Germinder Reflects On A KCBJ Top 25 Women Who Mean Business Award

Now there’s a whole lot more “classes” and there are a whole lot more women achieving great things in Kansas City. But almost 15 years ago, Lea-Ann Germinder, APR, Fellow PRSA, Publisher and Editor and Germinder + Associates Founder + President was brimming with pride that she had earned a top 25 Women Who Mean Business Award from the Kansas City Business Journal.

“The Top 25 Women Who Mean Business Award meant so much to me because it was not just a recognition of my public relations and online publishing skills, which of course have always been important, but a recognition of my total business acumen and contributions to the community. It was an award by three prestigious organizations, and it set me on the path of what I could do to give back to other business women. It really drove me to look at what I was doing with mentorship. It’s a fantastic program and I look to see who has won each year, said Germinder. 

In 2006 the program was in its seventh year. Women Who Mean Business at the time was co-sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Business. Now sponsored exclusively by the Kansas City Business Journal, the program is entering its 22nd year and still honors 25 of Kansas City’s most successful business women each year who are recognized for their commitment to excellence and contributions to their fields and the community. One of Germinder’s former clients and long-time attorney Susan McGreevy said at the time,

“Lea-Ann is the epitome of the Women Who Mean Business group: She is ‘the real deal,’ with the confidence, pizzazz, energy and skills to build a business.” 

Germinder had the privilege to work for years with Dr. Mary Beth Leininger, the first woman to be named president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), former Director of Professional Affairs at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc.  Dr. Leininger remarked:

“Lea-Ann is highly professional and her team is well-qualified to plan and execute effective public relations programs aimed at the veterinary medical and animal health communities. In my experience with her and her agency, they have consistently achieved the goals set out for the programs we have worked on together.” 

According to the judges, Germinder was selected for her winning mix of digital communications with traditional communications services. She counsels CEOs and Vice Presidents and her client list has included Three Dog Bakery, Cramer Sports Medicine and a “who’s who” in veterinary medicine from Ceva Animal Health to Hill’s Pet Nutrition to Zoetis. The digital platform is a Chewy and Amazon approved affiliate and features brands such as Sleepypod, Purina and Chewy. The platform celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2020.

Today Germinder is focused on the platform but still mentoring, giving back and celebrating other women. In 2020 she received the CWA Michael Brim Distinquished Service Award and in 2019 she received the PRSA-NY Makovsky Excellence in Mentoring Award. She was recently interviewed on mentoring.

“Winning awards is great, but the satisfaction in seeing others achieve is by far the greatest achievement of all.  It is that contribution to the communications profession and to the community that matters to me the most. I hope that I can continue to contribute to other’s success for a very long time,” said Germinder.

The veteran of the agency business began her career at Carlson Marketing Group handling national incentive and marketing programs for First Bank Systems, Merrill Lynch, AT&T and Northwest Orient Airlines. She later served as an account supervisor at Barkley for a wide range of national and KC clients including J.C. Nichols Real Estate, Western Auto, Sprint,  Helzberg Diamonds, Dunbrooke, Swingster and Cramer Sports Medicine.  She worked with celebrities from Bo Jackson to Dr. Lee Salk.

After handling merger communications at Farm & Home Savings as assistant vice-president, she joined Harmon Smith, becoming vice-president of public relations before opening her own firm in 1998. She launched her firm’s niche Web site,, in 2000 and has published articles and lectured extensively on the power of public relations and the Internet.

Germinder is a past-president of the Greater Kansas City chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the PRSA-NY chapters. She is the current GKC-PRSA Experienced Pros Chair and serves as the Chair of the Inez Y. Kaiser GKC-PRSA Memorial Scholarship Advisory Fund. She is a past Midwest district chair and has served nationally as a PRSA Director and as a PRSA Foundation trustee and on the PRSA national nominating committee. She is a member of several PRSA professional interest sections. She is a member of the prestigious PRSA College of Fellows and was professionally accredited in public relations in 1992.

Germinder served as publicity chair for the Cat Writers’ Association and has memberships in the Dog Writers Association of America and the Veterinary Medical Association Executives (VMAE). In 2006 she and her firm assisted the Kansas City Area Development Council with launching the Animal Health Corridor, its animal health sciences initiative.

She and her husband Richard have three grown children, Richard James Germinder, Dr. Elizabeth Germinder Bennett, Joseph Germinder and three grandchildren. She and her husband now reside in Kansas City, Missouri and Westhampton Beach, New York.

Germinder & Associates, Inc.,, has offices in Kansas City and New York. The agency handles any client in both traditional and digital communications but specializes in the $100 billion vet/pet industry. Germinder has launched over than 125 animal health campaigns including “Pets Need Dental Care, Too!” which received the AAHA Gold Key Award and the national PRSA Silver Anvil Award of Excellence, one of the highest national public relations awards. Other initiatives created by Germinder + Associates include the Catlyst Council and KNOW Heartworms.

Updated from the Original Post July 13, 2006.


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