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WEN eNews Archive

September 2017 Issue

WEN SPOTLIGHT

Sherry Turner: A Woman Who Means Business

Congratulations to WEN President and OneKC for Women Founder, Sherry Turner, on becoming a 2017 Woman Who Means Business!

The Kansas City Business Journal honored 25 top-ranking women in Kansas City businesses who also take an active role in the community and in helping other businesswomen.

Learn More

View Photos from the Event

 

 

 


It's Time for Your Employees to Shine!

Thursday, November 9 | 6:00-9:00pm

WEN is seeking both sponsors and acts for our 7th Annual KC's Got Talent. The event takes place at Boulevard Brewing Company and includes a wide selection of Boulevard beer, wine, heavy hors d'oeuvres, entertainment and prizes.

Learn More

 

 

 


Kansas City Job Fair

Tuesday, October 24 | 1:00-4:00pm

Connect to hundreds of jobs and academic programs at the KC Job Fair at Sheraton Crown Center. Entry is FREE.

Access our free resource area and meet one-on-one with financial coaches to review your credit score before your employer does and receive interview and resume tips from experts. You don't want to miss this opportunity!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

 


Meet our new interns!

Elisabeth is a new Master of Social Work student from the University of Kansas. Previously, Elisabeth worked with refugees as an AmeriCorps Member at Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas. Elisabeth has a Bachelor of Science in Social Studies from the University of Central Missouri.

"I am excited to build on my past experiences with this practicum opportunity. I am ready for the next Signature Program class to start and begin working with and learning from the women and staff at WEN." - Elisabeth

 

Lauren is also a new MSW student from KU. She was born and raised in Nebraska and holds Bachelor degrees from KU in Psychology and Applied Behavioral Sciences with a sub-focus in Youth Development and Juvenile Justice.

"I am excited to start at WEN to expand on my learning and training within a population of people that I have not had much experience with yet. I am eager to see the program in action and to see these women shine bright with potential." - Lauren

 

Elisabeth and Lauren will spend the 2017-2018 academic year at WEN in the role of Client Support Specialists providing one-on-one case management support to clients who participate in the Signature Program, as well as WEN graduates.


Partner Spotlight: Synchrony Financial

We were thrilled to receive a grant from Synchrony Financial; one of 8 local grants given this year as part of the company’s commitment to improving the financial lives of individuals and families in our community. Synchrony Financial prides itself on being a responsible corporate citizen throughout the communities in which their employees live and work.

Many thanks to our friends at Synchrony Financial who make it possible for Women's Employment Network (WEN) to continue to help women in our community become stronger individuals and stronger employees.

Pictured: Mary Hayselden (left) and Barb Bell (center) from Synchrony Financial presented WEN President, Sherry Turner (right), with a grant check on Friday, September 8.


ALUMNAE ASSOCIATION

Members of WEN's Alumnae Association met in August to discuss future activities and continued engagement. The group talked about their role in fundraising and began to make a plan for 2018. They also brainstormed some excellent topics for the Junior League's Leadership Series for WEN alumnae which will take place every second Saturday starting on September 9.

So far in 2017, alumnae have already had several events, including a mindfulness and meditation workshop, a family day at the Kansas City Zoo and a Back to School Cookout where the children of grads received school supplies donated by Equity Bank.

Learn more about our Alumnae


Courtney Banks: The Low-Key Go-Getter

When Courtney Banks started the Signature Program at Women's Employment Network (WEN) in February of 2016 she was ready to find a path from her career in retail. She was looking to get a better understanding of the professional workforce, and ultimately, a more stable life for her four-year -old son. She was ready to make a change.

During the first week of WEN Courtney was grateful to be in an environment of supportive women who had different opinions and experiences but were all focused on a path to betterment. As she progressed through the program in addition to getting help with her resume, interview skills and personal development workshops, she also realized the benefits to working with WEN's financial coaches. During a goal visualization workshop in which she made a vision board she expressed her desire to move into an apartment with her son. Unfortunately, due to an unsavory renting experience, Courtney ended up with a judgment on her credit, preventing her from renting a place of her own. During the program, she started to work one-on-one with Financial Coach Brianna Winesberry. As she developed a relationship with Brianna she began to devise and execute a plan to remove the judgment from her credit. Because of her diligence in implementing that plan, Courtney was also a perfect candidate for WEN's special assistance fund; WEN was able to provide some relief from the financial burden of summer childcare costs.

After graduation from the program, Courtney started working for the City of KCMO as a Cashier in May of 2016. She loves the organizational culture, the flexibility, and the benefits she receives there. She was delighted to discover that her current supervisor is also a WEN graduate. Now that she is working steadily she has resolved the judgment and achieved the milestone of getting her own apartment. Today, Courtney actually enjoys paying bills because she CAN and still has money to save after. To others considering WEN, Courtney urges them to carve out time for the five-week Signature Program. She believes it was WEN that gave her the edge to start a new career path. Courtney has received all the materials she needs to make a new vision board for her goals. This time she will include a picture of a graduate. She will continue to work with her financial coach, Brianna, who calls her the "low-key go-getter" because of the humble way she accomplishes big goals. Courtney is interested in pursuing a career in public finance and hopes to start working toward a bachelor's degree in 2018.


If you are a WEN graduate and want to stay connected, contact Ashley Williamson at 816-595-1299 and join our Facebook group! If you would like to buy a t-shirt (pictured above) or want be featured in our e-Newsletter, please let Ashley know!


OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS

WEN Signature Program

Monday - Friday | 9:00am-12:00pm
September 18 - October 20

Last day to register is Thursday, Sept. 14!

WEN’s signature program is uniquely structured to meet the varying needs and skill levels of women in all stages of employment: those who are unemployed, underemployed, laid off, new to the job market or seeking to re-enter the workplace.

Learn More

 

 


Becoming Marjorie: Book Launch & Celebration

Sunday, September 24 | 2:00pm

Majorie Powell Allen and Beth K. Smith founded the Women's Employment Network in 1986. Over 31 years later, more than 5,400 women have graduated from WEN's programs and we have become a vital resource in Kansas City.

Join us for the book launch of Becoming Marjorie: The Life and Legacy of Marjorie Powell Allen.

Reserve your Limited Edition book online, call 913-384-3126 or in-store at Rainy Day Books in the Fairway Shops.


Get Involved: Become a WEN Volunteer!

Volunteer Orientation:
Thursday, September 28 | 12:30-1:30pm

Learn how you can get involved at WEN at our next Volunteer Orientation! You will hear more about WEN programs, volunteer opportunities and meet program staff. Large groups and individuals are welcome.

Email Ashley to sign up!


 


Women's Foundation: 25th Anniversary Celebration

Tuesday, October 3 | 4:00-6:00pm

Our friends and partners at the Women's Foundation are celebrating their 25th Anniversary! Their celebration event will take place at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and will feature Ambassador Samantha Power.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets

 

 

 

 


Texas Roadhouse Friends & Family Event

Saturday, November 4 | 5:00-8:00pm
Sunday, November 5 | 12:00-3:00pm

WEN will be the featured non-profit during Texas Roadhouse's grand opening in Zona Rosa during the weekend of Saturday, November 3 and Sunday, November 4. A portion of each day's proceeds will benefit WEN!

Learn More


 

July 2017 Issue

Women Who Mean Business

Congratulations to Sherry Turner, WEN President and OneKC for Women Founder, for being recognized as a 2017 Women Who Mean Business honoree. The Kansas City Business Journal's Women Who Mean Business program has recognized the top-ranking area businesswomen for 18 years.

This year, in addition to leaders in for-profit business, this class includes some top-ranking women at nonprofits that derive the majority of their revenue from business activities or services, or exist to support the business community through resources, funding or economic development. "I am honored to represent the non-profit sector contributions for the first time," Sherry said.

We applaud Sherry for her dedication to assisting women on their quest for professional, financial, and personal self-sufficiency. Look for profiles of this year’s honorees in print and online Aug. 25th. The women will be recognized at a luncheon on August 25th at the Overland Park Convention Center.


Partner Spotlight: Bank of America

Linda Lenza, SVP, Kansas City Market Manager, Bank of America; Sherry Turner, WEN President; and Gary Jankowitz, Kansas City Market President, Bank of America

What does it take to sustain an organization over 31 years?  It takes a deep commitment to the mission, success of the women we serve, incredible leadership and governance, and strong support from the funding community. Support from our community partners like the Bank of America Charitable Foundation make it possible for Women's Employment Network (WEN) to continue help women in our community become stronger individuals and stronger employees.

Women's Employment Network is thrilled to be the recipient of a $20,000 grant from Bank of America, one of 13 grants that totaled nearly $200,000 focusing on increasing the economic mobility of families and individuals by investing in workforce development and education initiatives as well as basic needs. The grants in Kansas City are part of nearly $43 million in grants the Bank of America Charitable Foundation is providing across the country to advance economic mobility through workforce development and basic needs. These grants are part of the company’s commitment to responsible growth as it works to improve the financial lives of individuals and families.

As we know all too well at WEN, finding a well-paying job continues to be a challenge in Kansas City, with many individuals currently unemployed and underemployed and young people finding themselves without the resources to succeed, advance or secure economic freedom. Bank of America recognizes these critical needs and is working to help close the opportunity gap by supporting local organizations like WEN Women's Employment Network in providing basic needs and workforce development programs to the Kansas City community. “WEN is a valuable partner having received Bank of America Charitable Foundation Funding since 2013.  Their holistic approach to helping women from all backgrounds and circumstances prepare for meaningful employment and develop the skills to develop a stronger financial future are in alignment with our commitment to advancing economic mobility and building a thriving Kansas City,” said Gary Jankowitz, Kansas City Market President, Bank of America.

We can't thank Bank of America enough for their ongoing commitment to building a diverse Kansas City workforce and providing skilled workers to organizations while creating economic opportunity.


Alumnae Spotlight: Elena Sheresheva - Class 237 in 2011

Elena, dressed in a fashionable bright pink blouse, thoughtfully sipped her coffee in a cafe on the plaza as she recalled her difficult, yet ultimately successful, career journey. The path, which took a significant leap from travel agent to Middle School Science teacher over the course of nine years, was anything but easy. "Now, I'm looking forward to when everything is going to be boring. I want to be bored!" Elena joked as she recalled the past few years.

Elena achieved a Master's of Education from her native country, Russia. Upon graduation she was unable to find a job in the education field. That is how she ended up with a job as a travel agent. As her career in the travel business developed she visited several countries and concluded that she wanted to live in the U.S. She came here in 2003.

Elena continued working in the travel industry and moved to Liberty, Missouri when her husband was transferred. Elena hit a rough patch during the economic crisis and in February 2009 was laid off. At that point she was in crisis, recently separated from her husband with a newborn, trying to manage on her own. She was living off of loans and social assistance. Elena was connected to Women's Employment Network through a referral from an emergency shelter for women and children.

Elena described the first week at WEN as a little bit awkward. Her class was such a mixture of different women with different backgrounds. One woman was trying to figure out how best to use her Master's degree and another women was focused on finding a job while on probation. It was quite an experience for her. "It was like a mini America where you learn about different kinds of people and personalities and WEN taught us how to deal with it." She said.

At WEN Elena was able to move away from the travel and tourism field and work towards her goal of becoming an educator. She became employed as a substitute teacher as she began taking courses at University-Missouri Kansas City where she worked towards a teaching certification.

Elena's son, Max, is now eight years old and thriving. He will be going into third grade next school year and trying to learn Russian.

WEN left an excellent impression on Elena. She still looks through her old materials to make sure she is using the information she learned. To others that might be thinking about going to WEN Elena says, "I would recommend WEN if you have a big desire for change. You need to have an open mind."

Elena now holds her Master's in Arts of Teaching English as a Second Language and is teaching Science to English Language Learners at Northeast Middle School. "It feels really, really good to finally reach this goal. I am one of those people that can't settle down, so I will probably find another goal. Right now, I am looking forward to a break."


WEN Welcomes Whitney Justice; Grants & Communications Officer

We are pleased to be able to introduce Whitney Justice, MPA, as our new Grants and Communications Officer. She received her Master of Public Administration from UMKC with a focus in Nonprofit Management and has a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies from Park University. A native Kansas Citian, Whitney has worked in development and fundraising in the nonprofit community for the last three years. In addition to her work at WEN, she fuels her passion to give back to the community by serving as: a Board member and Beneficiary Chair for the Bacchus Foundation, an annual participant in the Alzheimer's Association's Blondes vs. Brunettes RivALZ flag football fundraiser, a member of MOCSA's Young at Art event committee, and an active member of the Junior League of Wyandotte and Johnson Counties. WEN is thrilled to welcome her to the team!


Alumnae Family Day at the Kansas City Zoo

WEN alumnae and their families enjoyed a day at the Kansas City Zoo on June 10th thanks to Greater Kansas City United Way who provided the tickets. The weather was perfect and the animals were out and about on this beautiful day. It was a great event to reconnect and walk the Zoo with alumnae from different classes. All participating alumnae received new WEN Alumnae Association T-shirts made by the company Hope Raiser with #WENSTRONG on the back. 

It was Zootastik Learning Fest to celebrate World Ocean's Day and there were many fun hands on craft activities in the lobby. It was a successful day and we look forward to our next Zoo outing!     

 

 

 

 

 


Alumnae Family Cookout

We are expecting a great turnout for our alumnae family cookout on July 22nd! Graduates will gather to enjoy food, friends, and giveaways at Minor Park. Thank you to the following sponsors for making this day possible: Price Chopper, Equity Bank, Street Medicine KC.


WEN Celebrates Nicole Nelson

WEN celebrates former practicum student Nicole Nelson (formerly Williams) as she prepares to start her new job as a social worker with the Shawnee Mission School District. Nicole began at WEN in August 2015 as a MSW practicum student in partnership with the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare. Erin Cole, LMSW, Client Services Manager has had the opportunity to supervise two KU practicum students each academic year (August through April). Nicole proved to be an excellent fit and addition to WEN during her practicum, through her thoughtfulness in supporting clients with resources and referrals to community partners, as well as, providing a listening ear.

WEN had the opportunity to bring Nicole back on board for the summer 2017 as a Client Support Specialist, and has benefited from Nicole's expertise in case management and supportive services. Nicole will be working at Indian Hills Middle School, and will be the first full-time social worker in the school's history. WEN staff as a whole enjoys being able to support women through employment and equally excited when we're able to support one of our own with their career goals. Best of luck Nicole, SMSD is lucky to have you!


Unveiling of Affirmation Mural

Artists Jackie Warren, Lorrie Eigles, and Ada Koch

Artists Jackie Warren, Lorrie Eigles, and Ada Koch

WEN unveiled our new affirmation mural this week, made possible by the thoughtful support of Victoria Rae and Matthew Swindells from their time in Kansas City. We are grateful artists, Lorrie Eigles, Ada Koch, and Jackie Warren who created the mural to inspire and celebrate our clients and graduates. 


It's Time for your Employees to Shine

It's time to put your name in lights, for a great cause - WEN. KC's Got Talent is an event unlike any other, where a dozen area corporations compete to take home the KC's Got Talent trophy and prizes. Dance, sing or play an instrument? Do stand-up? Join us as local corporations compete for bragging rights at WEN's 7th Annual Kansas City's Got Talent on Thursday, November 9th from 6 to 9 p.m. at Boulevard Brewing Company.

Sign Up Today! 

 

 

 


Becoming Marjorie

Please join us for the book launch of Becoming Marjorie: The Life and Legacy of Marjorie Powell Allen. 2:00 PM on Sunday, September 24th, 2017 at Unity Temple on the Plaza (707 W. 47th Street, Kansas City, MO).

Reserve your Limited Edition book online at Rainy Day Books, call 913-384-3126, or in-store at Rainy Day Books in Fairway Shops.

 

 


Great Deals, Great Cause!

What's better than a great deal on Amazon? Amazon's third-annual Prime Day is today and features more than 100,000 deals exclusively for Prime members. If you shop at Amazon TODAY a percentage of your total will be donated to Women's Employment Network!

When you #StartWithaSmile on #PrimeDay, Amazon donates to Women's Employment Network!  


Get Involved: WEN Volunteer Program

Since January community volunteers have donated over 200 hours in mock interview and resume review time to WEN clients. Learn how you can get involved at our next Volunteer Orientation. You will hear more about WEN programs, additional volunteer opportunities and meet program staff. Large groups and individuals are welcome.

Want to volunteer? Start the process today!

Upcoming Volunteer Orientation:

July 20th, 12:30-1:30 PM at WEN's office, 920 Main Street, Suite 100, Kansas City, MO 64105.


 

May 2017 Issue

Honoring Beth K. Smith's Legacy

  WEN Co-Founder Beth K. Smith

On Wednesday, April 19th, the Kansas City community lost one of its most innovative and preeminent leaders. Beth K. Smith spent a lifetime championing causes across the KC metro area, leaving behind a legacy that will be felt for generations.

"We have lost a cherished asset to this community," says Sherry Turner, WEN President. "Beth was one of the most influential leaders for many decades. So many women and families have been profoundly impacted by her determination. Our community owes a great deal of gratitude to Beth and the legacy of her entire family."

Beth's philanthropic and professional legacy includes involvement in the areas of racial justice, gender equality, the Jewish Community, and nonprofit leadership. She was on numerous local and national boards, and established Women's Employment Network (WEN) with her friend and colleague Marjorie Powell Allen in 1986.

 

 


Our Best Luncheon Yet

Clockwise from top right: Rick Young, Sarah Rask, and Debbie Smith; Kim Jones; Millie Edwards performing; Co-Chairs Lisa Ginter and Angela Hurt; Luncheon program; and Debbie Smith, Cindy Farrow, Sherry Turner, Lisa Ginter, Angela Hurt, and Kim Jones.

The Women’s Employment Network's 2017 Luncheon, held April 4th, brought close to 1,100 business and community leaders together to celebrate the strength of women in our community. The Luncheon was co-chaired by Lisa Ginter, Chief Executive Officer, CommunityAmerica Credit Union and Angela Hurt, Founder and CEO, Veracity Consulting, Inc. State Street Kansas City was honored with the 2017 Beth K. Smith award due to their outstanding commitment to Women’s Employment Network and its mission.

Our clients stood up in front of the crowd and shared the challenges they have overcome to become stronger individuals, stronger mothers and stronger employees.  It was a powerful testimony not only to the strength and drive of the women we serve, but the community of supporters and organizations who help WEN persevere through the decades.

We sincerely thank everyone who was able to attend the event, sponsor a table or make a donation. If you were not able to attend and would like to contribute, please click here and make your donation today. 

To see additional event photos, courtesy of J Robert Schraeder Photography, click here.

 


Employers -- Sign Up for the May 23rd Kansas City Job Fair Today!

Make plans to join us for our Spring Job Fair on Tuesday, May 23rd from 1:00-4:00 PM at the Sheraton Crown Center. Our past events have been extremely successful, with dozens of local companies participating and hundreds of job seekers in attendance.

