August 2, 2019 -- It's always a great day when a Kansas Women Attorneys Association ("KWAA") member is selected for participation in a distinguished program like the Kansas Chamber's Leadership Kansas. KWAA truly has cause to celebrate this year, as not one but four of its members were selected to participate in Leadership Kansas 2019--Kelly Trussell, Judge Cheryl Rios, and Amanda Stanley of Topeka and Etta Walker of Sharon Springs. According to its website, "Leadership Kansas is one of the oldest and most prestigious statewide leadership programs in the country." Each year only 40 participants are selected for the honor.
"Kansas is better when women are positioned to be leaders in our community" said Judge Rios. "Understanding the diversity in our state on many levels as well as developing an understanding of the needs of each community will continue to enrich my growth on the bench. I appreciate learning more about the communities where our attorneys grew up and continue to practice."
Leadership Kansas includes a rigorous travel schedule six months out of the year that requires its participants to visit a different area of the state at least three days out of every month. This year, the group has already traveled to Lawrence, Garden City, Kansas City, Goodland, and Colby. The remainder of the program will include trips to Pittsburg, South Central Kansas, Manhattan, and Topeka.
When asked about her experience so far, Trussell said "The enlightenment that has occurred with each session is inspiring. I have truly enjoyed seeing the entrepreneurial spirit in our communities, the diversity we have embraced, and the creative perseverance that has shaped solutions to very serious economic issues. It is inspiring!"
Stanley noted, "I think it’s really easy to get overwhelmed by all the issues facing women and we forget to have fun along the journey. If I could only take one thing away from Leadership Kansas, I think it would be that our state is filled with innovative, fun, intelligent, caring people and to make Kansas better, we need to remember to not only be those kind of people but to foster those positive attributes in those around us."
Kelly Trussell is Of Counsel for Sloan, Eisenbarth, Glassman, McEntire & Jarboe, LLC.
Judge Cheryl Rios has served a District Judge in the 3rd Judicial District since 2008.
Amanda Stanley is General Counsel for the League of Kansas Municipalities, based in Topeka.
Etta Walker owns and manages a private law practice in Sharon Springs, Kansas.
All four women are involved in their communities in ways too numerous to set forth in this short article. In fact, Etta Walker was knee deep in her county's fair activities at the time this article was being written, exemplifying exactly how each of these women give back to their profession, to women attorneys, and most of all, to their communities. "The best part, of course, is getting to know the other class members and learning about their businesses and points of view as we immerse ourselves in different communities each month," stated Walker. "From dining with Bill Self in Lenexa to riding four wheelers with farmer/entrepreneur Alan Townsend near Kanorado, Kansas, we're having a wonderful time, too, and falling in love with our home state all over again."
Needless to say, the honor bestowed upon these four deserving women has shown the quality of KWAA membership as a whole. Judge Rios noted, "It’s my hope that with this many women attorneys in the class of 2019, we will grow the numbers who are invited to participate in the future."