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Panelists will discuss women's civic leadership at virtual event

Monday, August 24, 2020


LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas series dedicated to increasing the number of women’s voices in civic spaces across the state will begin fall programming this week with a virtual panel discussion that will include DeAngela Burns-Wallace, the Kansas secretary of administration.

The Appointments Project & Ready to Run Kansas Women’s Leadership Series, a collaboration between the KU Institute for Leadership Studies and the Women’s Foundation, will host “Raising Our Voices: Why We Need Women’s Civic Leadership Now More Than Ever” from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25, on Zoom. Participants are asked to register for the free program.  

This discussion will showcase the reflections and ideas of four women, including Burns-Wallace, the KU vice provost for undergraduate studies before she accepted her new role for the state of Kansas. The other panelists are Kenya Cox, executive director of the Kansas African American Affairs Commission, and Junetta Everett, vice president of professional relations at Delta Dental of Kansas. Rounding out the panel is moderator Donna Wright, principal of Kansas Business Services LLC and series advisory board member.

The panelists will emphasize the importance of women’s voices in specifically addressing critical issues such as COVID-19, anti-racism and incivility to make Kansas and the world more equitable and just for everyone.

“2020 is a critical moment. The necessity of having the voices of women and people of color and people from other underrepresented groups in every space where decisions are made is clear,” said Mary Banwart, director of the KU Institute for Leadership Studies. “Despite being underrepresented at every level of government, research shows us that women bring important and different perspectives to decision making on issues that affect everyone, such as health care and child care and the economy. Countries with women leaders seem to be doing better in their responses to COVID-19, and yet women are still not being invited or recruited at the same rates as men. These programs are working to change that.”

The Appointments Project & Ready to Run Kansas Women’s Leadership Series has been built on a shared belief that increasing the number of women’s voices in civic spaces throughout Kansas – including in politics and on civic boards and commissions – promotes equity, opportunity and economic strength in Kansas. The goal is to elevate women’s leadership across Kansas by equipping women with the leadership skills, confidence and knowledge to run for political office and sit on civic boards and commissions.

“Civic boards and commissions should reflect the communities they serve, and we are proud to partner with KU on the Ready to Run Leadership Series to increase the number of women, including women of color, who are at the decision-making table of their communities,” said Wendy Doyle, Women’s Foundation president and CEO. “We look forward to listening and gleaning insights from these distinguished leaders about how women can – and will – shape policies and our changing world.”

The series launched in May 2020 with a three-part webinar program (recordings available online) and will end the fall/winter season with a daylong political/civic engagement training program in December.

The Institute for Leadership Studies (ILS) supports KU’s mission of educating students who can effectively engage in the process of leadership with innovative, interdisciplinary academic programs. Through the ILS these academic programs are collaboratively designed to educate and prepare students to make a difference from where they are with what they have, developing the courage and leadership skills to ignite positive change.

Sign up for more information at womenlead.ku.edu/register.