The Kansas Chamber of Commerce does not list the age, race, sex, religion, or ethnicity of the 40 members of its 2018 Leadership Kansas class.
True, this nationally recognized program is charged with “developing and motivating a diverse group of Kansas leaders,” but Leadership Kansas achieves diversity the old fashioned way–by choosing leaders from all walks of life, from all parts of the state. 2018 represents the 40th year of this highly popular program. This year, 700 people applied for the 40 spots.
Those chosen include any number of business owners and managers, but it is the occupational outliers that give Leadership Kansas its distinctive flavor. This class includes, for instance, the director of aviation for KDOT, the superintendent of Goddard Public Schools, the pastor of the United Presbyterian Church in Garden City, the pediatrics chair from KU School of Medicine-Wichita, and, to keep order, the sheriff of Shawnee County.
Throughout the six-month program, class members meet with a variety of experts and community leaders. Class members engage in a series of three-day educational training sessions in different cities across the state, including Garden City, KC Metro, Hays, Pittsburg, and Manhattan/Topeka.
Topics to be discussed in this year’s program include education, agriculture, public policy, societal health; economic development, and government among others. Said Mary Hammond, class of 2010, “Graduates of Leadership Kansas complete the program with a deeper understanding of our state and are better equipped to shoulder important leadership responsibilities in their communities and careers.”
Leadership Kansas has graduated about 1400 alumni, many very successful, some highly visible. Alumni include: former Kansas Governor Bill Graves; Westar Energy CEO, Mark Ruelle; C.Q. Chandler IV, President of INTRUST Bank; Pittsburg State University President, Steve Scott; retired Brig. Gen Deborah Rose; former CEO of the Kroger Company David Dillon; former Spirit AeroSystems President & CEO Jeff Turner; Murfin Drilling Company, Inc. President Dave Murfin; U.S. Senator Jerry Moran and U.S. Representatives Lynn Jenkins and Kevin Yoder.