Annual Woman’s Forum

Katie Wade

The Entrepreneurial and Minority Business Development (EMBD) Women’s Initiative Committee will sponsor the Second Annual Women’s Forum on Thursday, April 28, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.

Roberta Phillips, executive director of the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Center for Women in Business, will deliver the keynote address. The Center for Women in Business program works to increase opportunities for women in the corporate world, mentor women in all career stages and build a network for women entrepreneurs. Phillips will discuss three topics of research: “Women-Owned Businesses: Carving a New American Business Landscape,” “Women Advancing to the Top,” and “Women in Leadership.”

“Phillips will highlight the strides women have made while also emphasizing the business imperative to maximize their potential and offering insights regarding their participation and compensation in top management roles,” said Linda Canady, chair of EMBD, in a press release on April 3.

Following the keynote presentation will be a panel discussion of local executives, educators and entrepreneurs moderated by Janet Thompson Jackson, professor at Washburn University School of Law.

Jackson said the forum is really a celebration of women in leadership in the Topeka business community.

“It presents a great opportunity to profile dynamic and energetic women leaders who are helping to drive the local economy today,” Jackson said.

The panel will include Jeri Jansen, senior vice president of Capitol Federal; Kristina Dietrick, president and owner of Creative Business Solutions; Julie Ford, superintendent for Topeka Public Schools; Janel Johnson, board president of Topeka Public Schools; Julie Swift, periodontist and small business owner; and Wendy Wells, market president of US Bank.

Jackson hopes that the event will encourage young women to become entrepreneurs by providing an opportunity to make connections and network with women entrepreneurs and business leaders in the community.

“There are still too few women leaders, especially considering the high numbers of women graduating from universities and graduate schools,” Jackson said. “So this is also an event – an opportunity – for these leaders to encourage, inspire and mentor women coming out of school, women who are entrepreneurs and just starting out, business leaders in this community and those who want to go work in other communities.”

The event is free. However, since seating is limited, registration is required. Those interested may register at