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Lajuana Counts, President

Lajuana is an attorney and has been practicing law for the last 23 years. She has been on the WIP Board since 2005. Lajuana has continuously been involved in leadership roles in a number of community Boards and initiatives that address issues affecting women and minorities. She has also served the legal community by being actively involved in the Missouri Bar's disciplinary committees and panels. Some of the other community organizations she's been a part of include the NAACP, Kansas City Municipal Officials and Officers Ethics Commission, Soroptimist International of Kansas City, Missouri, Board of Trustees for Legal Aid of Western Missouri, Rose Brooks Center, Operation Breakthrough, Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association, UMKC Women's Council, UMKC Alumni Association, and UMKC Law Foundation.


Alexia Norris, Treasurer

Lexi Norris was born in Weston, MO. Lexi clerked and first practiced law with King Hershey, PC, in Kansas City, MO, a real estate and economic development firm. In 2009, Lexi joined Shapiro & McMullen, P.A., where she focuses on a range of corporate matters. She is active in a number of Kansas City community organizations, and ran for Missouri State Representative in 2010. Lexi currently resides with her husband in Kansas City, MO.

Member of Missouri Bar Association, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, Platte County Bar Association, and Platte County Economic Development Council. Board Member of Mizzou Alumni Association – Kansas City and Northland Animal Welfare Society. Selected to Phi Beta Kappa and Order of the Coif. Senior Note and Comment Editor, University of Missouri Journal of Dispute Resolution. Published When "Contracting Around" the Law Will Not Work: The Potential Inability to Expressly Prohibit Punitive Damages in Arbitration, 2005 J. Disp. Resol. 147.


Michele A. Newby, Secretary

Michele Newby is a veteran firefighter with the Kansas City Missouri Fire Department. Sister Newby is also a Business Agent for Local No. 42 of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) that represents approximately 1,700 public safety professionals. As a Business Agent, Michele's duties include representing members in contract negotiations, grievance and disciplinary proceedings, as well as directing and participating in many of the Local's political and legislative activities. Sister Newby resurrected the defunct Greater Kansas City Chapter of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), which now is a vibrant and active force for labor in the Kansas City, Missouri Metropolitan Area. She currently serves as President of this local chapter. In October of 2009, Michele was elected as a National Vice President of CLUW representing the IAFF. Sister Newby is the elected Secretary of the Greater Kansas City Women's Political Caucus and holds a seat on the Women in Politics Founder's Board. She serves as a Delegate on the Committee for County Progress, as well as for the Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO. Michele is an elected Committeewoman for the Jackson County (Missouri) Democratic Committee serving Kansas City's 22nd Ward. In May of this year, she was elected as a Trustee for the Southern Federation of Professional Fire Fighters. Most recently, Michele was among a select group of American women chosen to attend the prestigious Yale University Women's Campaign School. Sister Newby holds Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and Psychology, is a licensed Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), a Certified IAFF Peer Fitness Trainer and Fire Service Instructor.


Pam Kelley

Pamela Kelley is widely recognized for her contributions to the media and entertainment industries in consumer direct distribution. Her ability to build value that is measurable in both P&L performance and organizational excellence is matched only by her success in new business development, multi-channel sales leadership and complex contract negotiations. Kelley has worked in senior management at companies including HBO Home Video, LIVE Home Video (Now known as Lionsgate Home Video). She joined the management team of New Line Home Entertainment while it was a $35 million, independent media company. Kelley was instrumental in build¬ing the division into a $1 billion key business unit within the Time Warner family of media / entertainment companies. As executive vice president of sales, she succeeded in building a high-performance team, forging strong business relationships with other Time Warner sales groups to maximize cross-selling opportunities. In addition to being vice president of WIP, Kelley is an active member of several patriotic organizations that focus on Veteran's issues, and she is involved with local groups that promote education and literacy in schools.


Barb Womack

Educated in St. Louis Barbara began her career with Frontier Airlines as a Flight Attendant. She was elected to various positions with the (AFA) Association of Flight Attendants union. After almost a twenty year career she helped negotiate the Flight Attendant buyout after the takeover of Frontier by Continental Airlines and retired from Continental on the negotiated early out retirement.

Barbara worked for the political consulting firms of Simmons & Schafer and Passmore/Galey on various state and local issue campaigns. She volunteered to help her own Clay County community pass a quarter cent sales tax for the construction of the Juvenile Justice Center. Upon passage of the sales tax she served on the overview committee for the construction of the Center.

