Welcome to the WEN News Archive

For the most recent WEN news, see our main News page.

Deluxe Gives to WEN

WEN is pleased to be a recent recipient of a $10,000 grant from the Deluxe Corporation Foundation. Grant-making by the Deluxe Corporation Foundation has a focus on transitional programs such as those that promote self-sufficiency -- this focus is closely aligned with the services provided at WEN. The Deluxe Foundation Corporation has been a strong supporter of the work that WEN does for the women in our community, and with this recent award, our relationship grows even stronger.

Deluxe representatives Sue Peters and Sheila Huigens visited the WEN office on November 24, 2014 to present the check. They toured the facility and took time to speak with members of WEN Class 268. WEN is thrilled to be announced a recipient of these funds.

2013 Talent Show Sponsors

Thank you to the sponsors of the 2013 Kansas City's Got Talent corporate talent show.

Oscar Sponsor
Venue Sponsor

Production Sponsor
Catering Sponsor

Media Sponsor
Tony Sponsor

People’s Choice Sponsors









Trophies Generously Provided By:

Centerpieces Generously Provided by:

2013 Reach for the Stars: Thank You to our STARS!

Angela Hurt and Kiersten Firquain raised $3,700 in six weeks!

Many thanks to our 2013 STARS, who close to $18,000 for WEN in over the course of this six-week summer campaign! From June 10-July 25, STARS committed to raising at least $500 for the Women's Employment Network. To achieve their goals, STARS hosted company jeans days, house parties, happy hours, and made many, many online requests for support.

WEN values this campaign, because it allows individuals to help WEN extend its reach into the community and raise much needed funds and awareness via a simple, fun and grassroots effort. 

On July 25th WEN graduates, STARS and friends came together to celebrate the end of the campaign at an event hosted by Kansas City Southern. The Summer Soirée was the perfect time to recognize the achievements of all the STARS, and give prizes to this year's top fundraisers. For the 2013 Reach for the STARS campaign, the honor of top fundraiser goes to the team of Angela Hurt and Kiersten Firquain, who together raised $3,700 in just six weeks. Nice work!

At the event, attendees got to hear from Gwen, a graduate of WEN's training program, who shared her personal story of growth and thanked the STARS for their role in supporting WEN services.

Below is a list of all of the participants in the 2013 campaign. Thank you STARS for all of your hard work.

  • Deanna Atchley, Husch Blackwell LLP
  • Shirley Cooper, Stephanie Kearney and Cheryl Randle, Hallmark Cards, Inc.
  • Shelley Ericsson, Armstrong Teasdale LLP
  • Kayden Howard, Kansas City Southern
  • Angela Hurt, Veracity Solutions and Kiersten Firquain, Bistro Kids
  • Victoria Kandt, Victoria Kandt & Associates
  • Catherine Kelly, Archer Foundation
  • Ari Kern, Lever1
  • Traci Martin, US Department of Labor
  • Megan McCurdy, Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP
  • Lori McGroder, Shook, Hardy & Bacon
  • Arlene Mockapetris, US Bank
  • Angela Tower/Kassie Schlegel, PwC
  • Shannon Swift, J.P. Morgan
  • Kim Winnett, Reece & Nichols

Enjoy our photos from the celebration hosted by Kansas City Southern below.

Update from the Program: New Financial Coach

WEN is pleased to announce that Channa Navarro has joined our team as a Financial Coach. She started in this new role on March 25th, 2013 and has hit the ground running, working with clients to help them reach their financial goals. Financial coaching and credit counseling are services WEN has long hoped to offer, and we could not be more excited to welcome Channa.

Channa Navarro

Channa joined us from CommonBond Communities, a low income housing and services provider in Minnesota. In her role at CommonBond Communities, she served residents as a Financial and Employment Coach through the Financial Opportunity Center model which was developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Her role was to support residents as they achieved economic independence and wealth creation.

At WEN, Channa will be focusing on financial education and coaching. She will be an integral part of our five-week core training by providing the individualized coaching and workshops that will allow clients to make progress on their financial goals as they receive training for their employment goals. Channa will bring additional support to the clients served by the Women's Business Center and will be collaborating with the onsite staff from Justine Petersen to ensure that all OneKC for Women clients have access to an in-depth financial assessment process, a coach to guide them through the steps and the tools they need to make their financial success a reality.

Recordbreaking Luncheon

WEN's 2013 Annual Luncheon was a huge success! Thanks to the generosity of all our event sponsors and guests, WEN was able to raise over $300,000 to support our programs and services that provide hope to women in need in Kansas City.

Highlights of the luncheon include the presentation of the Beth K. Smith award to UMB Bank, as well as the keynote address from WEN graduate Keisha Terrell and a moving appeal from Jon Darbyshire of the Archer Foundation asking for men to "Man Up" for WEN and do what they can to help women in Kansas City find sustainable employment.

