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August 23rd, 2019

power of the purse flyerELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


The United Way is always looking to reach out to the Liberal community and the group’s next event will help do just that. 

Power of the Purse will be from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 21 in the community room at Equity Bank. The event, which is free to the public, is also a fundraiser for the United Way and its 27 local agencies, with sponsors providing the lunch and speakers, and several items being available during a silent auction that day.

“It is mainly geared toward women, but everyone is welcome.  A lot of times our fundraisers are really fun and they're something the entire community can get involved in like our Trunk or Treat event and our golf tournament, so they're typically fun for everyone,” United Way Executive Director McKensie Hood said. “I want people who come to this to know they don't have to live in the big city to be successful and reach all of your goals. This is for anyone and everyone from all backgrounds and walks of life, whether you're a stay-at-home parent or a professional, everyone who attends this event will definitely benefit from this. It's going to be a very fun event. The speakers will be talking about everything they've been through with their personal and professional lives and give insight to how they grew their businesses and became entrepreneurs. This is not something that comes to this area, so it'll be very beneficial and everyone who attends will leave with more confidence to go in the direction they want to. I've talked to a lot of business owners and told them this isn't for them to build their own business, this is for them to become better employees – the better educated they are, the better performance they'll give and the harder they'll work. So I would encourage business owners to sign their employees up for this so they can make their business better.”

Hood then went into more detail about the three speakers for the event. 

“The first one is Beth James, who grew up in Woodward, Okla., and she has had some experiences in her life that she's been able to turn into motivation to be successful – she flips homes, she's an appraiser, and she's an Iron Man athlete and has done a lot of those events, so we're really excited to hear her story and how she has taken her trials and turned them into something inspiring,” Hood said. “We'll also have Jody Harris, she graduated from Liberal High School several years ago – she'd gotten pregnant when she was 16 and was in an abusive relationship and ultimately ended up in Liberal after getting out of that relationship and now she's an entrepreneur on many different platforms She's been through it all and now has a multimillion dollar loan portfolio and has worked really hard to get where she is today. Then our final speaker will be Julie Huber, she's with Equity Bank, who's actually our presenting sponsor for this event, and when I talked to Tina Call before she moved on, she told me Julie would be awesome for this event – she's been with Equity Bank a long time and has helped the bank grow a lot to where they are today, and a woman being in that type of position is just amazing.”

Those interested in attending Power of the Purse must pre-register at to help coordinators have a head count for lunch. Hood said the event is already seeing a great response with sign-ups, and she offered encouragement for others in the community to sign up. 

“It's something new for Liberal. It doesn't really follow the traditional line of what United Way does, but I've been in contact with several other United Way offices and there's a United Women's Group in a lot of bigger United Ways,” Hood said. “But we don't have that here locally and I think it's something the community needs and as the United Way director, I want to encourage and support everyone in our community to prosper. That's what we're here for, that's what our agencies are here for. We want to help people get to the bottom of their problems and really prosper in our community, and this event is a reflection of that. I'm most excited to see how these speakers change the outlook a lot of us have and encourage and motivate us. I think this will be pretty life-changing for my own career and who I am and the direction I want to go. I would just challenge people to get out of their comfort zone and come hear these ladies speak. I really think each one will appeal to a different audience in the community, and I think they'll all have advice we really need to hear. Sometimes we just need some motivation to keep going and stay encouraged. I hope this encourages the attendees to be successful, become entrepreneurs and be the best they can be. So get yourself signed up, or if you're an employer, get your employees signed up.”

Hood added she hopes there are several things attendees take away from the event, and said this could lead to similar events in the future. 

“All of the speakers have had their trials and tribulations and have been able to work through all of them, so I think everyone will take away something from each one of them, no matter where they are in life,” Hood said. “I have friends who are stay-at-home moms and still have ambition in life, and I have friends who live in the city and want to eventually become CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. The ladies who are speaking are speaking for everyone from all walks of life and what they talk about should reach everyone who comes no matter what. We're all in different stages of life and I feel like what these women will be talking about will strike a chord with everyone. It's also going to be fun – we'll have lunch, we'll have some giveaways, we'll have several silent auction items and there will also be photo opportunities with the speakers. I think people in this area want to grow and prosper and go in the right direction. So many women in the area have side projects they're doing even if they're working full time. This is really needed – from the United Way platform, I hope we can continue to do events like this, and I also think the community as a whole needs to look at and say 'Wow, this is getting a great response' and get involved themselves with things like this.”

Overall, Hood said, coordinators are looking forward to seeing how Power of the Purse turns out. 

“Make sure you register, there's limited seating. We won't turn anyone away, we'll pull chairs out of the closet if we have to, but please register to guarantee a spot,” Hood said. “And everyone is welcome – I've had men call and ask about this, and they're more than welcome. It's going to be more female-driven and decorated more feminine, but everyone is welcome to come. We're also looking forward to seeing what we raise on the silent auction items. This is something that will ultimately help the whole community, so we're really excited.”

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