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Melanie Coen
Dole Institute of Politics
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Kathleen Sebelius part of upcoming Dole Institute lecture series

Wed, 02/04/2015

LAWRENCE — The Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas will highlight women’s leadership for its 2015 President Lecture Series, “The First Woman President 2.0.” This four-part series will examine the unique challenges women must overcome to achieve leadership positions in public service, politics and business, or to become the president of the United States. All events are free and open to the public.

“2016 could very well present another historic first for the American presidency,” said Dole Institute Director Bill Lacy. “With Secretary Clinton likely to seek the Democratic nomination and Carly Fiorina the Republican nomination, we felt it was the perfect time to revisit the possibility of the first woman president, but also expand the series to look at rising stars, campaign trends and how to overcome hurdles to achieve success.”

The question of whether the United States will elect its first woman president was addressed at the Dole Institute nine years ago. This year’s Presidential Lecture Series will update the 2006 series on women in leadership as we look toward the possibility for 2016.

This year’s series kicks off with Kathleen Sebelius, former Kansas governor and secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, who will provide insights from her personal political journey. In addition, other programs will include discussions on increasing women’s participation in the political arena, leading at any level, and honing in on one’s own leadership potential.

At 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12, the Dole Institute will host “An Evening with Kathleen Sebelius” as the first installment of the series.

Sebelius’ earned herself two major executive positions in Kansas governor and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services for President Barack Obama’s cabinet. In her most recent, Sebelius led the implementation for the Affordable Care Act in which 10 million have enrolled, oversaw a trillion-dollar budget and was in charge of the nation’s response to natural disasters and emerging epidemics. Time magazine named her as one of American’s top five governors. Sebelius also served as Kansas’s insurance commissioner from 1995 to 2003 and as a Kansas legislator for four terms. She was also the first woman chair of the Democratic Governors Association.

Adrienne Kimmel, executive director of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, will visit for the second part of the series, “The New Paradigm for Women’s Political Success,” scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17.

The Barbara Lee Family Foundation is a nonpartisan organization that advances women’s political equality through research, partnerships and grant-making. Kimmell, a career advocate for women’s rights with an extensive knowledge of national and local campaigns, will look into how women candidates utilize advantages unique to their gender to tailor ads, speeches and messaging into successful campaigns.

The third part of the series will consist of a panel on Women’s Legislative Leadership at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24.

Moderated by Barbara Ballard, Dole Institute associate director and state representative, the panel will discuss what it takes to effectively lead on the local, state, and federal levels and the obstacles women must conquer in order to do so. The panel includes U.S. Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D.-SC), Joan Wagnon, former Kansas representative and Secretary of Revenue, and Beka Romm, a lobbyist working in the legislative arena. 

The 2015 President Lecture Series is co-sponsored by Lawrence Public Library's Read Across Lawrence.



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