Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of United Inner City Services (UICS) is comprised of community volunteers and civic leaders whose diversity, expertise, advocacy and philanthropic support uphold our mission.

With St. Mark Union Church establishing our roots, UICS continues to be strengthened with support of the Heartland Presbytery. Representative leadership from these organizations serve on our Board.

Mary Jorgenson, President – Heartland Presbytery Representative

Theodis Watson, Treasurer – Community Business Relationship Manager, Central Bank of the Midwest

Ruby Russell, Secretary – St Luke’s Hospital (Retired) and St. Mark Union Church Representative

Tom Eatman, Board Member – Managing Member, Builders by Design, LLC

Todd Navrat, Board Member – Senior Counsel, J.E. Dunn Construction

Ruth Stricklen Pullins, Board Member – Chief Human Resources Officer, Truman Medical Centers

Cydney Ricker, Board Member – Manager of Football Communications & Administration, Kansas City Chiefs

Matthew Oates, Board Member – Electrical Engineer, Burns & McDonnell

Terra Purifoye, Board Member – Community Advocate, Sunshyne Aesthetics

Rebecca James, Board Member – President / Administrative Services, Abovo

Phyllis Williams Hardwick, Board Member – Community Advocate

Executive Leadership Team

Deidre Anderson, Chief Executive Officer

Deidre Anderson has extensive experience in the fields of education, community development and child welfare. With a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in public administration, she understands how early learning lays the foundation for future academic success. Anderson was named the 2019 Evelyn Wasserstrom Award Recipient for her ongoing efforts to ensure students in Kansas City have equitable access to high quality Pre-K education. Under Anderson’s innovative leadership, UICS is leading the way in Pre-K education and empowering students and families to reach their fullest potential with creative curriculum additions, expanded partnerships, and state-wide advocacy for early childhood education.

 Gene Willis, Chief Engagement Officer

Gene Willis is a leader in the marketing/communications field with more than 20 years of experience in digital marketing, brand management, strategic planning, social media engagement, large-scale event planning, and public relations. He started at UICS in May 2018 and brings a unique perspective and leadership style. While the majority of his professional career has been working in the corporate world, his personal philanthropic efforts have always focused on urban youth development, having served on several boards of directors to support these initiatives. As a former Head Start student, Willis desires to educate the community on the importance of early education and share our students’ and families’ success stories.



 Rhonda Nolen, Director of Family & Community Engagement

Rhonda Nolen has a diverse background in broadcast communications, community development, family engagement, resource coordination, and event planning. She possess a broad range of experience in cultural competency, health literacy, and parent education. Nolen holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and has worked as the Community Outreach Coordinator for a local charter school. She is a member of the 2Gen Thrive Community Action Board which works to enhance caregivers’ capacity to prevent toxic stress among children. Nolen works diligently to connect our families with valuable community resources and provide support to promote a happy and healthy family unit.