Our job fair is one of Kansas City's most successful and longest running Job Fairs. Proceeds from the event will go to support WEN's programming, and your company will receive a letter for their tax-deductible donation.

To sign up as an employer click here.

 


 

Celebrate the Kentucky Derby with Young Friends of WEN

Join Young Friends of WEN Saturday, May 6th from 3:30 to 6:30 PM for the 1st Annual WEN Hats & Horses, a Kentucky Derby watch party! 

The event will be held at Ollie's Local in Martini Corner-- where you will be able to win fun prizes for best outfit, best hat, and best bow tie. Enter into a raffle for the winning horse. Enjoy appetizers and mint juleps! No cover charge, cash bar.

RSVP to Sarah Fox at sfox@kcwen.org or by calling 816-595-1298.

WEN Hats & Horses is an event powered by the Young Friends of WEN.


Mindfulness and Meditation

On Thursday, May 11th, from 6:00 to 7:30 PM, Rebecca Martin of McDowell Rice Smith & Buchanan P.C. will introduce alumnae to the practices of meditation and mindfulness and the benefits of daily practice.

Networking and light snacks 6:00 to 6:30 PM. To ensure the integrity of the program, attendees are asked to arrive no later than 6:15 PM. The event will be held at Women's Employment Network, 920 Main Street, Kansas City, MO 64105.

For more information about WEN's Alumnae Program, contact Ashley Williamson at 816-595-1299 or email.


A Night at the Phoenix

Millie Edwards, the Kansas City legendary performer who kicked off the 2017 WEN Luncheon, will be hosting an evening of entertainment to benefit WEN.

The show will be held on Monday, June 5th, from 6:00-9:00 PM, at The Phoenix (302 W. 8th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105). Enjoy food and drink specials, prizes, and live music! Suggested $10 donation at the door. 

 

 

 

 


OneKC for Women Alliance Update

Sherry Turner speaks to guests at the April WE-Connect hosted at Lead Bank

WE-Connect: In 2017, the OneKC for Women alliance restarted WE-Connect series, a forum for women entrepreneurs to connect with their peers and identify resources to help them grow their businesses. These events are aimed at strengthening current connections and establishing new relationships, as well as celebrating the amazing success of women business leaders. 

There have been two WE-Connect events so far in 2017. The January event was hosted at the Women's Business Center, and more recently, an April event was hosted in downtown Kansas City at Lead Bank. Both events had over 100 business leaders attend, respectively, with many signing up as event sponsors. The success of these events show how robust and supportive women in business are in Kansas City, and OneKC hopes to continue them long into the future.

The next WE-Connect event will be held at CBIZ on the Plaza in July of this year, the exact date and time TBD. For more information on WE-Connect, or how the alliance can help strengthen your woman-led business, please contact Brande Stitt by email or phone at 913-492-5922.


STRONGER Together: Video

For our recent Luncheon, WEN was lucky enough to once again partner with Sprint to create a video to be shown to the event attendees. We were once again overwhelmed by the results-- not only by its compelling artistry, but also the way in which the video producers were able to convey the story of WEN Graduate Veronica Johnson. 

Special thanks to Sprint for making it possible for WEN to tell its story in such a unique way. Also, thank you to Veronica for letting us share it. To view this video, and past luncheon videos, click here.


Get Involved: WEN Volunteer Program

Since January, community volunteers have donated over 100 hours in mock interview and resume review time to WEN clients. Learn how you can get involved at our next Volunteer Orientation. You will hear more about WEN programs, additional volunteer opportunities and meet program staff. Large groups and individuals are welcome.

Upcoming Volunteer Orientation: May 18th, 12:30-1:30 PM at WEN's office, 920 Main Street, Suite 100, Kansas City, MO 64105.

 


WEN Welcomes Ashley Williamson in Full-Time Position

WEN is pleased to announce that Ashley Williamson joined our team as the new Community Engagement Coordinator on May 1st.  Ashley has been an integral part of our alumnae and volunteer program enhancements in the past several months and we are grateful she has chosen WEN to continue her career path.  

Ashley recently completed her graduate degree with the University of Kansas' School of Social Welfare. She began her tenure at WEN in August of 2016 in order to fulfill the practicum requirement for the Macro focus of her master's degree. After several months on the WEN team, our staff worked with KU faculty to expand Ashley's role to include an employment-based practicum. Now, Ashley is a full-time staff member that has taken over, and completely rejuvenated, our volunteer, alumnae, and outreach efforts. 

 


Becoming Marjorie: Book Lunch and Celebration

 

Save the Date!

Please join us for the book launch of Becoming Marjorie: The Life and Legacy of Marjorie Powell Allen.

2:00 PM on Sunday, September 24th, 2017
at Unity Temple on the Plaza
707 W. 47th Street, Kansas City, MO.

Reserve your Limited Edition book online at Rainy Day Books, call 913-384-3126, or
in-store at Rainy Day Books in Fairway Shops.


Upcoming Event with Sheryl Sandberg

Thinking Bigger Business Media has joined with Rainy Day Books for an upcoming author event featuring Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in conversation with Senator Claire McCaskill about Sheryl’s new hardcover book Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy (co-authored by Adam Grant). 

The event is Saturday, May 6th, 2017, at 7:00 PM at Unity Temple on the Plaza. Admission packages are $25.95 plus tax and include the hardcover book. Admission packages ar

March 2017 Issue

Last Chance to Reserve Your WEN Luncheon Seat

Join us for WEN's 2017 luncheon on Tuesday, April 4th from 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center. Find out what makes our graduates STRONGER and help us celebrate women overcoming adversity and charting new paths toward career success and financial independence. 

WEN will also be awarding State Street Kansas City with the 2017 Beth K. Smith Award, due to their outstanding commitment to WEN’s mission and to recognize their involvement in the community. State Street Kansas City will receive the distinguished award onstage at the WEN Luncheon on Tuesday, April 4th at the Sheraton Crown Center.

The Beth K. Smith Award, named after one of WEN's co-founders, was created several years ago to recognize those who put a significant amount of time, talent and treasure into WEN. Past recipients have been companies or individuals who have worked to advance the efforts of the Women's Employment Network. 
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Employers-- Sign Up for the 2017 Kansas City Job Fair Today!

Make plans to join us for our Spring 2017 Job Fair on Tuesday, May 23rd from 1:00-4:00 PM. Our past events have been extremely successful, with dozens of local companies participating and hundreds of job seekers in attendance.

At WEN's KC Job Fair, employers will be able to meet and interview a diverse pool of candidates from entry-level to senior management. Our job fair is one of Kansas City's most successful and longest running Job Fairs. Proceeds from the event will go to support WEN's programming, and your company will receive a letter for their tax-deductible donation.

To sign up click here.


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Celebrate the Kentucky Derby with Young Friends of WEN

 
Join the Young Friends of WEN (YFOW) Saturday, May 6th from 3:30 to 6:30 PM for the first annual Kentucky Derby watch party, Hats & Horses! The event will be held at Ollie's Local in Martini Corner-- where you will be able to win fun prizes for best hat and bow tie, enter into a raffle for the winning horse, and have a mint julep!

Proceeds from the event will support WEN's programming. For questions or to RSVP, contact Sarah Fox by email or at 816-595-1298. For more information on the YFOW group, click here.


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Get Connected: WEN Alumnae Program

A crucial piece of WEN's ongoing support is our Alumnae Network. WEN has recently increased its efforts to provide interesting and practical education events with the aim of keeping former clients connected to WEN, help alumnae fine-tune their professional development skills, and showcase current job openings. 

March 2nd Alumnae Meeting Recap: WEN Board Member Cyndi Swall presented "Dancing with Chaos: Using Change to Your Advantage". She discussed how not all chaos is bad, and how to harness the opportunities in tumultuous experiences.

Upcoming Alumnae Meeting: The next alumnae meeting will be held on May 11, 6:00 PM, and the topic will be Mindfulness and Meditation.

For more information about WEN's Alumnae Program, contact Ashley Williamson at 816-595-1299 or email.
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Get Involved: WEN Volunteer Program

Learn about WEN volunteer opportunities and meet program staff at a Volunteer Orientation. Large groups and individuals are welcome.

Upcoming Volunteer Orientation: April 20, 12:30-1:30 PM at WEN's office, 920 Main Street, Suite 100, Kansas City, MO 64105.

 
 
 
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OneKC for Women Alliance Update
 

Upcoming Class with the Women's Business Center:

How to Leverage Your WBE Certification

Tuesday, March 28th, 8:30-10:30 AM

If you are a Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) certified Women Business Enterprise (WBE) looking to escalate the growth of your business, come to this presentation to learn how to build relationships with supplier diversity managers, navigate the corporate procurement process, and hear success stories.

The event will be held at the Women's Business Center, 4220 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Suite 350B, Fairway, KS 66205.

 

Febrary 2017 Issue

WEN Luncheon-- STRONGER

Luncheon Co-Chairs Angela Hurt, CEO and Founder of Veracity Consulting,Inc. and
Lisa Ginter, CEO of CommunityAmerica
Credit Union.

Join us for WEN's 2017 luncheon on Tuesday, April 4th from 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center. Find out what makes our graduates STRONGER. Help us celebrate women overcoming adversity and charting new paths toward career success and financial independence. The Luncheon will be Co-Chaired by Lisa Ginter, Chief Executive Officer of CommunityAmerica Credit Union and Angela Hurt, CEO and Founder of Veracity Consulting, Inc. 

Now more than ever, WEN needs your support. Funds raised through our luncheon our vital to help ensure that women in our community receive the training and support services they need to gain self-sufficiency for themselves and the families that depend on them. Sponsorships begin at $1,500 and come with a table for ten and special recognition. Table Hosts ($1,000) are also welcome! Individual tickets are $100 and can be purchased here. 

For more information or to become a sponsor, please email Nicole Levy or call 816-595-1297.
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2015-2016 WEN Annual Report

Women's Employment Network recently published our 2015-2016 Annual Report. This report details the full range of WEN's programming, communicates important outcomes, and gives an update on our financial standing. Thank you to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City for generously printing copies for us to provide to our donors and stakeholders. Click here to read and download.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Keri Westlund

Women's Employment Network is fortunate to have a network of volunteers that assist our small staff deliver crucial program curriculum using industry expertise. For the past several years, State Street has been instrumental in providing leadership among our volunteer corps. Keri Westlund, a member of the Talent Acquisition Team from State Street's downtown Kansas City office, has been volunteering with WEN since 2013.

"I am thoroughly impressed by WEN, the clients and the program," Keri states. "The impact on women is very inspirational. It’s incredibly rewarding for me to hear about WEN successes, and to see women succeed, and meet their goals. WEN provides so much for their clients, and many times, makes a life-long impact."

Keri presents quarterly at WEN's Job Club meetings. While topics somewhat vary, she is currently presenting both “Taking the Stress out of Interviewing” and “Creating an Elevator Pitch," each for an hour a session. In the first hour, Keri speaks to WEN clients about what are in the main stressors in the interview process, and reviews strategies that can mitigate the pressure. They spend time discussing the three P’s: plan, practice and preparation; and how these play a key role in alleviating stress. 

In the second hour the group studies the Elevator Pitch– what it is, when you can use it, and how it can be tailored to almost any situation. The participants pair up and create their own, using each other as practice. The morning concludes with participants presenting their Elevator Pitch to the full group.

"I always look forward to the Job Club sessions at WEN. I find the participants engaged, positive and ready to participate. Feedback on our sessions has been extremely positive. I’m thrilled to provide sessions that are valuable," says Keri.

WEN's programming relies heavily on community involvement and volunteers, and is lucky to benefit from strong partners in the business community. WEN is grateful to State Street for sharing their time and expertise.
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Client Spotlight: Alumnae Holiday Party

WEN Alumnae from 1992-2016

In December almost 40 women attended WEN's annual Alumnae Holiday party. This year, the event was held at the WEN office and catered by Bomar Catering. Graduates from classes as far back as 1992 were represented at the party. 

For more information about WEN's Alumnae Program, contact Ashely Williamson at 816-595-1299 or email.

 


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OneKC for Women Alliance Update

Classes with the Women's Business Center:

LaunchU: This eight-week program will help you develop a start-up plan to not only begin, but succeed in business. This program is designed specifically for micro-entrepreneurs, business owners who will be starting up on a shoestring budget and employing five or fewer employees at the start of their business.

-Next Class Date: February 25, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., at the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 4747 Troost, Room 114, Kansas City, MO 64110.

To enroll in this course or receive more information, contact Judy Bumpus or call 913-492-5922.

FastTrac NewVenture: A program of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, this course helps you define and evaluate your business concept. Through research, in-class activities, guest speakers who are subject matter experts, peer-to-peer interaction, and facilitated discussions, each entrepreneur works on the key aspects of starting or refining her business venture.

-Next Class Date: February 21, 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the Women's Business Center, 4220 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Suite 350B, Fairway, Kansas 66205.

To sign up for this course, contact Brande Stitt or call 913-492-5922.

Primed for Growth: This course teaches business owners about basic business financial management in an easy-to-understand format. The goal is to provide you with necessary information and tools that will allow you to make strategic financial decisions so they are able to grow and expand your business into sustainable and profitable enterprises.

-Next Class Date: March 14, 8:30-10:30 a.m., at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110. Click here to register.

Upcoming Classes with the Women's Employment Network:

WEN’s signature program is uniquely structured to meet the varying needs and skill levels of women in all stages of employment: those who are unemployed, underemployed, laid off, new to the job market or seeking to re-enter the workplace. It is a five-week course where clients set personal goals, engage in mock interviews, write a new resume, conduct a custom job search, and receive financial coaching and education.

-WEN's next Signature Class will begin on Tuesday, February 21 at 9:00 a.m., at the WEN office, 920 Main, Ste. 100, Kansas City, MO 64105.

To sign up for this course, contact Lynnette Williams or call 816-822-8083.
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WEN Welcomes New Staff Member Ashely Williamson

Ashley Williamson, Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator

Women's Employment Network is pleased to introduce Ashley Williamson, our new Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator. Ashley, a graduate student at University of Kansas' School of Social Welfare, began her tenure at WEN in August of 2016 in order to fulfill the practicum requirement for the Macro focus of her master's degree. After several months on the WEN team, our staff worked with KU faculty to expand Ashley's role to include an employment-based practicum. In her new role, Ashley will be responsible for coordinating volunteer, alumnae, and general outreach efforts.

Prior to coming to WEN, Ashley worked at Kansas City Kansas Community College in the Adult Education Department. There, she worked with students studying English as a Second Language as the Career and College Readiness Instructor. Upon taking the position at WEN, Ashley has moved to tutoring ESL students part-time. Ashley is also passionate about socio-economic research and works with Dr. Terri Friedline at The University of Kansas on an initiative called Mapping Financial Opportunities, which is designed to study financial inclusion and access —particularly for those living in poverty that may be at a competitive disadvantage. The research aims to study financial inclusion and access as a bridge to the economic world. WEN is thrilled to formally welcome Ashley to the WEN team.

 

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Young Friends of WEN Volunteer Night

From Left to Right: Nicole Jones, Dana Wilson, Klassie Alcine, Courtney Karr (YFOW Chair), Julie Bunge, and Megan Whitman

Thank you to all of the Young Friends that came out to help create Jump Start Your Job Search bags for the next two classes of Women's Employment Network graduates. These bags help women celebrate the completion of five weeks of intense training and gives them the boost they need to find their careers. Stay tuned for more volunteering opportunities with Young Friends of WEN!

For more information on the YFOW group, click here for more information.

 

 

 

 

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Angel Investment 101: A Lunch & Learn

 

Young Friends of WEN will be hosting a Lunch & Learn on February 23, 2017, at the Women's Business Center, from 11:45 AM to 1:00 PM.

 

Join Kelly Sievers Pruneau as she discusses the equity funding arm of the OneKC for Women Alliance, Women’s Capital Connection (WCC). As Network Manager of the WCC, Pruneau works with over 40 female investors who provide equity investments in women-led, high growth ventures, and has invested over $3M in 16 companies over the past 9+ years. Learn more about the type of companies WCC has invested in and engage with her as she walks you through the angel investment process. 

RSVP to Sarah Fox or at 816-595-1298. Admission is $5 for YFOW members, and $15 for nonmembers.

 


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Charity BINGO at Hamburger Mary's

Join the Young Friends of WEN in celebrating International Women's Day with Charity HAM-Bingo benefiting WEN.

The event will be held at Hamburger Mary's on Wendesday, March 8, from 7:00-8:30 PM, 3700 Broadway, #110, Kansas City, MO 64111.

100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Women's Employment Network.

RSVP to Sarah Fox or call at 816-595-1298.

 

 


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Financial Coaching and the Alliance for Economic Inclusion

WEN's Client Services Manager, Erin Cole, participates in AEI panel discussion.

Financial coaching is gaining recognition as an effective strategy that can improve the financial capability and resiliency for clients and consumers. WEN participates in a community strategy as a LISC Financial Opportunity Center, with emphasis on financial coaching as a model improving sustainable outcomes for our clients. Erin Cole, WEN's Client Services Manager, contributed to a recent the discussion around these topics at a recent Kansas City Alliance for Economic Inclusion (AEI) meeting.

AEI consists of 350 individuals representing 225 organizations in a broad-based coalition of financial institutions, community-based organizations, businesses, schools and other partners in several markets across the Kansas City metro area.  AEI focuses on bringing unbanked and underserved populations into the financial mainstream. During this AEI meeting, panelists discussed key elements of financial coaching, how it differs from other strategies, such as financial counseling, and critical factors organizations should consider when contemplating integration of financial coaching into their existing programs and services.  Erin offered a look at how WEN has incorporated quality financial coaching into WEN's programming since 2012. Other panelists included Jeremy Hegler, Senior Development Advisor - Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Trese Robinson, Program Officer - LISC, and Starla Brennen, Operations Director - Metropolitan Lutheran Ministries.

For more information on WEN's financial coaching programs, click here.

November 2016 Issue

In the Spotlight: Volunteers from FleishmanHillard

Women's Employment Network was thrilled to be chosen as a charitable partner of FleishmanHillard's 70 years of service celebration. To celebrate this milestone anniversary, more than 80 FleishmanHillard offices around the country selected projects supporting social inclusion for people in their communities. As a communications company, FleishmanHillard is well-suited to support this cause, with the experience to connect with, and raise awareness for, groups of individuals who may be excluded from opportunity or marginalized from society. The Kansas City office chose to partner with WEN and hosted an invaluable half-day career building session in their office this October.

"FH70-WEN Day" gave more than a dozen WEN clients and graduates a chance to see first-hand what an integrating marketing communications firms looks like, who they are and what they do.  “It was an honor to spend time with the women from WEN and contribute in a small way to their mission," a FleishmanHillard volunteer stated. "Everyone was engaged throughout the day and asked terrific questions! I was very impressed by the level of professionalism and engagement."