Barbara has been a long time member of the Greater Kansas City Women's Political Caucus and served on various board positions. She most recently served as their President in 2009-2010. She also served on the Missouri State Women's Political Caucus board and is a member of the Missouri Women's Leadership Coalition.


Linda J. McNicholas

Linda graduated from Avila University with a bachelor's degree, and received her M.A. degree from Webster University. She retired after 30 years of service from Southwestern Bell. Linda served as the Development Director of Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association from 2005 until 2011. She has been on the WIP Board since 2005; she served as the board's secretary 2006-2007.

Linda has been a member of the Greater Kansas city Women's Political Caucus (GKC/WPC) for over twenty-five years. She is a past president of GKC/WPC's. She has also served as their secretary, treasurer, and membership chair. She is currently serving as the program chair. Linda is a member and past chair of the Unitarian Forum
Some of the other community organizations she's been a part of include the Independence Rotary, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (past chair), and Southwestern Bell Community Service Action Committee (past chair).

Linda's volunteer work has included Junior Achievement teacher, Christmas in October Volunteer, Special Olympics Volunteer, Brightside Alliance Volunteer, Juvenile Diabetes Team Walk Leader, Big Brothers and Sisters, Corporate Challenge Team Leader.


Rosemary L. Smithson

Co-founder and founding president (2001 to present) Missouri Women's Leadership Coalition (MWLC); mainstream women's organizations working for women's political equality in Missouri. Board president (2007 to present) US Women Connect (USWC); creating a network of 50 States to share winning strategies, collective action and sponsor a grassroots U.S. women's agenda based on the Beijing Platform for Action. MWLC is the Missouri link in USWC.Co-Founder and founding president (1999 to 2003) the Greater Kansas City Women's Political Caucus Education and Endowment Fund (EEF) - now WIP (Women in Politics funds).Co-chair the GKC/WPC Torch Dinner annual fund raising event 1998-2000.


Mayre Hoffman



Dr. Denise McDowell, Associate Board Member

Dean Enrollment Management / Registrar


Molly Nail, Associate Board Member

Molly Nail graduated from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor's degree, and received her J.D. degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia. Molly is a member of the Missouri Bar, the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, and the Greater Kansas City Estate Planning Society. She has been named as a Rising Star by the Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers Magazine during the years of 2008, 2009 and 2010.

She presently serves on the Trust & Probate Committee of the Missouri Bar and has been an adjunct professor at Avila University in the Paralegal Studies Program. Molly is also a member of the National Committee on Planned Giving, the Lee's Summit Parks & Recreation Foundation Board, and the Truman Medical Center Lakewood Philanthropy and is a past president of the Lee's Summit Rotary Club.


Sherrill Mulhern, Associate Board Member

Sherrill Mulhern is a fourth generation Kansas Citian. After completing her primary and secondary education at Notre Dame de Sion she moved to Washington D.C. where she received her B. A. in Philosophy. After graduation in 1969, she moved to Paris, France where she completed graduate degrees in Religious and Medical Anthropology, at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes des Science Sociales and the Université de Paris 7. Beginning in the mid-1970s until 2002, she pursued an academic career in France, teaching, doing research, serving on the scientific advisory boards of national and international conferences and publishing more than 40 scientific papers. Her field research in Europe, North America and South East Asia focused on the anthropology of psychiatric diagnosis, law, and ecstatic religious practice. She continues to teach an annual post-doc seminar in medical anthropology in Paris and to serve on the editorial board of the international journal, Anthropology and Medicine. Beginning in 1982, she became a regular trans-Atlantic commuter when she assumed the presidency of the family owned George W. Miller Real Estate Management Company.

Over the next twenty years, her involvement in Kansas City business, civic and social life continued to grow. In 1997, she assumed the presidency of the Master Craftsmen Foundation. Since shifting her permanent residence back to Kansas City in 2002, she has served as Honorary Chairman of the Notre Dame de Sion Capital Campaign and on the Little Sisters of the Poor Capital Campaign Steering Committee. She has also served as Co-Chairman of the Diversity Committee at the Central Exchange, on the Friends of Chamber Music board and two terms as President of the Alliance Française de Kansas City. In addition she has served as President of the Zonta International Kansas City II MO Club, Zonta District 7 Coordinator of Strategies to Prevent Violence Against Women (ZISVAW), and as Zonta District 7 Legislative Awareness and Advocacy Coordinator. Today she serves, as a member of the Trustee Exhibition Committee at the Nelson Atkins Museum, on the Business Retention Committee of the Kansas City Downtown Council, as Zonta International District 7 – Area 4 Director, and has recently joined the board of the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival.