Inspiring Women in Public Administration Conference 2017

Speakers' Bios

Schedule and speakers are subject to change. More speakers will be added as they are confirmed.

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Co-Founder and Chief Strategist, TandemSpring; Chief Strategy Officer, DyMynd; Instructor and Adjunct Faculty, DePaul University

Few have ever seen a person jump nearly a foot above their own height. Fewer still have done it. But, it is exactly that kind of exceptionalism that Monika Black embodied as one of the shortest collegiate high-jumpers. Now, as co-founder of TandemSpring, Monika is still breaking barriers by helping people and organizations disrupt status quo leadership, through strengths. 

Monika is a certified coach, experienced consultant, and dynamic leader who catalyzes people forward one strength at a time. Known as the “maximizer,” Monika is sought after for her ability to help individuals and organizations reach their absolute fullest potential. She has coached hundreds of executives, entrepreneurs, and emerging leaders, helping them to enhance their own performance in life and work, and has worked in multiple organizations helping them develop, revitalize, and transform programs into industry-leading practices with authenticity and accountability.

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, University of Kansas

Neeli Bendapudi is the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor at the University of Kansas. She was previously the H.D. Price Dean at the KU School of Business and professor of marketing. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Kansas and she has taught at Texas A&M and the Ohio State University. Her research has appeared in the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of Marketing Research, the Journal of Retail Marketing and the Harvard Business Review, among others. 

Provost Bendapudi has taught at the undergraduate, MBA, Executive MBA and Ph.D. level, and has received numerous college, university and national teaching awards. She has experience on public and private boards and served as chief customer officer of Huntington National Bank.

Specialties: Her current research focuses on customer willingness and ability to maintain long-term relationships with firms and with the employers and brands that represent them. 


Pamela Antil
President, League of Women in Government
Assistant City Administrator, City of Santa Barbara City Administrator's Office

Pamela “Pam” W. Antil has over 25 years of experience directly managing and advising local government agencies across the country including small and large cities such as San Jose, CA, Ann Arbor, MI and Palo Alto, CA.  Currently, she is the Assistant City Administrator/COO for the City of Santa Barbara, CA.  Ms. Antil also advised local government, not-for-profits, and private sector clients as a Consulting Manager and Director for Grant Thornton LLP – the 5th largest public accounting and management consulting firm in the U.S.

Ms. Antil has been recognized for her published articles and papers on a variety of topics including advancing women in local government; the future of policing in the United States; business networking; innovation and design thinking; post-merger/operational due diligence in the private sector; and use of social media by local government.  An avid networker herself and early adopter of social media in government, Ms. Antil founded the Municipal Managers group on LinkedIn in 2007, which has over 11,000 members today and the League of Women in Government in 2015, supporting the advancement of women in local government. 

Pam is an active member of the International City/County Management Association, Cal-ICMA, Alliance for Innovation, Municipal Management Assistants of Northern & Southern California, Emerging Local Government Leaders as well as serves as a Board Member for Women Leading Government CA and current President of the League of Women in Government. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and a Master of Public Administration degree from California State University. 

Kristina Clark
Communications Coordinator, KU Public Management Center

Joining the Public Management Center last October, Kristina is responsible for coordinating communication and event activities for graduations, guest speakers, and conference sponsorships. She also provides administrative support to the Distinguished Professor (Rosemary O'Leary) for the School of Public Affairs and Administration. In the past, Kristina has worked as a youth mentor, art teacher, and has worked in Special Education. Currently, she is finishing up her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training certification, focusing on restorative practice and emotional mindfulness.

Amy Harth, MH
PhD Candidate, Union Institute & University

Amy Harth is a scholar of African studies, poet, photographer, activist and educator. She received her bachelor's in African History from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a Master's in Humanities from Tiffin University (Tiffin, Ohio). She is a PhD Candidate at Union Institute & University (Cincinnati), with her research addressing the relationship between media and economic development in​ Africa.

Amy’s interest in Public Administration stems from her research as well as her work as an advocate and higher education administrator. She is interested in public policy solutions and community engagement in those solutions. Originally from Chicago, Amy moved to Overland Park, Kansas in March 2016 to be with her partner, a KU graduate who is dedicated to ensuring Kansas has strong public institutions.​

Angie Pastorek, Ph.D.
Program Manager & Faculty, University of Kansas

Dr. Pastorek manages two graduate programs in workplace communication at the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park – a master’s degree and a four-course Professional Workplace Communication Graduate Certificate ideal for those looking to supplement their existing credentials with a specialization in workplace communication dynamics.

Prior to joining the KU faculty in 2015, Angie worked for 10+ years developing and delivering training programs and communication resources for global companies including Siemens Healthcare and Deloitte. Angie holds a Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin in Organizational Communication and Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Illinois State University. In addition to teaching at the KU Edwards campus, Dr. Pastorek delivers on-site training and conference breakout sessions on workplace communication topics ranging from employee communication strategy to conflict management and career development communication  to local professional associations and corporate organizations across the Kansas City area.

