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United WE Launches Kansas Women’s Economic Development Task Force and Town Hall Series to Unlock Kansas Women’s Economic Potential

Women-led task force of entrepreneurs and civic and business leaders will conduct statewide town halls to study barriers to women’s economic participation in Kansas

KANSAS CITY, MO May 12, 2022 – United WE, a nonpartisan nonprofit with a mission to advance all women’s economic and civic leadership, is launching a Kansas Women’s Economic Development Task Force to study issues related to women’s participation and advancement in the workforce. A Town Hall Series will be hosted across Kansas this summer by United WE and the Task Force to identify barriers impacting women in the workplace and entrepreneurship, including childcare, paid family leave, broadband access, and more.

The strength of the Kansas economy and democracy depends upon women’s full participation. The McKinsey Global Institute found that Kansas could grow its economy by 10-15% by 2025 if women’s participation in the workforce increased.

“There are structural barriers that are preventing women – and in turn the state of Kansas – from realizing its potential,” said Wendy Doyle, United WE President & CEO. “With support from our impressive women-led Task Force, this Town Hall Series is a sharing and listening opportunity for all women and allies across the state to unite and be heard. When women succeed economically, their families succeed, their communities succeed, and their state succeeds.”

The data collected via qualitative research during the Town Halls will culminate into a comprehensive report outlining the key barriers women in Kansas face toward economic and civic parity. The task force will also draw on existing research commissioned by United WE, including The Status of Women in Kansas research report. The Town Hall report will be released publicly in November 2022 and used to educate policymakers and influence change for women in Kansas.

The Task Force launched last week with a virtual meeting and includes 33 civic and business leaders and elected officials from across the state:

  • Alise Martiny, Greater Kansas City Building and Construction Trades Council
  • April Henry, Kansas Board of Regents
  • Brenda Bandy, Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition
  • Senator Carolyn McGinn, Kansas State Senator
  • Cassie Bicknell, Mariner Wealth Advisors
  • Christina Long, Create Campaign
  • Dornella Leal, Kansas Association of Counties
  • Ebony Clemons-Ajibolade, Evergy
  • Emily Snyder, IBEW Local 124
  • Glenda Overstreet Vaughn, Kansas People of Color
  • Glenda Washington, Greater Topeka Partnership
  • Hannah Larrick, Veterans United Home Loans
  • Mayor Jade Piros de Carvalho, Idea Tek and Mayor of Hutchinson
  • Jessica Hunt, Patterson Family Foundation
  • Joni Cobb, Center for American Entrepreneurship
  • Joy Broils, Hustle & Ground
  • Julie Turnipseed, Anderson County Development Agency
  • Karyn Page, Envision, Inc.
  • Kathy Larson, Ash Grove Cement Company
  • Katie Whisman, Katie Whisman Consulting
  • Katrina Abraham, Cerner Corporation
  • Kelli Cobb, HC. Cattle Company
  • Lara Krug, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Lauren Driscoll, City of Salina
  • Lisse Regehr, Thrive Allen County
  • Molly Haase, AdventHealth
  • Nancy Daniels, Kansas Extension
  • Paula Landoll-Smith, Landoll Enterprises
  • Racquel Thiesen, Kansas Leadership Center
  • Councilwoman Sara Caylor, City of Ottawa
  • Shanna Adamic, Cerner Charitable Foundation
  • Sherriene Jones-Sontag, Kansas Chamber
  • Sierra Bonn, Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead!

With leadership from the Task Force and in strategic partnership with The League of Kansas Municipalities, six town hall discussions will take place from June to August 2022. Sessions are free, open to the public, and include moderated breakout sessions led by community leaders, local journalists, and business leaders. Complimentary professional childcare (ages 0+), lunch, and a $10 gift card for participation are provided. The Town Hall series is made possible through generous funding by the Ash Grove Charitable Foundation

The following Town Halls are planned and open for registration:

  • NE Kansas (Topeka) – Thursday, June 23: Register
  • NW Kansas (Hays) – Tuesday, June 28: Register
  • SW Kansas (Garden City) – Wednesday, June 29: Register
  • SC Kansas (Wichita) – Thursday, July 14: Register
  • SE Kansas (Pittsburg) – Wednesday, August 3: Register
  • Statewide Virtual – Wednesday, August 24: Register

To learn more about United WE, the Task Force and Kansas town halls, visit

About United WE

United WE (United Women’s Empowerment) is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance all women’s economic and civic leadership. Since 1991, United WE has overcome systemic barriers to women’s economic development and civic leadership by investing in research, advocacy and policy solutions. We have conducted 21 meaningful research studies, advocated for issues resulting in 47 policy actions and supported more than 180 civic appointments. Our work positively impacts hundreds of thousands of women and families by commissioning transformative research, scaling our fast-growing Appointments Project®, advocating for reforms that honor the legacies of women, and contributing to policy solutions that advance equal pay, paid family leave, affordable childcare and occupational licensing, and aid in fighting against sexual harassment. Unite with us. Visit and connect with @UnitedWeEmpower on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.


“I’m honored to serve on the Kansas Women’s Economic Development Task Force alongside an accomplished group of civic leaders,” said Glenda Washington, chief equity and opportunity officer for the Greater Topeka Partnership. “This task force will be embarking on some important work, because we know that when women are empowered to achieve their full potentials in the workforce and beyond, our communities are stronger and our society is made better. I look forward to hearing valuable feedback during our town halls and hope to see many Topekans of diverse backgrounds turn out for the June 23 meeting right here at home.”