Tracy Panko

Entrepreneur and CEO, Spiral16

Tracy Panko is a strategic leader and creative thinker with a clear sense of vision. As CEO of both established companies and start-up operations, she has a proven track record of success taking multiple companies through periods of growth and acquisition and launched over $50 million in new products. Prior to Spiral16, Panko was a Managing Partner of a successful software company and has served as CEO of other emerging growth companies. She is a popular speaker on the subjects of business innovation, social media and technology.

What is it about KC that inspires creativity in you?
The ability to create a meaningful life with balance. Kansas City is a great place to raise kids, develop relationships but also a great place to develop and grow a business. Being surrounded at work and in my community with passionate, talented, and driven people with shared values provides an energetic and supportive environment-which is the critical component to creating.

What is your favorite spot in KC?
Loose Park – The 75 acre beautiful park in downtown Kansas City is a place I can go to relax and think in the rose garden, smile at the laughter from the kids playing in the water park, run on the track surrounding the park for exercise and stress relief, picnic and throw a Frisbee with my kids, or just walk hand-in-hand to unwind.

Where’s your favorite place outside of Kansas City?
Anywhere on, or near the water (ocean, lake or river). I love all the recreation available around water and the sights, smells and sounds.

What’s your most treasured possession?
My children! I realize they are not a possession in the true definition of the word but they bring more fulfillment to my life than any material possession I could dream of. I feel blessed to share their lives and learn from them every day, although with three teens there are some moments I am just confused.

Who’s your favorite fictional hero?
Nancy Drew – Starting as a young girl I read the Nancy Drew mysteries and even went back and read some of the “original” versions of the character. She was imaginative, spunky, clever, and resourceful – even broke the rules and got into trouble now and then but was quick to recover.

Who do you most admire in real-life?
My parents. They raised me with the confidence to take risks and dream big, taught me to accept the people around you with an open and forgiving heart because their gifts are usually much greater than their faults, and instilled the desire to never stop learning and exploring.

When and where are you the happiest?
Around the dinner table with my extended family at holiday or special celebrations. There is always great conversation, lots of laughter, good food and wine.

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