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Trailblazers: Kansas City Women


Trailblazers: Kansas City Women


LADIES, WITH AN ARABESQUE: Local dance companies defy national odds with increased gender parity

The common perception that the dance world is controlled chiefly by men might be partly true, but the situation in Kansas City presents a noticeably different landscape. Consider this: Of the dozen works of choreography being performed this spring by the four most prominent local companies, only two are by men. And while this hardly […] Read More

Rachel’s Reads – March 19th

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” Amelia Earhart In this toast to trailblazing women, I wanted to recommend memoirs and biographies of women who have changed history in eight different fields. There is a politician, an activist, a scientist, a writer, an artist, a sportswoman, a business […] Read More


Trailblazing: Women’s Employment Network

Since 1986, Women’s Employment Network (WEN) has lived out its vision of advancing positive change in the lives of women, their families, and the community, one woman at a time. Founded by Beth K. Smith and Marjorie Powell Allen, the organization is a proud partner of the OneKC for Women alliance and serves as a […] Read More 



Trailblazing: Women Leaders in College Sports

The words on the wall (and on Instagram, over and over again) say it all: “Strong Women Lift Each Other Up.” The mural appears on the exterior of the building that houses Women Leaders in College Sports. As Patti Phillips, the chief executive officer of Women Leaders in College Sports, stated, “Since 1979, our organization […] Read More


Trailblazing: United WE

United WE, formerly the Women’s Foundation, was founded in 1991. Karen Herman served as its original chairman. In addition to Karen, the founders included Marjorie Powell Allen, Janice Benjamin, Bunni Copaken, Joan Dillon, Janette Draper, Crystal Hart-Whitmore, Karen Haren, Dorothy Johnson, Janet Brown Moss, Marjorie Sirridge, Beth Smith, and Linda Hood Talbott. The organization’s mission […] Read More



Trailblazing: St. Teresa’s Academy

St. Teresa’s Academy was founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1866. Recently, the Academy became the second all-girl school in the nation to receive AdvancED STEM certification.  Dr. Siabhan May-Washington, president, said, “My goal is to provide the best high-quality education possible to the young women who grace our halls. Every […] Read More



Trailblazing: Sheffield Place

Homeless mothers and their children have received assistance from Sheffield Place since the organization opened its doors in 1989. Founded by Metropolitan Lutheran Ministries and the YMCA, Sheffield Place seeks to empower homeless mothers and their children to heal from their trauma and become self-sufficient. Some of the barriers to wellness the mothers face include […] Read More



Trailblazing: The Sewing Labs

The Sewing Labs is an inclusive and welcoming community teaching the legacy of sewing for employment, entrepreneurship, and enrichment. The organization supports women and girls by serving as a resource that builds community connections. It teaches the legacy of sewing, a life skill that provides benefits from self-enrichment to self-confidence and can lead to gainful […] Read More



Trailblazing: Safe In Harm’s Way

Caroline Markel Hammond formed Safe In Harm’s Way in 2016 because, “All people deserve to have a big, bold, unapologetic life!” Caroline continued, “Women and girls deserve to walk away from sadness, worry, lies, fear, and pain so that they can find honest love, great people, positive experiences, food which fuels their souls, travel, and […] Read More



Trailblazing: Newhouse

Imagine the phone ringing 21,000 times when the voice on the other end of the line is begging for help in a domestic abuse situation. During the last 50 years in the existence of Newhouse, that is the approximate number of calls they have taken for requested assistance from, primarily, women. While victims of domestic […]Read More



Trailblazing: Madam President Camp

Madam President Camp was founded by Pam Kelley and Lee Smithson Burd in 2013. Its mission is “To inspire girls to use their voice to become leaders in their communities now and in the future.” During the summer, the organization provides virtual and in-person opportunities for middle-school girls to use their abilities. Interactive learning experiences […] Read More



Trailblazing: Kansas City Women’s Chorus

The harmony isn’t just in the voices. As the organization’s mission statement states, “The Kansas City Women’s Chorus is a catalyst for change, pushing ourselves and our audiences beyond what is thought possible. Simply singing is not enough.”  KCWC was founded in 1999 by Stephanie Henry. Today, the Chorus includes more than 100 members. Emily […]Read More



