She Is... Luncheon

She Is

In honor of Women's History Month, please join Metropolitan Community College Foundation and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion this spring for the She Is: Empowered by Equity Luncheon.

The luncheon is held in odd years only.  Please check back for 2025 event details.

Luncheon attendees will hear from a distinguished panel of women who are passionate about supporting and empowering other women, leading with purpose, and are purposeful in their pursuits of equity.

The panel will explore personal insights and lived experiences with bias in male-dominated fields and strategies for equity in these professions. Furthermore, the panel will discuss leadership skills needed to manage in these spaces as well as development of a pipeline of future women leaders.

Sponsorship proceeds will support scholarships for MCC Students entering historically male-dominated fields or professions.

2023 Panelists

Lauren Conaway

Panel Moderator: LAUREN CONAWAY, InnovateHER KC, President/CEO

Ms. Conaway is a detail-oriented, efficiency-driven leader with diverse experience in operations, marketing and program management with a deep commitment to building strong, equitable ecosystems of support for entrepreneurs and women leaders.

Valerie McCaw

VALERIE McCAW, PE, CFM, ENV SP, VSM, President/Civil Engineer

Born and raised in Kansas City, Valerie McCaw graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Master of Science Degree in Civil Engineering. With more than 20 years in the public and professional services industries, Ms. McCaw has performed in varying capacities from lead engineer to principal designer and project manager.

Major Marisa Barnes

MAJOR MARISA BARNES, Kansas City Missouri Police Department, Metro Patrol Division Commander

Major Barnes attended Tuskegee University then earned a Master’s Degree of Social Work from the University of Kansas. Major Barnes has served in several positions at the Kansas City Missouri Police Department since 2003. In 2006 Barnes became the first-ever female physical training/defensive tactics instructor at the department’s Regional Police Academy.

Lansas Thorpe

LANA THORPE, Hollis + Miller Architects, Senior Learning Environments Architect/AIA, NCARB, LEED Green Associate

Lana is a Senior Architect with Hollis + Miller Architects and has worked in the industry for more than 10 years. She holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture, is an active member of the Kansas State University Professional Advisory Board for the

 Department of Architecture, and proud working mom of four boys.

MCC Women in Action

Barbara WashingtonThe Barbara Anne Washington Women Making History Award

To honor MCC Board of Trustees Member and Missouri State Senator (9th District) Barbara Anne Washington, MCC and the She Is... planning committee have established an award bearing her name to be given at each year’s She Is women’s luncheon.

Ellen MartinEllen Forrest Martin Day at MCC

In recognition of MCC Board of Trustees Member Ellen Forrest Martin, MCC and the She Is planning committee are establishing a day named in her honor to be held each March. On Ellen Forrest Martin Day, a selected student will shadow a female mentor who is excelling in a traditionally male-dominated career field.

2023 Sponsors

Future level sponsor

Parish and Sons Construction

Next Gen level sponsor

Guadalupe Centers

Sandra Price

University Health

Rise level sponsor