Copy the Leader: Abby Stuke
Jayhawks in leadership positions are everywhere you look, including through the Jayhawk Career Network. KU Alumni, in partnership with SumnerOne, is highlighting Jayhawk leaders who are models for others in their industries with our “Copy the Leader” program.
Abby Stuke, j’17, is events director for the Lenexa Chamber of Commerce. She is also a member of the KU Alumni Association’s Greater Kansas City Area Alumni Network Board.
What do you do in your work?
I am the events director for the Lenexa Chamber of Commerce in Lenexa, Kansas. In my role, I coordinate and execute a variety of educational and networking events for our members to help them connect with one another and grow their professional relationships.
The Greater Kansas City Alumni Network works to build and improve ties among KC-area alumni and supporters of KU; provides support of higher education; promotes University departments and strengthens the brand awareness of KU; and assists in efforts to recruit talented students to attend KU.
What are the qualities of a good leader?
I feel communication is the top quality of a leader because one needs to know how to communicate with their team and express the vision they have for the organization moving forward. Leaders also need to inspire their team and those around them, which sometimes requires the leader to take a risk, but one needs to fully believe in that risk 100%. Compromise is also important because as a leader, you’re not going to know everything. One needs to have an understanding of things, but that’s why you hire and bring on members in your organizations who have strengths in a variety of sectors to help your organization thrive to the best of its ability.
How do leaders engage with their communities?
Leaders can engage with their communities in a variety of ways. The easiest way to start is by attending community events where one can learn more about their community as a whole and ways to get involved. Involvement could include local school districts, business organizations, non-profits, city events, among many other things. The best piece of advice I have for leaders is to find something you’re passionate about, attend events, and find ways that you can help. Everyone has their strengths, and you never know how you can make an impact!
Why is it important for leaders to volunteer, give their time and interact with their communities?
It is important for leaders to volunteer, give their time and interact with their communities because it shows you care for the place that you live and/or work in. It helps you get to see all the things going on within your community that make it a great place. Being involved in your community provides a way for you to get connected, learn more about your community, and to find the doers in your community who could be possible future leaders. You might also come to have a greater appreciation for the place you call home and/or your business calls home.
How is the Kansas City Board getting involved/or being inspired by this year’s Big Event?
While I was a student at KU, I always admired The Big Event because it provided an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to get involved in the local community. Many of these individuals are not from Lawrence originally and are only here for the duration of the school year. Though they might only call Lawrence home for 10 months out of the year, the Lawrence community embraces them and welcomes them with open arms. What a great opportunity to give back to a community that gives so much to the University.
The Greater Kansas City Alumni Network Board is taking the inspiration of The Big Event in Lawrence and bringing it to the Kansas City area. Greater KC Board Members are taking time out of their day to give back to the community that they live and work in by packing groceries for Project Home. Leah Vomhof, one of our board members, connected us with Project Home, whose mission is to assist students and families from the Shawnee Mission school district who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. Project Home offers individualized and diverse support services helping students complete primary and secondary education in order to enter adulthood hopeful and successful. Leah became aware of the organization when she worked in the Shawnee Mission school district.
How can other alumni in the Kansas City area get involved?
Fellow Kansas City Jayhawks can learn more about Project Home on its website. The Kansas City metro has hundreds of other organizations out there looking for support. Find one that speaks to you and look for a way to support them, whether financially, with your time, or by spreading the word about their mission.
The Copy the Leader program is brought to you by SumnerOne. SumnerOne is one of the largest independent office technology dealers in the Midwest, with offices in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. We’re a family of respected companies united by ONE goal: to exceed your expectations and help you get the most from your investments in printing, IT, and document technology.