Ellen Darling joined Zimmer Real Estate Services in 1982 as marketing manager, and since that time has been involved in every aspect of the company including sales, property and asset management and corporate operations. Her volunteerism and charitable organizations include serving on the executive committee and board at Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault; board of directors for the Lenexa Chamber of Commerce; corporate work study program board member for Cristo Rey; East Fund Grant Committee for Shawnee Mission East High School; and UMKC Board of Trustees executive committee.
She served last year as vice chair for development and this year, leads finance. “The Board of Trustees for the University of Missouri-Kansas City is a worthwhile organization and I believe in what we do. Chancellor Leo Morton used to be the head of the trustees and he asked me to join. It was hard to say no.”
Darling, like many of her peers, believes Kansas City’s business community is intrinsically linked to the arts and leisure in town. “To make Kansas City strong, we need to be strong in all facets. We have to be welcoming and receptive. It’s a community that must be supportive to all where people can raise their families and find cultural activities to attend. We have to attract and grow businesses. We have to offer a well-rounded community that develops people to be good corporate stewards which includes a focus on philanthropy.”
Zimmer Real Estate Services will receive the Best New Campaign Honoree at the 2013 Arts KC Fund Award recipient. The Arts Council recognizes businesses and their employees for their extraordinary leadership in workplace giving campaigns. Darling says the company identifies a cause or organization each year and the Arts Council was the selected this year. “We build employee morale and camaraderie.”
Darling says she extols the trustee scholar program at UMKC. Her father, Hugh Zimmer, was instrumental in creating the marquee program. “We really are trying to attract the best and brightest. These young people can find mentors, internships and potential employment. We want to show high-caliber students that a good education can be found in their own backyard.”
The commitment of the Board of Trustees humbles her. “These stewards commit their time, talents and financial support. You like to be associated with such leaders.” As far as the future of the university, Darling wants the best for the students and the university faculty and staff.