The day included several small group sessions where clients were able to hear from FH staff about interview preparation, resume review, while other members of the FH team provided an overview on communications careers, shared success stories at various levels, reviewed social media and shared general insights into their office work environment.

"Networking is so important. Not just going to events, but really working the room to get what I need out of it," one WEN client states. "I typically don't like to role play, but I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the employees of FleishmanHillard. They gave us a very specific direction when networking and I will use it from now on. All of the FleishmanHillard employees were welcoming and engaging. I really enjoyed and learned from everyone that engaged with us."

WEN's programming relies heavily on community involvement and volunteers, and is lucky to benefit from strong partners in the business community. WEN is grateful to FleishmanHillard for sharing their time and expertise.

Healthy Credit Allows New Opportunities for Clients 

Leslie H.* came to Women's Employment Network in May 2015. While completing WEN's signature five-week program, Leslie became inspired to get her finances in order. She met with WEN's dedicated Financial Literacy Specialists over the course of several weeks, and together they made the goal of increasing her credit score. After setting specific financial benchmarks, in November 2015 Leslie was able to pay down a portion of her debt and bring up her credit score by 44 points. She was also able to receive a credit card subsidy in December 2015. Leslie's credit was checked again in September 2016, it had risen by another 50 points. In 16 months her score has grown by a total of 94 points. Leslie has accomplished this amazing feat all while supporting four children and following a tight budget. With the help of WEN's Financial Literacy Specialists, Leslie has been diligent to stay within the usage guidelines and pays bills on time every month, and is now on the road to long-term financial stability.

Leslie's story is a familiar one at the Women's Employment Network. A woman, struggling to make ends meet, and supporting a family, finds the strength, resources, and support from the WEN staff to work towards, and achieve, her personal goals and objectives. Using a nationally recognized Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) model providing employment placement and career improvement, WEN continues to transform the way women like Leslie find careers, manage finances, and support their families. WEN's Financial Literacy Specialists take clients through an in-depth assessment of their current credit issues and develops an individualized plan to strengthen their long term financial sustainability. Healthy credit allows new opportunities for our clients and is paramount to purchasing, bankability and in turn systemic change for women and their families.

KC's Got Talent

Clockwise from top left:
Emcee Darron Story; Guests from Veracity Consulting, Inc., Lauren Pouliot sponsored by U.S. Bank; Voler: Thieves of Flight sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, Kate Cosentino sponsored by Stinson Leonard Street LLP, and 1st place winners Dagney Velazquez and Lacey Ellington with KCGT judges Mike Wickett, Katie Van Luchene, Millie Nottingham and Codie Allen.

 Last Thursday marked WEN's 6th Annual corporate talent show, KC's Got Talent, hosted at Boulevard Brewing Company. Incredible food was generously provided courtesy of Webster House, along with stunning displays of talent from our sponsors. Thank you to everyone who enjoyed this exciting evening with us and helped us raise significant funds for WEN's programs.

1st place went to Voler: Thieves of Flight featuring Dagney Velazquez and Lacey Ellington. Their act was sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City. The 2nd place winner was singer/songwriter Katie Cosentino, sponsored by Stinson Leonard Street LLP, and Lauren Pouliot, sponsored by U.S. Bank, took home the 3rd place prize.

Our dynamic panel of judges included Millie Edwards Nottingham, known on the local jazz and blues circuit; Katie Van Luchene, partner in KSquared PR and Communications, who regularly showcases the best Kansas City has to offer; Codie Allen who can be heard on the Roger and Codie morning show on 106.5 The Wolf, and DJ Mike Wickett who can heard weekdays on 98. KMBZ. The evening's emcee, Darron Story, owned the night and turned Boulevard Brewery into a small sea of cell phone lights as the crowd went crazy over his performance of Prince's “Purple Rain."

Special thanks to our event sponsors: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, FSC, Inc., Kissick Construction Company, Stinson Leonard Street LLP, TVH Parts Co., U.S. Bank, Veracity Consulting, Inc., OK Program, OneKC for Women, DSS, Inc., Webster House, and Thinking Bigger Business Media, Inc. 

Thanks to J Robert Schraeder Photography, you can see more pictures from the event here.

Amelia's Bloomers Fashion Show

From left to right:
Linda Finke, Deb McLaren, Owner; Penny Mesmer, and Janet Kuemmerlein

Congratulations to our friend, Deb McLaren on her new boutique on Johnson Drive in Shawnee Mission, Amelia's Bloomers. Named after famed suffragette Amelia Bloomer, the boutique offers a unique shopping experience and one-of-a-kind pieces. “Amelia was a passionate suffragette, abolitionist and temperance leader in her time.  She believed in equal rights for all people and that women should dress as they want and buck society’s strict structure,” McLaren says. Earlier this month, Ms. McLaren hosted a fashion show to display her newest collection and celebrate the opening of the store. Proceeds from the evening benefited WEN.

 

Food, Fun and Friends

WEN's Fall Legacy Circle Cocktail Party was held on September 22nd at the stunning home of Kim Jones and Shelly Freeman. The event honored WEN's Legacy Circle donors, who are instrumental in helping to carry forward WEN's mission to empower women to achieve economic independence through sustained employment.

 

Clockwise from top left: Shelly Freeman and Kim Jones; Hillary Stamper, Courtney Karr, Sydney Shultz, and Michelle Callstrom; Shelly Freeman speaking to guests; Tynisha Reinerio and Lynnette Williams; Kiersten Firquain and Cindy Laffey; Heather Jones, Kim Jones, Jen Gulvik, Angela Tower, Angela Hurt, Lucy Coulson, and Katherine Baker Nelson.

 

 

 

 

 

"Season of Giving" at STUFF!  

Make plans to join WEN for a shopping party at STUFF in Brookside on #GivingTuesday, November 29th, from 5:30 

- 7:00 p.m. This will be a great place to wrap-up (or start) your holiday shopping and a portion of the evening's proceeds will be donated to Women's Employment Network.

 

STUFF is located at 316 E. 63rd Street, Kansas City, MO 64113. To RSVP, click here.

STRONGER-WEN Announces 2017 Luncheon

Women’s Employment Network (WEN) and our 2017 Luncheon Co-Chairs, Angela Hurt and Lisa Ginter, invite you to join us at our Annual Luncheon on Tuesday, April 4th, 2017. WEN's luncheon has consistently been one of the metro area’s largest and most inspirational events, and 2017 will be no exception! The WEN Luncheon honors the women in our community who have worked to overcome great obstacles and barriers.

The luncheon also celebrates business leaders, and individuals, like you, who share WEN’s commitment to help women and families break free from the cycle of poverty. You will leave feeling empowered, inspired and hopeful - knowing that your support makes a difference in the lives of Kansas City area women and their families.

To inquire about becoming a sponsor or table host, call 816-595-1297 or email Nicole Levy.
Online ticket and sponsorship information coming soon.

Alumnae Holiday Party

On Thursday, December 15th WEN is hosting our annual Alumnae Holiday party. This will be a chance for women who have graduated from the WEN program to reconnect with staff and classmates, make new connections, and celebrate the holiday season. The event will be from 6:00-7:30PM at the WEN office. Food will be provided by Bomar Catering. RSVP required to Audrey Williams.

September 2016 Issue

WEN Announces New Board Officers, Welcomes New Board Members

WEN is pleased to announce the installation of a new slate of Board Officers and six new Board Members. Megan McCurdy, Partner, Stinson Leonard Street LLC succeeds Jen Gulvik, SVP-Marketing, Creative Director, Houlihan’s Restaurants, Inc. as Board Chair. WEN’s new officers for 2016-17 are Vice Chair, Angela Hurt, CEO, Veracity Consulting, Inc.; Treasurer, Pam Breuckmann, President, Ferrell Capital; and Secretary, Kelly Murphy, Director of Human Resources, Kansas City Power & Light. WEN is also pleased to welcome the appointment of six new members to its Board of Directors: Anab Abdulahi, AXA Advisors; Kathy Dodd, Chairman Emeritus and Principal, The Corridor group; Glenda Friesen, Associate VP and Director of Organizational Effectiveness an HR Strategy, Black & Veatch Corporation; Sonia Garapaty, President, FSC MEP Engineers, LLC; Stacey Paine, President, Crown Center Redevelopment Corporation and Cyndi Swall, Executive Coach and longtime WEN Volunteer. WEN is very fortunate to move forward with a Board comprised of such talented, experienced, and dedicated individuals.

The six new members join WEN's current Board Members: Janice Blansit, Director of Adult Education, Johnson County Community College; Phyllis Collins, President, The Collins Network; Jeanetta Ellis, Community Relations Liaison, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kansas City; Kayden Howard, Associate General Counsel, The Kansas City Southern Railway Company; Victoria Kandt, CEO, Victoria Kandt & Associates; Teresa Kellett, Sales Strategy and Operations, Google Fiber Kansas City; Lily Hayes Maxwell, Account Manager, Global Prairie; and Arlene Mockapetris, SVP/Metropolitan Regional Manager, US Bank.

Top Row (left to right): Megan McCurdy, Angela Hurt, Pamela Breuckmann, and Kelly Murphy
Bottom Row (left to right): Anab Abdulahi, Stacey Paine, Sonia Garapaty, Glenda Friesen, Kathy Dodd, and Cyndi Swall


Employers: Register Now for our Fall Job Fair on October 18th!


Our next job fair is Tuesday, October 18th from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at
the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center
(2345 McGee Street, Kansas City, MO 64108).

Men and women are welcome to attend October's job fair. Admission to the event is FREE for job seekers and parking will be validated up to three hours. No registration is required. Attendees are encouraged to dress professionally and bring plenty of resumes.

For more information or to register as a participating employer, click here or call 816-822-2399.


Fun Fall Event: KC's Got Talent

Join in the fun this year as local corporations compete for bragging rights at WEN's 6th Annual KC's Got Talent at Boulevard Brewing Company on Thursday, November 10th from 6-9 p.m. Enjoy delicious food provided by Webster House and an open bar courtesy of Boulevard Brewing Company and sit back as acts from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, Stinson Leonard Street LLP, U.S. Bank, Veracity Consulting, Inc. and more take the stage to compete for three coveted titles and prize packages: Judge’s Choice, Donor’s Choice and the highest honor, the People’s Choice Award! 

Most importantly, all proceeds from Kansas City’s Got Talent help ensure that WEN continues its vital mission to help women – and the children and families who depend on them – achieve economic independence. 

Click here to become a KCGT Sponsor today or to purchase individual tickets! All sponsorship and act information must be submitted by Friday, October 21st. Questions? Please call (816) 595-1297 or email Nicole Levy.


Volunteer Spotlight: Entrepreneurship team from the Kauffman Foundation

The Women's Employment Network was recently visited by a group of volunteers from the Entrepreneurship team at the Kauffman Foundation. Twelve volunteers from the group met with the women from the current Signature Program class. They worked individually with each graduate to go over resumes and discuss workplace reentry. Our clients were thrilled to receive such individualized attention from this talented group. Thank you again, Kauffman Foundation, for sharing your time and expertise with WEN. 


Food, Fun, and Friends

Thank you to everyone who came to our end of summer Legacy Circle Cocktail party. Special thanks to our gracious hosts, Cindy Laffey and Angela Hurt, InHome Bistro for providing the fabulous food, and all the new friends that joined us. Learn more about Legacy Circle and how to become a member here.


Left to Right: Kelly Scanlon, Jen Regas, Mike Scanlon, Lori McGroder and Theresa Hursh.


WEN's New Grants & Communications Officer

The Women's Employment Network is excited to introduce Sarah Fox, our new Grants & Communications Officer. In this role, Sarah will work as part of WEN's Development team to meet WEN's fundraising and marketing goals. Sarah has worked with several nonprofits in the Kansas City area, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City and the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri. Sarah received her undergraduate degree from Drake University, and is currently seeking a Masters in Program Evaluation from Michigan State University. A big believer in women's equality and social justice, Sarah is excited and inspired to join the dedicated team at WEN. 

September 2014 Issue

Great Job Stars!

WEN's Reach for the STARS grassroots fundraising campaign raised a total of $19,412 over the course of eight weeks this summer.

From parties to trivia nights to raising money over social media, our STARS dazzled! WEN appreciates not only our STARS, but also all the people who made it out to their events to show support for the women WEN serves. Thank you!


WEN's "Secret Sauce"

It is safe to say that not many people find their dream job. However, Lynnette Williams, Director of Program Services at WEN is that one rare individual.

Lynnette's 200th training session, Class #264, at their recent graduation

WEN first began in 1986 to provide job readiness skills for women in Kansas City. In late 1990, Lynnette became one of those participants in the then three-week program. Little did Lynnette know, she would experience that critical “aha moment” that would turn her life around in so many ways. After going through different workshops and finding different skills she had within herself, she soon realized that she could do that exact job. The instructor at the time actually invited her back as a volunteer to speak to the women during the program. She went from participant to volunteer to interviewing and being hired for the instructor position.

Now after working for WEN for almost 23 years, you would think that there would be many changes to the overall structure of the program, but Lynnette has managed to keep the core of the program intact and true to the mission while keeping it current with the ever changing job market.

The personal high moment for Lynnette is actually her most recent accomplishment. She recently taught and graduated her 200th training class. To some, that number might not mean a lot. But it means so much. That is approximately 2,700 women that graduated from the program. That means Lynnette has made an impact on so many women’s lives. In addition to being a supportive instructor and strong female role model, she has often fulfilled the role of friend, sister, and even mother. For Lynnette, knowing that she has helped so many women find their “aha moment”, is truly, as of now, her highest moment.

Lynnette's co-workers, WEN volunteers, WEN clients and our Board of Directors congratulate Lynnette on her 200th class! We like to say we have "secret sauce" at WEN and Lynnette is our secret weapon.

In honor of Lynnette's 200th class, this month we caught up with her about some of the highlights of her time at WEN and advice for job-seekers.

What has remained consistent through all the classes?
Women from all walks of life come to WEN at a pivotal moment in their lives. They come looking for support in finding employment and they leave with so much more. There is a new appreciation of themselves and their accomplishments, a vision of their future and a sense of community.

What has changed?
When I first started, most women only had a diploma or GED and were trying to move from welfare to work, so they were looking for entry level jobs. Now I see women who have bachelor and master degrees with solid work histories. They are looking to pick up where they left their career due to lay-offs, develop a hobby or idea into a business or find their "dream job" that will fulfill their passion.

What makes WEN training different?
WEN focuses on meeting the women where they are. By creating an environment of trust it is easy to build relationships. I see myself as their guide and relationships allow me to ease them into opening up and reaching out beyond developing a resume and interviewing.

I give back what was given to me by my mother, grandmothers and great-aunts - patience, support, an expectation of excellence, the process of how to overcome setbacks, a listening ear, respect and understanding. I model the values and behavior that I was taught and that I share with my daughters. I refer to the women as ladies because it takes a certain mindset and a level of confidence for a woman to carry herself as a lady.

How does it feel knowing that you have been the instructor of 200 classes?
It was a little overwhelming when I thought about the number of women I've had a chance to meet and guide on their life journey. It was humbling to know that I have touched the lives of so many women that I may have otherwise never crossed paths and with that comes a great sense of pride that the relationships are still there.

Are you in touch with any of the women?
Yes, I get calls and emails for advice or updates on their accomplishments as well as their challenges. And it is rare that I don't see a graduate in the community, we always stop and catch up. 


Women's Employment Network Announces New Officers, Welcomes New Members to Board of Directors

Women's Employment Network is proud to announce the installation of a new slate of Board Officers and seven new Board Members.

Jen Gulvik, SVP-Marketing and Creative Director for Houlihan’s Restaurants, Inc., succeeds Alice Ellison as Board Chair. Alice passed the torch after leading the Board for two consecutive three year terms. "Alice will be greatly missed by everyone at WEN,” said WEN President Sherry Turner. “WEN is well positioned for the future, due in large part to Alice’s tremendous leadership and commitment. We are grateful to her for her many years of exemplary service to WEN and our mission. WEN is very fortunate to move forward with a Board comprised of such talented, experienced, and dedicated individuals.”

WEN’s new slate of officers for the 2014-15 includes Chair, Jen Gulvik; Vice Chair, Megan McCurdy; Treasurer, Angela Tower; and Secretary, Kelly Murphy.
 

Jen Gulvik is SVP-Marketing and Creative Director for Houlihan’s Restaurants, Inc. overseeing the brand evolution for the company’s three restaurant concepts.  Additionally, she leads the beverage and training functions, menu design and development, and the company’s larger strategic business initiatives. Jen is a “40 under 40” alumni with Ingram’s Magazine, honored in 2008 for her business and community leadership in Kansas City.

Megan McCurdy is an attorney at Stinson Leonard Street LLP. Megan has significant experience representing both individuals and business in a variety of complex lawsuits and arbitrations. These include financial service actions, contract disputes, business torts, and product liability actions. She also serves on the firm’s Associate Development Committee and Recruiting Committee.

Angela Tower serves as a tax director in PwC's Alternative Investment Funds Practice. Angie assists clients by providing specialized tax services to many domestic and offshore investment partnerships and companies. Angie has over 10 years of experience helping clients with consulting and their U.S. tax compliance. Angie's clients encompass a wide variety of asset classes including hedge funds in a range of strategies, private equity funds, fund of funds and public corporations.

Kelly Murphy has served in human resource leadership for over 25 years. She is currently the Director of Human Resources at KCP&L, providing strategic direction and tactical oversight to the company on compensation, benefits, HRIS, Payroll, HR Service Center and Technology Innovation issues for active and retired employees.  Her responsibilities include program design and administration for health & welfare benefit plans as well as retirement plans. Kelly also serves as a member of the Talent and Development Committee at Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Company.

WEN is also pleased to welcome the appointment of seven new members to its Board of Directors: Janice Blansit, Director of Adult Education, Johnson Country Community College; Jeanetta Campbell, Community Relations Liaison, Blue Cross Blue and Shield of Kansas City; Phyllis Collins, Founder, The Collins Network; Angela Hurt, CEO, Veracity Consulting, Inc.; Victoria Kandt, Owner/CEO of Victoria Kandt & Associates; Mitzi Miller, Vice President, Human Resources Business Partner, Bank of Kansas City and Elma Warrick, Executive Director, ESP Enterprises LLC.

The seven new members above join WEN's current Board Members: Pamela Breuckmann, President, Ferrell Capital; Shirley Cooper, Community Volunteer; Kayden Howard, Associate General Counsel, The Kansas City Southern Railway Company; Teresa Kellett, Director, Sprint Wireless Benefits, Sprint Nextel; Lily Hayes Maxwell, Account Manager, Global Prairie; C. Stephen Metzler, President, Gallagher Metzler Insurance; Arlene Mockapetris, Sr. Vice President/Metropolitan Regional Manager, US Bank; and Nan Vail, Operations support manager, Landis+Gyr. 


Welcome Cato!