2013 WEN Luncheon co-chairs and honorary co-chairs.

WEN is grateful to the people who helped bring this luncheon together. Special thanks to our luncheon honorary chairs Tara & Jon Darbyshire and Dawn & Dave Baker, luncheon co-chairs Heather Anderson Feagans and Anita Bajaj Newton, the Digital Sound Systems, Inc. production team, and WEN's development committee.

Pictures from the 2013 luncheon:

Legacy Circle Celebration

WEN was happy to see so many of our friends and supporters at the 5th Annual Legacy Circle Event on September 19th. This is an important annual event for WEN, as it celebrates the circle of friends and supporters who are helping carry forward the legacy of WEN cofounders — Beth K. Smith and Marjorie Powell Allen. Legacy Circle donors commit to a contribution of $500, $1,000 or $3,000 for three years to support WEN’s training and support services. We are grateful that so many of you braved the rain to honor our cofounders and show your committment to the women of WEN.

Suzy and her husband Joseph at the Legacy Circle celebration.

Attendees got to hear from one of these exceptional women, Suzi, a 2013 WEN graduate who moved to Kansas City from Eritrea last year. Suzi was struggling with not only finding employment, but also was facing language and cultural barriers that made the job search process even more confusing. On top of those challenges, Suzi had a lack of emotional support, as she knew nobody in Kansas City other than her husband. WEN's five-week training program was a transformative experience for her professionally and emotionally; within three weeks of graduating she found employment and now knows there are many people here to support her.

Special thanks to our 2013 Event Co-Chairs Terry Anderson & Michael Henry and Victoria Kandt & Associates, and to J. Gilbert's-Wood Fired Steaks and Seafood, who generously provided the evening's catering.

Enjoy pictures from the event below.

Please contact Nicole Levy for more information on joining the Legacy Circle.

2012 Legacy Circle Event

KANSAS CITY, MO, Sept. 7, 2012 — WEN would like to thank everyone who joined us yesterday at Global Prairie for our 4th Annual Legacy Circle Event. This is an important annual event for WEN, as it celebrates the circle of friends and supporters who are helping carry forward the legacy of WEN cofounders — Beth K. Smith and Marjorie Powell Allen.

We would like to thank the following individuals and companies for their generosity and support. Our 2012 Legacy Circle Event would not have been possible without your support — thank you!

Kate Ferrell Banks & Anne St. Peter
2012 Event Co-Chairs

Jill Myers & Wes Gartner, Moxie Catering

Davy Hartman Campbell, Fulfillment Plus

Jen Gulvik
Vice Chair, WEN Board of Directors

Melissa Randolph
WEN Graduate and Guest Speaker

Thad Bell

Special thanks to:

Thank you to our gift bag donors:

Learn more about how you can contribute on our Legacy Circle page, which includes the full list of Legacy Circle Members.

All photos in the gallery below are courtesy of Thad Bell Photography.

2012 UMB Big Bash

KANSAS CITY, MO, June 21, 2012 — The Women’s Employment Network would like to thank UMB for their continued support and generosity. WEN was one of the two beneficiaries of the 2012 UMB Big Bash on June 21, 2012. The event featured Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers.

Sherry Turner, Women’s Employment Network president, was presented with a $50,000 check at the event. We were so thankful and honored to be a part of this year’s BIG show.

All photos in the gallery below are courtesy of Mark McDonald.

2012 Kansas City’s Got Talent — Corporate Talent Show

This was NOT your grade school talent show!
 The Women’s Employment Network would like to thank all of our 2012 sponsors, the acts who competed in the show, our volunteers who assisted during the November 7 event, and all of our individual ticket attendees and local supporters. It is because of you that this event was such a great success. Thank you!

We had over 200 attendees at this year’s event, we sold out of corporate sponsorships, we had 10 acts compete in the show, and the winner from our inaugural event performed as a special guest. It was a great night and an awesome fundraiser for the Women’s Employment Network. Click here to see all the photos from the event.
Our 2012 judges offered color commentary throughout the evening and after each performance.

Left to right: Chris Hernandez, Katie Van Luchene, Charles Bruffy and Millie Nottingham.

And the winners were.... (pictured below)
Jesus Butler, State Street
1st Place — People’s Choice

Selected by audience applause.

Prize: Sponsored by Boulevard Brewing Company

John Goolsby, DSS Inc.
2nd Place — Donor’s Choice
Awarded to the act that raised the most money; John raised $565!

Prize: Sponsored by Houlihan’s

BCQ, James B. Nutter & Company
3rd Place — Judge’s Choice

Our judges decided 3rd place.

