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Board of Trustees

2016 -2017 Executive Committee


Jim Wempe

Board President
Board President 
Capitol Federal Financial, Inc.

Born and raised in Topeka, KS, Jim is a graduate of Hayden High School and Washburn University and is retired from Capitol Federal.

Mike Kiley

Board Vice President
Board Vice President 
Security Benefit Corporation

Mike Kiley is Chief Executive Officer of Security Benefit Corporation. He also serves as Vice Chairman of Guggenheim Investments. Mike originally joined Guggenheim in a consulting capacity to advise management on the acquisition of Security Benefit. While Kiley has served as CEO of the company, Security Benefit has added more than 300,000 new policyholders, more than $23 billion in assets, and created more than 750 new jobs. Kiley also led Security Benefit to be recognized with the prestigious Ad Astra award, the highest accolade from the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

Prior to joining Guggenheim Partners, he served as President and CEO of Van Kampen Investments, a division of Morgan Stanley. During his tenure at Morgan Stanley, he also served as President and CEO of Morgan Stanley Funds Distributors, head of the U.S. Intermediary Group and as a principal in the institutional asset management group. Prior to that, Kiley was President of the Travelers Portfolio Group, a division of Citigroup. He also held executive positions at AXA and Guardian Life. Kiley brings three decades of management experience in the insurance, mutual funds and retirement savings industries and has a strong record of building and managing highly successful businesses in both the insurance and asset management sectors.

Kiley serves on the Board of Directors of Security Benefit Corporation. He also serves as Chairman on the Board of Directors of se2, a subsidiary of Security Benefit Corporation, and he is a member of the American Council of Life Insurers Steering Committee on Retirement and Financial Security.
His civic involvement is also extensive, having served on the Go Topeka Board of Directors for the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce and as past Chairman of the Leadership Giving program for the United Way of Greater Topeka. Kiley also serves on the Board of Directors of HeartShare Human Services of New York. HeartShare assists individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities and provides vital services to children and families.

Kiley holds a B.A. from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Edie Smith

Board Secretary
Board Secretary 
Easter Seals Capper Foundation

Smith transplanted to Topeka after graduating Pittsburg State University with degrees in Printing Management and Business Administration, and has called Topeka home ever since. Some have tagged her as a “bridge builder” for the community. Serving as Director of Marketing and Membership for Downtown Topeka, Inc., Smith engaged the downtown community and the entire city of Topeka, designing and organizing over thirty community events, nurturing a volunteer support base, facilitating the downtown redevelopment project for Kansas Avenue and creating cooperating partnerships with local governmental offices. Recent efforts have also resulted in a newly created Downtown Neighborhood Improvement District for downtown residents and businesses, where she serves as Vice-President. Recently Smith returned to her former consulting business of twenty years, providing marketing, project development and project management services to a variety of industries. Smith’s community involvement extends into serving on the Heartland Visioning Steering Committee, Top of the Tower Club Board of Directors, serving in her church and volunteering at various local events. She and her husband, Stephen, also own and operate Stephen Smith Images and enjoy living in a downtown loft above their businesses. Two children and four grandchildren round out their family. Smith serves the TPAC Board of Trustees as an appointee of Mayor Wolgast and is delighted to share her passion for the arts and skills of marketing and business to further the mission of TPAC.

Andy Devin

Board - Treasurer
Board - Treasurer 
Westar Energy

Andy Devin is the Executive Director, Tax & Compliance with Westar Energy. Andy is a graduate of the University of Kansas where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

Widge Yager

Board At-Large
Board At-Large 
Community Volunteer

Widge Yager provides a background in teaching, coaching , dance, theatre and trained volunteerism. Widge obtained a B.A. degree in Education from Washburn University with minors in coaching and dance. Widge received volunteer training through the Topeka Jr. League. She was a member for 13 years chairing numerous committees, serving on the board and Co-Chairing the Next-To-New Sale.

2016-2017 Trustees


Lisa Brown

Goodell, Stratton, Edmonds & Palmer

A native of Andover, Kansas, Lisa Brown graduated Magna Cum Laude from Wichita State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Languages and Literature and moved to Topeka to attend Washburn University School of Law where she received her Juris Doctor Degree in 2012. Ms. Brown has been in private practice in Topeka since her graduation from law school, most recently joining Goodell, Stratton, Edmonds & Palmer, LLP in 2015. Ms. Brown also recently served as an adjunct professor at Washburn University School of Law, teaching Pre-trial Advocacy Civil. Her professional memberships include the Sam A. Crow American Inn of Court, the Topeka and Kansas Bar Associations, the Kansas Association of Defense Counsel, the Defense Research Institute, the Women Attorneys Association of Topeka, and the Kansas Women Attorneys Association. She received the Horizon Award from the Kansas Association of Defense Counsel in 2016 and was a member of the Leadership Greater Topeka class of 2017. In addition to serving TPAC, Ms. Brown’s civic involvement includes the Civitan Club of Topeka, the Board of Directors of Let’s Help, Inc., and the Community Leadership and Development Council for the Kansas Children’s Service League.

Shekhar Challa, M.D.

