Turning point conversation highlights positive changes in Topeka

Matthew L. Self, Review Editor in Chief

Last week on Sept. 5, a group of panelists led by Ruben West held a conversation at the Capitol Plaza Hotel to talk about the future of Topeka. The others were Taylor Buckley, S.J. Hazim and Jenny Torrence. Each of the panelists were productive residents of Topeka who put forth their own ideas about what could be changed or improved in our city. They were joined by a large audience of Topekans, including city council members, county commissioners and others from our local government. All were invited to discuss how our city can change, and to celebrate the positive changes that have happened in Topeka recently.

West led the conversation and kept the crowd energized throughout the evening by encouraging group discussion and, at some points, having everyone stand up and dance for a minute. These strategies worked wonderfully, as everyone had a great time together. More than a few got a kick out of watching their county commissioners dance to the beat of “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.

West is an experienced public speaker who has received global recognition for his work. In the past, he has met with leaders of foreign nations to address issues around the world. In 2016, he received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award from President Obama. Additionally, in 2018, he received the Girma Wolde Giorgis (Former President of Ethiopia) Presidential Award for being a Human Conservationist. His speeches have been proven to help companies and organizations achieve new levels of excellence and success.

While leading discussions on Wednesday, West encouraged the crowd to discuss everything and anything that was great about Topeka. He frequently challenged the panelists, asking them questions such as what they were proud of in Topeka.

“I could list a hundred things I’m proud of in Topeka,” Buckley said. “But I think the new physical developments that we’ve had are a good start. We always hear that there’s nothing to do here, but there’s tons of stuff to do. We’ve got the new Energy Plaza that’s coming next year in March, two new restaurants, PT’s Coffee, incredible movie theater, new apartment complex and hotels. Downtown especially, the development with the Iron Rail and the Pennant has all contributed to new things to do in Topeka.”

These new changes are just a few highlights of the positive new developments in our community. They are part of why Topeka is a great place to live, and they are signs that the city is making leaps and bounds into a brighter future. West wanted attendees to the conversation on Wednesday to know that this is an amazing time to be living in this community.

“Don’t wait for the right time, take this time and make it right,” West said.

Edited by Adam White, Shelby Hanson, Jessica Galvin