Message from KCSDV Executive Director
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Okay, I’m about to go down a risky road of talking about Program Executive Directors without having the space to talk about each of them individually. These women are the unsung heroines of this movement. As I looked around the room when we last gathered for our Program Council meeting, I was amazed by all of them collectively and by each of them individually. They are amazingly dedicated leaders and advocates, working nearly 24-hours a day to assure that every survivor receives optimum services every time services are needed. They each bring their own experience, background, humor, longevity and depth to the work. Let me highlight a few of them.
Laura Patzner, of Great Bend, grew up in the movement. Her mother started the program there and, after 30 years, Laura has elevated services to a whole new level. Last fall, they opened an outreach office with space for a child exchange and visitation center, domestic violence and sexual assault outreach services, and a child-focused forensic interviewing center.
LaDora Lattimore, an advocate and CEO for more than 30 years in Kansas City, Kansas, can fill a ballroom with community members in a flash. Her leadership is fierce and filled with kindness. The support for her work and that of her staff is palpable when you attend one of their events.
Sharon Katz, of Overland Park, is driven in her devotion to providing services for survivors of domestic violence and their children. An expanded administrative and shelter facility opened several years ago as the program planned for growth. Alas, shelter services have been overflowing for months now.
Andrea Quill is in Salina. Since taking that position, she has tirelessly worked to build solid reserves and stability for DVACK, one of the oldest programs in the state. She is quiet and fearless in her community leadership.
LeeAnn Riediger and Rebecca Scott, in Winfield, were both new to the work. They have tirelessly rebuilt a program that had lost staff and funding and had been struggling for several years. They have revitalized that program financially as they learned to be advocates.
Rebecca Brubaker followed a similar path when she took the reins in Pittsburg, rebuilding the infrastructure and stability there. She has now moved the organization into a new building. Her quiet determination will not be stopped.
Robin Shelden in Garden City moved into her position following a long-time director who had retired. As the former financial manager, Robin brought financial know-how to her position while at the same time she moved the organization ahead by updating advocacy practices. Her learning curve was steep and her work is strong.
Okay, here’s where I get in trouble. I can’t talk about everyone individually. But, all of the Executive Directors in Kansas have similar stories, strengths, and savvy.
Susan Moran, Kate McPheeters, Becky Dickinson, Candace Dixon, Darla Carter, Kathy Williams, Kay Andersen, Jennifer Hale, Palle Rilinger, Jan Jones, Elena Morales, Joan Schultz, Sara Jane Russell, Sherry Dunn, Charlotte Linsner, Mia Korbelik, Kit Lambertz, Hope Alvarez, Stacey Mann, Dorothy Sparks, Beth Savitzky, and Judy Davis have all been leaders in the movement that will end violence in the lives of women, children and men. Some have been there for years; some have just begun their journey. The path is never an easy one, nor is it paved with gold and silver.
These directors all deserve their own spotlight in this article. Each and every one of them is literally on call 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, every day, every year. They answer crisis calls, write grants, balance budgets, beg for money, run board meetings, clean up messes (real and imagined), hold the hands of survivors, listen to the stories of children, challenge authorities, supervise staff, train community members, work on committees, worry about funding, push back on bias, and on and on.
So, as we head into a new year, let me say “thank you” to all of these women.
I hope if you are a community member reading this article that you will also take a moment to thank these leaders. The work of ending violence against women, children and men could not be sustained or moved forward without them. Our work together across the state weaves a strong fabric of safety for survivors and their children; each of these leaders is a piece of that fabric and lends it strength.