Trailblazing: Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy

Christine Kemper founded the Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy in 2017. The school’s mission “is to develop young women to use their voices, to succeed in college, and to lead impactful, meaningful lives,” in addition to becoming leaders for real change. KC Girls Prep is an affiliate of  The Young Women’s Leadership Schools (TYWLN). Begun […] Read More



Trailblazing: Junior League of Wyandotte and Johnson Counties

Founded in 1934 as The Service League of Kansas City, Kansas, the organization later became the Junior League of Kansas City, Kansas, and now is finally known as the Junior League of Wyandotte and Johnson Counties. It is an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through […] Read More



Trailblazing: The Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri

The Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri was established more than a century ago. Since then, the organization has raised more than $18.5 million and provided in excess of 2.5 million volunteer hours to 350 community partners. The current focus is on women’s and children’s issues, centering on self-sustainability, abuse and neglect, and childhood development. […] Read More



Trailblazing: InnovateHER KC

InnovateHER KC’s mission is to serve women and individuals from marginalized gender communities in the verticals of entrepreneurship, community advocacy, civic leadership, education, and the arts. The organization offers support through its five pillars: social connection, professional development, championship, mentorship, and resource sharing. The leadership community, which was founded in 2018, currently has more than […] Read More



Trailblazing: I AM 4: Thirteens

Iesha Tyler founded I AM 4: Thirteens in 2016 to provide empowerment and enrichment programs to young women in the eighth through 12th grades through a variety of workshops. The purpose is to equip the participants with the tools and resources needed to prepare for college and build career readiness skills. The organization accomplishes this […] Read More



Trailblazing: Giving Hope & Help

Jessica McClellan founded Giving Hope & Help in 2013. It is “a non-profit organization that supports domestic violence survivors, provides essential resources to end period poverty, empowers college bound and non-traditional students, and inspires cancer patients.” Jessica notes that she is following a tradition of service. Her great-grandfather, R.L. McCallop, was the founder of the […] Read More



Trailblazing: Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri

For some girls, this is where it all starts. Girl Scouts is where they learn leadership skills, confidence, problem solving skills, innovative thinking, and the cultivation of a passion. For some girls, this is an addendum to what they receive at home, but to others, this is the only opportunity they will have to interact […] Read More



Trailblazing: Amethyst Place

Amethyst Place opened its doors in 2000 and has been bringing families home to heal for more than 21 years. Founded by Sister Berta Sailer, Penny Clodfelter, Oneta Templeton, Alice Kitchen, Kimberley Davis, Pat Brown, and Molly O’Neill, the organization has been a leader in assisting families with overcoming the interconnected cycles of poverty, substance […] Read More



Trailblazers: Kansas City Women – Publisher’s Note

“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.”  Dolly Parton When I first started as publisher of The Independent, I knew that I had just stepped on to a new path. A mainstay of the Kansas City community, I remember reading The Independent as I was growing up and searching for […] Read More




Trailblazers: The Women Behind The Independent 

Social life isn’t a series of linear progressions. It’s often impossible for even close friends to recall exactly when they met. Maybe they both attended the same cocktail parties dozens of times, but never had a conversation until they were on the train at Jazzoo. The year 2022 marks 100 years of women owning The […] Read More




Trailblazers: KC Current

When the National Women’s Soccer League announced in December of 2020 that a new franchise of women’s soccer was being awarded to Kansas City, it meant an enormous influx of volunteers and civic-minded players would be getting acquainted with Kansas City area non profits. Owners Angie and Chris Long and Brittany Matthews were clear in […] Read More



Trailblazing: Young Women on the Move

Mary Beth Gentry believes in young women and their unlimited potential. She founded Young Women on the Move (YWOM) in 2005 to help unleash the power of girls to create a more vibrant, healthy and peaceful world. When asked about YWOM’s work, Mary Beth, who also serves as chief executive officer, stated, “Today’s youth are […] Read More



Trailblazers: Kansas City Rising Stars

Trailblazer: Klassie Alcine, Rising Star Class of 2017 Klassie Alcine is the chief executive officer of KC Common Good, which works to provide critical resources to reduce the conditions that lead to violence. She recently served as a guest mentor for Madam President Camp, where she is also an advisory board member. The organization offers a […] Read More