Below are some of the speakers for this year's conference.
Victory Fund and Victory Institute President & CEO Annise Parker is the first former elected official to lead the organizations, having served six years as a Houston City Council member, six years as City Controller, and six years as Mayor of the city. She is one of only two women to have been elected mayor and is the only person in Houston history to have held the offices of council member, controller and mayor. She was the first openly LGBTQ mayor of a major American city.
In 2010 Time magazine named Mayor Parker one of the 100 most influential people in the world. She was named top US mayor and seventh ranked world mayor in 2014 by City Mayors Foundation. She has received numerous awards during her career, including Scenic Houston’s Scenic Visionary Award, Guardian of the Human Spirit Award from Holocaust Museum Houston, Guardian of the Bay Award from Galveston Bay Foundation, Rice University Distinguished Alumna for 2011, and Local Arts Leadership honoree by Americans For the Arts.
Mayor Parker has been involved in Victory Fund and Victory Institute since its founding. She was endorsed by Victory Fund in all her successful campaigns for elected office, served on the board of directors, is an alum of Victory Institute’s Candidate & Campaign Training, and is a former Victory Institute David Bohnett Leaders Fellow. Her first LGBTQ organizing event was the Texas Gay Conference in 1975, and she was a founding member of the Rice University Gay and Lesbian Support Group in 1979. She served as an officer or board member of dozens of organizations, including President of the Houston Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, Co-Chair of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, Co-Chair of the Lesbian and Gay Democrats of Texas and Treasurer of the Names Project Houston. She was a community liaison to the Houston Police department for many years and created and taught an LGBTQ human relations module to cadets.
Mayor Parker and her wife Kathy Hubbard have been together for more than 25 years and are advocates for adoption, with three daughters, a son and a grandson.
Katie Orenstein, founder and CEO of The OpEd Project, writes and speaks frequently about the intersection of media and mythology – that is, what we think is fact or fiction and how that shapes our ideas about politics, culture and history. She has contributed to the op-ed pages of the New York Times, Washington Post and Miami Herald. Her commentaries on women, politics, popular culture, mythology and human rights have been nationally syndicated and appear in anthologies. She has lectured at Harvard and Stanford universities, and appeared on ABC TV World News, Good Morning America, MSNBC, CNN and NPR All Things Considered. A graduate of Harvard (MA) and Columbia (MA) universities, she is the author of Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality & the Evolution of a Fairy Tale, which explores stories told about women over 500 years across multiple continents, and how they shape our lives today.
Orenstein has lived and worked around the world and particularly in Haiti, where she traveled as a folklore student and journalist in the 1990s, during a time of political upheaval. As a result of that experience, she has reported extensively on Haiti; organized fact-finding delegations for journalists, scholars and lawmakers; and consulted with the United Nations human rights mission. In 1996, she worked with a team of international human rights lawyers to assist victims of military and paramilitary violence in seeking justice. She investigated tortures, rapes, political assassinations and massacres; interviewed hundreds of victims, witnesses and alleged criminals; and coordinated lawyers’ and victims’ efforts to build cases against their persecutors. She has written about some of these cases and their aftermaths in Haiti and in the United States.
Orenstein has received a Peabody-Gardner Fellowship, Tinker Grant and a Cordier Essay Prize (from Columbia University), and was a finalist for the 2004 Prize for Promise, designed “to identify young women, aged 21-35,of great promise and vision who could... become world leaders in their respective fields.” She is a fellow with The Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership, a recipient of The Diana P. Scott Integrity in Action Award, and a fellow of Echoing Green, which selected The OpEd Project as one of 19 of the most innovative social enterprises worldwide, out of a pool of 1500 applicants.
Linda Luckey is currently the chief of staff for the provost at the University of Kansas. Since coming to KU in 1996 Linda has worked with senior leadership in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, University and State Relations, and Academic Affairs. She was the founding director of the KU Center for Service Learning, launched the Staff Fellows Program, taught COMS 201: Intro to Leadership, and advised the KU Alternative Breaks student group. Before coming to KU Linda was the vice president for business affairs at the Chicago Theological Seminary from which she holds a Master of Divinity degree.
