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Area Residents Graduate from Executive Leadership Institute

February 2018

The Doniphan Leadership Institute graduated its 22nd class Jan. 7 at William Jewell College. Staff and sponsors congratulated the 14 Doniphan Fellows who live and work throughout Greater Kansas City.

Fourteen Greater Kansas City residents took their skills to the next level after graduating from the Doniphan Leadership Institute during a ceremony at William Jewell College on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

The graduates represented Children’s Mercy and Liberty hospitals, Ingredion, Argosy Casino, Mid-Continent Public Library and more. Now in its 11th year, the institute is a joint effort of the Pryor Center at the college and the Clay County Economic Development Council.

The new Doniphan graduates shared praise for the program as they were recognized before 60 attending family, friends and coworkers. Although they live and work throughout Greater Kansas City, many had similar observations about the institute.

“I’m an engineer, and this was very different from college,” noted Shawn Duryea, a Kansas City Power and Light employee from Archie, Mo. “I think we all got something different from the program, and we got something different from each other as well.”

Others said that while learning about leadership, they discovered things about themselves as well. “I learned a lot about myself, both good and bad,” explained Debbie Ervay, a Liberty resident and educator with the Liberty School District. “I also made a lot of friends.”

Ritchie Momon, a resident of Lee’s Summit employed at Mid-Continent Public Library, joked about one assignment in particular. “At the library, we read books all the time,” he laughed. “But it’s been 25 years since I did a book report. I learned a lot. It’s impressive.”

Miranda Mulder, an employee of Liberty Hospital, noted a much-discussed challenge course that involved climbing towers and balance ropes. The team-building exercises were particularly daunting for her. “I want to thank all my teammates for not letting me fall three days before my wedding,” she laughed.

Gladstone resident and city employee Nick Pappas stressed one lesson in particular. “I learned the difference between a manager and a leader,” he said. “That was really eye-opening.”

Many of the graduates were clearly moved by their experiences. “I feel like I’m a better leader and a better person,” noted Chris Scherer of Weston, who is employed at Ingredion in North Kansas City.

Lisa Take of Children’s Mercy Hospital noted someone at her company had “strongly suggested” she take the program. “I would not have volunteered to do this, but it was a great way to learn and grow,” she recalled. “And it was a great time, too. We had a lot of fun.”

Xandria Thomas of Liberty Hospital had a similar experience. “I’m very grateful for this class,” said the Liberty resident. “I want to thank everyone for this opportunity.”

The dinner event was held in the college’s Yates/Gill Union and included speakers Kevin Shaffstall, director of the Pryor Center for Leadership Development; Joe Millas, guest instructor; Tom Vansaghi, professor of Business and Leadership at the college; and Jim Hampton, executive director of the Clay County Economic Development Council.

The complete list of new Doniphan Fellows, their employer and residence includes Jacque (Shawn) Duryea, Kansas City Power & Light, Archie; Debbie Ervay, Liberty School District, Liberty; Miranda Mulder, Liberty Hospital, Kearney; Stacy Hisle-Chaudri, Mid-Continent Public Library, Kansas City; Daryl Kelley, Ingredion, Kansas City; Julie Lewis, Clay County Economic Development Council, Kansas City; Brian McCrary, Penn National Gaming (Argosy Casino), Kearney; Ritchie Momon, Mid-Continent Public Library, Lee’s Summit; Nick Pappas, City of Gladstone, Gladstone; Chris, Scherer, Ingredion, Weston; Sarah Stansbury, Liberty Hospital, Kearney; Shannon Stone, Children's Mercy Hospital, Lee’s Summit; Lisa Take, Children's Mercy Hospital, Kansas City; and Xandria Thomas, Liberty Hospital, Liberty.

For additional information on the institute, call the Development Council at (816) 468-4989 or visit You may also contact the Pryor Center at (816) 415-5052.

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