Sara Singer
Vice President, J Robertson and Company; Conference & Planning Committee Chair, IWPA

Sara Singer is the Vice President for JRO & Co., a full-service strategic planning and public communications firm based in Olympia, Washington and Portland, Oregon. Sara graduated from the University of Kansas Master of Public Administration program in 2006 and spent over ten years working for local governments in Oregon, California and Kansas, before transitioning into a consulting role. Her consulting work focuses on building vibrant communities and shaping sustainable organizations with public, non-profit and private-sector clients. 

Sara is involved in many professional organizations including the Oregon City/County Managers Association (OCCMA), and the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2).


Kendra Davis
Management Analyst, City Manager's Office, Manhattan Beach, California

Kendra Davis is a Management Analyst with the City Manager’s office in Manhattan Beach, CA. She coordinates outreach and communication efforts and seeks to continually evolve the way cities engage with their communities. She also assists in the formation of long-range planning documents, such as the City’s Strategic Plan, provides support for City Council initiatives, and participates in expanding employee training and engagement. She started with the City of Manhattan Beach in 2015 as a Management Fellow through her Master of Public Administration Program with the University of Kansas. After graduating from the program in May 2016, she accepted a full-time position with the City as a Management Analyst.

Kendra grew up in Newton, KS and received her undergraduate degree as well as her MPA from the University of Kansas. She lived in Lawrence, KS for almost 10 years and spent more than half of that time working for local nonprofit agencies before looking to local government. Now living in the diverse jungle of Los Angeles, specifically in Inglewood, she learns something new about her community and herself every day.

Tammara Durham
Vice Provost for Student Affairs, University of Kansas

Tammara Durham joined KU in 1998 as assistant director of the Freshman-Sophomore Advising Center. She served as director of the University Advising Center from 2004 to 2011. In May, 2012 she was named vice provost for student affairs at the University of Kansas after serving as interim vice provost since September 2011. Prior to that, she served as associate vice provost for Student Success from January 2011.

As the vice provost for student affairs, Tammara is the senior student affairs officer for the main campus in Lawrence and is responsible for student life, support and leadership programs, student auxiliary services and student-supported wellness programs. The Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs coordinates and develops student support services and programs and serves as an advocate for student needs across the university community that contribute to overall academic success.

Tammara received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southwest Missouri State University and her doctorate from the University of Kansas in higher education administration.

Andrea C. Dorch, JD, MPA
Division Manager, Human Relations Department, City of Kansas City, Missouri

 Andrea C. Dorch currently works for the KCMO Human Relations Department and serves as the Division Head for compliance and enforcement of the Construction Employment Program, HUD Section 3 provisions, Davis Bacon & Missouri Prevailing Wage, and the economic development agencies’ affirmative action policies. She is an advocate for the community and continually advocates for fairness, transparency, equal opportunity and access to government contracting opportunities; her current duties include creating policy and procedures consistent with the Human Relations Department’s mission.

Previously Andrea worked as Project Coordinator for the City of Kansas City, Missouri for 10 years in the Public Works/Engineering Division overseeing redesign & coordination for the Municipal Property program, city-wide infrastructure repair program, and ADA compliance for infrastructure repair and replacement. She has served as Assistant Athletic Director for compliance with Title IX in Kansas City & Houston area schools. Andrea worked in Probates & Estates for 2 years in association with the federal health care system. Currently, in addition to her work with the City, Andrea owns a local sports agency representing NFL athletes.

She is a disabled United States Navy veteran who served as a member of a 5-person assault craft team from the ACU-4 detachment units in Little Creek, VA in the aftermath of Desert Storm and during the early stages of Operation Enduring Freedom. She was part of an elite unit in joint operations with the U.S. Marine Corps. Andrea was the first female to be assigned to the ACU-4 compound and to successfully complete a tour of duty there. She continues to advocate for veterans and other protected status individuals.  (FUN FACT: The naval craft (LCAC) to which Andrea was attached at ACU-4 can be seen in the movie Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.)

Andrea obtained her undergraduate degree from Rockhurst University and her Juris Doctorate and Masters of Public Administration (Urban Planning & Policy) from the University of Missouri system. She is also a trained mediator, specializing in business and contract negotiations.

Andrea is the mother of two and enjoys sports and equestrian activities.

Caitlin Gard
​Assistant Public Works Director, City of Shawnee, Kansas

Caitlin Gard serves as the Assistant Public Works Director for the City of Shawnee and has been with the organization since 2013. Previously, Caitlin served in various positions in the Planning and Development and Public Works Departments for her hometown of Lee's Summit, Missouri. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri system with a Bachelors in Political Science and Masters in Public Administration. She is also a future graduate of the University of Kansas' Certified Public Manager program.

Caitlin is an accomplished Public Works administrator with experience in complex municipal areas including municipal operations, budget, project management, neighborhood relations, communications, and office management. But most importantly, Caitlin and her husband Chris are new parents to 11 month old Claire. They enjoy playing with the cat, going to the zoo, and swimming!

