Women We Admire is pleased to announce The Top 50 Women Leaders of Kansas for 2023. Frequently referred to as the epitome of the American heartland, there is no shortage of reasons to fall in love with Kansas. As many people know, the state is famous for being the air and wheat capital of the world, a prominent beef supplier, and Dorothy’s home state in The Wizard of Oz. But what some may not realize is how much Kansas's economy is flourishing. In addition to its strong agriculture sector, the state also benefits from a diverse range of industries, including aerospace, energy, military, finance, manufacturing, and real estate, among others.

Central to this booming economy, there has been a notable rise in the representation of women in leadership positions, especially within leading companies located in Wichita and Topeka. Women now occupy prominent roles across diverse sectors, introducing fresh perspectives, innovative concepts, and inclusive decision-making approaches. This not only enhances organizational effectiveness but also fosters a more dynamic and thriving economy for the state of Kansas.

Among the honorees for this year, we have Rochelle Stringer, who serves as the General Counsel overseeing North, Central, and South America operations for Huhtamaki. In this capacity, Stringer is responsible for the management of all legal and corporate compliance affairs for 21 manufacturing facilities, encompassing approximately 4,500 employees and generating $1.5 billion in sales. 

Another notable awardee is Raechel Peters, the President of BenefitsMe. With a background deeply rooted in marketing, Peters has garnered recognition from the Wichita Business Journal as a nominee for the 40 Under 40 award and is now a distinguished member of the 2023-2024 WBJ Career Women cohort. This year's honors also extend to Pamela Breuckmann, who currently holds the positions of CEO and President at Ferrell Capital. Prior to her tenure at Ferrell in 2007, Breuckmann served as the Chief Financial Officer for a specialty finance company with a $500 million loan portfolio.

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Women Leaders of Kansas for 2023.

1. Taryn Owen
President & CEO, TrueBlue

Taryn R. Owen assumed the role of President and Chief Executive Officer and was appointed as a Director of TrueBlue in September 2023, after serving as president and chief operating officer of TrueBlue since 2022. Over her 13-year tenure, she has led TrueBlue through significant periods of growth, was instrumental in its pandemic response and recovery, spearheaded its digital transformation strategies, and successfully led several acquisitions and substantial international expansion.

Previously at TrueBlue, Owen served as executive vice president of TrueBlue. She also served as president of PeopleReady and PeopleScout from 2021 to 2023, executive vice president and president of PeopleReady from 2019 to 2021, and executive vice president and president of PeopleScout from 2014 to 2019. Prior to these roles, she served as senior VP of global operations and as VP of client delivery at PeopleScout.

Owen has more than 20 years of talent acquisition experience. Before joining TrueBlue, she was an operations director at Randstad Sourceright Solutions, where she led global RPO engagements. She formerly served as a member of the Board of Advisors of HRO Today, and as a member of the Human Capital Industry Advisory Board for Wharton’s Center for Human Resources. Owen has been recognized for her industry leadership, including annual appearances on the Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) Staffing 100 and Global Power 150. Owen graduated from MidAmerica Nazarene University with an undergraduate degree in human relations and management.

2. Tracey Biles
Chief Mission Integration Officer, Ascension

Tracey Biles is the Chief Mission Integration Officer of Ascension. She first joined the company in 2020. Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization dedicated to transformation through innovation across the continuum of care. As one of the leading non-profit and Catholic health systems in the US, Ascension is committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. 

Previously, Biles was a vice president of mission at Mercy and before that a vice president at Pride Philanthropy. Earlier in her career she worked with Missouri State Senate as a communications officer. Biles earned a master's degree in healthcare mission from Aquinas Institute of Theology, an MA in philanthropy and development from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, and an undergraduate degree in communication from Berry College.

7. Jane Mandigo
Senior Vice President, Swiss Re

Jane Mandigo is currently a Senior Vice President with the Swiss Re P&C Business Management Claims division, holding the title of Senior Claims Expert as well. In her role, she consults on issues relating to reinsurance coverage and maintains primary responsibilities for identifying and assessing emerging topical and risk trends for Swiss Re.