WEN is pleased to welcome a new business supporter and workshop presenter to our organization. Cato is a leading specialty retailer of women's fashions and accessories and is a great fit to educate WEN graduates about building their wardrobes to meet the dress codes of their new employers! Representatives from Cato recently taught an upbeat workshop for WEN program participants and we look forward to working with them in the future.
 

Cindy and Kimberly present at WEN

Store manager, Cindy Fulghum and assistant store manager, Kimberly Wilson from the Blue Springs location presented a full range of business casual looks to women in the most recent training session. The demonstration focused on how to make the most use out of the pieces you own. Cindy and Kimberly showed how accessories can take an outfit from a business casual office to after-hours professional events, or even to a casual evening out with friends. Cindy reminded the women to always remember the "business" part of business casual and that the bottom line is always in favor of the company dress code, which will vary from employer to employer.

Cindy and Kimberly invited the women to visit their store for a personal shopping experience. Each woman received a handout with the key points of the presentation and a compact mirror. Cato joins the many businesses that support Women's Employment Network through volunteerism and will be presenting to each training session through the rest of the year.

Thank you Cindy and Kimberly! 


WEN Graduates Participate in Reach for the STARS Challenge

Graduates from Class #263 are involved

Every summer, Women's Employment Network supporters participate in Reach for the STARS, a ten-week fundraising challenge, to raise money on behalf of WEN. Either as teams or as individuals, Reach for the STARS participants come up with fun ways to raise dollars, including office blue jean days, theme parties and trivia nights.  Even though the main purpose of these events is to raise funds for WEN, STARS are also raising awareness for WEN and drawing new supporters. 

This year, for the first time, a team of recent WEN program graduates is participating in the challenge. All individuals and teams participating in Reach for the STARS are encouraged to raise at minimum $1,000. In order to reach this goal, the WEN Alumnae team has gathered 10 women who have committed to each meet a goal of raising $100.

To donate to the WEN Alumnae team, or any of the other 2014 STARS, go here


Shop at AmazonSmile and Amazon to make a donation to WEN

Are you an online shopper? Amazon has introduced AmazonSmile, a giving platform that allows you to support your favorite charities as you shop online. When you make eligible purchases, Amazon will donate a percentage of the purchase price to WEN at no additional cost to yourself.

Please take a minute and set the Women's Employment Network as your AmazonSmile charity beneficiary. Below is additional information about AmazonSmile and instructions on how you can select WEN to receive gifts.

What is AmazonSmile?
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support WEN every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, Amazon will donate 0.5% of purchase price to WEN.

How do I select WEN to support when shopping on AmazonSmile?
On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you need to select WEN to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Then AmazonSmile remembers your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make on AmazonSmile will result in a donation. This will link you directly to smile.amazon.com in support of WEN http://smile.amazon.com/ch/43-1508734

Which products on AmazonSmile are eligible for charitable donations?
Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages. Recurring Subscribe-and-Save purchases and subscription renewals are not currently eligible.

Can I use my existing Amazon.com account on AmazonSmile?
Yes, you use the same account on Amazon.com and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.


 

June 2014 Issue

Last year's winning STARS!

Become a 2014 STAR!

Summer is the time for fun, and we hope that this year you'll be a part of the Women's Employment Network's summer campaign, Reach for the STARS, which is equal parts fundraiser, friend-raiser and fun-raiser!

STARS participate as teams (or individuals) and over the course of eight weeks (June 6th - August 8th) raise money in creative ways, all while competing with other participants. STARS come up with their own strategy, whether it means throwing a party, promoting your team over social media, or even renting a dunk tank for a fun office event.

We hope you will join us as a STAR this summer. Please call or email Nicole Levy at 816-595-1297 or nlevy@kcwen.org for more information.


WEN Job Fair Connect Job Seekers and Employers

Enterprise Bank staff speak with job seekers at the Spring Job Fair

WEN's Spring 2014 Job Fair was a wonderful success!  Over 30 Kansas City employers including UMB Financial Corporation, Bank Midwest, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, Saint Luke’s Health System, UPS, Commerce Bank, and Ameristar Casino & Hotel joined us on May 20th at the Sheraton Crown Center. This was a great opportunity for job seekers to meet with employers face-to-face, and approximately 600 men and women attended the fair.

We had great feedback from employers who participated in the job fair, including Enterprise Bank & Trust: "We are a strong supporter of the Women's Employment Network Job Fair. It is well advertised and attendance is outstanding compared to other Job Fairs we have attended in Kansas City. The location is convenient and it is a great opportunity to recruit diverse, qualified candidates. We definitely plan to attend future job fairs promoted by the Women's Employment Network and will attending the next Job Fair in October!!!"

WEN's next Job Fair will take place on October 14th, and we'd love for your company to participate. For more information and to register as a participating employer, please visit www.kcwen.org or call 816-822-8083.


Thank You to Listen To Your Mother - Kansas City

Thank you so much to the Listen To Your Mother Show - Kansas City team, all of the cast members, and those who attended the show on May 3rd. Each year LTYM selects one local non-profit as a charitable beneficiary and this year WEN was thrilled to be selected.
 

The LTYM cast

This inspiring event showcases intimate stories of motherhood read before a live audience. Listen to Your Mother Show (LTYMS) is a national movement that gives motherhood a microphone. While LTYMS has featured bestselling authors and professional actors, every day people with a story to tell makes up the heart of LTYMS. WEN staff attended the show and felt that the stories shared by the performers, whether funny or sad, painted a picture of the diverse experiences of women in the Kansas City area, include those faced by our clients.

WEN truly appreciated this opportunity! You can read more about Listen to Your Mother and watch videos of performances here.


Congratulations Graduates!

Congratulations WEN Graduates! At the end of each five-week employment training class, WEN hosts a graduation ceremony to honor the women who came to the program to turn their lives around and the progress they made toward finding sustainable employment. At each graduation, women share stories of their WEN journey to a captive audience of family members, WEN Alumnae and community members. We'd like to share one of those stories:
 

Recent WEN program graduates

"The number one reason I came to the WEN program, was that I lost a long-term job, and even with 15 years of professional experience, my job search wasn't working out. I needed some updating. I got a reality check that things had changed and jobs were not just there for the asking. I had to work to get my credentials up to par. WEN helped push me further in the right direction. They helped me brush up on my workplace etiquette, the do's and the don'ts. I learned to always show my professionalism and have self-esteem in whatever I do.

Reason number two was that my financial status needed cleaning up and without a job or career this would never happen. I received great advice on how to handle my budget and get by on my perfect-for-now job while continuing to search for my ideal job.

My future goal is to obtain an Associate's or Bachelor's degree in Business Administration or Human Resources and find myself a career and not just a job. I hope to remain actively involved with WEN or be an example to help those who need a gentle push."


Eyeglasses for WEN Clients

At a routine eye exam at Insight Eyecare Specialists, WEN's Personal Support Specialist, Erin Cole, spoke with Dr. Andrea Keele about the work she does at WEN, and the work WEN does to support women in the KC metro. Dr. Keele was moved by WEN's mission and offered to be of help to WEN in an untraditional way: by offering to provide assistance with an eye exam and glasses to a WEN client in need of vison care.

Clients discuss areas of need with WEN
program staff

Kimberly Anstaett, a WEN participant, from Leavenworth, KS shared that she had not had an eye exam in several years and was in need of new glasses, as her current frames were bent and the lenses were cracked. WEN's Personal Support team sought out resources in Leavenworth, KS, but was unable to find anyone who could assist her.  After remembering the conversation with Dr. Keele and receiving permission from Kimberly, WEN's Personal Support Specialist reached out and got an immediate response from Insight Eyecare Specialists. 

They offered to cover the eye exam and glasses at no cost to her. Kimberly was able to go in for her appointment the following Monday, and she went home with brand new glasses that day! Kimberly is very pleased with her new glasses and had them well in advance of her mock interview, allowing her to feel prepared and confident going in. 

Going forward, Insight Eyecare Specialists has offered to provide an eye exam and glasses to a woman in need as often as once per quarter. WEN and our clients are fortunate to have Insight Eyecare Specialists as a community partner.

Insight Eyecare Specialists 
8 locations:
• KC North - 816.476.4017
• Independence - 816.795.7777
• St Joe - 816.279.2339
• Platte City - 816.431.2202
• Rock Port - 816.744.2886
• CrossRoads - 816.431.2202
• Harrisonville - 816.884.5212
• Pleasant Hill - 816.987.2203 


Volunteer Spotlight: Leanne Finger

Leanne Finger, Senior Human Resources Business Partner at St. Luke's Health System, is one of WEN's most dedicated volunteers, helping with mock interviews for women participating in WEN's training program for over 7 years.

Leanne Finger, WEN volunteer

With 18 years of experience managing human resources for St. Luke's, Leanne has the perfect background to let clients know how to make a good impression during their interviews. This month, we caught up with Leanne to get the details of her experience as a WEN volunteer.

How has volunteering affected your professional and/or personal life?
Volunteering brings balance to my life. I can have a lot of things going on, be busy and maybe a little stressed, then go to WEN to volunteer. During and after volunteering it reminds me it’s not “all about me,” that every woman is going through challenges and I am fortunate to be able to assist these wonderful women in a small way.

What has been your most rewarding volunteer experience here at WEN?
Every time I volunteer at WEN is rewarding. One or more of the women touches me with their story. I always ask each interviewee what brought them to WEN and what have they learned about themselves. Every single one talks about how WEN has helped them to boost their self-confidence and self-worth and how they are now ready to go out and be successful.

When did you know that your commitment to WEN would continue for years to come?
I was pretty much “hooked” after my first volunteer session with WEN. I realized that the time doing mock interviews benefits me because I so much enjoy the woman I meet, along with the WEN staff who always make you feel so welcomed when you go.

What would you like for each interviewee to take away from the mock interview experience?
I am hopeful they will realize that the mock interview process is a learning tool for them, designed to help them improve. Each opportunity they participate in and every interview they have going forward is going to add to their experience and help them to improve.

What is your favorite quotation?: "What you resist, persists."

How do you believe women will impact the future? In a wonderful way!  On the political front we are seeing more women in higher political offices and in executive offices we are seeing more women CEO’s which will show what great leaders women can be! 


WEN Job Fairs

WEN is seeking Kansas City employers to join us as at our upcoming 2014 Kansas City Job Fairs. WEN's job fairs are free to job seekers and are a wonderful opportunity to recruit qualified employees while supporting WEN's efforts to improve the economic wellness of women in Kansas City.

Our past events have been highly successful, with dozens of local companies participating and having between over 500 job seekers in attendance at each event. Don't miss out!

Date and Time:
Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 and Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 from 2:00 to 5:00 PM

Location:
Sheraton Crown Center, Gillham Hall
2345 McGee Street Kansas City, MO 64108

Admission:
FREE for all job seekers

Payment required from all participating employers: $350 per event, or $600 for both Spring and Fall Job Fairs
More information and registration can be found here


Fun Event Benefiting WEN

The second Listen to Your Mother Show: Kansas City, will take place at Unity Temple on the Plaza  on May 3, 2014 at 7:30 PM. This inspiring event showcases intimate stories of motherhood read before a live audience. WEN was selected as the 2014 LTYM: KC charity partner. We are thrilled to have been chosen as the beneficiary of this show and hope you can attend!

Listen to Your Mother Show (LTYMS) is a national movement that gives motherhood a microphone. While LTYMS has featured bestselling authors and professional actors, every day people with a story to tell make up the heart of LTYMS.

A half live state event and half social media project that connects local writers with the community and the world online, LTYMS was started in 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin by blogger Ann Imig. This year there will be 32 shows nationwide up from 25 in 2013, 10 in 2012 and 5 in 2011.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 on the day of the show.  There is a special Early Bird package – only available until April 24 – for $50.  This package includes two tickets and a $25 gift card to Le Fou Frog French Bistro. Tickets can be purchased here or at the door before the event.


 

February 2014 Issue

Last Chance to Register for Credit Builders Alliance Workshop! 

Join us on February 21st for a one-day interactive credit building training designed to provide practitioners with the basics, best practices, and successful strategies for helping clients build credit, save, and improve their access to employment, housing, and other opportunities. WEN is hosting the day-long training at the Missouri Health Department at 2400 Troost Avenue.

This training is designed to help practitioners:

  • Understand credit building as an essential and viable activity, foundational to the successful implementation of any financial asset building strategy for low-income and underserved individuals and families;
  • Explore tools and develop skills in order to design, implement, and measure credit building programs based on client needs and goals as well as organization missions and capacities; and
  • Engage with other training participants and learn from Credit Builders Alliance's growing Credit Building Community about best practices in credit education, access to responsible financial products, and measuring and communicating client credit outcomes.

This training includes lunch and parking and is open to any local practitioners interested in learning how to support low- and moderate-income individuals build or rebuild their credit and improve their financial stability. Please RSVP by Monday, February 17, 2014.

DATE: February 21, 2014

TIME: 9 AM to 5 PM

COST: $10 per participant (includes parking and lunch)

LOCATION:
MO Health Department, Biery Auditorium
2400 Troost Ave., Kansas City, MO 64108

Please call 816-822-8083 to RSVP. 


Client Employment Update

In May of 2013, Nichole Ward was a proud graduate of the University of Central Missouri, having earned a BS in Safety Management and a BA in Chemistry, she was ready for her role in the workforce. She was hoping to accomplish that before her first student loan payments were due.

After several months of applying for jobs in her field and not having much success, she heard about Women’s Employment Network and attended the September training session. At WEN she learned the importance of having a focused and strategic job search, how to look for career ladder opportunities and how to research the industries that needed her knowledge.  She also honed her interviewing skills. Most importantly she accepted that education isn’t always the key, sometimes you have to get your foot in the door and prove yourself.

After completing the training she took a survival job to help stabilize her financial situation and continued a strategic job search. As a result, in December she found her “dream job” as a lab technician at Catalent Pharma Solutions. 


Invest in Women at WEN's 2014 Luncheon

Please join us for the Women's Employment Network Annual Luncheon on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 from 11:45am to 1:00pm at the Sheraton Crown Center. Our annual luncheon brings together supporters, volunteers and professionals from across the community to celebrate the brave women in our community who have worked to overcome great obstacles and barriers.

Honorary Co-Chairs
Elizabeth J. Ferrell and Kate Ferrell Banks

Luncheon Co-Chairs
Rania Anderson and Carol Hallquist

Funds raised through our luncheon our vital to help ensure that women in our community receive the training and support services they need to gain self-sufficiency for themselves and the families that depend on them.

Sponsorships begin at $1,200 and come with a table for ten and special recognition.
Table Hosts are also welcome! Individual tickets are $75 and can be purchased below.

For more information or to become a sponsor, please contact Nicole Levy at 816-595-1297 or nlevy@kcwen.org 


Volunteer Spotlight: Kathy Cooper

The Women's Employment Network owes so much of our success to the dedication of our volunteer network. Volunteers participate in a range of ways each training session, from conducting mock interviews to leading workshops or mentoring clients long-term. Feedback from the experienced professionals who volunteer with WEN gives clients a competitive edge that helps them get hired.

Kathy Cooper, Vice President of Human Resources at Enterprise Bank & Trust, knows a thing or two about hiring. She has over 25 years of hiring experience, initially at the First National Bank of Olathe before taking her current position at Enterprise Bank & Trust. Kathy has recently joined WEN's volunteer network and has helped with both resume writing and mock interviews and looks forward to finding additional ways to support "networking, helping women become successful, and assisting to women in finding career opportunities."

We got in touch with Kathy to learn what makes her tick and what she sees in the future for women. Here are just a few of her favorite things.

Hobbies: Gardening, theater and cheering on my five nieces and nephews at their sporting events.

Favorite quote: "We work to live, not live to work."

Favorite female power movie: Steel Magnolias

Like many of WEN's volunteers, Kathy has big dreams for what women can accomplish in the coming years and shared this vision of the future: "I believe you will continue to see women in key leadership roles in business and politics.  We will see a female president in the near future.  This will aid in making changes in the health, welfare and equality for women."

Are you interested in becoming a WEN volunteer? Contact Mickella Shecut: kshecut@kcwen.org or 816-595-2398. 


Listen To Your Mother Show - Kansas City

For the past several years, women in select cities around the U.S. have been celebrating Mother’s Day by heading to a theater to share the joys, trials, and occasional absurdities of motherhood with local writers at LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER shows. Each show is produced, directed and performed by local communities, for local communities. This year there will be 32 shows nationwide and WEN will benefit from Kansas City’s!

“WEN is thrilled to be the 2014 charitable beneficiary of LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER Show: Kansas City,” said Sherry Turner, WEN President. “This event is an excellent example of how organizations can come together to create a collaboration to improve the lives of women in the Kansas City region. The 2014 LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER Show: Kansas City will take place at Unity Temple on the Plaza on May 3rd at 7:30pm and 10% of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to WEN. For more information contact:  Erin Margolin (erinmargolin@gmail.com); or Sarah Guthrie (sarahjdg1@gmail.com).


 

January 2013 Issue

Staff Updates

We are excited to announce that WEN has recently undergone some staffing changes. Read on to learn about Kellie and Pam's new roles at WEN.

Kellie Shecut Promoted to Volunteer Coordinator
Joining WEN as a temporary employee in 2007, Kellie’s hard work, bright personality, and eagerness to learn, quickly earned her a full-time position within the WEN team. During her nearly seven years with WEN, she has consistently demonstrated a commitment to promoting positive change for women, their families, and the community we serve. Kellie’s incredible ability to engage clients, connect with volunteers, and build strong community relationships made her an ideal candidate for promotion when a vacancy opened in WEN's Volunteer Coordinator position. In this new role as Volunteer Coordinator, Kellie will have the opportunity to use her knowledge and talents to expand community awareness and engage volunteers as well as take on additional responsibilities related to WEN's employment training program. Join us in congratulating Kellie Shecut, WEN Volunteer Coordinator, on her promotion!   

Pam Thomas Joins WEN as Receptionist
After a yearlong unemployment, Pam Thomas was left wondering if she would ever find employment again. Prolonged unemployment and numerous rejections had taken their toll not just on her finances, but on her self-esteem as well. When Pam found WEN in July 2013, she truly felt she was out of options. Unsure of what to expect, Pam entered the program hoping to reinvigorate her job search. Over the next five weeks, Pam not only learned practical skills of resume building and interview skills, she felt a renewed sense of confidence and strength.

Following graduation, Pam was able to apply what she learned at WEN to secure full-time employment. During her time in the program, WEN staff recognized Pam’s talents, as well as her desire to serve women in situations similar to her own. It was Pam’s rich experience and her obvious passion that made her WEN’s top candidate for the newly vacated front desk position. Pam is excited to join the team and is excited to have the opportunity to give back to others in challenging situations. The entire WEN staff would like to welcome Pam to the team!


WEN Luncheon: Save the Date and Sponsorships

Make plans to join us at our 2014 luncheon on Tuesday, April 8th at the Sheraton Crown Center.  The WEN luncheon has consistently been one of the metro area’s largest and most inspirational events, and 2014 will be no exception!  Your support will help ensure that WEN continues its vital mission to help women realize economic independence.

Invest in Kansas City women and become a Sponsor or Host Committee member today! You can find additional information about the luncheon and sponsorship here. For questions or to request materials by mail, please contact Nicole Levy at 816-595-1297 or email.


Celebrating Creative Giving

At the Women's Employment Network we are so appreciative for all the support we receive from individuals and businesses in the Kansas City area and especially love when our friends come up with creative ways to give to WEN.

Staff breaking Terramundi pots and sorting coins.

For the third year in a row, Casey and Sloane Simmons, owners ofSTUFF in Brookside, hosted a private holiday shopping event benefiting WEN. Complete with drinks and snacks, friends of WEN were able to socialize and shop for gifts and a portion of the proceeds were donated to the Women's Employment Network. Thank you STUFF for keeping WEN in mind this holiday season!

Speaking of STUFF, at WEN's 2012 Luncheon STUFF donated 110 Terramundi Money Pots as centerpieces for each table. Traditionally, the owner of a pot will fill it with coins and then make a wish as they smash it. Luncheon guests loved the Terramundi Pots, and we were delighted that Cerner requested additional pots so they could complete a workplace giving campaign in honor of WEN. Earlier this monthCerner presented WEN with 27 pots from this campaign at a Cerner Town Hall Meeting which were filled with $983 in coins! Every penny counts and it was a pleasure to see how the Terramundi pots were used to spread awareness of WEN's programs and activities.

If you have an idea for a creative way you or your business could give back to WEN we would be happy to work with you to make your plan a reality.


WEN Announced as Second KC Financial Opportunity Center

On November 22nd, Greater Kansas City LISC announced that the Women's Employment Network was selected as the second Kansas City site 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 and at various partner locations including the Blue Hills Business Center at 5008 Prospect, which is located in a LISC NeighborhoodsNOW community.

WEN is thrilled to join the Financial Opportunity Center network. The Women's Employment Network has always seen the positive impact for our clients in providing financial education in tandem with job search. Addressing both a client's financial and employment challenges empowers the women we serve and makes it possible for clients to escape a downward spiral.

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 offered 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.

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. 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.

It is a privilege to partner with Greater Kansas City LISC so that we are both better able to achieve a common goal: empowering women to achieve financial independence.


 

October 2013 Issue

WEN Job Fair Makes the News

Over 500 job seekers and 34 area employer attended WEN’s Fall Job Fair on Monday, October 21st, which was featured on KSHB Channel 41 News (and KCTV 5 News). Watch the news clip here

Some of the participating employers included:  UMB Financial Corporation, Argosy Casino Hotel & Spa, CBE Group, Bombardier Aerospace Learjet, American Family Insurance, Kansas State University, Westin and Sheraton Kansas City Hotels at Crown Center, UPS and many more. Position openings include sales, management, and hospitality, industrial, retail, information technology, administrative, and warehouse positions in all industry types.

In addition to providing Kansas City job-seekers with the opportunity to connect with employers, this event benefits the Women's Employment Network. Proceeds go directly towards helping WEN sustain and enhance our critical employment training, resources, and support services. Many thanks to everyone who helped make this event a success!

Save the date: Our Spring career fair is set for May 20, 2014 at the Sheraton Crown Center! 


Clothing Drive Readies Women for Interviews

UMB employees on their visit to WEN

"Suited and Booted" is a phrase that many of WEN's clients use to describe themselves at the end of their time in the five-week training program. Not only have they polished their resumes and cover letters and developed a plan for success, but once dressed in an interview-appropriate suit, they also look the part! WEN's Professional Clothing Bank is stocked entirely with donated suits, blouses and other professional accessories provided by individuals and companies in Kansas City.

Recently, we were happy to welcome a group of UMB employees who visited WEN to witness our program in action. UMB Financial Corporation had a professional clothing drive and collected dozens of professional pieces that the women of WEN can wear to their upcoming interviews. WEN is so appreciative of all the community members who make clothing donations and help women make a good impression during their job search. A special thanks to UMB!

Interested in making a donation? WEN is currently accepting Fall/Winter clothing. Due to space limitations we only accept professional clothing that is suitable for a job interview (e.g., suits, blazers, blouses, dress slacks). Donations are accepted Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon. Learn more about the clothing bank here


Kansas City's Microloan Fund Reaches $1M

WEN is proud to have been involved in the creation of the KC Regional Microloan Program and to see the fund reach $1 million in just a year and a half of operation. The Women's Employment Network, Women's Business Center, KCSourceLink, Small Business Development Centers at UMKC and JCCC, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the Small Business Administration and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. joined forces to make this program possible.

These groups came together and partnered with justine PETERSEN, the major St. Louis microlender, to build a microloan program in Kansas City. Loans are administered to small businesses in Kansas City by justine PETERSEN, which is housed out of WEN's office.

The average microloan is less than $10,000. Forty-seven percent of the loans are made in Jackson County, half of which are east of the Troost coorridor. Twenty-eight percent of the loans are made in Johnson County. Eighty percent of the borrowers are women and 7 percent are veterans.

Learn more in this Kansas City Business Journal story. 


2013 United Way Campaign: Designate Your Gift to WEN

Each year more than 1,600 companies and organizations work with United Way of Greater Kansas City to raise funds that support impactful programs in the community.

This is a wonderful opportunity to give to a charity of your choice since many employers will match donations and boost the impact of your gift! You can choose to designate your 2013 United Way contribution to the Women's Employment Network.  Just choose the option "United Way in Another City or Non-United Way Agency." You can write in WEN's information on the form, including our FIN Number, which is 431508734.

We've even made it easy for you! Click here for a Donor Designation Form with WEN's donation information. The United Way campaign runs through November 22nd. Thanks for your support!  


 

September 2013 Issue

Legacy Circle Celebration Draws a Crowd

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 commitment 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.

View pictures from the event here.

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


Spreading the Word about Financial Coaching

Channa Navarro presented on Financial Education at the recent conference.

In efforts to promote WEN's expansion in financial services, Channa Navarro, the new Financial Coach at WEN, presented at the 28th Annual Training Conference of the Mid America Assistance Coalition (MAAC). This conference is attended by over one hundred area social workers and social service workers. Channa discussed WEN's model of financial education and facilitated a discussion of the value of Financial Coaching.  

WEN added the Financial Coaching and Credit Building Program to our offerings in 2013. The program includes one-on-one financial coaching, financial education workshops for WEN clients, community outreach workshops, and credit building with secured credit cards. You can learn more about WEN program offerings here


Calling ALL Companies...Got Talent?

We know your company is filled with employees who rock at their day jobs, but what about when they're off the clock? Is there a secret superstar working for your company? Then don't miss the 3rd Annual Kansas City's Got Talent Corporate Talent Show on Tuesday, Nov. 5th, from 6 to 9PM at Boulevard Brewery benefiting the Women's Employment Network.
 

2012 Kansas City's Got Talent Judges

WEN is recruiting sponsors and participants for the 2013 talent show. There's still time to showcase your companies' hidden talent! The night will also feature an open bar by Boulevard Brewing Company and incredible food catered by The Jacobson.

Is the 3rd Time a Charm?
Current champion, State Street, has taken home the trophy for the past two years. Could year number three be your company's chance to reign? You'll never know if you don't compete. Sponsor today and your company automatically qualifies for one act to compete in the 2013 Talent Show.

  • DON'T miss your chance to knock State Street out of first place.
  • DON'T be the company who sat on the sidelines and watched them (possibly) garner another victory for a three-peat!
  • DO be the next company to sponsor an act...and maybe, just maybe, your act will be victorious!

Your company could possibly be the winner of the 3rd Annual KC Got Talent. But, your company can't win, if it doesn't participate. Get your entry in today!

Minimum sponsorship for act eligibility is $1,500 (includes table for 10 at the event).

More information and sponsorship forms can be found here. For more information, contact Nicole Levy, 816-595-1297 or nlevy@kcwen.org. 


5 Reasons Your Company Should Attend WEN's Job Fair

Make plans to join us for our Fall KC Job Fair on Monday, October 21, 2013. Our past events have been highly successful, with several local companies participating and having between 500 and 800 job seekers in attendance. Don't miss out! Here are the top reasons why your employer should participate:

  1. You will have an opportunity to meet and/or interview a diverse pool of candidates from entry-level to senior management.
  2. You will be part of the KC metro area's largest, most affordable and most successful Job Fairs.
  3. You will be supporting a local non-profit organization, the Women's Employment Network (WEN).
  4. The Women's Employment Network is a registered 501c3, so your registration fee is a tax-deductible donation.
  5. Advertising for these events will reach the entire Kansas City community through a variety of methods: internet, community calendars, social media, local job clubs, ads in local publications, TV commercials and/or radio spots.


The Basics

Date and Time: Monday, October 21st, 2013 from 2:00 to 5:00 PM

Location: Sheraton Crown Center, Gillham Hall, 2345 McGee Street Kansas City, MO 64108

Admission: FREE for all job seekers / Payment required from all participating employers

To learn more about the KC Job Fair or to register your company for the event, go here or contact Nicole Levy, nlevy@kcwen.org or 816-595-1297. 


 

August 2013 Issue

Coming Full Circle

Recently, WEN program staff had a surprise when they heard from a woman who needed help finding work following layoffs at her company. As they gathered information about the woman they realized that she had participated in WEN's Employment Preparation Class #26 twenty-five years ago!

Recent WEN graduates during class

This client first came to WEN in 1988 after struggling to gain traction with her career. During the five-week training program she decided to pursue a different path and ended up finding a job as a Documentation Expert at a pharmaceutical company. She loved her job and, after 24 years working for the same employer, was devastated to be laid-off when the company downsized. After being out of work for nearly a year she remembered the success she had when working with WEN, looked us up online and made a phone call to talk about proactive steps to take toward regaining employment.

WEN provides ongoing career assistance to program graduates, and this client took advantage of all the services we offer. She had WEN help update her resume, attended WEN's Job Club and even participated in mock-interviews. One highlight of her job-search was attending a mock-interview session hosted by Cerner at their Northland location. All the hard work paid off, and within a month she found a new job as a Quality Assurance Specialist for another pharmaceutical company. Another success story! 


OneKC Celebrates Women in Business

Have you seen any of these billboards when driving around Kansas City? WEN is the lead organization of the OneKC for Women alliance which is currently celebrating the power and influence of women throughout the Kansas City Metro area. This campaign is designed to build awareness of the importance of women in business — for the entrepreneurs, their employees and our community — and to bring attention to the resources OneKC for Women offers to women at all stages of their professional life.

As part of the campaign, six digital billboards promoting OneKC for Women can be seen at the following locations:

  • Two billboards on I-35/29 south of Armour
  • I-35 north of Cambridge Circle
  • I-70 west of Brooklyn
  • Hwy 50 at 3rd St.
  • I-29 south of Barry Road

Casey and Sloane Simmons, owners of STUFF are featured in a OneKC for Women billboard.


OneKC for Women is the alliance of the Women’s Employment Network, Women’s Business Center and Women’s Capital Connection. Here, women can find employment opportunities, improve credit worthiness, start and grow a business, or receive business funding.

OneKC for Women builds financial stability for women through employment, entrepreneurship, and access to capital and has the mission of helping women achieve financial self-sufficiency and financial success. Learn more at www.onekcforwomen.com


Got Talent?

At the 2012 Corporate Talent Show, State Street Accountant Jesus Butler won first prize for his original song "I Didn't Account for Your Love."

Hey Kansas City Companies! We know your company is filled with employees who rock at their day jobs, but what about when they're off the clock? Is there a secret superstar working for your company? If so, then support your star and participate in the 3rd Annual Kansas City’s Got Talent Corporate Talent Show, benefiting the Women's Employment Network. 

We hope your company will join us on November 5, 2013 at Boulevard Brewery for a night of talent, humor, food and unlimited beer! Sponsorship levels begin at $1,500. Space and opportunities are limited, so don’t waste any time signing up! All sponsorship money and act information must be submitted by Monday, October 8, 2013.

Feel free to be creative; past talent show acts have included:

  • a magician
  • singing acts
  • an ice carver
  • company dance teams

For a full list of benefits and sponsorship levels or to register your company, please contact Nicole Levy, nlevy@kcwen.org or 816-595-1297. 


5 Reasons Your Company Should Attend WEN's Job Fair

Make plans to join us for our Fall KC Job Fair on Monday, October 21, 2013. Our past events have been highly successful, with several local companies participating and having between 500 and 800 job seekers in attendance. Don't miss out! Here are the top reasons why your employer should participate:

  1. You will have an opportunity to meet and/or interview a diverse pool of candidates from entry-level to senior management.
  2. You will be part of the KC metro area's largest, most affordable and most successful Job Fairs.
  3. You will be supporting a local non-profit organization, the Women's Employment Network (WEN).
  4. The Women's Employment Network is a registered 501c3, so your registration fee is a tax-deductible donation.
  5. Advertising for these events will reach the entire Kansas City community through a variety of methods: internet, community calendars, social media, local job clubs, ads in local publications, TV commercials and/or radio spots.


The Basics

Date and Time: Monday, October 21st, 2013 from 2:00 to 5:00 PM

Location: Sheraton Crown Center, Gillham Hall, 2345 McGee Street Kansas City, MO 64108

Admission: FREE for all job seekers / Payment required from all participating employers

To learn more about the KC Job Fair or to register your company for the event, go here or contact Nicole Levy, nlevy@kcwen.org or 816-595-1297.


Silent Auction to Benefit WEN

Miss Kansas Theresa Vail will be the keynote speaker.

WEN was thrilled to find out that we have been selected as a beneficiary of an upcoming event for the Women's Executive Club.  Supporters of WEN are encouraged to attend the event.

Enjoy Hors d’ oeuvres, wine, networking, fun at the Women’s Executive Club’s upcoming Celebration and Women’s Empowerment Event Tuesday, September 24th from 6-8 p.m. at Deer Creek Golf Club in Overland Park. The evening will include a Silent Auction to benefit the Women’s Employment Network and will feature the current Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail.

TICKETS: (add $10 after 9/15 deadline)

$50 Standard Ticket
$75 VIP - Includes VIP Party with Miss Kansas, Photo-Op & Autographed Photo
$45 Member Standard Ticket
$65 Member VIP - Includes VIP Party with Miss Kansas, Photo-Op & Autographed Photo

For more details and to purchase tickets, please visit: www.acanetwork.org/wec/events/985/


 

July 2013 Issue

 Program Update: A Client's Journey

Upon completing the Employment Preparation and Career Transition Training Program, WEN gives clients the opportunity to reflect on their experience taking the five-week course. We're happy to share the journey of Jana, a recent graduate:

Newly relocated to Kansas City, I had no connections or contacts. I was at a place of transition, moving away from full-time self-employment and needing to return to the workforce. The United Way helpline directed me to WEN and I haven't looked back since!

Jana shares her story at WEN graduation 

I came in with an attitude of defeat; not the most conducive toward success in the workforce! Even more important, it was not conducive to my own self-worth. Going through this program helped me open up my eyes to all that I have done that IS valuable, that IS conducive to future employment in the workforce.

I have been able to take my varied and creative background and reel it all into a more pin-pointed career path that will be beneficial to me financially, emotionally and spiritually.  My goal was to be able to find employment that would provide all of these things for me.  The program at WEN, the staff, the volunteers and their presentations – all have made a positive contribution toward this goal.  I am very grateful for the guidance, assistance and passion all have contributed toward my success and the enrichment of women.

This is a phenomenal organization!  I look forward to when I can be a volunteer at WEN and offer encouragement and passion to others.  Thank you WEN!

Within a week of graduating from WEN, Jana accepted a job offer as a Funeral Home Sales Consultant. In addition to this position, the funeral home created an internship unique to her interests that will allow her to shadow the Funeral Director and learn more about the field. Jana discovered that she would excel as a Funeral Director when she took a career personality test at when and says that she's now working her "Dream Job." 


Got Talent?

At the 2012 Corporate Talent Show, State Street Accountant Jesus Butler won first prize for his original song "I Didn't Account for Your Love."

Hey Kansas City Companies! We know your company is filled with employees who rock at their day jobs, but what about when they're off the clock? Is there a secret superstar working for your company? If so, then support your star and participate in the 3rd Annual Kansas City’s Got Talent Corporate Talent Show, benefiting the Women's Employment Network. 

We hope your company will join us on November 5, 2013 at Boulevard Brewery for a night of talent, humor and unlimited beer! Sponsorship levels begin at $1,500. Space and opportunities are limited, so don’t waste any time signing up! All sponsorship money and act information must be submitted by Monday, October 8, 2013.

Feel free to be creative; past talent show acts have included:

  • a magician
  • singing acts
  • an ice carver
  • company dance teams

For a full list of benefits and sponsorship levels or to register your company, please contact Nicole Levy, nlevy@kcwen.org or 816-595-1297.  


Volunteer Spotlight: Mark Naster

Mark Naster knows a few things about helping women succeed.  “My wife and I have raised three wonderful, accomplished women,” he said.  “We wanted them to have the confidence in themselves to compete equally.  And that their gender would not make a difference to what level of achievement they would have in their lives.”

Mark Naster is a regular volunteer at WEN.

Mark, Resource Development Coordinator for Heartland Habitat, has been a recruiter, consultant and community relations advocate.  A while ago, he developed a job search strategy based on dating.  “Courtship is something everyone can relate to,” Mark said. “We have all been on a date, and we understand that anxiety.  What I encouraged people to do is to look at finding a job like finding a spouse; be selective, ask questions, get to know this person and his or her values.  Do your homework.”

Three years ago, he brought this concept of job search is like dating to the WEN staff as a possible workshop.  “I thought this approach would work with WEN clients.  I take it step by step: first, you want a date, so how do you get the date?” Mark explains.  “Second, what do you do on the date; how to you act?  What questions to you ask?  Third, how to you communicate that you want a second date?  Ask for it!”

Mark’s presentation is similar to having coffee with a friend; he sits around in a circle with the WEN clients and encourages questions and comments as he talks through his philosophy. He enjoys the give and take this less formal presentation allows.  “I tell the ladies to take responsibility for their own job searches,” he said.  “View yourself as an asset.  They will hire you because they see you can accomplish tasks.  Tell them how you have been successful, while asking questions to ensure this company is right for you.” 

Thank you, Mark for your years of volunteering at WEN! 


Calling All WEN Alumnae!

Whether you graduated from WEN last week or years ago, we would love to have you join us at a WEN Alumnae Association Happy Hour on
August 8, 2013 from 6:00-7:30 PM.

Women's Employment Network created the Alumnae Association in 2012 as a way for graduates to keep in touch with their classmates and network with other professional women. The Alumnae Association meets quarterly and alternates between social meetings and educational meetings that give graduates an opportunity to learn professional development tips from speakers. This event marks the 1st anniversary of the Alumnae Association!

The WEN Alumnae Association Happy Hour will take place at Pierpont's Restaurant (in Union Station) and food and drinks are on WEN!