Emily Randel - Morning Panel Moderator
Public Information Officer, City of Mission, Kansas

Emily Randel is Public Information Officer for the City of Mission, Kansas. In her role she focuses on City communications and special projects, including work with the Capital Improvement Program Committee, Mission's Sustainability Commission, and establishing the Mission Farm and Flower Market which will begin its third year this May. Emily has completed the Mid-America Regional Council's (MARC) Successful Facilitator Certificate Program and is Mission's primary contact for MARC's Communities for All Ages program, targeting improvements in inclusiveness in local service delivery. She is the President of the Shawnee Mission Rotary Club and a member of the Greater Kansas City Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration. 

Previously, she worked for the City of Gresham, Oregon as Economic Development Specialist. Emily has a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School at the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelors of Arts from the University of Kansas.

Noel Rasor - Afternoon Panel Moderator
Assistant Director, KU Public Management Center
Graduate Advisor, KU School of Public Affairs and Administration

Noel serves as the assistant director of the Public Management Center, directing the Emerging Leaders Academy, advising Topeka-based MPA students, and teaching in other PMC programs. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, a master’s of urban planning from the University of Kansas, and has completed doctoral work in American Studies at KU to the level of ABD. Noel has worked at the chapter level as well as the national level for the American Red Cross and has served in a variety of capacities at KU.

Cheryl Rose
Deputy Chief Investigations Bureau Commander, Kansas City Missouri Police Department

Cheryl Rose has been with the Kansas City Missouri Police Department since 1987 and has held a variety of assignments, some of which include; patrol, undercover detective, Robbery Unit, Internal Affairs, Planning and Research, and Academy Instructor.  She attained the rank of officer, sergeant, captain and major prior to her promotion to Deputy Chief in 2010.  In 2011, she was appointed as the Chief of Police while a permanent chief was sought. 

She is currently the commander over the Investigations Bureau, which includes the following divisions, Homicide, Robbery, Domestic Violence, Crimes Against Children, Sex Crimes, Narcotics and Vice, Law Enforcement Resource Center, Violent Crime Enforcement and the Terrorism Early Warning Center. She is a co-founder of the Women in Public Safety Network, which is a regional group of women who meet to network, discuss relevant issues, and mentor others. Deputy Chief Rose recently served six years on the board of directors for Rose Brooks Center, a domestic violence shelter. 

She has an MS and BS degree in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Central Missouri.  She is also a graduate of the Women’s Leadership Institute at Avila University and the Southwestern Law Enforcement Institute.  Deputy Chief Rose is a member of the National Association for Women Law Enforcement Executives, International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Missouri Peace Officers Association.

Sylvya Stevenson
Budget Analyst and Position Review Committee Administrator, City of Kansas City, Missouri Finance Department

Sylvya Stevenson is a Budget Analyst and the Position Review Committee Administrator in the Finance Department for the City of Kansas City, Missouri and has been with the City since 2014.  She is pursuing an executive management career in city government.  Sylvya oversees budgets and fiscal operations for various city departments and manages internal service funds and special revenue funds including the Convention & Tourism Fund and Development Services Fund.  Previously, she served as the Assistant to the City Administrator for the City of Mission Hills, Kansas.

Sylvya is a Kansas City, Missouri native. She graduated with distinction in 2007 from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a dual B.A in Political Science and Criminal Justice, and minor in Philosophy. Sylvya earned her Masters of Public Administration at the University of Oklahoma in 2011 with a City Management and Public Policy concentration. 

Sylvya also serves as the Board Chairperson for the Kansas City Chapter of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. (NCBW) and is the founding chair of the chapter.  She has been a member of the national organization since 2005.  NCBW, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3), not for profit, non-partisan, civic-leadership organization that supports women professionally, personally and culturally while creating opportunities for them to make a difference in their community.  Sylvya volunteers in the community for various organizations including the International City and County Manager’s Association (ICMA), Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), Blacks In Government (BIG) and Big Brother Big Sister.  She also served as a member of the Host Committee for the planning and execution of the 2016 ICMA Conference in Kansas City.

Dianna S Wright
Director of Resource Management, City of Olathe, KS

Dianna Wright began serving as Director of Resource Management of Olathe, Kansas in January 2012, with more than twenty-five years of public management experience. As Director of Resource Management, Dianna manages the departments of Finance Services, Human Resources/Risk Management, and Management and Budget Services.  Ms. She is an active member of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and has earned the designation of “Credentialed Manager.”

Her previous experience includes service as a local government manager for the Cities of Wentzville, Missouri and Harrisonville, Missouri. She has also served as Assistant to the City Manager/Director of Administrative Services for the City of Gladstone, Missouri from 1988 to 1998.  Throughout her career, Dianna has served on a number of non-profit and professional advisory boards, where she is known for her in-depth understanding of complex issues.   She is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri.

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