When I returned to the Kansas City area three years ago and was researching organizations that I wanted to engage with, the words above spoke straight to my heart and I knew instantly that I wanted to be involved with United WE. Formerly known as the Women’s Foundation, United WE is leading the important conversations, uniting with elected officials and community leaders, and making a tremendous and lasting impact nationwide – right here from their home office in Kansas City, Missouri.
Within United WE is the Appointments Project®. Too often, board rooms are not an accurate representation of the population as a whole; the Appointments Project® is changing that by empowering women and strengthening communities by increasing the gender diversity of civic boards and commissions. The Appointments Project® is one of only a few programs in the entire nation that helps facilitate women to get appointed to civic boards and commissions at the city, county, and state level.
After attending an informational webinar regarding the Appointments Project® , I felt empowered to pursue a civic seat; I knew women needed more representation and I was eager to get involved. It was reassuring to know that the Appointments Project® was supporting and guiding me through every step.
With the help of the Appointments Project®, I was appointed to the Jackson County Ethics, Human Relations, and Citizens Complaints Commission in June 2021 by Jackson County Executive, Frank White, Jr. The process included registering with the Appointments Project® , applying on the county website, participating in a Zoom interview with the EHRCCC Director and existing commissioners, and having one-on-one phone calls with commissioners. We meet monthly for 60 to 90 minutes to review citizen complaints and resolutions, receive updates from the Director of the EHRCCC, and discuss pending issues within Jackson County.
Representing District 5, I was appointed to a 2-year term that is eligible for reappointment. As one of only six Commissioners serving all of Jackson County, it is important that each of us make our attendance at the monthly meetings a priority. We receive a detailed agenda and a summary of the monthly cases prior to the meeting to ensure we arrive prepared. Meetings are open to the public and were previously held downtown in the Jackson County Courthouse but have been held via Zoom since the COVID-19 outbreak. It is rewarding to know that I am serving my county and working alongside like-minded professionals that also value civic responsibility.
As Kansas Citians and as women, we should all be aware of the incredible work being done by programs, like the Appointments Project®, in our community. Let us not underestimate the impact on our generation as well as the generation that we are raising. Since the beginning of the Appointments Project® 8 years ago, 182 women in 34 cities, 6 counties, and 3 states across the country have been appointed with the support of the Appointments Project®. In Kansas City, they have increased the number of women serving on civic boards and commissions by 24 percent. I am proud to say that I am one of those.
As mothers, we all know time is a valuable and limited resource. But despite our busy and often overwhelming schedules, we must get involved, we must support the organizations leading the way, we must support one another, and we must represent. Allocating time in our schedules for important causes is not selfish, but instead selfless. As the world watched the historic appointment of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, we were provided yet another reminder as to the enormous need for courts, organizations, boards, and commissions to be representative of us all.
In 1968, Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman elected to the United States Congress and was later quoted as saying, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” Kansas City Moms, we have the Appointments Project® right here in our community. Let’s partner with them. Let’s learn from them. Let’s get our seat at the table.
To learn more about the Appointments Project, check out these frequently asked questions.