Read this flyer for more details. Please RSVP to Katie Searl (ksearl@kcwen.org) by Friday, August 2. 


 

April 2013 Issue

New WEN brand image.

WEN site gets a makeover

The WEN website got a facelift thanks to the new branding strategy for the OneKC for Women Alliance which was unveiled earlier this month. The new website is just one of the many changes you will see in the near future as the alliance seeks to strengthen its brand and raise awareness.

OneKC for Women is comprised of the Women’s Employment Network, Women’s Business Center and Women’s Capital Connection, who together work to empower women to achieve financial sustainability. Through these organizations, women can find employment training, start and grow a business, or help fund a woman-led business.

WEN and the OneKC for Women alliance partnered with full-service agency Howerton+White, with a location in downtown Kansas City, to create a more user-centric, vibrant online experience. The goal of this transformation was to help women find relevant services easily while at the same time ramping up the alliance's overall brand and strengthening the identity of each partnering group.

In addition to the tabbed access to the three organizations, the portal features a user-directed navigation tool that begins with “I want to …” and offers suggestions such as “get a job” and “find qualified job applicants.” These links lead visitors to the corresponding alliance organizations. With this robust tool, additional resources will continue to be added to assist women in the Kansas City region.

Enjoy the site and feel free to provide WEN with feedback! 


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.


WEN graduate in the news

Keisha and her kids at the WEN luncheon.

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'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.


Necklace raffle raises money for WEN

Raffle Winner: Chad Oehlert

Kansas City jeweler Tivol generously donated a diamond necklace to be raffled at the WEN luncheon. Attendees tickets for a chance to win the diamond necklace, and we are pleased to announce the winner.

The lucky winner of the Tivol Necklace is Chad Oehlert, who attended the luncheon as a guest of his employer, Equity Bank, a longtime WEN supporter. This was Chad's first time attending the luncheon, and as someone who professes to having bad luck, his first time ever winning anything. He's excited to give the necklace to his wife.

Thank you Tivol. The necklace was a hit!

 

 


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. 


Don't forget about WEN's 2013 Job Fairs

Make plans to join WEN at our first of two 2013 KC Job Fairs on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. Our past events have been highly successful, with many local companies participating and as many as 800 job seekers in attendance.  The fairs are free to job seekers, and there's still time to register as an employer.


The Basics:

  • Date and Time:
    Tuesday May 21st, 2013 from 2:00 to 5:00 PM
  • Location:
    Sheraton Crown Center, Gillham Hall
    2345 McGee Street Kansas City, MO 64108
  • Admission:
    FREE for all job seekers / Payment required from all participating employers


Job Seekers:WEN job fairs are free for all job seekers and parking will be validated by the hotel for up to 3 hours. Please plan to dress professionally and bring plenty of copies of your resume.

Employers:All participating employers need to register/pay prior to the event(s). The cost for a booth is $350 (each event) or $600 if your company registers for both events (by May 20, 2013). Here are some reasons why your company should participate:

  1. You will have an opportunity to meet and/or interview a diverse pool of candidates from entry-level to senior management.
  2. You will be part of the KC metro area's largest, most affordable and most successful Job Fairs.
  3. You will be supporting a local non-profit organization, the Women's Employment Network (WEN).
  4. The Women's Employment Network is a registered 501c3, so your registration fee is a tax-deductible donation.
  5. Advertising for these events will reach the entire Kansas City community through a variety of methods: internet, community calendars, social media, local job clubs, ads in local publications, TV commercials and/or radio spots.


Payment Options (payment is ONLY required from participating employers)

  1. Complete the 2013 Registration Form and mail it in with payment to the address listed on the form.
  2. Register over the phone by calling Nicole Levy at (816) 595-1297
  3. Pay via Paypal by using the link provided on our Job Fairs page.

Congratulations Catherine Kelly, Beth K. Smith Award Recipient

Named after one of WEN's co-founders and established in 2010, the Beth K. Smith Award is presented each year to honor individuals or corporations who share a common vision of supporting women in our community and who are committed to advancing the mission of the Women's Employment Network.

 

Catherine Kelly, Vice President of Community Service Programs for the Archer Foundation is the 2014 award recipient for a variety of reasons. Catherine is an essential part of our WEN culture. She has contributed over 2,400 hours of her time and touches every aspect of WEN's programming and operation, from branding strategy, to creative design, to client training, and event planning.

Catherine understands the needs of the clients we serve. She understands our philanthropic community and the challenges of non-profits. She mirrors the business mindset of our organization as we strive to work smart, reduce redundancies in our marketplace and create systemic change in the lives of the women we serve.

We are grateful for everything that Catherine has contributed to WEN. Additionally we thank the Archer Foundation for allowing WEN to benefit from the time and talent of Catherine. Come see her receive the award at WEN's 2014 luncheon at 11:45 AM on April 8, 2014. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased here.

Congratulations Catherine! 


Take the Stage for A Good Cause - Thursday, November 6th at Boulevard Brewery

It's time for your employees to shine. We know your company is filled with employees who rock at their day jobs, but what about when they're off the clock? Let your secret star-to-be take to the stage for the 4th Annual KC's Got Talent, a corporate talent show benefiting the Women's Employment Network.

A participant shows of his skills at last year's event.

You can help create a brighter future for the women served by WEN. KC's Got Talent is an event like none other, where a dozen area corporations compete to take home the KC's Got Talent trophy and prizes. Dance, sing or play - each company sends one act to represent them with a five-minute performance. Local celebrity judges, along with the audience, will choose the winner. The event takes place at Boulevard Brewing Company. Beer will be provided as well as delicious food provided by Houlihan's.

For more information on how to participate, contact Nicole Levy at 816-595-1297 or nlevy@kcwen.org. You can also download the 2014 KCGT brochure and sponsorhip form here


 

WEN's Job Fair is Just Around the Corner

Make plans to join us for our Fall 2014 Job Fair. Our past events have been highly successful, with dozens of local companies participating and over 500 job seekers in attendance at each event. Don't miss out!
 

A job seeker visits the WEN booth at the last job fair.

Date and Time:
Tuesday, October 14th
2:00 to 5:00 PM

Location:
Sheraton Crown Center, Gillham Hall
2345 McGee Street Kansas City, MO 64108

Admission:
FREE for all job seekers
Payment required from all participating employers:
$350 ($175 for nonprofit organizations).

Job Seekers:
You are welcome to attend these events at NO charge and your parking will be validated by the hotel for up to 3 hours. Please plan to dress professionally and bring plenty of copies of your resume. Our events will help you connect with some of Kansas City's Top Employers.

Employers:
The cost for a booth is $350. Our KC Job Fairs are first-class events that will connect your company with hundreds of qualified candidates.

To register, please complete the 2014 Job Fair Registration form which can be downloaded from the side-bar on this page. You may pay by credit card online, mail in a check (made payable to WEN), or our call our Development Office at 816-595-1297 to pay by credit card over the phone. 

New Interns at WEN

For years, Women's Employment Network has benefited from a productive partnership with the Kansas University School of Social Welfare. Each school year WEN is joined by two new social work interns, who work alongside WEN's licensed social worker to help address the barriers to employment faced by the women in the Employment Preparation and Career Transition Training Program.

This August we were happy to welcome the two newest interns to WEN! Brianna and Erica will be here through, April and will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with WEN's clients as they gain valuable experience. Here's a little more about WEN's interns:

Brianna
Brianna is a Senior at the University of Kansas, getting her degree in Social Welfare. Her professional goal is to become a Life Coach, focusing on everyday decision-making and helping people address their perceived areas of weakness. She is drawn to social work because she loves to help people figure out their strengths (and acknowledge their weaknesses) so that they can have confidence in themselves and make the most out of their strengths and natural talents. Brianna is close with her family (which includes 10 siblings) and loves being a mother to her three year old. While at WEN, Brianna looks forward to connecting with clients and helping them regain their confidence and work toward their dreams.

Erica
Erica is a Senior at the University of Kansas, and will be graduating with her Bachelor's of Social Work in May 2015. Her ultimate career goal is to become a mental health therapist in private practice, specializing in trauma. Erica has substantial experience working with children and youth, including serving as a Group Leader at Boys & Girls Club in Lawrence for one year, and is currently also an Attendant Care Provider at Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center in Lawrence. Erica is excited to intern at the Women's Employment Network and build experience with a new client demographic.  She likes that WEN's program focuses on the whole woman, not just her employment needs, and looks forward to exploring a new area of social work. 

Cerner Employee Lends a Hand

Kaleena encourages a current client in the job search lab.

WEN was fortunate that Kaleena Rounds, a project manager at Cerner, chose to provide WEN with 40 hours of service last month, because she strongly believes in our mission. Since Kaleena has personally benefited from mentoring, networking and professional development in her own career, she wanted to give back.

WEN's training was in its peak week, with women involved in resume development, prepping for mock interviews, and selecting outfits from the clothing bank. Additionally, graduates from past sessions were on-site, actively engaged in their job searches. Kaleena assisted staff in the clothing bank, sat patiently with women in the job search lab helping them review job leads and complete applications, and provided feedback on cover letters. She developed and led an interactive presentation on "Interviewing Tips" that helped clients see the process not only from their own perspective, but also through the eyes of the potential employer. Her relaxed, open and calm demeanor made it easy for the women to connect with her and share their stories.

Kaleena's time at WEN was a great asset because she was open to being of service and support not only to the women in the training program, but with staff projects as well. We hope to see Kaleena as a regular volunteer in the near future! 

Loss of Community Champion and WEN Board Member, Steve Metzler

Women's Employment Network joins the entire Kansas City community in recognizing the legacy of our friend and colleague, Steve Metzler, who passed away unexpectedly on March 24th. Steve supported women in our community for more than a decade through his board member roles with the Women's Employment Network and the Women's Business Center as well as ongoing support of the OneKC for Women alliance. His generosity of time and talent ensured the organizations he became involved in would flourish and provide significant impact to our community.

Steve's energy and approach to organizational governance will be missed by so many institutions in our community. The Board of Directors and staff of the Women's Employment Network celebrate the wonderful man that Steve Metzler was and will never forget his lasting contribution to our organization and the clients we serve.

Steve's obituary can be read online at the Kansas City Star.

Our Annual Report is Now Available!

WEN's 2013-14 Annual Report is now online! Click here to view outcomes from last year, statistics about our clientele and some truly inspiring and touching client stories.

Rania Anderson - Published Author and WEN Advisory Council Member

WEN is excited to spread the good news for one of our Advisory Council members, Rania Anderson. Rania has recently become a published author, releasing a book for women in developing countries named "UNDETERRED: The Six Success Habits of Women in Emerging Economies". The book is aimed toward women in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The book is now available on Amazon, iBookstore and Barnes & Noble. Way to go, Rania!

Visit the book's website here.

BOARD NEWS

Vice-Chair McCurdy Named Justice Awards Honoree

Congratulations are again in order, as we learned that Board Vice-Chair Megan McCurdy has been selected as a 2015 Women's Justice Awards Honoree! McCurdy, recently elected partner at law firm Stinson Leonard Street, is being recognized as a 2015 "Rising Star" by Missouri Lawyers Media. Missouri Lawyers Media recognizes outstanding women across the state of Missouri who have demonstrated leadership, integrity, service, sacrifice and accomplishment in improving the quality of justice and exemplifying the highest ideals of the legal profession. We couldn't be more proud of you, Megan! Way to go! Read more here.

BOARD NEWS

WEN's Influential Women

KC Magazine has recently announced the 2015 class of Influential Women, and three of WEN's Board members made the cut! This annual program honors local women in the creative, entrepreneurial, and nonprofit communities.

Board Chair Jen Gulvik, along with board members Angela Hurt and Victoria Kandt, were chosen to be honored along with 26 other Kansas City leaders for their leadership and ability to make the community a better place. Angela Hurt started and self-funded a technology company called Veracity Consulting in 2006, and the firm has since evolved into one with a national presence today. Jen Gulvik, WEN Board Chair, is the senior vice president and creative director for Houlihan's Restaurants, Inc. Since joining the team in 2002, she has developed award-winning marketing programming that is even studied in college textbooks. WEN's third Influential Woman is Victoria Kandt, owner of her own career development business, Victoria Kandt & Associates. Her company offers services such as organizational culture analysis, teambuilding and professional image. Congratulations, WEN is lucky to have you in our corner! For more information on the honorees and the April 2nd event, visit the Influential Women website.

The 2015 WEN Luncheon Countdown - Don't Miss It!

Join Honorary Co-Chairs Dianne Cleaver and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, and Luncheon Co-Chairs Katie Van Luchene and Beth Zollars, for WEN's annual luncheon on Wednesday, April 8th at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center. Honor the legacy of WEN in our community and hear personal stories of triumph and sucess from clients and graduates. Learn more and buy tickets here!

 

WEN Enters Partnership with Kansas City Public Library

WEN has joined forces with the Kansas City Public Library on an initiative aimed at providing a continuum of financial literacy services and resources to adults living in three low-income neighborhoods at no cost to them. The "Smart investing@your library" program is a national grant-funded program administered jointly by the FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) Investor Education Foundation and the American Library Association. Through the program, library patrons are empowered to make smart financial decisions, both for long-term investing and day-to-day money matters. The program is especially concerned with helping those who might otherwise have limited access to important information relevant to their financial well-being.

The program will target three low-income neighborhoods served by a library branch used heavily by residents experiencing economic challenges. The project goal is to support those starting out or starting over on the path to financial stability. Through a series of culturally responsive interventions, the project partners will help the targeted audiences understand the essentials of the banking system, avoid identity theft, establish credit as an asset-building tool, acquire budgeting skills and gain proficiency in financial communications.  

WEN anticipates that the partnership with the Library will also strengthen the local Financial Opportunity network, which includes WEN, the Guadalupe Centers, Inc. and the Prosperity Center for Financial Opportunity. All three will be participating in this initiative. Find out more about the smart investing@your library program by visiting their website, or contact WEN's Financial Literacy Specialist Latoya Woods.

WEN Announces 5th Annual KC's Got Talent!

It's time for your employees to shine! We know your company is filled with employees who rock at their day jobs, but what about when they're off the clock? Select a star-in-the making from your company to take the stage at the Fifth Annual KC's Got Talent - an exciting fundraiser benefiting WEN. KC's Got Talent is an event unlike any other, where a dozen area corporations compete to take home the KC's Got Talent trophy and fabulous prizes. Each company/sponsor sends one act to represent them in a five- minute performance. Local celebrity judges and the audience--a veritable who's who of our city's top businesses-- help choose the winners. A wide selection of Boulevard beers, wine and delicious bites courtesy of Houlihan's will be provided.

Join us and be part of one of the most fun and unique fundraisers in Kansas City! Tuesday, November 10th, from 6-9 pm at Boulevard Brewing Company. Learn more and check out last year's videos and photos! .

Phoenix Art Gallery Promotion to Support WEN

Don't miss your chance to check out Phoenix Gallery's new location on the Country Club Plaza and support WEN. The Plaza location will be running a special promotion until the end of August to support Women's Employment Network. Customers who mention the Gallery's promotional ad will receive $5 off their purchase and, for each purchase, $5 will be donated to WEN. Visit the gallery, purchase great local artwork and support a worthy cause! Check out the gallery's site here.

Client Spotlight: 2014 WEN Graduate Celebrates 1st Year Work Anniversary

Clients sometimes wonder how exactly they will benefit from mock interviews, which are an integral part of WEN's program. Mock interviews provide a “dress rehearsal” for clients that helps them reduce anxiety, increase confidence, practice interviewing skills and obtain feedback from HR Professionals who volunteer their time with WEN. All clients quickly see the benefits, and once in a while, clients get hired as a result. Such was the case with Ida, who attended WEN's five-week program in the spring of 2014, where she participated in a mock interview with a volunteer from UMB's human resource team. After the mock interview, Ida was told that she had been pre-screened for an opening at UMB. She was encouraged to go to the UMB website and apply. Soon after the mock interview Ida took the necessary steps that lead to an interview for a position that was a perfect match for her skill set. An offer was made and her acceptance ended her search for the ideal job. In June, Ida celebrated her one year anniversary with UMB. Your WEN family sends you well-deserved congratulations!

Join Women's Capital Connection and Women's Business Center to Celebrate Our New Location!

The Women's Business Center and the Women's Capital Connection, partners of WEN in the OneKC for Women alliance, have joined the Enterprise Center in Johnson County, in moving to a new location at the Fairway Corporate Center, 4220 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Suite 350B. The new location allows the WBC more space to launch new programs and develop financially-centric workshops to serve women-owned businesses.

Join Women's Capital Connection (WCC), Women's Business Center (WBC), and Athena League on Thursday, August 27 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. as we celebrate the new location of WCC and WBC. Come network and mingle with our region's innovative women while learning how WCC and WBC fuel female entrepreneurship in Kansas City and beyond. The event will be held at the Fairway Corporate Center -- 4220 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Suite 350B.

It'll be hot outside, so cool off with some complimentary libations and appetizers! Click here to RSVP.

Join Us for Our October Job Fair!

Employers, make plans to join us for our Fall 2015 Job Fair! Our past events have been extremely successful, with dozens of local companies participating and hundreds of job seekers in attendance at each event. Don't miss out!

The October Job Fair will be held on: Tuesday, October 20th, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center. The fair is FREE for job seekers and there is no need to pre-register. Both men and women are welcome. To view a list of companies attending or to register as a participating employer,  please click here.

"A Fall Affair" Legacy Circle Event

Many thanks to Julie Anderson Clark and Vince Clark for hosting the 2015 Legacy Circle Cocktail Party September 17th at their beautiful home. And, thank you to all of our friends who joined us for this fabulous evening!

This is such an important event for WEN, as it celebrates and honors our circle of friends and supporters who are helping to carry forward the legacy of the Women's Employment Network's co-founders, Beth K. Smith and Marjorie Powell Allen. You can learn more about Legacy Circle at http://www.kcwen.org/how_you_can_help/legacy_circle.

WEN President and OneKC for Women Founder Sherry Turner Honored by Governor Nixon

During this year's Governor's Conference on Economic Development, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon honored Sherry Turner with the "Missouri Women's Council Award of Distinction". This yearly conference, held in St. Louis, recognizes outstanding leaders in business, community engagement and economic development, and Sherry was among 4 individuals and 6 companies to be highlighted for their exemplary performance within the State of Missouri. Sherry has been noted for her career of working on behalf of small businesses in the Kansas City area and her commitment to making the region a stronger entrepreneurial community with a talented workforce. All of us here at WEN  invite you to join us in congratulating her and her immense commitment to Kansas City! For the full article on the awards, click here.

Young Friends of WEN (YFOW)

There is a new way to get involved at WEN -- by being a Young Friend! Young Friends of WEN (YFOW) is a group of philanthropically minded professionals with a collective aim to raise resources and boost awareness of WEN. YFOW's mission is to inspire a new generation of WEN supporters through opportunities to volunteer, socialize and network at a variety of social and professional development events.

