About Us

Our Mission

Ready to Run Kansas is housed in the Institute for Leadership Studies at the University of Kansas. Our programs, including our flagship Ready to Represent program, are built on the belief that increasing the number of women’s voices in civic spaces throughout Kansas – including politics and civic boards and commissions – promotes equity, opportunity, and economic strength in our state. Kansas is built on a rich history of women’s civic leadership at all levels of our social fabric, and a bright future for our state will depend on their leadership driving our social, political, and economic engines.

The mission of Ready to Run Kansas is to provide workshops and programming that enhance women’s civic leadership capacity. And it is our vision that as we increase the number of women prepared to run for political office, to sit on local and statewide boards and commissions, and to engage more actively in civic life, our state will thrive.

Advisory Board

Barbara Ballard, Senior Associate Director, Dole Institute of Politics, and State Representative for the 44th District of Kansas

Mayor Kay Barnes, former Mayor of Kansas City

Mary Birch, Government Relations Coordinator, Lathrop GPM

DeAngela Burns-Wallace, Secretary of Administration, State of Kansas

Kim Wallace Carlson, Director of Engagement — Entrepreneurship, Public Affairs, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Christa Dubill, Vice President & Chief Communications Officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City

Beth Felski, Director, The Appointments Project, United WE

Melissa King, Director of Appointments, KS Governor’s Office

Steve Morris, former Kansas Senator and President of the Senate

Christina Ostmeyer, Communications Director, Kansas Appleseed

Sandy Praeger, former Kansas Insurance Commissioner

Linda Sheppard JD, Senior Analyst and Strategy Team Leader, Kansas Health Institute

Blanca Soto, ESOL & Diversity Director, Dodge City Public Schools

Joni Wickham, Founder, Wickham James Strategies & Solutions

Donna Wright, Principal, Kansas Business Services LLC

Executive Team

Emily Hedges Vietti, Director, Ready to Run Kansas

Mary Christine Banwart, Ph.D., Associate Director, Institute for Leadership Studies, University of Kansas