LAWRENCE — Ready to Represent, a leadership training program series designed to empower Kansas women to participate more fully in civic life, will return this month. The program is hosted by the Appointments Project & Ready to Run Kansas Women’s Leadership Series, a partnership between the University of Kansas Institute for Leadership Studies and United Women’s Empowerment (United WE). It begins Jan. 22.
The first iteration of Ready to Represent, held in 2021, trained more than 60 women from Kansas, Missouri and across the United States.
“This training program encouraged me, elevated my confidence in my abilities to serve my community, supplied valuable information and provided me wonderful networking opportunities I wouldn’t have had anywhere else,” said 2021 Ready to Represent participant Terri Easley-Giraldo, professor of communication studies at Johnson County Community College. “Most of all I was inspired: inspired by the incredible women that put together the program, inspired by the guest speakers and mentors for the advice they gave, and inspired by the fellow participants who I could easily relate to as we navigate our journeys in serving our communities.”
Ready to Represent will help train women who are interested in running for political office or serving on civic boards and commissions. The program also has sessions specifically for collegiate women who are interested in civic leadership and becoming more engaged in their communities. Ready to Represent, which will take place via Zoom, also includes mentorship opportunities. Participants can also receive further leadership training for no additional cost through the Kansas Leadership Center after they complete Ready to Represent.
“The goal of our program is to help women achieve the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to run for public office, serve on a civic board or commission, and be more active in civic life in their communities,” said Emily Vietti, Institute for Leadership Studies program associate/lecturer and partnership director for the Appointments Project & Ready to Run Kansas Women’s Leadership Series. “Women are often underrepresented in these spaces in Kansas and around the country. When we have more women and more diverse voices in the spaces where decisions are made, we see more collaboration and better outcomes for more people. Everybody wins.”
The Appointments Project & Ready to Run Kansas Women’s Leadership Series is a first-of-its-kind partnership between Ready to Run at KU’s Institute for Leadership Studies and United WE’s Appointments Project. The series launched in spring 2020. Ready to Represent is its full-scale training program.
Ready to Represent will take place over four Saturday mornings: Jan. 22, Feb. 5, March 5 and April 2 in two- to three-hour online sessions. The sessions will cover topics such as media training, political fundraising, Kansas open meetings laws, the importance of diversity and inclusion in leadership, imposter syndrome and more. Each session will also include small-group mentorship circles to build networks among Kansas women from across the state.
The price for the program is $99, and need-based scholarships are available. Kansas college students can attend the full program for only $12. More information and registration for the program can be found at https://womenlead.ku.edu/programs/.