Prior to her Senior Claims Expert position, Mandigo was a chief product underwriter for primary professional liability lines of business. She also handled complex professional liability claims across various lines for many years. Before joining Swiss Re, Mandigo practiced with the insurance defense group at the Kansas City law firm of Shughart, Thomson & Kilroy. Mandigo served a two-year term as a federal judicial clerk in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Southern Division, for the Honorable Russell G. Clark. She is a member of the Missouri Bar and graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia School of Law where she held positions on the Missouri Law Review and Order of the Coif. Jane graduated Summa Cum Laude from Drury College with a degree in English.

9. Laura Lopez
Executive Director, American Heart Association | American Stroke Association

Laura Lopez is the Executive Director of American Heart Association | American Stroke Association. She first joined the company in 2011 and led Kansas City’s Go Red for Women fundraising campaign. As the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization. American Heart Association’s purpose is to help Americans live heart health and prevent America's No. 1 and No. 5 killers, heart disease and stroke. It advocates good health and promotes positive behaviors, nutritious eating habits, and healthy lifestyles. It also funds cutting-edge research and professional education programs. It promises to have an extraordinary impact on life by empowering loved ones to save lives, live healthier, and enjoy more peace of mind about cardiovascular health.

Previously, Lopez was a fund development manager at Swope Health Services and before that a director of development at UCP of Greater Kansas City. Earlier in her career she worked with The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce as a membership coordinator. Lopez earned an MPA in nonprofit management from Park University and an undergraduate degree in communication and sociology from Pittsburg State University.

10. Olivia Law-Delrosso
Assistant Dean, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging, K-State College of Business
CEO, Building Belonging Consulting

Dr. Olivia Law-DelRosso is the Assistant Dean, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging, K-State College of Business. In this role, she has established strategies to foster belonging for all in the College of Business. One key program is Rise Up, a scholar's program which propels students to a successful career while celebrating their diverse identities and cultures. The program is designed to serve business students who identify with a systemically marginalized and underrepresented group; however, all are welcome to join. Scholars receive perks including scholarships, leadership training, and corporate trips. 100% of Rise Up Scholars have an internship and full-time job offer before graduation!

In addition, Dr. Law-Delrosso is the CEO of Building Belonging Consulting. The company facilitates bridge-building for people and organizations and is committed to moving beyond the confines of 'us' versus 'them', to a world where everyone belongs. In this way, it is working to bring that world into being. It recognizes that what it is doing is both necessary and on its own insufficient to its broader goal of transforming the world. 

Before joining Building Belonging Consulting, Delrosso was a director of K-State Business: Professional Advantage at Kansas State University. Delrosso graduated from Kansas State University with a PhD in student affairs in higher education, an MPA in public administration and personnel management, and an undergraduate degree in psychology. 

12. Michelle Boylan
Chief Quality Officer, Veterans Administration

Michelle Boylan began her professional career 39 years ago. Today, she is the Chief Quality Officer of the Veterans Administration. The VA has renewed its focus to foster a safe and inclusive environment for all Veterans and employees. The VA’s new mission statement reflects a new VA that is intent on creating an environment where all have equitable opportunities to thrive, including women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and underserved populations.

Boylan first got her start in 1984 as an officer nurse corps at the US Army. From there, she went on to the University of Colorado Hospital, before eventually rising to system director of quality and performance improvement at Good Shepherd Health System, her most recent position prior to joining the Veterans Administration. Boylan graduated from Webster University with an MA in management organizational development, and from Marquette University with an undergraduate degree in nursing.

14. Janet Thompson
Executive Vice President, CBIZ

Janet Thompson has over 30 years of experience in employee benefits and specializes in the design and administration of defined benefit and defined contribution plans. She is an Executive Vice President at CBIZ and serves as relationship manager for many of the firm’s defined benefit and defined contribution clients.

Previously, Thompson was an owner of The Cottonwood Group, managing director of the Kansas City office of Palmer & Cay, and a partner with DeFrain Mayer. Prior to joining DeFrain Mayer in 1989, Thompson was manager of the Kansas City office of the Alexander & Alexander Consulting Group. She has also held prior consulting and administrative positions with Business Men’s Assurance Company (BMA), Fringe Benefits Design (FBD), and Deferred Compensation Administrators (DCA), a Minneapolis-based firm.

