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March 18, 2023 Issue

AFPKC’s Philanthropy MATTERS: Julianne DeLessio

To learn more about becoming a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Kansas City Chapter, please visit afpkc.org. The Independent is proud to be the exclusive media partner of AFPKC. Julianne DeLessio is employed with Union Station Kansas City as its donor and corporate relations manager, where she works with corporate partners and sponsors, as […]

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TRAILBLAZING: Kansas City opens arms to woman conductor as her renown grows

Like many top orchestra and opera conductors, Carolyn Watson began her career on “the other side of the baton.” Having excelled as a young violinist in her native Australia, she studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and spent several years as an orchestral violinist, in her homeland and later in Europe. Returning to Australia, […]

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TRAILBLAZING: Central Exchange

The Central Exchange was founded in 1980 by Marjorie Powell Allen and Beth Smith. The 160 founding members included Kay Barnes, Anita Butler, Joan Dillon, Adele Hall, Mamie Hughes, Dorothy Johnson, Linda Moore, Terry Satterlee, Linda Hood Talbott, and Judith Whittaker. Toni Watson was the organization’s first executive director. Ann Hackett is the current leader […]

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TRAILBLAZING: Society of Women Engineers

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) was founded in 1950. The Kansas City chapter, which was created in 1982, currently has more than 150 members. The organization’s focus is on STEM Outreach for girls in the metropolitan area and on networking events for women in STEM fields. Events include Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day […]

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TRAILBLAZING: National Congress of Black Women – Kansas City Chapter

Sylvya Stevenson founded the National Congress of Black Women–Kansas City Chapter in 2013; it is an affiliate of the National Congress of Black Women, which was founded by the late Representative Shirley Chisholm, who was the first Black woman to be elected to The United States Congress. The organization offers affordable memberships for Black women […]

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Terri E. Barnes founded The Nia Project Kansas City in 2020. The organization works to support projects that enable Black women and girls to build confidence and increase their opportunities for success. Black Women Get Fit (BWGF) is the signature program. Participants meet with experts in a variety of fields. In addition to physical fitness […]

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TRAILBLAZING: Awesome Ambitions

Cynthia Newsome, founder, and Angela Curry, co-founder, created Awesome Ambitions in 1997; Cynthia now serves as the organization’s president. Awesome Ambitions participants are Black and Brown girls in the eighth through the 12th grades. The organization has four pillars: social justice and the law, college and career readiness, entrepreneurship, and health and wellness. Participants are […]

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TRAILBLAZING: Mother’s Refuge

Mother’s Refuge was founded in 1987. The organization’s clients, who reside onsite, are young women who were previously homeless and are either pregnant or have very young children. Medical care is provided. Residents are required to pursue educational opportunities and are encouraged to accept counseling. A five-step program is devoted to lessons in parenting, infant […]

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TRAILBLAZING: Purses With Power

Unice Harris founded Purses With Power in 2018. Unice, who has a master’s degree in business administration, recognized that women who have hospitalized children would appreciate gifts that included self-care and inspirational items. The organization provides gift baskets and gift boxes, in addition to purses. The contents may feature such smile-generators as bubble bath, candles, […]

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Kim Riley knows from experience how difficult it is for parents of students with autism or developmental disabilities to make arrangements for them after they graduate from high school. In 2019, she founded The Transition Academy as a way of supporting the families facing mountains of paperwork and no clear plan. The organization’s mission is […]

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TRAILBLAZERS: Stellar Students

Tayten DeGarmo Tayten DeGarmo won’t be lounging around the pool when school’s out. Instead, the high school student will be attending Indiana University’s Ballet Summer Intensive and the Sacramento Ballet’s Summer Intensive. For the past nine years, Tayten has studied at the Kansas City Ballet School. Her list of credits includes Kansas City Ballet productions, […]

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Rachel’s Reads – March 2023

“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” – Virginia Woolf Many of the traditional and textbook historical narratives center male experiences and hide the contributions of women. Throughout the different aspects of human history, whether politics, science, literature, art, or sport, that tendency removes a huge portion of the knowledge and experiences of the […]

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TRAILBLAZER: Amaya Rodriguez

Life contains moments in which we are forced to steady our balance, draw a breath, and take a flying leap. Or as we say in ballet, a grand jeté. By her mid-twenties, Amaya Rodriguez had established a solid career as principal dancer of the National Ballet of Cuba, where she was the company’s top ballerina […]

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Cheers To Volunteers! – Kansas City Women

Tandra Stacer has been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City for many years. Not only is she a board member, but she is a Big. Tandra and her Little, Gabby, were matched a decade ago and have many wonderful memories of their time together. Tandra and Gabby received the Big and Little Sister […]

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Art Scene – Kansas City Trailblazers

Never underestimate the power of a hungry, talented, artistic woman on a mission. What strikes us as we learn more about these mavericks, is the sheer length of each of these women’s lives. We think there must be some real health benefits to pursuing the arts on one’s own terms… . (Author’s note: Many thanks […]

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Congratulations, Jenny & Eric!

Mr. and Mrs. Steven Kent Howard of Prairie Village, Kansas, are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Jennifer Lynn Howard, to Eric Carl Savio, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Louis Savio of St. Louis, Missouri. The bride-to-be is the granddaughter of Mrs. Richard Charles Jensen, Jr. of Prairie Village and the […]

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Heart of America Shakespeare Festival – Romantic Revels

Heart of America Shakespeare Festival’s Romantic Revels was held on February 11th at the InterContinental Kansas City at the Plaza. Drs. Susan and Charles Porter were the honorary chairmen. Linda Word was honored with the Founder’s Award. Guests enjoyed cocktails, a gourmet dinner, a silent auction, and dancing. For a special treat, HASF actors and […]

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Lyric Opera Circle – 2023 Lyric Opera Ball

Many coveted auction items and raffle prizes will be featured at the Lyric Opera Circle’s Lyric Opera Ball. Karla and Dr. Ivan Batlle are serving as the honorary chairmen for the event, which will be held on April 1st at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center. Juliette Singer and Edie Downing are the […]

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TRAILBLAZERS: Kansas City Rising Stars

Trailblazer: Jennifer Matney, Rising Star Class of 2016 Jennifer Matney, Rising Star Class of 2016, is the board chair of the Women United Cabinet for the United Way of Greater Kansas City and the board president for the School of Economics. She is a member of the ambassador board of Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City. Jennifer […]

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TRAILBLAZING: Girls on the Run Serving Greater Kansas City

Rebecca Sommers founded Girls on the Run Serving Greater Kansas City in 2007. Running is a key component, but it’s far from the only one. The organization’s programs, tailored for students in the third to the eighth grades, are designed to strengthen girls’ social, emotional, physical, and behavioral skills. Participants learn life skills, such as […]

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TRAILBLAZER: Anastasia Vorotnaya

Prior to becoming a student at Park University’s International Center for Music, Anastasia Vorotnaya had been educated at the Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory in Russia, the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia in Spain, and the International Piano Academy in Italy. She is “A Prodigy of the 21st Century,” according to Musical Life Magazine. Beginning […]

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