Prize: Sponsored by Ink magazine
And, our emcee for the event was 
Darron Story

2012 Sponsors

Oscar Sponsor
Venue Sponsor
Catering Sponsor
Production Sponsor
Media Sponsor

Tony Sponsors

People’s Choice Sponsors
J.P. Morgan

Nan Vail

Centerpiece Sponsor
Centerpieces Generously Provided By

Trophy Sponsor

2012 Reach for the STARS Campaign

Our 2012 Reach for the Stars Campaign was a record-breaking success. The campaign kicked off on June 14, and this year we had 29 people (Stars) connected to 21 local companies working to raise a minimum of $500 each by the end of the campaign, July 26. Over the course of the six-week campaign, there were company bake sales, house parties, happy hours, company jeans days, jewelry parties, company change jars, silent auctions and many, many online requests for support. Well, we are happy to report that all of these efforts not only helped us achieve our goal, but we exceeded it by $4,726!


That’s right! This year’s campaign raised the most to date: $22,726.
Shirley Cooper, our 2012 Top Fundraiser, brought in $4,100 in six weeks. 
For her efforts, she received the coveted prize, FREE Houlihan’s for a Year! Congratulations, Shirley!

2012 Stars
Kayden Howard, Kansas City Southern: $1,199.12

Shelley Ericsson, Lathrop & Gage LLP: $500

Shannon Swift, J.P. Morgan: $815

Megan McCurdy, Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP: $1,570

Catherine Kelly, Archer Foundation: $800

Amy Bagnall, Kendal King Group; 
Christy Wilson, Silpada Designs (independent representative): $500

Kelly Murphy, KCP&L: $596

Dawn Murphy, Saint Luke’s Health System: $500

Kim Winnett, Reece & Nichols;
 Angela Hurt, Veracity Solutions: $3,755

Lori McGroder, Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP: $1,000

Shirley Cooper, Hallmark Cards: $4,100

Kim Klosak, Service Management Group: $510.12

Kassie Schlegel, Laura Castelluccio, PwC: $390

Sharon Holmes, Equity Bank: $770

Arlene Mockapetris, U.S. Bank: $700

Summer Interns, Global Prairie: $3,777

Joan Redhair, Erin Redhair, BRR Architecture / Community Volunteer: $500

Michelle “Mickey” Dixon, Kansas City Home Care Inc.: $500

Traci Daffer Martin, Husch Blackwell: $646

To learn more, email Nicole Levy, Director of Development or call (816) 595-1297.

Below are photos from our 2012 Reach for the Stars Campaign Victory Celebration. Special thanks to Kansas City Southern for hosting this event in their Grand Hall.
Photos courtesy of J. Robert Schraeder

WEN Graduate in the News

Last week Keisha Terrell moved the WEN luncheon audience with her story of triumph, recovering from incredible loss and unemployment to make a brighter future for herself and her two children. A news crew from KSHB was at the luncheon and profiled Keisha during the evening news.

Keisha and her kids at the WEN luncheon.

Keisha's son, Martinous Woods, a Kauffman Scholar in the 8th grade, introduced her and shared the impact that his mother's career growth has had on him and his sister.

Watch Keisha on 41 Action News.


WEN Talent Show Spotlights Local Companies

Attendees vote for the 1st place act by
cheering for their favorite performer.

Over 200 guests attended the 3rd Annual Kansas City's Got Talent-Corporate Talent Show November 5th at Boulevard Brewery which benefited Women’s Employment Network. Our judges all agreed that this was by far the most talent group of performers they've seen in the three years hosting this event!

Thank you to all of our 2013 Sponsors who helped make this event possible, all of our 2013 acts who helped put on an amazing show, all of those individuals who purchased individual tickets and helped cheer our performers on. Special thanks to DSS, Inc., The Jacobson, and Boulevard Brewery who were instrumental in making this year's event a success for WEN.  And, many thanks to Katie Van Luchene, Charles Bruffy and Millie Nottingham, our 2013 judges and to Darron Story, KCGT’s emcee. Take a look at pictures from the event below.

1st Place Winner
Christopher Petitjean, State Street
Selected by Audience Applause
Prize sponsored by Boulevard Brewing Company

2nd Place Winner
Scott Newcomer, Kellogg’s and Suchart Vend Brokerage
Awarded to the act who raised the most money during the show
Prize sponsored by Houlihan’s

3rd Place Winner
Lucas Pilgrim, Ameristar Casino
Selected by our 2013 judges
Prize Sponsored by Wilks Broadcasting

LISC Announces Second Financial Opportunity Center: Women’s Employment Network and LISC Join Forces to Help Women Achieve Financial Stability


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (November 22, 2013) — Greater Kansas City LISC is pleased to announce that the Women’s Employment Network (WEN) has been selected to provide financial education and coaching services to its clients using the LISC Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) model. WEN will offer these services at its downtown location at 920 Main St., Kansas City, Mo., and at various partner locations including the Blue Hills Business Center at 5008 Prospect, which is located in a LISC NeighborhoodsNOW community.

