2018 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

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Role models who give us Reasons to Believe in the power of education

Janie Gaunce

Janie Gaunce PortraitWashington High School, 1976

Other Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools attended: White Church Elementary School and Arrowhead Middle School

One of the quotes Janie Gaunce thinks about on the job is “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” “If you do not surround yourself with the best team, it will fail,’’ she said. She learned this early on in her career when she was employed at another company that did not survive.

Instead of giving up after that experience, it inspired her to form a new company of which she is today the president and chief executive officer of known as Grapevine Designs, LLC. The Lenexa, Kansas-based business specializes in providing full ad agency services including branding, target marketing and promotional products.

She admits it took patience, hard work, and choosing the right business that eventually led to her success as an entrepreneur. Becoming a business owner is hard work, she admits, but you can do it if you create a solid plan, and build a culture of brand fanatics – a team that’s committed to overserving its customers while having fun.

Grapevine has a who’s who of clientele that includes some local big names, such as the University of Kansas Health Systems, U.S. Bank Nationwide, Bayer and the Kauffman Foundation.   Her company provides solutions for brand initiatives including e-commerce portals, graphic design and production, direct mail and incentive /recognition programs for these nationally known brands.

Prior to starting her business, she worked in the broadcast industry as the vice president of sales for Bonneville International Corporation. At the time, the radio broadcast company owned and operated KMBZ-FM and KMBR-FM in the Kansas City market.

When Gaunce is not working on developing great ideas for clients and employees, she is serving the community.  One of the board positions she loves is at Amethyst Place, which helps women in transition from addiction. Through the program, she developed the 100 Jobs for 100 Moms program with Julie Carmichael from Amethyst Place– inspired by of Sister Berta from Operation Breakthrough. This goal of the program was to find meaningful employment for these moms including on the job mentorship.  It began in May 2013 with only two moms and one employer, Grapevine Designs. Since that time, 55 moms have found successful employment with 12 employers, and Grapevine Designs is one of those companies offering a second chance to women. Gaunce and her team have provided on-the-job mentoring, daily attention and support. Additionally, moms participating in 100 Jobs for 100 Moms receive ongoing case management, personal mentors through the Amethyst Place EnCompass mentoring program, access to funds to eliminate barriers to employment and education, and cash incentives for job success. 

Gaunce has a bachelor’s degree in broadcast management from the University of Kansas, Lawrence.

She and her husband Chris, who was selected as a Reasons to Believe recipient in 2017, are childhood sweethearts. They are the parents of Chase and Mallory, who are young adults living the metropolitan area.