Meet the Future Leaders of Greater Kansas City

This past week we celebrated the graduation of the Kansas City cohort of Ladder to Leadership, a program sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJ) and implemented by the Center for Creative Leadership. Health Forward was asked by these national organizations to be the local funding partner. Ladder to Leadership selected eight cites to participate in this effort “to develop the next generation of community health leaders.“

In 2010 we informed the local health community about this opportunity and over 120 people expressed an interest in learning more about this 16 month extensive leadership training opportunity. RWJ and the Center for Creative Leadership selected 29 Kansas City fellows through a very competitive process to participate in this leadership training.

These 29 young and already successful professionals went through a life changing training experience. In the process they were pushed outside their personal comfort zone. At times they were confused, questioned their ability to lead and struggled to understand their personal leadership style. But throughout it all, they had fun and grew both professionally and as individuals.

They learned that leadership is simply not a title…it is a mindset…it is a lifestyle…it is the way in which leaders live their life. They learned to be effective, leaders must be honest, have integrity, communicate effectively and authentically care for others. No matter the job, leaders are in the people business and leadership is about creating a culture of treating people the way you want to be treated.

I want to congratulate the following graduates of the Kansas City cohort of Ladder to Leadership who I predict will be the future leaders of our community:

  • Farah Abdi
  • Krista Allen
  • Lori Blankinship
  • Ashley Bieck
  • Annette Campbell
  • Valeri Crenshaw
  • Katie Cronin
  • Becky Davis
  • Julie Donelon
  • Amber Eastabrooks
  • Alicia Ellingsworth
  • Callie Grantham
  • Brian Haines
  • Lindsay Hummer
  • Jeremy LaFaver
  • Sheila Luehrs
  • Tracie McClendon-Cole
  • Liza Mizell
  • Nicole Morrow
  • Ben Nemenhoff
  • Melissa Robinson
  • Gregg Shibata
  • Jennifer Smith
  • Megan Sturges
  • Kellie Sullivan
  • Julie Westhoff
  • KK White
  • Jan Whitlow
  • Suzanne Wikle


Health Forward Foundation
2300 Main Street, Suite 304
Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 241-7006