Urban League of Kansas Equal Opportunity Dinner.
Urban League of Kansas Equal Opportunity Dinner. Credit: https://www.linkedin.com/in/corinthiankelly/

The 2023 Urban League of Kansas Equal Opportunity Day and Awards program will be Thurs., Oct. 26 at the Holiday Inn East, 549 S. Rock Rd, Wichita.  The evening begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m. and with the dinner and program beginning at 6:30 p.m.  

This year’s keynote speaker is Michael P. McMillan, CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. McMillan, who was appointed president in 2013, has grown the agency from a $15 million annual budget in 2013 to a 2023 projected operating budget exceeding $50 million and increased the number of locations from eight to 22. The Urban League now offers 60 programs and services with 350 staff. 

President McMillan led a merger with the historic Grace Hill Settlement House resulting in a combined $38 million infusion for Head Start/Early Head Start and the addition of a Women’s Business Center. In 2020, he completed acquisition of a historic former Sears department store in the heart of the African-American community and has begun a $40 million restoration project creating a new Regional Headquarters campus.

Tickets for the event are $100 per person and can be obtained by calling (316) 512-1071 or sending an email to:  info@kansasul.org.

Community members being honored at this year’s event include:

Valerie Black, Community Advocate Award

Valerie has worked at Kansas Health Foundation for 21, most of them in information technology.  Two years ago she moved from behind the computer where she’s proven to be a blessing for the grassroot community organizations she works with to advance racial and health equity in the communities with the greatest health disparities through KHF’s Building Power and Equity Partnership initiative.  

Black is also a licensed minister and has served as an assistant pastor at Dellrose United Methodist Church for almost 15 years.  

Corinthian Kelly, Emerging Leader Award

Kelly is Program Manager in the Public Policy and Management Center at Wichita State University. After obtaining his Master of Public Administration from WSU, Corinthian completed a postgraduate fellowship with the Sedgwick County Manager’s Office where he worked on a variety of administrative, policy driven, and community-based initiatives.

He returned to WSU having previously served as an Outreach Manager with TRIO Educational Opportunity Centers Program.

Marquetta Atkins-Woods – Whitney M. Young Leadership Award 

Marquettsa Atkins-Woods is founder and executive director of Destination Innovation Inc., a Hub of Youth Leadership Development. Destination Innovation is home to Camp Destination Innovation, Progeny and Root the Power.

Claudia Amaro – Kansas Small Business Award

Claudia Yaujar-Amaro is a busy entrepreneur.  She’s executive director of ABC Bilingual Resources, a marketing consulting firm and is founder and editor-in-chief of Planeta Venus, a bilingual newsroom she owns and founded in 2022.  With the Latino market the fastest growing population in America, her services as an interpreter and consultant helping to connect businesses and organizations with the Latin community keeps her in demand and her business growing.  

Steve Berry, Corporate Diversity Award

Steve Berry is President & CEO at LK Architecture.

LK Architecture is licensed in every state and has an extensive background in retail, restaurant, hospitality, healthcare, and many other types of facilities. LK provides architecture, mechanical, electrical and plumbing, interior design, landscape architecture and planning.

P.J. Griekspoor is a semi-retired veteran journalist with 55 years experience in writing and editing in Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina and Wichita.  She spent 18 years at the Wichita Eagle...