YFOW membership entitles you to receive a number of exclusive benefits and privileges, including: invitations to special events, regular happy hours, networking opportunities, cool swag and so much more!

The inaugural YFOW event was charity bingo night, held at Hamburger Mary's. Ten rounds of bingo and prizes resulted in a great time and lots of new friends and much-needed dollars for WEN. YFOW will continue to host social, professional development, and networking events to help raise funding and visibility of WEN in the Kansas City community. To learn more about Young Friends of WEN and to become a member, visit WEN's website, and follow YFOW on Facebook!

Special thanks to all of our new Young Friends and special thanks to the Steering Committee. Also, please make plans to join the Young Friends at the October Young Professionals of Kansas City's Happy Hour! WEN will be the featured nonprofit. For more information on this event on October 7th, click here.

Graduate Spotlight - Jaclyn's Journey

Jaclyn is one of those WEN graduates we will never forget -- her journey in getting to WEN, her fearless mindset, and her courage to speak to others about her experience is exceptional. We want to share her journey today. The following is from Jaclyn's essay that she read at graduation earlier this month.

"On November 15, 2014, the life I had been living as a consummate worker bee came to a halt. The last 16 years of getting up every day, going to the same place, interacting with the same group of people and getting a paycheck all stopped. I was terminated.

I thought I would rest my mind, body and spirit, regroup in a few months and everything would be okay. It was not. I really did not commit to a job search until April. I had every confidence I would find employment, especially with 27 years of experience and knowing all the players in my profession. I believed a door would open for me. It didn't.

The journey to WEN began in April and culminated on a July evening when I made a phone call that would change my life. By the time I made this call, I couldn't leave my bedroom -- I was scared, felt unworthy and had nothing but negative thoughts about myself. When I finally picked up the phone, I was told in a kind and reassuring voice to come in and register. I felt a wave of peace.

I remember the day of orientation so well - sitting with these other women, I wondered what I was doing and wanted to run. But I stayed. The flood gates of emotion opened, a feeling of connection came over me, and my a-ha moment came when each woman introduced herself and talked about her journey to WEN. I realized at that moment that I was not alone, and if I put in the work, I would be supported. The energy of these women in the room made the light shine just a little brighter that day. I felt I was listened to, I was energized to come back to the program, and I actually looked forward to getting up the next day.

I attended many workshops during my time at WEN -- I cannot convey how thankful I am for the wonderful women who gave their time to uplift me and solidify the decision I made to come to WEN. My journey to WEN has given me pride in myself, the confidence to move outside of my comfort zone and the support of women I will stay close with for life. My personal journey has been blessed with an offer of employment. With the tools I was given at WEN, I'm ready to move forward."

Jaclyn also shared her story with nearly 100 WEN supporters at the 2015 Legacy Circle Event at the home of Julie Anderson Clark and Vince Clark. Her wit, positive attitude and strength was truly inspirational.  Thank you, Jaclyn, for your courage and for your willingness to share your WEN journey.

A Special Shopping Event at St. John on the Plaza

Visit St. John at its Country Club Plaza location to shop, enjoy drinks and hors' d'oeuvres all while benefiting WEN. Bring in a gently worn suit or dress for a WEN client from Thursday, October 8th - Sunday, October 11th and receive 20% off your purchase! RSVP is requested by October 5th. See below for further details. We hope to see you there!

Join Us for Our October Job Fair

Employers: Make plans to join us for our Fall 2015 Job Fair! Our past events have been extremely successful, with dozens of local companies participating and hundreds of job seekers in attendance at each event. Don't miss out! The October Job Fair will be held on: Tuesday, October 20th, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center. The fair is FREE for job seekers and there is no need to pre-register. Both men and women are welcome. To view a list of companies attending or to register as a participating employer, please click here.

Join Us for the Fifth Annual KC's Got Talent

It's time for your employees to shine! We know your company is filled with employees who rock at their day jobs, but what about when they're off the clock? Select a star-in-the making from your company to take the stage at the Fifth Annual KC's Got Talent - an exciting fundraiser benefiting WEN.KC's Got Talent is an event unlike any other, where a dozen area corporations compete to take home the KC's Got Talent trophy and fabulous prizes. Each company/sponsor sends one act to represent them in a five- minute performance. Local celebrity judges and the audience--a veritable who's who of our city's top businesses-- help choose the winners. A wide selection of Boulevard beers, wine and heavy hors d'oeuvres will be provided.

Join us and be part of one of the most fun and unique fundraisers in Kansas City!

Tuesday, November 10th, from 6-9 pm at Boulevard Brewing Company.  For more information, to become a sponsor and to see videos from last's year event, click here.

Join OneKC for Women at the CHAT Series Featuring Amy Poehler

OneKC for Women is excited to support the upcoming CHAT series powered by Bishop-McCann. Three remarkable women -- Amy Poehler, Liz Murray and Geena Davis -- are coming to Kansas City to share their stories, insights and energy in this upcoming series to be held at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. All three women are passionate advocates for improving opportunities for women and girls around the world -- a cause OneKC for Women can get behind. For information and tickets, click here. Amy Poehler is the first scheduled speaker at her CHAT series event on Tuesday, October 13th. Don't miss it!

WEN Welcomes Second Financial Literacy Specialist

Financial Literacy Specialist    Brianna Winesberry

We are pleased to officially welcome Brianna Winesberry to the WEN team! Brianna has been with WEN for the past year as a Personal Support Specialist Intern, and has now transitioned into her new role as Financial Literacy Specialist. Brianna has a BSW from KU and is currently working towards her Master's Degree in Clinical Social Work at KU. She has 5 years of experience in education and training, and 7 years of experience in coaching and development. Brianna joins Latoya Woods in overseeing WEN's growing Financial Coaching and Credit Building programming.  As a Financial Opportunity Center (FOC), WEN uses a nationally recognized model providing employment placement and career improvement, financial education and coaching, and public benefits access designed to help clients increase their income, credit score, long-term job retention and net worth over time. In less than two years, WEN has provided one-on-one financial coaching to over 300 women and facilitates Financial Education workshops throughout the community.

New Receptionist Joins the WEN Team

Valerie SchurmanWEN is pleased to welcome our new receptionist Valerie Schurman, joining us in early September.  Valerie has a Bachelor of Arts in the History of Art from the University of Kansas, and does work as a museum guide at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in addition to her duties at WEN. Welcome, Valerie!

 

WEN Welcomes KU Interns

WEN is grateful to have interns from the University of Kansas School of Social Work onsite each year. This month, we welcomed Grace Lamberton and Nicole Williams.  "WEN's ongoing partnership with the Kansas University School of Social Welfare is an asset for the organization and our clients," says Client Services Manager Erin Cole, LMSW. "Practicum students are heavily involved in completing social and strength assessments, developing goal plans, and offering appropriate referrals and assistance in following up with resources on behalf of our clients."

Grace is in her final year of completing a Bachelor of Social Work and is looking forward to spending the academic year at WEN. Upon graduation, she plans to further her education with a Master's Degree in Social Work. Grace is excited for the opportunity to work at WEN and looks forward to learning about the inner workings of a social service/non-profit agency.

Nicole has her undergraduate degree in Family Studies and Human Services from Kansas State University and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree in Social Work at KU.

WEN interns Grace Lamberton (left) and Nicole Williams (right)

 

Join WEN in Congratulating the 2015 Athena Awards Recipients!

Congratulations to Dianne Cleaver, Executive Director of the Urban Neighborhood Initiative (UNI), who will receive the Greater Kansas City Chamber’s ATHENA 2015 Leadership Award, and Sunita Lavin, Project Manager for Garmin, who will recive the 2015 ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award.

We look forward to celebrating with you at the award reception on October 8th. To register for this event,  and this year's winners, please click here.

Dianne CleaverSunita Lavin

 

Watch the Tower Grow

WEN is excited to let you know that we're a part of the CrowdRise Giving Tower Holiday Challenge. The Giving Tower is designed to catalyze causes and donors from across the world to come together and make the biggest impact on #GivingTuesday, December 1st. Donors help create a virtual tower made up of bricks, each of which represent a donation made to charity. And, the winning charity receives a $100,000 grand prize for their cause. Second place will get a $50,000 donation and third will get a $25,000 donation. We're ready to raise as much money as we can, and we really need your help to make it happen. The virual campaign will run Tuesday, November 24th – Thursday, January 7th.  And, if we raise the most on #GivingTuesday, December 1st, we'll get $25,000!  So, let’s build this Tower to the moon and make sure half of the bricks on the tower are representing WEN.

To help, please Go Here to give to our cause. Any donation, large or small, will make a huge difference and is so appreciated! And, help us spread the word by sharing the link with your friends and colleagues. Together, we can WIN for WEN!

Go Here to download the free Giving Tower app. By using the app, you'll be able to experience the Tower in an immersive 360 degree environment where you can interact with the Giving Tower in real-time and watch it get taller and taller.

The Giving Tower is an engaging campaign designed to catalyze causes and donors from across the world to come together and make the biggest impact.

Don't Miss a Special Holiday Shopping Event at STUFF on #GivingTuesday!

Make plans to join WEN at STUFF in Brookside on #GivingTuesday, December 1st, from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. This will be a great place to wrap-up (or start) your holiday shopping and a portion of the evening's proceeds will be donated to Women’s Employment Network. STUFF will be providing light refreshments, free gift wrap and phenomenal customer service!

Join Young Friends of WEN! Upcoming Lunch and Learn with Luann Feehan of Nonprofit Connect

Young Friends of WEN (YFOW) invites you to join us for a great professional networking event on December 9th from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Women's Business Center in Fairway. Luann Feehan, Executive Director of Nonprofit Connect, will share tips and strategies to help young professionals build relationships and make the most of your personal brand during this "Branding You" lunch and learn event. $15 for non-members of YFOW. Reserve your spot online today or by calling 816-595-7298.

Client Spotlight: Financial Coaching Pays Off

We all know that talking about money can be a delicate issue, and often a painful one for women that struggle with day-to-day expenses and have trouble finding sustainable employment. Each woman's story is unique, but many of the same circumstances occur for each of our clients. Shermaine's story is just one example of how WEN is helping women to stand on their own financial feet.

Shermaine N. first met with one of WEN's Financial Literacy specialists in November 2013. At that time she was using payday loans excessively- loans not designed as a short-term, one-time solution – as the companies like to say they are – but are instead intended to keep people trapped in a cycle of debt and to prey upon the elderly, disabled, poor and minority populations. Often, borrowers like Shermaine can only afford the minimum payment, which typically is enough to cover only interest and mandatory fees, come their next payday. This leads to a perpetual cycle of debt. When Shermaine first sought assistance, WEN pulled her credit report and discussed how she could begin to rebuild her credit. Shermaine had the opportunity to begin a program through the KC Housing Authority where she began saving towards an escrow account in an effort to buy a home within the next 5 years. Shermaine also began paying off collections in order to improve her credit score. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a quick credit fix. If negative items on a credit report drag down your credit score, the solutions -- and the score gains that result -- tend to be slow and steady. Fast forward to October 2015, Shermaine met with Brianna Winesberry, one of WEN's  Financial Literacy Specialists, to pull her credit and gauge her progress. They were happy to find that her FICO score had increased by 17 points, while her Vantage score increased by 19 points. She had also decreased her overall debt by nearly nine percent. Even more impressive? Shemaine had taken proactive steps to ensure that she wouldn't need an emergency loan in the future. Now, after comparing her monthly income to expenses, Shermaine could reports a surplus of nearly $300 each month. And that's incredible progress, considering her financial  picture just two years ago. There is no such thing as a quick credit fix. You have to practice good financial habits on a regular basis. Wherever you’re at on the credit scale, working your plan consistently is the key to moving up, and WEN is excited to continue this journey towards financial stability with Shermaine.

If you or someone you know could benefit from WEN's Financial Coaching and Credit Building program (and come on -- who doesn't?), guide them here.

5th Annual KC's Got Talent Proves That, Yes -- KC's Got Talent!

WEN's 5th Annual corporate talent show, KC's Got Talent, was held on Tuesday, November 10, 2015. The event was held at Boulevard Brewing Company, where great food courtesy of Houlihan's Restaurants Inc, was served up, along with stunning displays of talent from our sponsors:

Veracity Consulting, Inc. -- Scott Newcomer

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City -- Justin McCoy

Nan Vail & Keith Bottorff -- Jammin Jan Lamb & Lee Watkins

U.S. Bank -- David Sanchez

Polsinelli PC -- Robert Hingula

State Street -- Steven Burr & Charissa Johnston

Stinson Leonard Street LLP -- Martha Haehl & Karen Hendricks

Judges Katie Van Luchene, Millie Nottingham and Charles Bruffy offered colorful commentary throughout the evening. Other highlights included a moving performance by last year's winner, Trenae Baker, and special guest CindAIRella! (presented by Houlihan's Restaurants, Inc.) who gave a rowdy air guitar performance before the audience voted for the top acts of the night. Emcee Darron Story kept the energy high, engaged the audience and gave a rousing performance to kick the night off.

At the end of the night, the audience narrowed the acts from seven to three. And the winners were:

1st Place -- Scott Newcomer, Veracity Consulting, Inc.

2nd Place -- Robert Hingula, Polsinelli PC

3rd Place -- Martha Haehl & Karen Hendricks, Stinson Leonard Street LLP

Thanks again to all the amazing sponsors, the extremely talented performers, emcee Darron Story, and our high-energy audience for making the night a great success. Next year will be even better, so secure your seats now!

Special thanks to J.Robert Schraeder Photogrpahy for captuuring the fun. See event photos here.

WEN Wins 2015 Philly Award

2015 Philly AwardsWEN's Philly Award

Nonprofit Connect honored 21 nonprofit organizations and 15 creative partners for excellence in marketing and communications at the 2015 Philly Awards on November 5th at Boulevard Brewing Company, and was thrilled to receive an award for "Outstanding Special Event Campaign". The award recognized WEN's 2014 Annual Luncheon campaign designed by Howerton+White.

“Howerton+White’s business model is to give back to the communities we serve. When we decided to have a presence in the Kansas City market, we wanted to find a long-term philanthropic partner that encompassed the same core values we do. We found that partner in WEN and the OneKC for Women Alliance,” says Nicole Howerton, Principal at Howerton+White. “We fell in love with the people and mission of these organizations the moment we met and wanted to be part of a group that gives so much to Kansas City,” Howerton continued.

Thanks so much to Howerton+White for a compelling submission to the Philly Awards and for all you do for WEN and ONEKC for Women.

Check out the 2015 Philly Award Winners!

For more information about Howerton+White, visit their website.

Please Note WEN's Clothing Bank Holiday Hours

WEN will not be accepting clothing donations from December 21st through January 4th. Before and after those dates, we will continue taking fall and winter clothing.

Due to space constraints, please contact WEN before planning or scheduling a clothing drive on our behalf. If you have any questions, please contact Director of Program Services, Lynnette Williams at (816) 595-2395.

WEN Welcomes New Employee

WEN is happy to welcome a new member to the team this month--Audrey Williams. Audrey began serving as WEN's Administrative and Program Assistant in early January, and we are beyond lucky to have her!

Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Audrey has lived in the Kansas City area for 22 years. She comes from a military family and has lived in places such as Alaska and Guam. When she's not at WEN, she enjoys spending time with her loyal dog, Titan.

Audrey brings a strong history and passion for non-profits to WEN. She is excited about starting her own journey with WEN, and hopes that she can this excitement to each and every woman she encounters every day. Welcome, Audrey!

Graduate Spotlight -- justine PETERSEN Hires WEN Graduate

Nicole Drone

WEN loves to be able to tell the stories of our graduates that have found success. This month, we are proud to announce that 1993 graduate Nicole Drone has taken a job with justine PETERSEN. Since 2009, WEN has had an established relationship with justine PETERSEN, a major microlender based out of St. Louis with a satellite location housed at WEN. After graduating WEN's program in 1993, Nicole worked for Bank Midwest in teller, deposit and loan operations for 15 years, and ended her tenure as Associate Vice President of Commercial Lending. Most recently, Nicole was a Loan Credit Officer for the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City.

Now as a Justine PETERSEN Small Business Counselor and Loan Officer, Nicole offices at WEN when she is not working from the company's home office in St. Louis. Nicole says that working at WEN's location is a kind of homecoming. Congratultions Nicole!

Upcoming Financial Coaching Workshops

 

In the Identity Theft workshop, you will learn how to identify the warning signs of identity theft, protect the identity of your children, and be proactive in the event you are a victim of identity theft.

The Credit workshop will teach you how to: select a credit card, understand FICO scoring models, read your credit report and make a positive impact on your credit.

In the 60-minute Banking Basics workshop, you will find out how you should choose a bank (or credit union), learn about banking tools in your money management, and how to balance a checkbook.

Thirteen workshops have already been conducted since September 2015. Outcomes from these workshops so far include:

Three satisfaction questions were also asked at the conclusion of each workshop. The participants found the instructor's knowledge and presentation style to be fantastic, and thought that the handouts were extremely helpful.

In addition to satisfaction questions, workshop specific skill questions were also asked. Participants were asked to rate their confidence in each skill after the workshop, with the following results:

The results being experienced by the workshop attendees are outstanding -- join us at all three and learn how to take control of and understand your finances! The upcoming workshops are being offered at the Southeast, Lucile H. Bluford and North-East branches of the Library. For more information on the upcoming workshops and to register for the free 60-minute sessions, please click here.

Our Annual Report is Now Available!

WEN's 2014-15 Annual Report is now online! Click here.

 

Young Friends of WEN Enjoys Professional Development Lunch and Learn

Luann Feehan

Young Friends of WEN (YFOW) was honored to hear from Luann Feehan, Executive Director of Nonprofit Connect, during a recent professional development event at the Women's Business Center in Fairway. Luann has earned a reputation as a great "membership mentor" and gave a presentation on Personal Branding, sharing tips and strategies to help build relationships and make the most of networking opportunities.

Luann shared a lot of sage advice, and all the Lunch & Learn attendees (as well as all of us here at WEN) are extremely grateful to Luann for sharing her time and expertise with us. Thanks, Luann!

 

Young Friends of WEN with Luann Feehan at the YFOW Lunch and Learn.

 

OneKC for Women Alliance News -- WE-Lend Closes on First Two Microloans to Women-Led Businesses

The Women’s Business Center’s new microloan initiative, the WE-Lend program, has closed on its first two loans. The companies receiving these loans were Weave Gotcha Covered!, located in Kansas City, MO, and the Natural High Wellness Center, located in Overland Park, KS.

Weave Gotcha Covered! was founded by Kelly Wilson and Lonnie Vanderslice as a full service interior design and soft furnishings fabrication studio. In recent years, WCG! has evolved their business model with an emphasis on social-entrepreneurship, focusing on employing and training women from the urban core. They provide an opportunity for a pathway to meaningful employment to women participating in the 100 Jobs for 100 Mom’s program of Operation Breakthrough, Amethyst Place, and the Women’s Employment Network.

