I am happy to be a trailblazer for United We. This Kansas City based organization has been a part of my life for many years. Here I am in 1996 at an iconic Northland home celebrating the 1,600 charter investors who together completed the Charter Investor Campaign, raising $3 million. I’m the one with big hair.

Greater Missouri has been an active participant in their Appointments Project since the beginning of that effort in 2014. Our dual missions align to empower women and strengthen communities by improving the gender diversity of civic boards and commissions.

Fast forward to a recent Saturday night. I was delighted to be able to attend a pre KC Current event with other trailblazers. When making some introductions, I was introduced to the United WE Board Chair Joan Ruff. I knew Joan, but she didn’t recall that we had met before. Many times. My longer silver hair likely threw her off.

Also introduced to me was Allison Howard, the first ever President of KC Current. Allison recalled meeting me when our Greater Missouri Challenge Class of 2023 and other alumnae attended the match in June. It turns out I had on the special shirts made for that event underneath my coat. I dropped my outer jacket to show the back of the shirt with my name and my Challenge Class year. (Thanks again to Cherry Sports Gear for personalizing these shirts for our special night and to Clarkson Construction for underwriting much of the cost.)

Joan said – “I’m a graduate of that program too.” WHAT?

I asked – what year? She said I think it was 1990. I said OMG that was the first year! She replied she didn’t recall that it was the first year.

We had a tremendous opportunity to catch up that night. I reminded her that I had done volunteer work establishing the Mel Carnahan Public Service Fund at the then named “Women’s Foundation” by the contributions of many, including her. She was delighted that I had recalled that and as we talked she remembered how many times our paths have crossed over the years. We also talked about Duana Linville Dralus. But that recollection deserves a separate post.

The point of this post is that she had become a lost alumna in our files. But not in our hearts. As a pioneering trailblazer in many of her roles, when she left her employment at H&R Block, or sometime afterwards, we lost track.

You might know others who we have lost track of. Perhaps they have had the many accomplishments in a wide range of industries as Joan has. Perhaps they continue to “lean in” supporting women’s empowerment. Perhaps they have continued to tackle issues in a more behind the scenes way and chances are we might not run into them again any time soon. But you know them.

Share their contact information with us so that we can continue to grow our network and take advantage of the vast history of our organization. You can send any contact information to hello@greatermo.org. And thank you for continuing to network. We applaud that you each support, educate and inspire!