive and meaningful opportunities for his community to establish a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness. Emmaniel earned his Associate’s of Arts from Johnson County Community College and his Bachelor’s in Applied Organizational Leadership from MidAmerica Nazarene University. He applies his leadership skills and abilities through his work as a training supervisor at Medi Coach Transportation where he also provides medical assistance to patients receiving rehabilitation services. Emmaniel’s first-hand exposure to the power of rehabilitation inspired him to share and motivate others to place emphasis on their health. In his free time, Emmaniel enjoys live music and spending time with his family.
Marcus C. Kelly | Director of Marketing
Marcus is a recent KCMO transplant from the great state of Iowa. He graduated with a degree in Business Marketing from the University of Northern Iowa which lead him into a unique gig within the air charter industry. For the past 5 years, Marcus has worked his way up to an Air Charter Consultant at STM Charters and has helped build the company into an industry leading private aviation consulting firm. In his free time, you can catch him working on freelance marketing, hitting the trails with his road bike, mingling with the awesome people of KC, and enjoying all this city has to offer.
Jessica Kaufman | Director of Fitness and Nutrition
Jessica Kaufman is an ACE Certified Health Coach who also holds a Bachelor’s in Dietetics from Northwest Missouri State University. Her love for food and cooking started in the kitchen at a very young age. Through her own struggles and journey to health, she found nutrition and exercise.
She believes that food can be healing and nurturing, not only physically, but also mentally. Jessica advocates living a healthy and balanced lifestyle, and she believes that both nutrition and physical activity play an integral part in one’s overall well-being. Jessica is passionate about her community and supporting the people within it on their journeys toward wellness.
Matt Denney | Director of Advocacy
Matt is a KC entrepreneur that currently focuses on recruiting high-level talent for the IT industry. Matt has been a part of four start-ups and was an early employee and stock grantee at Bats Global Market. Having a love for recruiting high-level talent, he started StarRecruit LLC in 2012 as a solo practitioner recruiting IT talent.
Matt has worked on both sides of the HR desk, both as an HR Director and while recruiting independently for his IT clients.
His journey to being a board member at DBNR is an interesting one. Matt first learned about DBNR through his son who had heard DBNR’s founder Wesley Hamilton give an inspirational talk to his football team. That’s is when Matt knew Wesley Hamilton and DBNR were something special.
Matt himself was diagnosed with a rare muscular dystrophy in his late 40’s that has affected his ability to do some of the things he so loved in life like golf and hiking in the woods. Matt indeed has an understanding and compassion for those that are disabled. He enjoys volunteering for the Job Club at his church and also serves on the board of directors of the Computer Science Department at MS&T in Rolla, Mo. As well as being a founding board member of the KCTech Council. Matt sees his disability as a blessing and looks forward to serving those around him.
Disabled But Not Really is a 501(c)3 organization providing equal access to the underserved disabled community; through programs that focus on fitness, wellness, and mental health.