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2019 Class of Rising Stars Caitlin O’Byrne Waters

Caitlin O’Byrne Waters’ personal motto is “to help others leave today better than yesterday.” She fearlessly pursues this mission with everything she does, whether it’s helping people live healthier lifestyles or dedicating her time and talents to local organizations. Her main passions are literacy and wellness.

Caitlin has been a member of the steering committee of AdventHealth Shawnee Mission’s Living in Vitality, a day-long conference dedicated to empowering women to take care of themselves holistically. This entails looking at their physical, emotional, financial, spiritual, and social health. She, along with her mother and grandmother, were the co-chairmen of the event two years in a row. Caitlin helped Living in Vitality develop additional events outside of the conference, specifically designed to engage a younger audience. With corporate sponsors, she helped plan a financial literacy night, a moms-night-out event, and a health night. “Under Caitlin’s leadership, we expanded the reach of the program, increased sponsorship funding, and the program continued to flourish with testimonials from women on how we had changed their lives for the better,” said Robin Patykiewicz, AdventHealth Shawnee Mission.

She also joined the Lead to Read board, an organization where Caitlin had been volunteering for a few years at King Academy. She loves helping kids with their reading,confidence building, and public speaking skills, and was initially drawn to this organization that pairs the business community with students in the Kansas City, Missouri, schools for a weekly reading session. She currently serves on the finance committee and has also helped with fundraising.

Caitlin had a role in helping organize the first ever women’s softball event at the Kansas City Urban Youth Academy, Queen of the Diamond. This tournament-styled event featured teams from local Kansas City organizations and helped fund girls programming at the Academy. Caitlin served on the planning committee, helping with everything from logistics to sponsors to securing items for the silent auction to food and beverage. She was the co-chairman of the awards committee, securing the prizes for the winning teams and evaluating opportunities. The committee raised more than $100,000. She even hit a home run during one of the games!

Caitlin graduated from Centurions this spring and served as the co-chairman for the Benchmarking Trip to Austin in May, a three-day trip for 80 civic leaders in Our Town. She also is very passionate about diversity and inclusion. As part of her time in Centurions, Caitlin co-organized an event focusing on these corporate policies, encouraging leaders to look beyond “checking the box,” as well as planning the annual Women’s Forum, Together We Rise: Empowering Women to Succeed.

During her time as a Centurion, Caitlin also volunteered more than 100 hours with Project Uplift, DeLaSalle Education Center, HappyBottoms, Literacy KC, Upper Room, and Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City. Said Centurion alumni Nicole W. Clifford: “Caitlin O’Byrne Waters is the real deal. She has an affable, humble manner about her that almost belies her perceptiveness and astuteness about people and issues in our community. Caitlin leads by example, never needing to regale you with her resumé because her work speaks for itself. Her strong interpersonal skills quickly established her as a leader among this group of accomplished professionals.”

Caitlin considers it truly an honor to be considered a Rising Star in her beautiful hometown. “I can’t thank The Independent enough for including me amongst this amazing group of leaders, whom I have been fortunate enough to get to know. I believe Kansas City is continuing to rise, and I am thrilled to be a part, albeit a small part, of that momentum. This city has given me so much personally and professionally, and it’s been such a joy to be able to give back my time and talent to help our great community continue to prosper. To me, being a Rising Star means continuing to look for other opportunities to help raise others, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for all of us!”

Also featured in the September 28, 2019 issue of The Independent

Ann Slegman

Ann Slegman has thoroughly enjoyed her various positions at The Independent since she started in 2006. She has been the managing editor and editor and is now a contributing writer for the magazine. She and her husband, Tom, are parents of two adult children who live in Brooklyn, David and Kate. Ann enjoys reading, traveling, playing tennis, bridge and Mahjong, watching Netflix shows, and walking her Havanese dog, Morris. She has written a novel, Return to Sender, and a collection of poems, Conversation.

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