2017 Keynote Speakers

Jenny Doan, Missouri Star Quilt Company

Jenny Doan is the smiling face of Missouri Star Quilt Company. Stitching together simplified quilts full of love and laughter, she makes quilting easier, more accessible, and friendlier than ever before. With over 350 YouTube videos and 110 million views to date, Jenny has sparked enthusiasm for quilting and warmed her viewer’s hearts across the globe. Her family is her greatest joy. She has seven children and 22 grandchildren. She is also an avid genealogist and has fulfilled her dream of traveling to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, to research her ancestry and hopes to return soon.  Jenny will speak Friday morning, September 8.

Andy Reid, NFL Coach of the Kansas City Chiefs

Andy Reid, NFL Coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, is an avid journaler.  It was a high school typing teacher that assigned her students to keep a journal their junior year.  This led Andy to begin a practice that has continued to this day, filling many volumes over the years.  Andy knows the value of documenting individual, family, and professional experiences and impressions for the sake of future reminiscence and personal family history.  So important is journaling to Andy, that he will share his thoughts immediately after opening Regular Season Football play.  Andy will speak Saturday morning, September 9.

Michael Kennedy, Third Great Grandson of Joseph Smith

Michael Kennedy learned by happenstance that he was the Great-Great-Great Grandson of Joseph Smith the Prophet.  It was his junior year in high school when his American History teacher assigned the class to turn in a paper about their own family history.  In response to his son’s request for help, Michael’s father revealed his genealogy, having never discussed it with his son before, and produced a box with the documenting evidence of old artifacts, including pictures of Emma Hale Smith (Joseph’s wife) and Lucy Mack Smith (Joseph’s mother).  Moments later, the doorbell rang with proselyting full-time missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who, invited in, stood gawking at what was on the table before them.  After a few months of church discussions and encouragement from schoolmate Darcy Dodge to continue his investigation, Michael gained a testimony of the Church and became a member.  Not long after, Michael married Darcy Dodge.  Today, he is the president of the Joseph Smith and Emma Hale Smith Historical Society (JSEHS), founded in 2006, which is a non-profit organization operated by descendants of Joseph Smith and Emma that promotes knowledge and understanding of the life and times, teachings, and heritage of Joseph Smith, Jr. and Emma Hale Smith.  Michael also works as a Program Manager with FamilySearch, a genealogy organization operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is the largest genealogy organization in the world.  Michael will speak Saturday morning, September 9.

Steven Potter, Library Director and CEO of Mid-Continent Public Library

Steven Potter is the Library Director and Chief Executive Officer for Mid-Continent Public Library and has held that position since August of 2010.  MCPL is the largest library system in the metropolitan Kansas City area and the largest political subdivision in the state of Missouri, operating 35 libraries and serving over 770,000 people in Jackson, Clay, and Platte Counties.  MCPL boasts the 19th largest public library collection in the nation, with over 10,000 live programs per year, constantly expanding resources, and world class customer service since 1965.

And Steven Potter has been a part of that history since beginning at MCPL in 1988 as clerical staff, rising through the ranks holding various positions along the way, including Branch Librarian, Business Manager, Asst. Library Director, and now Library Director.

In 2006, during Steven’s tenure as Asst. Library Director, MCPL acquired property to build the largest free standing, public genealogy library in the United States.  Steven acted as Project Manager for the $8 Million, 52,000 sq. ft. Midwest Genealogy Center.  Since its opening on June 21, 2008, this facility has offered a state-of-the-art library with all the resources and amenities desired by genealogical researchers, with browsing collection, advanced technology, various classes, and available one-on-one appointments.

Steven will speak Friday morning, September 8.