Last year Linda and three colleagues convened a series of workshops for staff in response to the change in Kansas law allowing guns on campus. A session called Self-care at Work was offered with the expectation of 50 participants. When 350 staff registered they knew they had hit a nerve. The life/work stories shared by participants and their desire for tools related to self-kindness and de-stressing were remarkable and also instructive to KU leadership about the need for further self-care assistance for faculty, staff, and students in our university community.
Meredith Hauck is the Assistant City Administrator for the City of Merriam, Kansas, where she oversees internal services, municipal court, communications, and economic development. After spending more than ten years in the public sector, Meredith is experienced in project management, community engagement, collaborative processes, working with elected officials, slashing through red tape, and finding her zen. She received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas and is a credentialed manager through ICMA. She also holds a number of certifications in productivity, personal organization, and energy-based practices, including Reiki. Meredith’s favorite self-care activities include volunteering in the community, posting cute pictures of her bulldog Chloe on Instagram, curating playlists, and going on Atlas Obscura-inspired adventures. She is also an advocate of #boringselfcare and feels major props are deserved for putting away laundry after it’s been folded, balancing your checkbook, and some days, just showing up.
Tracie McClendon-Cole is the Deputy Directory of Health for the Kansas City, Missouri Health Department. She has more than 20 years of experience brokering government relationships and activities with community residents and organizations, as well as in administering community-focused grants through local government. Her education includes a bachelor’s degree in psychology and an MPA from the University of Kansas as well as a juris doctorate from the University of Missouri Kansas City.
Tracie has received national awards and recognition, including the National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO) Promising Practice award (2011), Missouri Public Health Association’s (MPHA) Group Merit award (2015), Missouri Department of Corrections - Probation and Parole Division’s Community Partnership for Safer Communities award (2016) and National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO) Model Practice award (2016). She is a recent American Society for Public Administration, Public Administrator of the Year recipient; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Ladder to Leadership Program Fellow; and The Central Exchange, Adele Hall Endowment for Advancement and Development (AHEAD) Program Fellow; and the Black Health Care Coalition’s Leader in Health Equity award.
In 2014, Tracie suffered a massive stroke and feels blessed to have lived to tell the story. Her perfect storm occurred due to a mixture of birth control pills and life stress. However, she knew the signs (FAST - https://www.cdc.gov/stroke/signs_symptoms.htm) and sought medical care immediately. She feels doubly blessed that she had a 100% recovery. It helped her to reshape her journey and perspective toward life and self-care. She truly believes that we “must live in each day” because it is the “present.”
Sally McVey is a licensed master social worker, licensed master addiction counselor, and an experienced registered yoga instructor. Her undergraduate education was a focus on history-social science comprehensive, with an emphasis in psychology and a women’s and gender studies minor at the University of Nebraska, Kearney. She completed her graduate degree in Social Welfare from Kansas University in 2016. This all was accomplished as she managed the responsibility of being a mother of four children—eventually, six, as she became part of a blended family. Subsequently, her understanding of the necessity of daily self-care practice is what has enabled her to balance the challenging aspects of her journey. She is passionate about working with others who wish to explore their inner potential and vitality. With over 15 years of Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness practice, she integrates these skills into her work with the individuals she serves.
Chelsea Ren Morton is a social critic, poet, and artist. Having recently completed her Master’s in Public Administration with honors at the University of Kansas, she comes to you from a background in anti-violence work and libraries and currently serves as the assistant to the executive director at the League of Kansas Municipalities. She has been featured in the Kansas Government Journal, awarded the Outstanding MPA Student Award, is a past recipient of the KU Innovation Award, and contributed to the work of a local domestic violence center that was recognized with the Kansas Outstanding Victims’ Rights Award. She first encountered self-care when experiencing vicarious trauma as a domestic violence advocate. Her experience led her to design and facilitate a two-hour workshop where she worked with advocates and non-profit service providers in managing their secondary trauma through self-care techniques. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her husband, son, two snuggly kitties, and thousands of books. View more of her work at https://searenm.wixsite.com/chelsearenmorton.
