On December 2nd more than 1,500 guests joined us at the Will Work For Change Annual Luncheon celebration to kick off the Women’s Foundation’s 25th year of working to improve the lives of women of all ages across Kansas and Missouri. Featured speakers included Dr. Madeleine K. Albright, America’s first woman Secretary of State, legendary journalist Ann Compton, and Missouri Speaker of the House Todd Richardson. It was a truly an inspiring day and I wanted to take this opportunity to share some highlights and why I’m feeling more empowered than ever to continue to work for change:
- The day started with the "He’s for Change" Breakfast, presented by Black & Veatch. The event featured inspiring remarks by Ann Compton about how to empower women to lead in the workplace, including mentorship programs and family friendly workplace policies.
- Missouri Speaker of the House Todd Richardson pledged to work in the 2017 General Assembly to pass two critical pieces of legislation -- 1) a sunrise provision to eliminate barriers in occupational licensing and 2) paid family leave for Missouri workers. Both policies are solutions derived from Women’s Foundation research and will help to economically empower Missouri women.
- It’s hard to choose a favorite line from Secretary Madeleine K. Albright’s keynote address, but one line summed up our EMPOWERED theme perfectly and framed the importance of our work ahead. She said, “Women are doers. We have a responsibility not to be prisoners of history, but to shape history.”
Finally, I am inspired by you. In recent months, we have seen an overwhelming desire from women to work for change in their communities by rolling up their sleeves and getting to work. Our Appointments Project, which recently expanded to three new cities and counties in the Midwest, has received a record number of applicants. New business leaders are reaching out about implementing pay equity best practices and family friendly workplace policies to boost employee retention, recruitment and profitability. And our network of financial support continues to grow.
We know the success of our region hinges on the Women’s Foundation’s ability to remove artificial barriers to economic, civic, and professional growth for women. Your support is invaluable in this effort. Please stay engaged with Women’s Foundation as our work continues to grow over the next 25 years. You can find more information about our programming at www.womens-foundation.org or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.