Kansas City business leaders on board to help promote more female executives

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - On a sunny afternoon, Kansas City appears to be bustling with business. But according to the nonprofit Central Exchange, a group dedicated to creating equality in the workforce, Kansas City is not living up to its potential.

"Part of it is an awareness for organizations and changing behaviors in how they select candidates, and how they pay attention to who is an option," explained Denise Kruse.

Kruse is one of the founding forces behind an emerging campaign within the Central Exchange called Win-Win. The campaign's goal is to increase the number of women on boards of directors and in executive positions in the Kansas City region to 20 percent by the year 2015.

Kruse said right now, Kansas City is not measuring up.

"About 7 percent of the positions on boards in the publicly-traded positions in Kansas City are held by women," she said. "Nationally, we are at about 16 percent of women holding the seats in position on boards. We are far below the national average."

As a mother of three, Kruse said she is motivated to create a better life for her three daughters and others. CEO of the Central Exchange, Ellen D'Amato, said Kansas City has everything to gain by creating an inclusive work force.

"We want Kansas City to be a place where our daughters can succeed as easily as our sons can," D'Amato said.

Kruse said progress has been slow, but it is happening. So far, 90 CEOs in Kansas City signed an agreement to promote and develop women to upper management positions within their company, opening Kansas City to endless possibilities.

To learn more about the Win-Win campaign and how you can join the effort visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/winwinkc

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