Living Legend Leadership Award

Coming Soon in 2015

The Living Legend Award was created to recognize a female leader who has exhibited exemplary leadership in their professional, business, and community involvement.

The first annual Living Legends Award Luncheon, held on November 12, 2010, honored Ms. Joanne Collins. Ms. Collins has held Presidential, Gubernatorial, Regional, County and Local appointments. Previously, Joanne served as a KCMO City Council Member-at-Large for 17 years. The HWLC chose to honor Ms. Collins because of her many years of energetic civic engagement and volunteer service to the community.

In 2011, HWLC chose the Hon. Kay Barnes to receive a Living Legends honor. Barnes was elected Kansas City’s first female mayor in 1999, and re-elected in 2003. She is largely credited with the revival of downtown Kansas City, Missouri, having enthusiastically encouraged the construction of key developments such as the Sprint Center Arena (built in 2007) and the neighboring Kansas City Live! entertainment district. She now serves at Park University’s Hauptmann School for Public Affairs as the founding Director of the Center for Leadership.

The Emerging Leader award was established in 2011 to highlight a emerging female professional who best exemplifies the traits of volunteerism, community service, and achievement in her chosen profession. The HWLC’s first Emerging Leader award recipient, Theresa Garza Ruiz, was elected to the Jackson County Legislator for the 1st District At-Large in 2006 and re-elected in 2010. She has demonstrated her commitment to improving Jackson County through her extensive involvement with a myriad of community, civic, and political organizations.




CiCi Rojas, Joanne Collins, Niki Donawa


Living Legend Award Winner

Mayor Kay Barnes

Mayor Kay Barnes


Emerging Legend Award Winner

Commissioner Theresa Garza-Ruiz

Jackson County Legislator Theresa Garza-Ruiz



Living Legend Award Winner

Joanne Collins