Several local women will be honored at the Seventh Annual Women of Influence Awards on October 28, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.  This event is hosted by GO Topeka and the Women’s Initiative Committee. Click here to register for the 2021 Women of Influence Awards.

Award Honorees:

Woman of Influence Honorees – Melissa Brunner, WIBW, and Lucy Opit, Midwest Barber College

Award Description:  A woman who is influential within her company or industry. She displays strong leadership experience and inspires other women. A visionary with a track record of accomplishments.


Outstanding Entrepreneur Honoree – Cheryl Clark, Dare to Dream

Award Description:  A female entrepreneur who contributes to the success of other women and entrepreneurs. She has experienced business growth and promotes sound business practices, a commitment to excellence and is a contributor to her community.


Breakthrough Business Award Honorees – Leslie Fleuranges, Tender Loving Care Pet Nursing Hotel, and Darlene Morgan, Milk & Honey Coffee Co.

Award Description: A female small business owner whose business, open no longer than two years, has successful integrated itself within the business community.


Distinguished Mentor Honoree – Rhonda Harris, Kansas Department of Commerce

Award Description:  A woman who advises other women to help them advance and develop their own path to academic and professional success. She generously shares her time to be accessible to the mentees. Imparts guidance and expertise in encouraging and critiquing the mentee’s leadership, training and other scholarly works. Encourages mentees in networking activities with other professionals. Promotes and makes others aware of the contributions and value of their mentees.


Community Service Honoree – Lauren Tice Miller, Office of Kansas State Treasurer Lynn Rogers

Award Description:  A woman who has been involved in community service, such as boards, commissions or community groups. She has strong leadership skills and serves as a role model for inspiring others to change their community. She has influenced decision-making on issues and enhanced the quality of life in her community.


Rising Star Honoree– Grace Clinton, Helping Hands Humane Society

Award Description: An up-and-coming female executive or business owner with less than five years at a company or in business. She has strong leadership skills, and her actions have and continue to make an impact on the community. She is an innovator and inspires others.


Education Honoree – Carla Pratt, Washburn University School of Law

Award Description:  A woman whose creativity and innovation has impacted education. She has made an impact in training and education for the Shawnee County Community. She has strong leadership skills, serves as a role model and inspires others.


Emeritus Award Honoree – Kak Eli-Schneider, (retired) Washburn Rural



GO Topeka creates county-wide economic success for all companies and citizens through implementation of an aggressive economic development strategy that capitalizes on the unique strengths of the community. Visit



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