Alyssa Dinberg is a second year Cookingham-Noll Management Fellow with the City of Kansas City, Missouri and a host for GovLove, a podcast about the People, Policies and Profession of local government sponsored by Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL). She completed her Executive Master’s of Public Administration with a focus in urban development at UMKC and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Community Development from The University of Alabama. Prior to moving to Kansas City, Alyssa served as an AmeriCorps in rural Walker County, Alabama then went on to teach third through sixth graders at an urban elementary school in Rishon LeZion, Israel.
Alyssa active in Big Brothers Big Sisters as a Big Sister and board member and serves on the United Nations Association of Greater Kansas City board. In her free time, In her free time, Alyssa enjoys camping, traveling and eating at all the new restaurants popping up in town. She currently lives in Kansas City, Missouri with an aquatic turtle and two demanding kitties.
Abbie worked in Kansas politics for more than ten years serving in various roles including speechwriter for Governor Kathleen Sebelius, director of communications for U.S. Senate candidate Jim Slattery, and chief of staff to the House Minority Leader.
In 2017, Abbie added her voice to the #metoo movement when she gave an interview to The Hill, a national political website, about her experience with sexual harassment and discrimination in the Kansas Statehouse. She later appeared in Time Magazine’s Person of the Year edition as one of the movement’s “silence breakers.”
A proud Jayhawk, Abbie earned a BA in Political Science and a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Kansas. She now lives in Washington, DC where she works for The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Shannon Portillo, Ph.D. is Assistant Vice Chancellor of Undergraduate Programs at the KU Edwards Campus and an Associate Professor in the School of Public Affairs and Administration. In both roles she focuses on making public organizations more inclusive and equitable through administration and research. Dr. Portillo takes an interdisciplinary approach to her work, drawing from organizational theories rooted in the fields of public administration and law & society to explore how rules and policies are carried out within public organizations.
To date she has done work in a broad array of organizations including the military, problem-solving courts, probation, restorative justice programs, administrative hearings, policing, higher education and city management. Using a variety of methods, she collects empirical data to assess how social, cultural and legal factors influence the day-to-day operations in these organizations. Teaching and research interests include social equity, social justice, organizational theory, and law and public management. Her work has appeared in a variety of academic journals including Law & Policy, Administration & Society, Law & Social Inquiry, Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory and Public Administration Review, as well as in popular outlets including the Huffington Post and NBC Latino. In addition to administration and research, she is passionate about mentorship.
As founder and CEO of Veracity, Angela Hurt oversees the strategic direction of the Kansas City-based company, a tech consulting team of problem-solvers and truth-tellers who deliver customized IT solutions for its customers in the commercial and government sectors. The company seeks to bridge the gap between business and technology while always staying transparent and authentic.
Under Angela’s leadership, the company also places a high value on giving back to the community and intentionally fosters a culture of giving. Leading by example, Angela has implemented a profit-sharing program that connects employee contributions to the growth of the company, while externally she invests a portion of profits each year to community programs.
She is a passionate advocate for women, especially in areas of unemployment and underemployment, and works to help girls and women gain confidence and leadership skills through her ongoing work with the Women’s Intersport Network for Kansas City (WIN for KC) and now as a board member for the Kansas City Sports Commission & Foundation. She has also served as co-chair for the 2016 Go Red for Women luncheon, co-chair of the 2017 Women’s Employment Network luncheon, and a member of the Enterprise Center of Johnson County (ECJC) Board of Directors.
Angela also participates in various STEM, entrepreneurial and mentoring initiatives, and advocates for organizations as a board member. In addition to nonprofit boards, she’s recently become a mentor in the Helzberg Entrepreneur Mentoring Program and still mentors in the Steve Metzler Mentoring Program through the Mid-America Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
She has been recognized as a Kansas City Business Journal Women Who Mean Business, a Kansas City Rising Star, and as one of KC’s Influential Women. Veracity was honored as the Woman-Owned Business of the Year for Professional Services by the State of Kansas in 2013, a Top 10 Small Business of the Year in 2016 and 2018, and as the Diverse Small Business of the Year by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce in 2018.
