Tricia Burkhardt, Executive Director
Tricia Burkhardt has 18 years experience as a marketing communication professional managing and executing award-winning U.S. and global integrated marketing communication programs for multiple organizations, including St. James Winery, Public House Brewing Company, Merck [known as MSD globally] Animal Health, Pfizer Animal Health, Novartis Animal Health, Case IH, Kruger Seed, Seminis Seed, Rabobank Agrifinance, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Missouri Farmers Union and Missouri Biotechnology Association.
Her background includes advertising, public relations, digital communication, social media, strategic planning and research, brand management, editing, technical and scientific writing, event planning and project management. She holds a B.S. in Agriculture Journalism and a B.S. in Animal Sciences from the University of Missouri.
Tricia supports the Foundation’s strategic execution and management of a comprehensive annual giving program, including coordinating and supporting areas of development services, donor relations and social media fundraising.
For over 100 years, her family has been farming along the Maries River in Osage County. It’s their dedication to conservation that inspires her to fully enjoy and help protect the fabulous natural resources we have in Missouri. Tricia and her husband, Matt, have two sons. The whole family loves spending time outdoors, including backpacking, hiking, camping and kayaking.
Tori Stepanek, Director of Development
Tori Stepanek began her career as a broadcast meteorologist for KOMU 8 TV in Columbia, MO. She holds a B.S. in Soil, Environmental, and Atmospheric Science from the University of Missouri – Columbia. In 2018, she joined the development team at Mizzou where she helped raise over $4.5 million for the College of Arts and Science. Outside of work, Tori enjoys theatre, traveling, fishing and boating at the lake, and spending time with her fiancé, dogs, and bonus kids. She is proud to join the MCHF team to help support the conservation of our beautiful state.
Andrea Smith, Associate Director of Development
Andrea Smith comes from a vast background of fundraising, communication and nonprofit. She earned a degree in Public Relations and a minor in Creative Writing at the University of Central Missouri where she also worked at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre as the Marketing and Communications Intern. She has managed membership and fundraising efforts at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s Botanical Garden followed by directing fundraising events and corporate giving at the Boys & Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri. Later, she ventured to Callis, an integrated marketing and communication agency where she held the role of Account Executive and collaborated with clients to help advance their business priorities using multiple, innovative marketing endeavors. In her role at the Foundation, Andrea will help achieve fundraising goals, build programs, cultivate and create lasting relationships with donors and conservation organizations. She is excited to meld her personal enjoyment of the outdoors with her professional endeavors and be a part of a group that works to preserve and enhance conservation for today and generations to come. Andrea and her husband, Sean, put down roots and built a home in Smithton, Missouri with their son who loves to explore their 10 acres of wooded land. As a rural Missouri native, Andrea finds enjoyment in backpacking, hiking, camping, cooking and baking, brewing beer and wine and spending time with family.
Kim Becker, Executive Administrator
Kim Becker retired from the State of Missouri as Deputy Chief of Training and Certification and has over 30 years of government and private sector business management and leadership experience. Kim joined the MCHF staff as the Executive Administrator in October of 2019. She oversees administrative functions and plays a vital role with event planning. Kim’s love for hiking and floating Missouri’s rivers was sparked years ago when working for Missouri Trails Outfitters in Jefferson City. There she met so many wonderful people who shared her love of our beautiful state. Kim lives in Osage County and in her free time enjoys travel, cooking, and spending time with her granddaughters.
Donna Wankum, Grant Administrator
Donna Wankum began her career with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources before moving to the Missouri Department of Conservation just prior to the opening of the Runge Conservation Nature Center. She faithfully served the public and Runge staff for 25 years as the Office Supervisor. Donna joined the MCHF staff in 2018 to oversee MCHF’s growing grant program. Operating a farm in Cole County, she and her husband Wayne have three children who experience the joy of the outdoors. Donna desires to continue her legacy of promoting the conservation cause in Missouri.
Sherry Fischer, Stream and Watershed Chief
Missouri Department of Conservation Liaison Staff Partnering with the Foundation: Stream and Watershed Chief Sherry Fischer serves as a Conservation Department liaison with MCHF on Stream Stewardship Trust Fund matters. Sherry has a B.S. from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked for the Department for more than 25 years. During her tenure with the Department, Sherry’s focus has been on stream issues and related management efforts. Sherry has played an integral role in the continuing success of the Missouri Stream Team Program. She is a life-long resident of Jefferson City. Sherry and her husband Brent have two children and enjoy a variety of outdoor activities.