Conference hosted to emphasize diversity

Marian Lacey

On Friday, Feb. 16, 36 CEOs, managers, community volunteers and Washburn students enrolled in the Leadership of Greater Topeka program attended an all-day session hosted on Washburn’s campus. The clinic, held in the Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center, took place from 8 a.m. until about 4:30 p.m. The session’s theme was about diversity in the community.

The Leadership of Greater Topeka program starts in February and continues through May. Hosted by the Topeka Chamber of Commerce, the program consists of a two-day retreat and seven all-day sessions.

Founded in 1984, this program has more than 660 alumni with nearly 70 percent still living and active in the Topeka area. The purpose of the program is to inform and motivate leaders in the Topeka area to help their community grow and prosper. Participants are taught leadership skills and knowledge managers need to be aware of to help strengthen and transform Topeka.

Lacey Keller, junior business major at Washburn and 2002 graduate of the program, helped get this year’s first session underway. Keller believes the program has a dual purpose – to get people excited about their community and meet all the people that make Topeka what it is. Keller’s job at the session was to oversee the day and make sure planned activities proceeded smoothly. She also led a “Cultural Walk,” where she taught participants to see the diversity in their own group and showed how important and useful diversity can be.

“I see it as a rejuvenator for the community,” said Keller.

Anyone may nominate themselves or another individual who might benefit for the program. Applications for the 2008 program will be accepted at any time and scholarships are available. To nominate someone or learn more about Leadership of Greater Topeka program, email Marsha Sheahan at [email protected] or call (785) 234-2644.

“I would encourage any Washburn University student to apply because it helps them learn more about their community,” said Keller.