Kimiko Black Gilmore serves as a senior level manager with over 10 years of generalist experience in local government. Her professional career spans over 25 years in both non-profit and government sectors. As Assistant City Manager for the City of Kansas City, Missouri, Ms. Gilmore has been able to fulfill her personal goal of positively impacting the quality of life for those that she is committed to serve.
During Ms. Gilmore’s tenure with the City of Kansas City she has provided oversight in the areas of Housing, Health, Human Relations and Neighborhoods. After serving three years as an Assistant to the City Manager, she was appointed as Assistant City Manager –Special Projects in 2012. Past projects include coordination of the City’s efforts during the 2010 Census and providing leadership to complete the City’s housing asset transfer plan, ReBuild KC. She was the staff lead during the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Week and 2015 World Series Parade and Celebration. She administered a $4 million contract with the Green Impact Zone, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver’s signature project; a place-based investment model within the urban core. Ms. Gilmore is the City’s planning committee representative for CORE4; a regional collaborative initiative among the four largest jurisdictions in the area; Kansas City, Mo, Jackson County, Johnson County and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County. Recently, she has been working with representatives from Sporting KC, Chiefs and Kansas City Sports Commission on a bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup and the NFL Draft.
She is playing a defining role in changing the urban agriculture conversation in Kansas City, Missouri. She believes that supporting urban agriculture is a key component to decreasing the incidents of food insecurity that exist in our communities and serves to address consumer demand for local, organic, free range food. She worked to attract a BrightFarms, Inc. to the Kansas City market. BrightFarms constructs 100,000 sq. ft. greenhouses that generate one million pounds of lettuces, tomatoes and herbs annually. She was appointed as chair of Kansas City, Missouri Urban Agricultural Zone Advisory Commission which made recommendations to the City Council regarding the establishment of Urban Agricultural Zones. She facilitated the establishment of KC Grow which provides small grants to community gardeners and urban farmers for water access solutions. In addition, Ms. Gilmore has teamed up with City Planning staff to repurpose the Kansas City’s Municipal Farm as an agricultural incubator which would include 2 acres farms, mini food hub, composting center and recreational amenities.
Ms. Gilmore holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Missouri – Kansas City and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Troy State University. In 2017 the International City Management Association selected Ms. Gilmore as one of two members to receive a scholarship to attend the Harvard Kennedy School for State and Local Executives. She counts this three-week experience as life changing both professionally and personally.
Ms. Gilmore has been described by her colleagues as energetic, collaborative and a problem solver. She is known for her high ethical standards and integrity. She is passionate about her work and enjoys mentoring in order to help others find their passion and live their best lives.
She has been happily married to the Rev. David A. Gilmore for 21 years. The couple has recently become a bi-state family after Rev. Gilmore was appointed as the Director for Congregational Development and Revitalization for the New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. In order to maintain balance in her life she cherishes time spent with family and friends. She also likes to run with the members of Black Girls Run!Kansas City and is a self-described “CrossFit chick”.
Kristina Gallaher is the Communications Coordinator for the KU Public Management Center, and a 200RYT instructor. Her life, as she puts it, has taken the "scenic route."
Before coming to the KU PMC in 2016, Kristina worked to create and implement a professional development module for the Lawrence School District on Blending Learning. She's been a Lawrence Arts Center instructor, after school and summer camp counselor, and has worked in K-12 special education.
"I originally came to yoga when a friend dragged me to a class during graduate school. I completely fell apart, emotionally, and started going regularly to address my stress and work on my severe depression." She finished a year-long teacher training course in 2017 and started teaching in Eudora at The Areté Life Co., a community fitness center comprised that offers everything from weight classes, to Zumba, yoga, and Pound with drumsticks! "Everyone comes to yoga for different reasons. You could be coming back from an injury, wish to work on flexibility, need to clear metal clutter, or want to build strength and stability. If I can facilitate that in a supportive and fun way, then I'm doing something right." Kristina also completed her Buti Yoga certification in January 2018, which incorporates tribal dance and plyometrics in a high intensity interval format that works the body in new and fun ways.
Try a free class by going to https://thearetelifeco.com/