2017 WOMEN OF INFLUENCE TO BE HONORED SEPT. 20
Contact: Glenda Washington
Note: High-resolution images of each honoree available upon request.
TOPEKA, Kansas – Several women will be honored at the Fourth Annual Women of Influence recognition reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at the Ramada Topeka Downtown’s Regency Ballroom. The event, sponsored by GO Topeka’s Entrepreneurial & Minority Business Development, will honor the following women:
Shelly Buhler, Community Service
Cathy Harris, Distinguished Mentor
Sharon Sullivan, Education
Cheryl Creviston, Outstanding Entrepreneur
Linda Kehres, Rising Star
Pam Johnson-Betts, Woman of Achievement
The public is welcome to attend the recognition event by visiting http://www.gotopeka.com/events.
Shelly Buhler was elected Shawnee County Commissioner in 2006, 2010 and again in 2014. Prior to being elected Commissioner, she served as Mayor of Rossville for six years.
Buhler is a graduate of Junction City High School and a 1987 graduate of Benedictine College, with a Bachelor of Arts in Community Services. She also is a graduate of the University of Kansas Certified Public Manager program, the 2003 class of Leadership Greater Topeka, Leadership Kansas 2009 and the Kansas Association of Counties’ Institute of Excellence-Foundations in Government. She has served five terms as the Chair of the Joint Economic Development Organization of Topeka-Shawnee County and is the Tri-Chair of the Momentum 2022 Economic Development Strategy. During her career, Buhler has received the Kansas Health Foundation Community Health Leadership Award, the 2010 YWCA Women of Excellence Award in Management, the 2013 Community Action’s Velma Paris Humanitarian Award, and served as a board member for the Kansas PRIDE. She is also Board Member Emeritus of the Kansas Health Foundation.
Nursing was her life’s dream as a child, and the journey through nursing school proved to be an experience filled with bumps, bruises, and many tears; while she learned, matured and developed the tenacity to persevere. She is currently pursuing an advanced degree in nursing. As a Topeka Correctional Facility volunteer since 1996, Harris holds meetings every Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to various inmate populations. She is a volunteer in the Kansas Mentorship Program, designed to decrease the recidivism rate in correctional facilities. Harris is the author of three books: Liberation for Total Transformation, Beyond Your Weight and The Love Journal and writes for her international blogs (Nurturing Nuggets and the Marriage Manual).
Dr. Sharon L. Sullivan earned degrees from Smith College, Washington University and the University of Kansas. She is a Professor at Washburn University. She chairs the Women’s and Gender Studies minor and is new chair of the Theatre department. Her research and activism focus on violence against women, including sexual and domestic violence, human trafficking and rape as a weapon of war. Sullivan is cofounder and director of STARS (Stop Trafficking and Reject Slavery), immediate past president of the Advisory Board for the Topeka Center for Peace and Justice, and Kansas Bureau Chief for the International Public Policy Institute. She also is an active volunteer for the Topeka YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment. Sullivan co-facilitates a creative writing group for incarcerated women at Topeka Correctional Facility (TCF), the only women’s prison in Kansas. In 2014, 2015, and 2016 Sullivan gave presentations about Human Trafficking at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. She currently co-chairs the Topeka Shawnee County Human Trafficking Coalition.
Cheryl Creviston is President/CEO and Co-Owner of Stacks, a position she has held since 2006. In that role she is responsible for the fiscal condition and long-term viability of the company, with primary responsibilities of strategic planning, finance and control, and organizational development. She describes herself as dedicated to the continued profitability of the company as its customers, and employees and their families depend on it. She founded the Kansas network for professional women in 2004, with the mission of providing business mentoring, leadership opportunities and encouragement to women business owners. To remain current on national industry trends and challenges, she belongs to several Records and Information Management industry associations – The Association of Records Managers and Administrators, The Association of Information and Image Management and as a current national board member of the Professional Records and Information Services Managers Association.
Linda Kehres has a passion for the community and believes in giving back. She has a long history of volunteer work with the homeless through various organizations before taking over as the Executive Director for Let’s Help two years ago.
Through her leadership roles, Kehres has always had an active voice in influencing decisions directly affecting our community. Currently as member of the Topeka Homeless Task Force, she collaborates with the city, county, and various community agencies, to ensure the most vulnerable in our community have an enhanced quality of life. She has a Master’s in Business and is nine credit hours short of her Doctorate in Theology.
Woman of Achievement
Pam Johnson-Betts holds a Bachelor’s degree from Washburn University, a Master of Social Work, from the University of Kansas, is a graduate of the Lucas Group executive development program and the School Development Institute, Yale University, is a L.S.C.S.W. and a certified public manager.
Johnson-Betts is committed to both professional and community service, including: Current Topeka Public Schools Education Foundation Director & TPS Ombudsman; Cabinet Secretary in Sebelius administration serving as head of Kansas Department on Aging; Appointed by Gov. Graves as First African-American female executive director, Kansas African-American Affairs Commission; Kansas African-American Affairs Commission charter commissioner; director of office of government and community relations, K.D.H.E., Topeka Public Schools first African-American school social worker, inaugural Director of 501 Yale-sponsored program known nationally as the “Comer Process”, adjunct instructor at Washburn University (Education Department) and Comptroller for the Kansas Division of Southwestern Bell. Johnson-Betts has served the last 13 years on the Board of Directors for Stormont-Vail Regional Healthcare Center. She currently also serves on the Stormont-Vail Foundation board, Shawnee County Prevention & Recovery Services board & Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council. Other community affiliations have included: Inaugural member Washburn Women’s Alliance, ABWA-Career Chapter, Topeka Chapter of Links, Kansas delegate to the White House Conference on Aging, Every Women’s Resource Center, Red Cross Board of Directors, Junior League, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, YWCA Board, The Brown Foundation, League of Women Voters, United Way & N.A.A.C.P.
GO Topeka is a private not-for-profit organization dedicated to enhancing economic development in Topeka and Shawnee County by attracting new businesses, facilitating expansions and enhancing the business acumen of small business owners and entrepreneurs. GO Topeka is contracted by JEDO to administer the half-cent sales tax.
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