Weave Gotcha Covered! is using the funds from WE-Lend to invest in a delivery and installation van, and the balance of funds for the implementation of new manufacturing software. They hope to grow their business by 50% again this year, based solely on these two additions.

The Natural High Wellness Center was founded 13 years ago by Angel Canady. They provide several services from six practitioners, including massage therapy, esthetic services, colon hydrotherapy, far-infrared sauna therapy, health coaching, and many others. They plan to use the loan from WE-Lend to add a health resource library, a retail space with health and wellness products, and a classroom with a demo kitchen.

Both companies chose the WE-Lend Initiative for funding due to their connection with the Women’s Business Center. Kelly Wilson of WSG said, “We love the personal service we received and the wisdom in helping us make decisions.”

The WE-Lend initiative has received funding from several sources including Mayor Sly James and the City of Kansas City, Missouri, Sam’s Club, US Bank, UMB, Women Impacting Public Policy, and the Bank of Blue Valley.

The WE-Lend program will continue to provide funding to an additional 48 clients through 2016. Loans range from $5,000 to $25,000 with interest rates from 8 to 12 percent and terms up to 48 months. Through the generosity of the Kauffman Foundation, the Women’s Business Center received a grant to provide counseling and workshops to help clients grow their businesses.

To learn more about WE-Lend and the services of the Women’s Business Center, head to the Kansas City WBC website

 

Graduate Spotlight -- justine PETERSEN Hires WEN Graduate

WEN loves to be able to tell the stories of our graduates that have found success after their experiences with our programs. This month, we are proud to announce that graduate Nicole Drone, who attended WEN's program in 1993, has taken a job with WEN's microlender partner justine PETERSEN! Since 2009, WEN has had an established relationship with justine PETERSEN, a major microlender based out of St. Louis with a satellite location housed at WEN's offices. After graduating WEN's program in 1993, Nicole worked for Bank Midwest in teller, deposit and loan operations for 15 years, ending her tenure with the title of AVP of Commercial Lending. Prior to her employment with Justine PETERSEN, Nicole was the Loan Credit Officer for the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City (EDCKS), a nonprofit quasi-governmental agency.

Lynnette Williams To Receive Beth K. Smith Award After 25 Years of Service

Lynnette Williams

Lynnette Williams, Director of Program Services, will receive the 2016 Beth K. Smith Award. Lynnette will receive the distinguished honor at the 30th Anniversary WEN Luncheon on April 6th. Lynnette, a WEN graduate herself, has become the "secret sauce" of the organization, and if you ask any client, graduate, volunteer, Board or staff member, they will tell you why.

The Beth K. Smith Award, named after one of WEN's founders, was created several years ago to recognize individuals who put a lot of time, talent, and treasure into WEN. A recipient can be a company, an individual or an organization who has worked to advance the efforts and cause of the Women's Employment Network. We can't thank you enough for giving your heart and soul to WEN and women in our community and we look forward to seeing you accept the Beth K. Smith Award in April!

The 30th Anniversary WEN Luncheon is Weeks Away - Don't Miss It!

Join Honorary Co-Chairs Barbara P. Allen and Deborah Allen and Luncheon Co-Chairs Debby Ballard and Cora Storbeck, for WEN's annual luncheon on Wednesday, April 6th at the Sheraton Hotel at Crown Center.

Honor the legacy of WEN in our community and hear personal stories of triumph and success from clients and graduates. Funds raised through our luncheon are vital to help ensure that women in our community receive the training and support services they need to gain self-sufficiency for themselves and their families.

Individual tickets are $100. Click here to learn more and buy tickets! Sponsorships begin at $1,500 and come with a table for ten and special recognition. Table Hosts are also welcome! For more information or to become a sponsor, please email Nicole Levy or call 816-595-1297.

Inaugural Class of the WEN Training Program 
Photographed September 5, 1986

 

WEN Graduates Get Polished

HOOPLA, a local, Kansas City, women-owned business is excited to directly support WEN graduates by providing complimentary manicures upon graduation. HOOPLA owners, Megan Thornberry and Molly Maxwell, are thrilled to provide this service. Thornberry said, "We know each graduate has worked hard to get to where she is now, and we want to pamper each of them - and also help them feel even more confident in their professional appearance." HOOPLA, which provides manicures, pedicures, esthetics, and massage, was created to provide ultra-hygienic services utilizing HOOPLA's 5-free mini polish - all in a sophisticated, fun environment. Maxwell reiterated HOOPLA's involvement with WEN saying, "owning and operating a business provides us an opportunity to give back to other women in our community, which may be the best part of our job." HOOPLA now has three locations: the Fairway Shops, the Crossroads and in Leawood.


 

WEN Welcomes New Staff Member

Mark Halastik

Mark Halastik is WEN's new Development Officer and Grant Writer. Mark comes to WEN from Good Samaritan Project, where he served as Director of Development and Communications. Mark is passionate about advocating for social justice, particularly in relation to gender and economic equity. Mark graduated from the Master of Social Work (MSW) program at UMKC and brings a diverse background of nonprofit management, community outreach, and sales experiences to WEN. Mark can be reached at mhalastik@kcwen.org. Mark looks forward to working with all of WEN's community partners!

Graduate Spotlight: Recent WEN Graduate Shares Her Journey

Karen Kaffenberger
2016 WEN Graduate

Each WEN graduate develops an essay about her journey to WEN and how the experience has changed her life. This month, we would like to share a particularly inspiring client story.

When I realized that I needed to quit my freelance business and get a full time outside job, I was scared. As a “seasoned” worker with health and financial issues, this was particularly challenging.

I had joined a job club, and while that helped, I just wasn’t getting the emotional support I needed. I became more and more depressed, and spiraled downward to the point that I couldn’t even apply online for a job I really wanted. Drained of energy and desire, it seemed impossible to me—I was completely overwhelmed.

One Saturday, Janice Blansit from the JCCC came to talk to my job club as a panelist. While she was speaking about JCCC, she also mentioned WEN. It sounded interesting, so I took a brochure. I attended five-week course, and I've never looked back. Since attending WEN, I have my hope back—there is light at the end of the tunnel! I no longer feel alone, but loved and supported. The mock interviews, while intimidating at first, made me confident again. By the third one, I felt like a pro. I don’t know of any other place that offers this type of feedback and support. The class setting was unique in the way it was designed so we could help one another. The acceptance and companionship of my classmates was awesome, and I made several new friends.

The best part? As a graduate of WEN, I know that I have their ongoing support as long as I need it. If I need to make a career change five years down the line, I can always come home to WEN. That’s the best feeling in the world. Home.

Join Us for Our 2016 Job Fairs

Make plans to join us for our Spring and Fall Job Fairs on Tuesday, May 17th and Tuesday, October 18th, from 1:00-4:00 PM at the Sheraton Crown Center. Our past events have been extremely successful, with dozens of local companies participating and hundreds of job seekers in attendance at each event. Don't miss out!

Job Seekers:
You are welcome to attend these events at NO charge and your parking will be validated by the hotel for up to 3 hours. Please plan to dress professionally and bring plenty of copies of your resume. Our events will help you connect with some of Kansas City's Top Employers.

Employers:
The cost is $350 per fair or $600 for both fairs (non-profit rates also available). Our Job Fairs are first-class events that will connect your company with hundreds of qualified candidates.

To register, please complete the 2016 Job Fair Registration form which can be downloaded from the side-bar on this page or email Mickella "Kellie" Shecut.

 

30 Years of WEN: One Woman's Journey Back

Kathryn, a graduate of WEN's first training class in 1986, was recently looking to launch a new chapter in her career. While riding the bus a fellow passenger and Kathryn began a conversation. After a few minutes of discussion, they realized they had something in common: WEN. The conversation motivated Kathryn to reach out to those who helped her many years ago.

"A long time ago I came to WEN and I remember how the ladies helped me feel good about myself. When I completed the program, I had good self-esteem and I got a job right after I graduated. I'm back because I want to feel that way again. And I want help with a career change".

Kathryn has been a nurse aide and has recently completed course work in medical assisting and is looking forward to working with the WEN staff and volunteers to launch her new career. All WEN graduates are given lifetime access to career counseling, financial coaching, and support services.

Meet Our Summer Staff

This year, we are fortunate to have two summer staff members join us, Leslie Butsch and Madeline Moore. We are pleased to share their stories with you.
 

Leslie Butsch, Personal Support Specialist, says, "WEN interests me as organization committed to the holistic empowerment of women. As a program designed with real women in mind, WEN maintains a mindful approach to the unique barriers women experience when acquiring employment. I knew working at WEN would give me the unique opportunity to work alongside and learn from a community of powerful women."

"As I start the Master’s in Social Work program at the University of Kansas in August, I am interested in a career in social justice. I grew up in Olathe, Kansas, and while my undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of the Arts in Saxophone, upon leaving college I immediately found myself magnetized to the world of social work. After working for a year in child welfare as a case manager, I slowly gained direction and became more interested in a macro approach to pursuing social justice. My role as the Personal Support Specialist at WEN this summer has served as a way for me to collect and internalize each woman’s individual story and help inform my perspective."


Madeline Moore, Marketing and Communications, is currently a junior at the University of Missouri. She plans on graduating in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, majoring in Marketing and minoring in Psychology. She grew up just north of the river in Gladstone, Missouri and has been there her entire life, providing her with a lot of pride for Kansas City! Madeline's passion for giving back to the community first began in high school. She volunteered with the elderly weekly, visiting several nursing homes and assisting hospice patients across the city over the course of 4 years.

In Columbia, Madeline is on the steering committee for Mizzou for Malawi, an organization that raises money to fund an elementary school (and soon a middle school!) for over 100 orphans in Malawi, Africa. This summer, WEN is thrilled to have Madeline managing social media accounts, promoting events, and helping out in any way she can. As an incoming junior, she is still learning about the different fields that marketing has to offer.

She says, "Working for WEN this summer was an easy choice for me. I am happy to have a chance to combine my passion for philanthropy with an opportunity to explore a career in nonprofit work."

Young Friends of WEN (YFOW) Fundraising Challege was a Success!

Congratulations to Hillary Stamper, our Fundraising Challenge winner! Hillary raised $1,820 for WEN. In total, YFOW members raised $3,780 over the 6 week challenge, while also spreading awareness about WEN and fortifying our network of support. Thanks to everyone who participated and donated to the challenge!

Just starting their second year, Young Friends of WEN is a group of philanthropically minded professionals with a collective aim to raise resources and boost awareness of WEN. YFOW's mission is to inspire a new generation of WEN supporters through opportunities to volunteer, socialize and network at a variety of social and professional development events. Targeted for young professionals (ages 21-40), but certainly inclusive of all ages. Click here to learn more about YFOW and become a member.

Don't Miss - BINGO at Hamburger Mary's on Friday, August 12th!



Join Young Friends of WEN (YFOW) and the WEN team for a night of BINGO, drag performances, prizes, and drinks. This is NOT your grandma's bingo! It is a risqué, fun event hosted by some of KC's most fabulous drag queens. Grab your favorite person and come out for a fun, adult night out. BINGO is $10 for ten cards, and all the proceeds will benefit WEN.

Plan to come early to allow time for parking and to get your seat. Hamburger Mary's does allow reservations, so don't forget to call 816-842-1919 and make yours closer to event time to ensure that you have a seat to eat, drink, and be MARY. We hope to see you there!

Volunteer Spotlight: Kathy Cooper

The Women's Employment Network owes so much of our success to the dedication of our volunteer network. Volunteers participate in a range of ways each training session, from conducting mock interviews to leading workshops or mentoring clients long-term. Feedback from the experienced professionals who volunteer with WEN gives clients a competitive edge that helps them get hired.

Kathy Cooper, Vice President of Human Resources at Enterprise Bank & Trust, knows a thing or two about hiring. She has over 25 years of hiring experience, initially at the First National Bank of Olathe before taking her current position at Enterprise Bank & Trust. Kathy has recently joined WEN's volunteer network and has helped with both resume writing and mock interviews and looks forward to finding additional ways to support "networking, helping women become successful, and assisting to women in finding career opportunities."

We got in touch with Kathy to learn what makes her tick and what she sees in the future for women. Here are just a few of her favorite things.

Hobbies: Gardening, theater and cheering on my five nieces and nephews at their sporting events.

Favorite quote: "We work to live, not live to work."

Favorite female power movie: Steel Magnolias

Like many of WEN's volunteers, Kathy has big dreams for what women can accomplish in the coming years and shared this vision of the future: "I believe you will continue to see women in key leadership roles in business and politics.  We will see a female president in the near future.  This will aid in making changes in the health, welfare and equality for women."

Are you interested in becoming a WEN volunteer? Contact Mickella Shecut: kshecut@kcwen.org or 816-595-2398. 
 

Volunteer Spotlight - Junior League of Kansas City

WEN is grateful to receive ongoing volunteer support from the Junior League of Kansas City. Since 1914, the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri has been associated with more than 350 community agencies and organizations. Their mission is to promote voluntarism, develop the potential of women and improve communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. The volunteers are women, and these incredibly dedicated women come to WEN once a month to deliver professional workshops to WEN clientele and alumnae. Just since September 2014, the Junior League ladies have presented workshops on: "Network 101 and 5 Reasons to Send Thank You Letters", "LinkedIn Part 1 Social Media", "LinkedIn Part II Social Media", "Projecting Confidence in the Workplace", and "Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Stress Management". The workshops are extremely popular and well-attended, and the Junior League ladies are engaging while they work one-on-one with the WEN women. Junior League's Women's Employment Network Action Committee chair Shawna Fisher also recently coordinated a clothing drive on behalf of WEN. A great amount of clothing was donated thanks to her efforts. We are extremely proud to have the Junior League as a partner, and we look forward to many more years to come. Thanks for being so committed to WEN's mission and the women who receive our services!

To find out more about the Junior League of Kansas City, visit the website.

Volunteer Spotlight: Association of Women Lawyers

AWLF volunteers during resume review

Thanks to the effort of longtime volunteer Kelly McCambridge, McCambridge Law and WEN board member Megan McCurdy, Stinson Leonard Street LLP, members of the Association of Women Lawyers (AWL) came together at WEN's offices to support our most recent training session. The AWL and the AWLF (Association of Women Lawyers Foundation), the charitable arm of AWL, stand for the betterment of women in the legal profession and the community at large. According to Ms. McCambridge, "AWL and AWLF are honored to volunteer for WEN through the Connections program, which promotes leadership in our community and profession by pairing attorneys with social and service opportunities.  The best way to help a family is to support a mother and WEN does this by helping women improve their positions, and thus, helping families and the community at large."

During the AWL's time at WEN, at orientation, each woman received a gift bag of essential supplies needed for success during the training. In addition to the gift bags, sixteen members provided volunteer support at the resume sessions. They worked with the women to write new resumes, fine-tuned existing ones or offered networking ideas and job search suggestions to a few WEN graduates.

When Class 272 celebrated the completion of their training, each received a gift bag of essential supplies that could be used for job search or on their new job. Everyone at WEN would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all members of the Association of Women Lawyers who supported and participated in making training WEN Class 272 a special time.

Volunteer Spotlight: Mary Cincotta

Mary Cincotta

All of WEN's wonderful volunteers bring their individual passions and talents to the women we serve. We like to highlight our volunteers and recognize their efforts as often as we can. This month, we recognize Mary Cincotta.

Having been a volunteer at WEN for two years, Mary assists with mock interviews and resume review, along with presenting a workshop called "How to Dress Professionally from a Thrift Store". As many of our supporters know one important feature of our program is helping women with their professional wardrobe. During this workshop, Mary explains to clients what to look for when shopping at thrift stores, and offers tips on  how outfits can be  can be transformed with the help of a few key accessories. Additionally, through  Mary's relationship with the Savers thrift store, she is often able to supply gift certificates to WEN clients so they can begin to build their wardrobes.

Now that she is retired, Mary spends her time volunteering at various organizations in the area -- she often volunteers 40 hours or more each week. In addition to her impressive volunteer schedule, she serves as the president of her high school alumnae association for Northeast High, works as a patient advocate for nursing homes and is active in the Northeast Chamber of Commerce and the Northeast Kansas City Historical Society. 

Mary says she loves working with the clients at WEN, and she is passionate about helping them to feel good about themselves. She's a firm believer in this, as her favorite quote illustrates -- "It's hard to be kind to others until we first know how to be kind to ourselves".

WEN is grateful to Mary and the hundreds of other volunteers who help our clients help themselves. To learn about volunteer opportunities and how you can get involved at WEN, click here.

Volunteer Spotlight: Mazuma Credit Union

This month, we want to thank Mazuma Credit Union employees LaToya Rozof, Sheree Starks, Lindsey Eaton and Lynne Wilson for their assistance last October in providing mock interviews for our WEN class members.

Mazuma volunteers (L to R): Lynne Wilson, Sheree Starks, Lindsey Eatin and LaToya Rozof

LaToya Rozof, Vice President of Talent and Development at Mazuma, has worked with WEN on and off for the last 5 years and says that the experiences she has here are extremely rewarding. "The ladies that I interact with are always so willing to learn how to be better professionals and, every time I leave, I feel as though I've really impacted someone's life for the positive. WEN does a great job of prepping the ladies, so by the time I see them, I'm just reinforcing what they've already learned. I would encourage all HR professionals in Kansas City to volunteer at least once a year. It's an awesome experience that you will not forget."

All of us here at WEN want to say a big thank you to LaToya, Sheree, Lindsey and Lynne for making WEN a priority. We couldn't do what we do without volunteers like you!
To find out about volunteer opportunities at WEN, please contact Mickella (Kellie) Shecut, Volunteer Coordinator. There are many ways to get involved!

Volunteer Spotlight - Carolyn A. Vertovec

 

"I have really enjoyed my work with WEN. After an unexpected career change earlier in my life, I understand the unique fears and concerns that many of the women may be facing. My time mentoring for resume’s and conducting mock-interviews was fantastic and inspiring. I really enjoyed the one on one time I had with many of the participants and diving deeper into their backgrounds. I truly feel this program helps women be their best selves, and find the confidence they need to embark on their next chapter in life. I am so grateful to be a part of their experience."

Carolyn A. Vertovec is Vice President, Private Client Manager of U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management. Carolyn joined the financial services industry at Merrill Lynch in 2006 after a successful career in nonprofit fund development in Washington, DC. Throughout her career, she has worked with high net worth families, business owners, and executives to coordinate strategic financial planning and customized delivery of financial services. Working in concert with her U.S. Trust team, she strives to address a range of needs: investment management, trust and estate planning services, business succession planning, customized credit and lending, and philanthropy.

Carolyn is a graduate of the University of Missouri. She is also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, a Registered Securities Representative, and a licensed insurance agent in the areas of Life and Health.

WEN is grateful Carolyn-- and to all of our volunteers-- for sharing their time and expertise! To learn more about volunteer opportunities at WEN, please email Mickella Shecut, Volunteer Coordinator, or call 816-595-2399.