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Butler Announces 37 New Graduates of Advance Kansas

AK 7 class picture
Published: Monday, June 1st, 2015

Community action projects presented as Class VII concludes

The seventh Advance Kansas class culminated Friday, May 29 at the USD 259 Service Center in Wichita. Thirty-seven area business and community leaders graduated from the program after presenting their community action projects.

Advance Kansas consists of four full-day workshops spread over a four-month period. Between workshops, participants meet in teams to develop a community action project. This year’s 37 participants were divided into five teams, each of which then tackled a community issue important to them.

Team 1 is focusing on building a Diversity Recruitment Consortium. The group is working to identify how they can have an immediate impact on local businesses’ ability to attract and retain individuals. Team 1 members are Dennis Clary, Cox Communications; Suzy Finn, Young Professionals of Wichita; Nikki Freeman, Wesley Medical Center; Phil Hayes, The Arnold Group; Dana Hensley, Business Education Alliance; Robert Moody, Martin, Pringle, Oliver, Wallace & Bauer, LLP; Kelly Snedden, Butler Community College; and Carrie Wiegand, Allen, Gibbs & Houlik. 

Team 2 is working with a local businessman to establish a First Tee program in Wichita. First Tee is a golf program that teaches life skills to youth while also teaching golf. The Advance Kansas team is helping write a business plan, fundraise, and recruit volunteers. Team 2 members are John Buckley, II, Koch Industries, Inc.; Sarah Emmons, Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.; Kara Finn, Bombardier Learjet; Kate Flavin, Sedgwick County; Jose Gutierrez, Farmers Insurance; Kim Krull, Butler Community College; Jonathan Long, Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas; and Karen Schmidt, Women’s Initiative Network. 

Team 3 is working with EmberHope’s Secure Care program in Newton to prepare girls who are chronic runaways for the work world by providing the Junior Achievement curriculum. They also are planning a clean-up day at the facility and are getting donations of teen-appropriate books for the facility’s library. Team 3 members are Amanda Arroyo, Bombardier Learjet; Chris Boshers, Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.; Misa Daily, Nonprofit Solutions, Inc.; Roosevelt “Buck” DeShazer, Progressive Missionary Baptist Church; Julie Johnson-Dubuc, T-Mobile; Robert Lacy Jr, City of Wichita; Martha Linsner, Junior League of Wichita; and Heather Rinkenbaugh, Butler Community College. 

Team 4 is working to bring a Girls Who Code chapter to the Wichita area. Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in the technology and engineering sectors. Girls Who Code works to educate, inspire, and equip high school girls with the skills and resources to pursue opportunities in computing fields. Team 4 members are Michael Carver, Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.; Loni Jensen, Hutchinson Community College; Keri Myers, Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital; Anne Nelson, Central Plains Health Care Partnership; Michele Spainhower, Sedgwick County Health Department; and Lester Terry, T-Mobile. 

Team 5 is distributing care packages to 55 USD 259 graduating seniors who are homeless. The backpacks contain dress clothes for job interviews, hygiene items, bus passes and/or gift cards, and a resource guide. Team 5 members are Pamala Butler, T-Mobile; Sheila Hanus, Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.; Perla Rodriguez, Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center; Steve Spade, City of Wichita; Juston White, Boys & Girls Club; Amy Woerz, Delta Dental of Kansas; and Michele Zahner, USD 259 Wichita. 

Hosted by Butler Community College with support from Spirit AeroSystems, Advance Kansas is designed to bring together leaders from all demographic groups and across all sectors of society – business, nonprofit, education, religion, government – and to educate them in effective ways to engage pressing diversity issues in their communities. Advance Kansas is facilitated by Juan Johnson, president Juan Johnson Consulting and Facilitation, of Atlanta. 

This seventh Advance Kansas class brought the number of Advance Kansas graduates to 269, representing 106 organizations in the Wichita metro area.

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Participants of the Spring 2015 Advance Kansas Program included:
Front, (left to right) Sheila Hanus, Robert Lacy, Misa Daily, Michele Spainhower, Amanda Arroyo, Roosevelt "Buck" DeShazer, Heather Rinkenbaugh and Martha Linsner. Second row, (left to right) Robert Moody, Keri Myers, Kara Finn, Anne Nelson, Nikki Freeman, Dana Hensley, Carrie Wiegand, Suzy Finn and Karen Schmidt. Back, (left to right) Amy Woerz, Perla Rodriguez, Pamala Butler, Dennis Clary, Michael Carver, Lester Terry, Phil Hayes, Jose Gutierrez, Jonathan Long, Sarah Emmons, Kimberly Krull, Michele Zahner, John Buckley II and Loni Jensen.