Thompson received an undergraduate degree in social welfare from the University of Minnesota. She is a member of the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries and has earned the designation of Certified Pension Consultant. Thompson serves on the CBIZ Retirement and Investment Solutions Actuarial Executive Board and Steering Committee. She was a 2011 honoree of The Women’s Foundation of Kansas City's “A Celebration of Women” and was recognized in 2012 by the Kansas City Business Journal as one of its 25 “Women Who Mean Business”. She is a past member of the Executive Board of CBIZ Women’s Advantage (CWA) and sits on the CWA Business Development Team.

15. Vanessa Zambo
Chief Marketing Officer, Terracon

Vanessa Zambo began her professional career 26 years ago. Today, she is the Chief Marketing Officer of Terracon. Terracon is a 100 percent employee-owned consulting engineering firm providing quality services to clients. Since 1965, Terracon has evolved into a successful multi-discipline firm specializing in environmental, facilities, geotechnical, and materials services. Terracon has achieved significant expansion through both internal growth and acquisitions. Terracon currently has more than 6,000 employees in more than 175 locations nationwide. Additionally, they partner with their US clients to serve their international needs. Terracon’s growth is due to dedicated employees who are responsive to clients, provide quality services, and take advantage of opportunities in the marketplace.

Zambo first got her start in 1997 in marketing at Turner Construction Company. From there, she went on to HDR. Zambo graduated from The University of Kansas with an MBA in international business and a master's in journalism in marketing and communications.

View the complete list of awardees

17. Julianna Rieschick, RN, MSN, NEA-BC
Chief Nursing Officer, Providence Medical Center

Julianna Rieschick is the Chief Nursing Officer of Providence Medical Center. Rieschick has 20 years of leadership experience in nursing and healthcare.

Rieschick came to Providence from Via Christi Hospitals Wichita Inc. where she had been vice president of Nursing of Ascension Via Christi Hospital (St. Francis), and previously as an administrator of nursing and patient care. Earlier in her career, she was the director of the surgical unit and Joint Care at Mercy Regional Healthcare Center in Manhattan, Kansas.

Rieschick’s educational accomplishments include a master’s degree in nursing administration from the University of Kansas Medical Center and a bachelor of science in nursing degree from Emporia State University. Rieschick is the President of the Kansas State Board of Nursing Directors and is a past board member of the Girl.

20. Jennifer Lindsey
Chief Marketing and Digital Officer, Corbion

Jennifer Lindsey was appointed Chief Marketing and Digital Officer in November 2022. Prior to that, Lindsey was VP of global marketing for Corbion leading the expansion of marketing insights, digital experience, strategic marketing, and marketing communications. Prior to her tenure with Corbion, Lindsey held leadership roles in marketing for Parnell Living Science focusing on osteoarthritis therapies and fertility synchronization for dairy cows, business and marketing leadership roles in DuPont Nutrition and Health, and Danisco Ingredients, global functional food ingredient companies. Lindsey started her career as a sensory and application scientist in the areas of flavor development and protein beverage product development before moving into business roles in product management and marketing. Lindsey holds a bachelor of science degree in food science & human nutrition with an emphasis in sensory and biochemistry.

21. Sheryl Wagner
Director of Accounting, Vice President, Principal, Terracon

Sheryl Wagner is the Director of Accounting, Vice President, and Principal of Terracon. She first joined the company in 1998. Terracon is a 100 percent employee-owned consulting engineering firm providing quality services to clients. Since 1965, Terracon has evolved into a successful multi-discipline firm specializing in environmental, facilities, geotechnical, and materials services. Terracon has achieved significant expansion through both internal growth and acquisitions. Terracon currently has more than 6,000 employees in more than 175 locations nationwide. Additionally, they partner with their US clients to serve their international needs. Terracon’s growth is due to dedicated employees who are responsive to clients, provide quality services, and take advantage of opportunities in the marketplace.

Previously, Wagner was an accounting supervisor at HNTB Corporation. Wagner earned an undergraduate degree in accounting from Kansas State University.

22. Wendy Hill
Chief People Officer, Netsmart

As the Chief People Officer overseeing the Netsmart Culture and Talent team, Wendy Hill has been instrumental in driving the company’s unique people-centric and results-driven culture. She is responsible for aligning the company’s people strategy to meet business objectives and for nurturing the growth and development of internal talent.

