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Empowering the Entrepreneurial Spirit

HEMP is dedicated to strengthening entrepreneurial leaders through excellence in mentoring.

The Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program (HEMP) was founded in 1995 by Barnett Helzberg, Jr., former owner and president of Helzberg Diamonds. Inspired by his twenty-three year mentoring relationship with Ewing Kauffman, HEMP matches seasoned, successful entrepreneur mentors with less-experienced entrepreneur mentees. Considerable mentoring is also fostered through peer-to-peer relationships derived from involvement through HEMP.

Components of the program include a one-on-one mentoring relationship, networking opportunities with peers and veteran business owners, exposure to mentoring skills which can be applied to any professional or personal situation, business education discussing greatest successes and lessons learned from peers and top CEOs in the community, and field trips outside of Kansas City to businesses such as Tesla (San Francisco), Zappos (Las Vegas), Starbucks (Seattle), Dave Ramsey (Nashville), Marel (Iceland) and 3M (Minneapolis).

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HEMP's Spirits of the Big Guy

To perpetuate the culture of HEMP, the Board formalized HEMP's Core Values. When we think about our Core Values, they really encompass the essence of our founder, Barnett C. Helzberg, Jr., so we call them the The Spirits of the Big Guy. HEMP's Spirits of the Big Guy are:

Put Your Worst Foot Forward
We love hearing about successes, but failures are just as important.
We Want Your "Soul"
HEMP’s success depends on quality participants who are not only dedicated but also give back. We want genuine people.
Absolute Confidentiality
HEMP Strives to provide a safe environment of trust and respect.
Keep HEMP Fun!
Our name says it all!
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HEMP Board of Directors and Staff

Board of Directors

Barnett Helzberg, Jr. | Chairman

Chuck Hoffman | Vice Chairman

Tracy Lockton | President

Dave Perky | Finance Chair

Gordon Harton | Mentor Chair

Austin Bickford | Marketing Chair

Skuli Gudmundsson | Pay It Forward Chair

Quentin McArthur | Fellows Chair

Dave Bartel | Programs Chair

Danielle Debbrecht | Recruitment Chair

Walt Rychlewski | Innovation & Historical Perspective Chair

Dr. Michelle Robin | Nurture Bucket Chair

Scott King | Advisor


Christina Dreiling

Managing Director

Christina Dreiling
Maggie Johnson

Executive Assistant

Maggie Johnson
Haley Young

Marketing Coordinator

Haley Young