Ahhhh….the 1980s! My formative years (junior high through high school) spanned this iconic and excessive decade, so I can make full claim to any and all 80s fashion and cultural trends. Whether I was donning the mullet, spiked hair, parachute pants, shoulder pads, Don Johnson/Miami Vice jacket, or Tom Cruise sunglasses worn day and night, I was the poster child for the 1980s.

The movies of the 1980s were a huge impact on me in more ways than just fashion, they helped me to discover my gifts in the midst of all that teenage angst. The Breakfast Club (1985), St. Elmo’s Fire (1985), and Sixteen Candles (1984) are just a few of the hundreds of movies that occupied my Friday and Saturday nights at the local Parkville, MO theater. The extended Brat Pack of 20-something actors colored my formative years — from how I looked to how I spoke, and how I viewed the world.

One actor that really stands out for me is Patrick Swayze. A true triple threat – acting, singing, dancing – Swayze lit up every movie he was in. He caught my attention in The Outsiders (1983), but it’s Dirty Dancing (1987) that still stands in my top 20 movies of all time. To this day, I still get sucked in when I see a clip of “Baby” (Jennifer Grey) and “Johnny Castle” (Patrick Swayze) dirty dancing their way through their 1950s summertime romance in the Catskill Mountains.

It’s a coming of age film with a host of quotable movie lines. One of my favorites is at the end of the movie when Swayze, in response to Baby’s act to clear him of a perceived theft, finally realizes “there are people willing to stand up for other people no matter what it costs them.” That line still chokes me up each time I see the movie. It says a lot about how I think today and how I live my life through my work at Two West Advisors and through our radio show — The Live with Rink and Laura Show on KMBZ 1660.

So, when it came time to celebrate the sixth year of the Live with Rink and Laura Show, I was thrilled when our sponsor Bank of Kansas City was up for an 80s inspired party. I couldn’t wait to get my Brett Michael’s (lead singer of 80s band Poison) inspired outfit from the back of the closet and to revisit that time in my life. My co-host Laura Wells McKnight, CEO of Mulberry South, was ready to sport her Flash Dance-inspired off shoulder shirt and big hair, and I knew it would be a great night of fun and friends at Boulevard Brewery.


As a bit of background,The Live with Rink and Laura Show started as The Live with Rink and Marko Show in 2009. Marko and I launched the show as we were first stepping into the world as entrepreneurs with Two West Advisors. Inspired to share the great business stories of Kansas City, we set out to build a fun and educational hour on the radio. When Laura stepped into Marko’s shoes about two years later, we kicked it up another notch with a focus on celebrating the good that companies are doing in our community. Ultimately, we landed a spot on KMBZ AM 1660’s new business channel and we’ve been off to the races ever since.

To date, we have interviewed more than 150 business leaders in Kansas City and have highlighted some of the best small business stories in our region. Our show features owners and CEOs who share their personal experience as leaders and bring to life “success by doing good.” We celebrate their stories, achievements, and contributions to our community. Each show’s guest is unique, but they all share a common talent for leading the most innovative and successful companies in our region. We highlight company leaders that are building strong businesses and doing good in their companies and our community.

As you can see from the pictures from the night, those that did dress up 80s style rocked it. The rest just had a great time making fun of those that did sport 80s garb. It was a great night celebrating great stories of entrepreneurship and commitment to doing good in our community. I know that Laura and I look forward to many more years of shout-outs and storytelling on the radio.

avatarKnow a great small business story that Kansas City needs to hear? Tweet @rinkandlaura to tell us about it. And please tune in to AM 1660 on Tuesdays at 1:00pm or you can find all our radio shows at Live with Rink and Laura. Thanks for listening.