Wendy joined Netsmart in 2019, bringing more than 17 years of experience in leading HR and talent management functions, with expertise in workforce planning, talent recruitment, and development initiatives that foster high-level performance across the entire organization. She also provides oversight and support to drive Netsmart’s DEI strategy, alongside responsibilities in culture and change management, associate wellness, engagement, and skill building.

Prior to joining Netsmart, Hill served as vice president of workforce strategy for Cerner, where she focused on executing and supporting the company’s global people strategy and business plan. Hill actively contributes to the community as a Board Member for Operation Breakthrough, a member of the University of Kansas School of Business’s Dean Advisory Board, and a Board Member of Digital Health KC. Hill holds an undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of Kansas. Wendy was born and raised in the Kansas City area and is married with two amazing daughters.

23. Lynne Murray
President, Baker University

Currently at Baker University, Murray is leading the $28 million Forever Orange campaign, which is the largest comprehensive campaign in the history of the institution. With over $25 million secured in gifts and pledges, this fundraising effort has brought in more than $3 million for new professorships, over $6 million in unrestricted gifts, and over $6.7 million for scholarship aid for deserving students. These gifts include a $1 million gift to establish the William Everett and Mary Ellen Mealman Endowed Chair of Business Leadership, and more recently a $1.5 million gift to support the Department of Biology and Chemistry. During her tenure as President, the endowment has grown by 12 percent.

Lynne Murray previously served as the vice president for development of international and alumni relations at Washington, DC-based Gallaudet University, the world’s only university for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. For more than 20 years, she has worked collaboratively with community organizations, initiating national and global partnerships, and spearheading fundraising efforts. As former vice president at Gallaudet, Murray was instrumental in setting the strategic direction for the university and securing private support to advance the institution. She worked closely with the board, president, and community to raise more than $79 million to support scholarships, faculty excellence, and academic programs.

At Georgetown University, Murray was a leader in the development and implementation of the 1789 Scholarship Imperative to raise $500 million. As a senior director for advancement, she played a key role in raising $317 million in total gifts from 2008 to 2010 and worked closely with the dean, president, and vice president of advancement to develop a comprehensive engagement strategy for the Mid-Atlantic region. Before Georgetown, Murray worked at Johns Hopkins in corporate and community relations. She also served as the director for Youth Service America, where she was recognized in 1994 by then-US President Bill Clinton for her leadership in creating awareness for youth service. Murray began her career in public television as a producer and on-air personality, winning 1992 three national public television awards for individual giving, on-air fundraising, and overall development. Murray earned her undergraduate degree in English from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, a master’s degree in marketing from Johns Hopkins, and a Doctorate in Special Education Administration from Gallaudet.

27. Pamela Breuckmann
CEO & President, Ferrell Capital

Pamela Breuckmann is the CEO & President of Ferrell Capital where she is responsible for the daily operations of the company, ensuring the investment strategy is executed in addition to her finance, business analysis, and planning roles. Prior to becoming the CEO & President of Ferrell Capital, she was the chief financial officer. In 2013, Breuckmann was appointed to the board of Ferrellgas, Inc. which is the General Partner of Ferrellgas Partners, LP. Ferrellgas Partners, LP was one of the first master limited partnerships in the propane industry and today is the second largest propane retailer in the US with customers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Before joining Ferrell in 2007, she was the chief financial officer of a $500 million loan portfolio specialty finance company and served concurrently as vice president of finance for the publicly traded financial services company parent. Breuckmann held the positions of accounting director and accounting manager at Kansas City Life Insurance Company from 2002 to 2005. She started her career in 1998 at Deloitte & Touche, LLP as an auditor. Breuckmann graduated from the University of Kansas with bachelor of science degrees in business administration and accounting. She also holds a master of accounting and information systems degree from the University of Kansas, and is a Certified Public Accountant.

28. Dawn Hill
Executive Director, Homestead Assisted Living & Memory Care

Dawn Hill is the Executive Director of Homestead Assisted Living & Memory Care. Homestead is a senior living community offering area seniors quality assisted living and memory care. Assisted living and memory care apartment homes are private and each resident can furnish their apartment home to their liking. Hill has 37 years of experience. She began her career in 1986.

