“My experience with the Series has been tremendously rewarding, not only because of the knowledge I gained but also because of the women I met. I have been blessed by each of the women that I’ve met through the Series. They have each taught me something different. I learned about their courage and perseverance; their love of God, Family and Country; and the love they have for their communities and for the state of Kansas. I am blessed to be a part of this organization.”

Marisel Walston, Class of 2013

“I’m proud of my Ikette heritage and love the women who had the vision to start the Eisenhower Series.

After moving to the Kansas City area from Wichita, I received a phone call from Susan Pompeo who proposed the newly forming Eisenhower Series. I loved the idea of creating an educational/training forum for Republican women, but mostly it seemed a great opportunity to continue my friendship with Susan and Lisa Ritchie, who also joined the founding Board of Governors.

I went to the first board meeting and met Amanda, Kari and Cathy (Nugent). After hearing their résumés I immediately wondered why I was even considered for this! I had NO political experience and this board was full of knowledgeable and credible women.  Where did I fit in?  I emailed Susan and told her that I was out of place and couldn’t possibly be of value in this organization. She told me that I was exactly who they wanted as I brought a different perspective and experience to the group.

Encouraged by her confidence, and my desire to have opportunities to work with these talented women, I joined, We diligently worked to put together the first year and the format that the Series still follows.

The first session was in Topeka for Kansas Days. Out of curiosity, local state and national representatives stopped in, mostly as a favor to us. Now, they ask, ‘When can I speak with your group?’ They seek us out and look forward to meeting each class. Seeing how the Eisenhower Series has grown in reputation is very rewarding to me as a founding board member.”

Devona Troutman

“My rewards through the Series have been getting to know so many people dedicated to a better America.

When we were asked to form the Board of Governors, we thought, ‘We’ll just donate some money once a year.’ Ha! It didn’t quite work out that way. God had been telling me that I’d better start paying attention to ‘what was going on in the world’ and then this opportunity through Amanda (Adkins), Kari (Bruffet) and Susan (Pompeo) appeared. I’ve met so many wonderful Republicans — from Governor Brownback to the Young Republicans in high school who work so hard at such an early age to make a difference.”

Lisa Ritchie

“The best way to describe my Eisenhower experience is ‘fabulously overwhelming.’ Every woman I met in my class and from previous classes is exceptionally talented and successful in her chosen field, and I’m fabulously overwhelmed to be in such company. Every session provided more valuable information and insight than I could possibly retain (no matter how vigorously I took notes), and I’m fabulously overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge shared. And now, as I look forward to graduating and holding the honor of being an Ikette, I’m fabulously overwhelmed by how this experience has ignited my desire to serve in whatever ways my time, talents and treasures will allow.”

Jennifer Szambecki

“My husband, Tim, and I just left the house and are on our way to the Eisenhower Graduation! So exciting and I want to take this time to thank all of you who have worked to develop and promote this wonderful women’s leadership program.

Raised in the sixties, I remember my teacher telling the boys in my class that they should study hard in math and science because we had to beat the Russians and she ended it saying, “you girls can try too.”  Seriously?

Later, when I wanted to be an FBI agent, I wrote to J. Edgar Hoover who wrote back stating that women weren’t allowed because women” don’t t have the physical strength or the emotional stability “ and that I should think about being a nurse, teacher, or I could bring his letter to the secretarial pool for an interview.

I just retired from 40 years in the classroom and loved it and I have four wonderful children and grandchildren. While my daughter was encouraged to pursue her dream(she is a surgical oncologist in KC), I will always wonder, “What if?” Thank you for allowing me to be in a program where I can work on my pet projects of child abuse and pro-life as well as give me opportunities to encourage and support young women to get involved in the political process in order to move the platform of the GOP forward and so hopefully no more little girls will ask, “what if?”

Christy R McNally

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