Women from all across Kansas will have the opportunity to get together at the fourth annual Kansas Women's Leadership Conference from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, March 26, in Hays.
For the first time, the conference will be held on the Fort Hays State University campus, beginning at the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center and moving to several breakout sessions around the FHSU campus. The conference is available to women of all ages and backgrounds, allowing each woman to see her own leadership potential.
"We want to provide a forum for discussion on issues, concepts and skills regarding leadership development for all Kansas women," said Christie Brungardt, conference administrator and instructor of leadership studies at FHSU. "We're hoping to encourage and enhance the ability of the attendees to actively participate in leadership at all levels."
The program objectives are to strengthen the networking skills and opportunities for women, encourage development of leadership in women of all ages, promote mentoring between and among women and foster a celebration of women's diversity.
The keynote speaker is Jody Urquhart, author of "All Work & No SAY," who has presented keynote addresses around the world for more than 10 years. Urquhart's passion for spreading the message of using influence in leadership has also led her to write a collective column called "The Joy of Work," which is published in more than 40 magazines and trade journals.
Urquhart says her mission is to help individuals and organizations derive more meaning and satisfaction from their work. She is dedicated to educating participants about the importance of humor in all areas of their lives, including in leadership.
A free pre-conference meet-and-greet social will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 25, in the Bildschon Haus, 1100 Main. Urquhart will be available to sign her book, and all pre-registered conference attendees are welcome to attend to get a jump start on networking, leadership and learning.
Jemelle Holopirek, anchor and reporter for KAKE News, Wichita, will serve as the conference emcee.
For the second year, conference participants will take part in a service project, New Items Drive for Kansas Domestic Violence Shelters, which will play a significant role in helping these organizations serve women in need. The project is in honor or two young women leaders, Jana Mackey and Cari McGrath, who lost their lives in 2008.
Brungardt said facilitators, speakers and planners are excited about this year's conference.
"We are hoping for an even bigger and better event this year," said Brungardt. "We're confident that our attendees will gain valuable insight on women's roles in leadership, and they'll have a great time doing it."
Registration deadline is March 12. The cost to register is $99 and includes lunch and all conference materials. The Center for Civic Leadership has a limited amount of $50 student scholarships available, which will deduct $50 from the cost of the conference, for high school or college students. For scholarship confirmation, to register or for more information, contact Chantelle Arnold, Planning Committee member, at (785) 628-5592 or visit www.kansaswomensleadership.org.