Before joining Homestead Assisted Living & Memory Care, Hill was a senior account executive at Great Plains Media Kansas and before that a realtor at McGrew Real Estate, Inc. Earlier in her career she worked with Columbia Savings as a mortgage payoff department supervisor. Hill graduated from The University of Kansas with an undergraduate degree in elementary education and teaching.

View the complete list of awardees

29. Christina Beaird
Chief Marketing Officer, Professional Engineering Consultants

Christina Beaird is the Chief Marketing Officer of Professional Engineering Consultants. She first joined the company in 2021. Founded in 1965, Professional Engineering Consultants (PEC) provides holistic solutions to its wide variety of clients. Their work takes them across the nation and around the world designing projects from highways to hospitals — water towers to wind turbines — stadiums to sidewalks — and everything in between. With offices spanning Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Colorado, they employ more than 380 team members who collectively hold engineering licenses in all 50 states. PEC prides itself on energizing the communities around them, engineering lasting relationships, shaping the future, and guiding the way.

As Chief Marketing Officer, Christina has a track record of success in driving innovative marketing strategies and delivering results within the A|E|C (architecture, engineering, construction) industry. With nearly two decades of experience, she has a passion for creative problem-solving and a commitment to delivering exceptional customer experiences. She is the immediate past president of the Kansas City chapter of SMPS (Society for Marketing Professional Services).

Previously, Beaird was a marketing & business development manager at Henderson Engineers and before that a VP of marketing at Harmon Construction. Earlier in her career she worked with Baker University as a graphic designer. Beaird earned an MBA in marketing from Emporia State University, and an undergraduate degree in graphic design and studio art from McPherson College.

30. Cori Kohlmeier
President & Founder, Advantage Marketing

As President and Founder of Advantage Marketing, Cori is passionate about growing businesses through effective strategy. Cori’s efforts on behalf of the agency's clients have earned her recognition from the Wichita Business Journal, American Marketing Association Wichita Chapter, and Kansas Small Business Development Center. The agency focuses on multi-platform campaigns that influence digital, social, search engine optimization, reputation management, and traditional advertising on TV, radio, and billboards. The agency has long worked with social media influencers and has experience in the NIL space. She founded the company in 2013. The agency has grown year-over-year since its inception in 2013, continuing to earn clients' trust with marketing that works. In this year’s Wichita Business Journal listing of top marketing agencies, Advantage ranked #5 in the region. Client industries include financial, agriculture, travel and tourism, global aviation, education, and transportation to name a few. The Advantage Marketing team includes experts in creative design and digital storytelling. As a marketing agency its specializations include: TV, radio, print, billboard, Pandora advertising, YouTube advertising, display banners, video pre-roll, social/content marketing & SEO strategy. 

Previously, Kohlmeier was a senior vice president at Mathur Media and before that a senior account executive at Sunflower Broadcasting. Kohlmeier earned an undergraduate degree in sports administration from Wichita State University. 

When free, Cori is passionate about her family time, cooking delicious food, rowing, yoga, and other stress-relieving workouts. Cori is a lifelong Wichitan who graduated from Wichita State University and is a Shocker for life. She enjoys attending basketball games with her family and walking her four dogs.

31. Min. Nina Shaw-Woody
Executive Director, Kansas Family Advisory Network

Nina Shaw-Woody is the Executive Director of the Kansas Family Advisory Network. Kansas Family Advisory Network's mission is to promote the restoration of children, caregivers, and families through support, education, advocacy, training, and spiritual services with compassion and love. Kansas Family Advisory Network is to be a statewide network of caregivers and family advocates who partner and engage with families across state systems. Kansas Family Advisory Network's purpose is to initiate positive change in the lives of children, caregivers, families, community partners, and stakeholders through efforts based upon understanding, compassion, and love. Woody has 21 years of experience. She began her career in 2002.

Before joining the Kansas Family Advisory Network, Woody was a foster care home resource supervisor at St. Francis Community Services, and before that a case worker and specialist at DCCCA. Earlier in her career she worked with Kansas Children's Service League as a recruitment specialist. Woody graduated from Newman University with a master's in social work, and from Friends University with an undergraduate degree in organizational management and leadership.

