Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Applauding Our Leading Women ; 'Women of Influence' Show That Female Leadership Is Essential in Our Community

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Applauding Our Leading Women ; 'Women of Influence' Show That Female Leadership Is Essential in Our Community

Article excerpt

Shawnee County is fortunate to have no shortage of distinguished, community-minded female leaders, six of whom were honored as "Women of Influence" on Wednesday night. Each of the women received a unique award that reflects their individual contributions to our community.

For example, Carol Bradbury was recognized for her commitment to community service. Bradbury founded Bloomerang in 2011 -- an organization that brought diverse elements of our city together to enliven the NOTO Arts District with personal artwork (such as the 26 "I Go NOTO" banners that can be found in the area). As she explained, the project was "so much more authentic and vibrant" because members of the community were involved.

Pam McComas was a teacher for 40 years -- 35 of which were spent at Topeka High School, where she coached forensics and won six national championships. She was partially responsible for bringing AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) to USD 501. The AVID program helps groups that are underrepresented in college (such as first-generation students) by challenging them with high-level material. McComas recognizes that students "rise to the expectations set for them by every instructor," and this is what earned her the education award.

McComas wasn't the only honoree who was commended for her work with children. As executive director of the Children's Alliance of Kansas, Christie Appelhanz (who received the "rising star" award) works to educate the public about child welfare and "create supportive communities that help families thrive." She has also worked to increase district transparency as a member of the USD 345 school board. Appelhanz started her career as a reporter at The Capital-Journal, where she was mentored by our business editor, Morgan Chilson.

Angel Zimmerman was honored with the "mentorship" award because she loves "working with those who are our future leaders" -- particularly other attorneys. …

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