Prairie Portrait: Mary Noulles of KCnext
Name: Mary Noulles (it's pronounced 'new-lees')
Bio: Marketing professional. Devotee to all things tech. Graduate Student. Iron Chef wannabe.
Title: Marketing Manager, KCnext – The Technology Council of Greater Kansas City
Residence: Kansas City, Mo.
Intro music: This is a tough one for me because I love music – every genre imaginable. But, as far as a song that I can’t get enough of at any time, I’d have to say "Under Pressure," by David Bowie.
Silicon Prairie News: How have you seen your role and responsibilities shift since the formation last fall of KCnext - The Technology Council of Greater Kansas City?
Mary Noulles: Since KCnext formed last fall, Ryan Weber, president of KCnext, will say, “Mary makes me look good.”
All joking aside, my responsibilities have grown incrementally. I work closely with Ryan to support our Tech Council members, and focus on maintaining strong member relationships. I manage our marketing and communications platforms – from website content to email blasts, and orchestrate all KCnext events and sponsors. Also, I communicate quarterly with our Board to provide an update on global marketing strategies and events.
SPN: A big part of the KCnext mission is telling the region's tech story. What are some notable parts of that story you've found people aren't all that familiar with?
MN: Our biggest hurdle in telling the region’s tech story is also a great quality – Midwestern modesty. This can often get in the way of sharing our stories regionally and globally. However, KCnext is making a big impact in this via social media (@KCnext and facebook.com/KCnext) and our KCnext blog.
We focus on elevating awareness of our Tech Council members to create new business opportunities within KC. The most rewarding part of my job is connecting one company to another who weren’t previously aware of each other.
SPN: Your organization seems to consistently book top-notch venues for its networking events. When it comes to choosing an event locale, what are some essential elements to consider?
MN: We like to give our tech community access to some of KC’s best venues. We look for aesthetically pleasing space that encourages attendees to collaborate with one another – some of the best ideas are written on napkins with a cocktail or beer.
We also search for space that reflects our tech community; so, we hunt for venues that are vibrant, innovative and artistic. And, on-site interactive activities, such as pop-a-shot basketball, are a plus.
SPN: As a wannabe iron chef, what are a couple of the best themed meals you've concocted recently?
MN: I recently discovered the power of my blender to make homemade sauces, and I’m always in the mood for Mexican food. So, my new favorite is chicken enchiladas with a black bean puree and tomatillo sauce – both made in the blender. You can check out the recipe here.
In fact, I get most of my recipes from Cooking Light, though I add my own flare to every recipe. Here is another summer favorite – Jerk chicken with stuffed bell peppers. Delish!
SPN: Time to answer the tough questions. Given your appreciation for "Under Pressure," what are your thoughts on Vanilla Ice's famous take on the song? Do you buy his argument? And, more importantly, are you OK with him borrowing from Bowie?
MN: I don’t buy his argument; he clearly manipulated Bowie’s version to create his one-time hit (karma, right?). The tune is identical, and Bowie deserved credit. And I must say that Vanilla Ice’s line regarding that “little bitty ting” is a bit of a stretch.
However, “Ice, Ice Baby” often got the dancing started at eighth grade mixers, so I can’t say I’m opposed to him borrowing the tune from Bowie.
Credits: Photo courtesy of Noulles.
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