Min. Nina is an ordained minister of the gospel, a licensed master social worker, as well as a veteran of the US Army. She specializes in engaging and collaborating with the family unit as a system, utilizing trauma-informed family-based therapy, and family enrichment training. She is also a professional consultant, as well as a conference and seminar speaker. Nina has a love and a passion for making a difference in the lives of children and families who desire to bring about positive change to impact their future. Many have heard Nina say that she felt like the "Saint Teresa" of child welfare as it gives her the ability to work and serve the "least of these", to speak before organizations CEOs and staff, and to Senators and Legislators on behalf of those who may be struggling across Kansas. Min. Nina is a wife, mother of 8, and grandmother of 22.

32. Betsy Sears
Executive Vice President - Laboratory Strategy and Sales, ExamOne, a Quest Diagnostics Co.

Betsy Sears has more than 30 years of experience in the insurance laboratory environment. She works closely with ExamOne’s laboratory operations, research and development, and medical and sales staff on client end-to-end strategic solutions, and supports insurance customers through a variety of presentations on laboratory, medical, and risk assessment topics.

Prior to joining ExamOne, Sears served as vice president and laboratory director of Osborn Laboratories for 14 years. She also has over 11 years of experience in clinical and hospital laboratory settings in New York City and Chicago, specializing in microbiology. Sears earned an undergraduate degree in medical technology from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a master’s degree in business management from Baker University.

35. Raechel Peters
President, BenefitsMe

Raechel Peters is the President of BenefitsMe, an innovative voluntary benefit company. BenefitsMe offers a purchasing assistance program that enables employees to utilize payroll deductions to buy merchandise now and pay over time. BenefitsMe offers access to electronics, appliances, home goods, and more, with flexible terms and no interest, making it a highly utilized enhancement to employee benefit packages. Raechel works with HR departments across the US to highlight the importance of financial wellness, offer financial literacy resources, and spark interest in introducing the BenefitsMe program to employees of all industries. 

Raechel’s career is rooted in marketing, but her passion centers around helping others grow their careers. Identifying emerging leaders and taking them under her wing has been part of her legacy throughout her robust career. She seeks opportunities throughout the organization to expand her team’s involvement, visibility, and reach of influence. She intentionally builds teams that bring together diverse strengths, desire for growth, and determination to make an impact.

Throughout her career, Raechel specialized in CRM marketing with companies such as Signet Jewelers, Dave & Buster’s, American Apparel, and Gildan Activewear. Most recently, Raechel served as the senior vice president and head of marketing for Community Choice Financial, where she oversaw all marketing and branding initiatives for thirteen brands while leading ten teams across a variety of marketing and product development disciplines. Raechel has been recognized by the Wichita Business Journal as a 40 Under 40 nominee, was honored as a 2023 Women Who Lead in Marketing recipient, and is now a member of the 2023-2024 WBJ Career Women cohort. Raechel served as a senior board member for the Gift of Adoption Fund Texas Chapter, Mentor for The Thread: Women’s Leadership Collective, and is currently on the board for the Ronald McDonald House Charities Red Shoe Society Wichita Chapter. 

36. Mahathi Reddy
CEO/Founder, A Golden World Inc.

Mahathi founded A Golden World Inc. her freshman year after seeing the impact COVID had on student education. She is planning to major in Data Science and Economics in college to continue exploring the intersection between technology and business. Mahathi has a strong passion for business and technology, and is currently serving as the Kansas DECA State President for over 1200 students across the state. DECA encourages business education and the practice of professionalism from a young age in order to maximize impact and growth in the future. Additionally, Mahathi is an alumna of the Young Entrepreneurs Program of KC and has worked at ProvenBase Inc. and C2FO as a Data Science and Marketing intern. 

Mahathi created A Golden World Inc. with the goal of helping children who may not have access to tech education at their schools. The organization functions through tutoring students in basic coding skills and has designed a personalized curriculum for different age groups. Additionally, Mahathi’s organization has raised money and resources supporting humanitarian efforts for women’s education in rural India and war efforts in Ukraine. A Golden World partners with local businesses and libraries to help bring community-wide awareness to the necessity of supporting future generations. 

Outside of her company, Mahathi has had a deep interest in Kuchipudi dance, Hindustani music, and piano as a way to connect to her heritage and practice art forms. She is also involved in the Femineers program at her school and has been a varsity tennis player through all four years. Mahathi is also a student and volunteer in Chinmaya Mission and is dedicated to cultural education and growth. 