“We are thrilled to join the Financial Opportunity Center network,” said Sherry Turner, WEN president. “The Women’s Employment Network has always seen the positive impact to our clients in providing the financial education in tandem with job search.  It is incredibly empowering to be working on a plan that takes a client out of the downward spiral. The outcomes are amazing!”

The LISC FOC model provides services across three areas: employment placement and career improvement; financial education and coaching; and public benefits access. These core services are integrated and provided to clients in a bundled fashion in order to reinforce one another and to provide a comprehensive approach to income and wealth building. They are designed to help clients increase their net income, credit scores, long-term job retention and net worth over time.

“The LISC FOC model is particularly unique in that it is neighborhood-based and incorporates personalized coaching to help families and individuals develop a long-term plan for financial stability,” said Stephen Samuels, executive director for Greater Kansas City LISC.  “By helping stabilize family income, we are helping to stabilize our urban neighborhoods, which will ultimately benefit the greater Kansas City region.” 

As a trusted community development leader, LISC works with local stakeholders to select and fund FOC partnerships. The proven, outcomes-based model complements and enhances the career training, financial coaching and microloan programs that WEN currently provides its clients.

Each year, WEN works with approximately 500 underserved women, 75% of them live below the federal poverty level and 60% are minority.  WEN’s program offerings are uniquely structured to meet the varying needs and skill levels of women in all stages of un- and under-employment.

WEN will join a nationwide network of more than 70 Financial Opportunity Centers, and a LISC program model that is successfully helping families and individuals achieve economic stability in 30 other cities. Bank of America was the lead funder helping LISC bring the FOC model to Kansas City.  LISC’s first FOC - the Prosperity Center at Rockhurst University - opened in June 2013 at 5151 Troost Ave.; it is a collaborative partnership between Catholic Charities Kansas City-St. Joseph, Kansas City Full Employment Council, Greater Kansas City LISC, Rockhurst University, and United Way of Greater Kansas City.

Greater Kansas City LISC anticipates announcing a third FOC partnership by the end of 2014.

National data show that the LISC model changes lives. It has earned a track record as a proven program helping individuals move away from living paycheck to paycheck to achieving real economic stability. In 2012, for example, of the 18,000 individuals who received the core bundled services, 4,800 people got jobs and 7,800 established a budget. 

Over 75% of the clients who have subsequent meetings with their financial coach achieve at least one key financial outcome:
• 4,300 improved their net income
• 2,700 improved their credit score
• 2,800 improved their net worth

About LISC
Greater Kansas City LISC is the local site for Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the nation's largest community development organization. Greater Kansas City LISC supports redevelopment in more than 100 square miles of Kansas City metro area neighborhoods and helps transform them into healthy, sustainable communities in partnership with their residents. Since 1981, Greater Kansas City LISC has invested more than $143 million into urban-core neighborhoods on both sides of the state line, which has leveraged $610 million in total development. This investment has created 942,435 square feet of community facilities and sports fields; 5,881 new and rehabbed homes and apartments; 5,393 minor home repairs; and over1.4 million square feet of retail and commercial space.  For more information, follow Greater Kansas City LISC: @LISC_KCwww.lisc.org/kansascity and on Facebook.

Artist Lori Buntin Featured at WEN

The Women’s Employment Network office features artwork from local artist Lori Buntin. Lori has generously loaned 10 pieces of art from various bodies of work to WEN — filling our office walls with beauty, encouragement and life!

For more information about Lori Buntin or to check out her studio, see her website, HoopDogStudio. Lori is represented by Stuff, 316 W. 63rd St., Kansas City, MO 64133.

Below are a few of the pieces that are currently at WEN or have graced our walls in the past!

To set up a tour of the Women’s Employment Network — to learn more about our program and see Lori's work while you’re here — please contact us.

WEN Public Service Announcement

Mar. 31, 2010 — Thanks to the generosity of Global Prairie, the Women’s Employment Network has a beautiful 30-second Public Service Announcement (PSA) created for its use. In addition, this piece was featured at all local (and national) AMC Theatres prior to featured presentations during the month of March 2010. We would also like to thank AMC Entertainment Inc. for their generosity and support!

We won 2nd Place at the Philly Awards Luncheon on November 9, 2010 for excellence in nonprofit communications!

Lunch & Learn with Young Friends of WEN - May 19th

Tickets are almost sold out. To register, call Mark Halastik at 816-595-1298.


2016 WEN Luncheon - Save the Date for our 30th Anniversary



Our 2016 luncheon will be on April 6, 2016.

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