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She Is...

Designed to celebrate and uplift women from all walks of life, we have created a space for women to honor, celebrate, and wrestle with all of the roles women play. Whether you're a professional, a homemaker, or an entrepreneur, this conference is made with you in mind!

She Is... is tackling those deepest topics and providing you with tools in your toolbox and inspiring stories to empower YOU in every role you play on a daily basis.

Join us for a day filled with resources, passionate stories, networking opportunities, and practical application tools to help you overcome challenges and unlock your full potential, while honoring and celebrating who you are. Connect with like-minded individuals, form meaningful connections, and leave feeling empowered and ready to conquer the world.

Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity to be part of a supportive community of women who are dedicated to empowering themselves and others.

What to Expect...

January 23, 2024  |  9am-4pm
Cost to Attend:  $99 
Deadline to Register:  1.19 at noon
Location:  High Jinks Rec Club  |  301 W North Main
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Racquel Thiesen | Director of Community Partnerships
"Who She Is... She Is You!"

As Director of Community Partnerships at the Kansas Leadership Center, Racquel Thiesen works to ensure that the leadership development and organizational support partners receive from KLC is what they need to achieve maximum impact at the community level. Much of her effort is centered around community leadership program partners in Kansas and beyond and KLC’s Leadership Transformation Grant partners.


Racquel has worked to build community leadership programs for more than 25 years and has contributed to the strategic development and support of Transformation Grant partners for more than a decade.

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Melissa A. Shaw
Iva Choice, Bestselling Author & Artist
"Finding Yourself Trough Trauma and Challenge"

Raised on a farmstead near Hesston, Kansas, Melissa Shaw always had an interest in art and helping others. Throughout her educational years, she received awards and scholarships for her creations. She also volunteered through her school and church, including a mission trip to Mexico. She graduated from Wichita State University and immediately jumped into the fast-growing new world of digital graphic design and animation. Over the next two decades, she worked for several corporations, including Warner Brothers and Fox, and actively volunteered for nine different non-profits.

Melissa enjoys working with a wide variety of mediums and styles, from pencil drawings, paintings, sculptures, to set design, digital animation, and always exploring the latest trends. Similarly, her volunteerism was diverse, from building houses and serving the homeless to doing graphic design/production pro bono. In 2000, she left a long-term abusive marriage and, through counseling, developed a passion for helping others. After volunteering at the local safe house, she joined the Harvey County Task Force. While at the task force, she became a professional advocate for domestic violence/sexual assault survivors. Certified through KCSDV, she facilitated groups and developed a series of therapeutic artistic exercises. This program helped empower and edify survivors to champion for themselves and the life they dream to live. Melissa published several fictional books using the pseudonym “Iva Choice,” a name in itself that is empowering. Her first published book, In His Hands, won two awards and engages the reader to learn different strategies towards healing from abuse. In November 2018, Melissa was diagnosed with breast cancer. During her treatment, she created a series of color pencil drawings depicting her journey and incorporating the positive influence of her faith in Jesus Christ’s gift of salvation, peace, love, and HOPE! Melissa continues to help women on their own journey towards a safe, happy, healthy, and wise lifestyle through her art, books, and volunteerism.

Jodi Schmidt, Executive Director
KU Health System Care Collaborative
"Am I Speaking My Power?"

Jodi Schmidt serves as Executive Director of the University of Kansas Health System Care Collaborative Patient Safety Organization and Kansas Clinical Improvement Collaborative, LLC, Accountable Care Organization. With 82 members across roughly 2/3rds of the state of Kansas, the Collaborative works to measurably improve access and quality of care through local boot camp trainings, performance improvement tools and grant projects to address gaps in rural care. Previously Jodi served as Chief Executive Officer of Labette Health, a 109-bed rural hospital in Parsons, Kansas and Vice President/Chief Development Officer at Hays Medical Center, including development of a network of 23 Critical Access Hospitals.


She is a Past President of the National Rural Health Association, past Chair of the Kansas Health Education and Research Foundation Board, and past Representative to the American Hospital Association’s Council on Small and Rural Hospitals. Jodi holds a B.A. in Communications from Fort Hays State University and a MBA in Health Administrationfrom the University of Colorado, Denver.

Emily Lindsley, BOLD Facilitator & Nurse Practitioner
"The Invisible Workload of a Woman"

Emily received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Kansas and later received her Master's of Science in Nursing from Fort Hays State University.  She works at Ellsworth County Medical Center as a Family Nurse Practitioner.  She enjoys providing care to all ages and stages of life.  She strives to provide each patient with a sense of safety and acceptance and individualized care.  She has extensive experience in clinical practice, inpatient and emergency room care, and wound care.  In addition, she is a certified BOLD! facilitator and life coach.  She is passionate about coaching girls and women to increase their confience, speak up, dream BIG, act BOLDLY, and fully live this one BIG beautiful life.


Gretchin Staples, Founder BizDistrict
"Sorry, Not Sorry...How to Say No With Ease and Claim Control of Your Calendar"

Gretchin Staples loves collaborating with communities on strategic growth initiatives, working with small businesses to increase profits and can’t resist a good before and after remodeling project! But saying yes to all of that led her straight to burn out, low productivity and ultimately depression. 


Gretchin was raised on a farm in North Central Kansas, graduating with 13 classmates before attending Kansas State University earning a degree in Interior Design. After starting her career in Kansas City, she returned to that same farm to raise a family. Relocating back and forth across the state, led her to land in Osborne, Kansas in 2008 and open a furniture and design business called Shabby Shed. 



At that time as a newly single mom of two, she began her journey of discovering who she was and who she is. Allowing herself to dream about the possibilities, the journey continues today as a new empty-nester with a whole new season of life! 


Gretchin currently serves as the Program Manager and Facilitator for the KARL Program with Kansas State University and is the founder and Business Coach of bizDISTRICT, a community of rural business owners. 


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