39. April Shellhouse
Senior Director, Customer Marketing & Communications, US Hospital, Pfizer

April Shellhouse began her professional career 14 years ago. Today, she is the Senior Director of Customer Marketing and Communications at the US Hospital of Pfizer, a leading research-based biopharmaceutical company. It applies science and its global resources to deliver innovative therapies that extend and significantly improve lives. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments, and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time.

Shellhouse first got her start in 2009 as a health policy project assistant at APCO Worldwide. Shellhouse graduated from Wake Forest University with an undergraduate degree in chemistry and biology.

View the complete list of awardees

44. Kelly Hancox
Senior Director of Global Partnerships and Engineering Business Development, Garmin International

Kelly Hancox began her professional career 24 years ago. Today, she is the Senior Director of Global Partnerships and Engineering Business Development at Garmin International. 

Garmin does its best to make products that let its customers do what they love. To do that, it focuses on practical innovation, never losing sight of the benefits its products bring to its customers. It is not about the things it makes, it is about the things it makes possible.

Garmin has grown substantially over the years, offering diverse products and global reach in 5 diverse markets.

Hancox first got her start in 1999 as a marketing manager at Sprint. From there, she went on to the Junior League of Kansas City, MO. Hancox graduated from Kansas State University with an undergraduate degree in international business and marketing.

48. B. Jan Middendorf, PhD
Associate Director, Kansas State University

B. Jan Middendorf serves as the Associate Director for the USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification (SIIL) at Kansas State University (KSU). Middendorf provides executive-level coordination, management, programmatic and operational leadership, and guidance for the SIIL’s $75 million portfolio funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). This portfolio includes projects in Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Guatemala, and Honduras; four consortia; and human and institutional capacity-building initiatives in Cambodia, West Africa, and Haiti. Middendorf conducts research and leads SIIL’s impact assessment monitoring and evaluation efforts. She is also responsible for establishing and maintaining effective partnerships with other US and international institutions, industry, USAID Missions, and developmental partners. As part of these efforts, she develops and implements strategic planning and capacity-building initiatives to enhance collaborative research and support organizational change. 

Prior to this role, Middendorf managed a $15.5M diverse portfolio focused on evaluation for the National Science Foundation (NSF). She also served for ten years as director of an evaluation center at KSU. Middendorf has over 30 years of experience in project development, management, implementation, and evaluation of multi-institutional, interdisciplinary programs and projects in national and international settings. Middendorf earned a BS in business administration at the University of Rhode Island, an MA in international affairs at Ohio University, and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction and Evaluation Practice at Kansas State University. Her primary interests are institutional and program improvement through strategic planning, change management, and evaluation. She has over 30 years of experience in project development, management, implementation, and evaluation of multi-institutional, interdisciplinary programs and projects in national and international settings.

49. Marcia Hornung
Menard Family Director, Center for Principled Business, Kansas State University

Marcia Hornung is a dynamic and versatile leader with a rich professional background spanning higher education, business, and nonprofit sectors. As the Menard Family Director of the Center for Principled Business at Kansas State University, she has earned recognition for her strategic leadership, program development, and community engagement skills. In her current role, Marcia has played a pivotal role in launching several signature programs at Kansas State University’s College of Business Administration. Under her leadership, the Center for Principled Business has flourished, focusing on fostering business leadership, innovation, and growth. Notable initiatives, including the Menard Family Scholars Program, the K-State Innovation Challenge, the K-State Women in Business Initiative, and the K-State Business Summer Institute, reflect her commitment to the next generation of business leaders.

Prior to her time with the College of Business, Marcia spent several years at the Staley School of Leadership where she taught various courses in leadership studies, facilitated a community leadership program, and developed and launched the Snyder Leadership Legacy Fellows Program, honoring Hall of Fame Football Coach Bill Snyder. 

Hornung holds a bachelor’s degree as well as a master’s degree in public administration from Kansas State University. Hornung is very engaged in her community, where she has served as the Chair of the Social Services Advisory Board for the City of Manhattan, board member for the Leadership Manhattan Program, volunteered with United Way, serves as an outreach volunteer for JDRF, and several other community organizations. 

View the complete list of awardees