Local planning team has created an exceptional experience

Thanks to the work of of committed alumnae on the regional planning team including Roz Cochran (2013), Mara Cohara (2010), Barbara Wiman (2005), Leigh Anne Taylor Knight (2010), Gwen Poss (2017), Paula Pratt (2010), Dana Strueby (2018), Joni Wickham (2018), Jennifer Ingraham (2008), Tammy Leslie (2011), Kelly Alden Stuck (2015), Cindy Miller (2020), Sally Bradley (2013), Rachelle Crow (2016), Thalia Cherry (2012) and Roxanne Johnson (2007) we have developed an informative session to expose the Challenge Class Cohorts to urban issues, diversity & race relations, and the impact of urban renewal and economic development.

And the team has weathered it all through many fits and starts.

The Board of Directors made the wise decision to switch sessions II and III as the Kirksville session went first for an in-person experience as they knew events would be held in many outdoor venues in June. As news and rollout of the immunization opportunities spread we were confident in our decision to switch the two sessions to allow for the greatest participation from the cohorts of the Classes of 2020 and 2021 while hoping that many of our fellow Missourians would take advantage of the wonders of science.

As our third session nears, the immunization percentages in Jackson County and the greater Kansas City area are not fantastic. Mask requirements are on again/off again, and as with everything this quarter, confusion reigns. Challengers from each year made a commitment of participation, and their organizations support them on this unique leadership journey, so we are thrilled that many will be joining us either in-person or virtually for 3 days of unique opportunities. We aim to help them to understand the connection between diversity and economic development and better understand the opportunities, challenges, and impact that diverse communities experience as they attain economic success. This gathering also follows the release of the Missouri 2020 census data and we will be taking a deep dive into the impact of this every 10 year event.

One of our 2021 Woman of the Year recipients, Dr. Kimberly Beatty, Chancellor of the Metropolitan Community Colleges, will be joining an intimate event that combines our challenges with the Executive Women’s Leadership Council of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce at a private home as we present Dr. Beatty with her award as she was not able to join us in person in July in Springfield. She will be joined by successful women leaders as they share their journeys, challenges, and perspectives of the glass ceiling.

A panel of Kansas City’s influential women who are powerful, persistent, and purposeful working toward athletic greatness, gender equality, social justice and more will be joined by Amber Cox, COO of KC NWSL; Kathy Nelson, President & CEO, Kansas City Sports Commission & Foundation – WIN for KC; and Pattie Phillips – Women in Collegiate Sports. Thalia Cherry will moderate this engaging conversation.

And we will join many Greater Missouri alumnae and friends for a personalized “TroostPallozza” that will include a walking tour, discussion, and lunch catered by Thelma’s Kitchen. The tour will include the Travis Kelce supported Ignition Lab, Troost Market Collective, Reconciliation Services, Maker City STEM learning zones; Amethyst Place, and a personalized “city that no one sees” tour conducted by Operation Breakthrough CEO and President Dr. Mary Esselman as they celebrate their 50th year of service to the Kansas City community.

A personalized hard hat tour of the under construction terminal at Kansas City International Airport, a tour of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum who is celebrating their 100th year, and a fully immersive Harvesters Community Food Network day with the always popular lunch challenge team building experience will conclude our final events. These memories will last forever for our participants.

None of this would be possible without our ongoing support, sponsorship and underwriting of expenses from our annual sponsors who make all things possible: Ameren, Bayer, Boeing, and Mpix.com. We also express sincere appreciation to Truman Medical Centers, Shook Hardy and Bacon LLP, Saint Luke’s Health System, Harvesters Community Food Network, DeBruce Foundation, Columbia Insurance Group, and Mara Cohara and Lathrop GPM for their session sponsorship to support our mission.

And of course we thank the many alumnae including those on the regional planning team who work tirelessly to remain engaged women, leading and serving their communities and tip toe through the daily obstacles of planning and executing in-person meetings and events during these changing times; the group is far and wide. Any omission of a contributor is inadvertent and we apologize in advance.