Investing in women in business

The College of Business Administration at Kansas State University will launch a Women in Business initiative with a career summit Friday, October 22, 2021.

K-State’s Women in Business initiative is supported by numerous College of Business donors and advisors, including several female executives who are K-State alumni — Candace Duncan, former managing partner KPMG LLP; Carolyn Thompson, founder and CEO of Merito Group; and Leanne Caret, CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. Caret will be the keynote speaker.

The initiative aims to increase enrollment of women into the College of Business by introducing high school and community college students to career opportunities in business. Opportunities for personal and professional development will be provided for current college students. Alumni will have the opportunity to offer mentoring and networking to female business students, as well.

The Women in Business Career Summit will offer professional development tracks for high school and college students and will be held at the K-State Alumni Center.

“The K-State College of Business is thrilled to launch the Women in Business initiative with a Career Summit this fall,” said Marcia Hornung, Menard Family Director of the Center for Principled Business. “There are so many opportunities for growth in organizations when women hold leadership positions. Our goal is to foster a network of innovation and collaboration to support and advance women in the workplace by providing academic and professional development opportunities for high school and college students. This summit will engage our powerful alumni, faculty and community members to better educate and equip our students in their personal and professional goals. The Women in Business initiative aims to host networking events, workshops and mentorship to students, as well as offer scholarship support for both incoming and current K-State students.”

Female alumni and business leaders have been instrumental in establishing this summit.

“I am grateful and feel truly blessed for my K-State family, my top-notch education and the many people who helped me achieve more than I ever dreamed of,” said Caret. “That’s why I am honored to give back to the K-State community that gave me so much and support the Women in Business initiative. I want to help young women rise into leadership roles so that together, we can build a more equitable and inclusive workplace for everyone.”

Carolyn Thompson has similar goals in supporting the initiative. “The pay gap between men and women is something I have always been passionate about eliminating. I am hoping the Women in Business initiative will help eliminate pay disparity as more women graduate with business degrees and enter the workforce prepared to compete and win,” Thompson said. “Also, women often are tapped with multiple priorities that require them to compartmentalize. I hope the initiative better prepares K-State graduates for a successful career launch where work-life balance is more easily achieved, and people find joy in their work that enables them to afford the lifestyles they want.”

Candace Duncan demonstrated her passion for advancing women in business by establishing a scholarship to support female K-State business students. “As a K-State graduate and female business leader, I am hopeful that this financial support will help young women going into business,” Duncan said. “The award is given in honor of my sister, Cheryl Hart, also a K-State graduate and business leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in business with an emphasis in marketing. It is critical that we find ways to support women in the workplace and foster their future success in the business world. Kansas State produces the best and the brightest entrepreneurs and corporate executives through their curriculum, internships and hands-on experiences. I am excited to see this scholarship support the next generation of business leaders.”

For more information on the Women in Business summit, visit or contact Marcia Hornung via email or 785-532-2650.

As Kansas State University’s strategic partner for philanthropy, the KSU Foundation inspires and guides philanthropy toward university priorities to boldly advance K-State family. Visit for more information.

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