Kansas Medical Clinic

Dr. Shekhar Challa was born in Hyderabad, India and currently lives in Topeka, Kansas. For the last 30 years, he has worked as a board-certified Gastroenterologist and the President & CEO of Kansas Medical Clinic; a multi-specialty clinic focused on Gastroenterology, Dermatology, Plastic Surgery, and Medical Spas. He received his board certification in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology from Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. He is an award-winning author of Probiotics for Dummies, Winning the Hepatitis C Battle and Spurn the Burn- Everything You Need to Know to Beat Acid Reflux Disease. He has served as a member on several boards including: AMSURG, West Central Osteoporosis Board, U.S. Bank, and Proctor & Gamble.

Spencer Duncan

Capitol Connection

Spencer is President of Capitol Connection, an association management, lobbying and investigative company located in Downtown Topeka. A lifelong Topeka, Spencer is committed to the arts and business development of Topeka and the surrounding area.

Among his civic activities, he serves as President of Topeka West Rotary, is a graduate and past program Chair of Leadership Kansas, serves on the Kansas Expocentre Advisory Board and is a member of St. David’s Episcopal Church.

Spencer is author of “Historic Shawnee County: A History of Topeka & Shawnee County”, holds Journalism and English degrees from the University of Kansas and a Master’s in Business Administration from Baker University. He is a Former writer, designer and editor at the Topeka Capital-Journal, Austin American-Statesman, Rocky Mount Telegram and Emporia Gazette. He has been honored for his writing by the Kansas Press Association and the North Carolina Press Association.

Spencer lives with his wife Barbara, a 3-year-old and four cats. He is also allergic to eggs.

Barbara Ebert

Barbara's Conservatory of Dance

Barbara Ebert founded Barbara’s Conservatory of Dance in 1973. This well-established
dance studio now has approximately 500 students, coming from 18 towns and cities
in Kansas. She has also been employed to teach beginning and intermediate ballet
classes at Washburn University of Topeka and for both Cair Paravel Latin School and
the Topeka Latin School.

Barbara became Artistic Director of Ballet Midwest, Inc. at its inception in 1977.
During the company’s first forty years, she choreographed and staged
“Nutcracker Ballet”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Giselle”, “Midsummer
Night’s Dream”, “Coppélia”, “Swan Lake”, “Graduation Ball”, “Cinderella”, “La Fille
Mal Gardee”, “Firebird”, “Les Sylphides”, “Pas de Quatre”, “Symphony in C”, “Billy the
Kid”, “Les Patineurs”, and “Cake Walk”, as well as fifty-six repertory pieces. Since
retiring as Artistic Director in June of 2017, she has served as Artistic Director
Emeritus for Ballet Midwest, Inc.

Barbara currently volunteers daily at Presbyterian Manor and continues to teach
at Barbara’s Conservatory of Dance two days a week. In 2016, she was
recognized by Go Topeka in their Annual Woman of Influence Award as the
Outstanding Entrepreneur. At her retirement, the City of Topeka recognized her as
an outstanding role model. In recognition of her outreach, devotion, and enrichment
of the City of Topeka, they announced June 24th, 2017 as Barbara Ebert Day.

Marshall Meek

Washburn Alumni Association and Foundation

Marshall Meek has served as interim president of the Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation since May 2017 and served as executive director of major and planned giving for the Foundation from January 2015 to April 2017. He previously served as executive director of the St. Francis Health Foundation and was the senior development officer at the First Hand Foundation at Cerner Corporation in Kansas City, Missouri. He received his master's in business administration from Washburn University and his bachelor's degree in mass communications from Kansas State University. He was named president of the Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation in July 2017.

Marshall and his wife, Amy have three children and have resided in Topeka, Kansas since 2011.

John Mugler

YMCA of Topeka

John Mugler is a native Kansan, born and raised in Manhattan and a graduate of Washburn University where he studied Political Science and Public Relations. During college John was active in athletics and student government as captain of the basketball team, President of the Student Body, and Vice President of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. Outside the University he was involved in several statewide campaigns including Governor Hayden’s bid for re-election in 1998 and House Speaker Jim Braden’s efforts for State Insurance Commissioner.

Upon graduation, John went to Washington to accept a position with Senator Robert Dole’s office. In 1994, he began work with US Senator Steve Symms of Idaho and upon the Senator’s retirement assisted in the development of the consulting firm, Symms, Lehn & Associates, Inc. The firm was involved in issues ranging from foreign trade to pharmaceutical patenting. John is a graduate of the Foundation of Economic Education’s school in New Haven, New York; Congressional Quarterly’s advanced course in congressional budgeting; and the Library of Congress Congressional Research Service classes on campaign finance and grassroots lobbying. Nation-wide campaign activities included Bush for President, Dole for President, Kansan's for Graves and Brownback for Senate.

In December of 1998, John moved back to Kansas where he was named Vice President of Governmental Relations for American InVestors and later AmerUs Annuity Group. After 16 years, including four mergers, the company, now Athene, moved to Iowa in 2014.

Today, John serves as President and CEO of the YMCA of Topeka. In two short years the Association has been restructured with a new vision that will promote a cause driven YMCA. With a renewed focus on putting Christian principles into practice through the development of youth, families and seniors, John is excited to be service those in need in Topeka. John and his wife Christie have four daughters; Elizabeth, Samantha, Sydney and Kathryn Grace and are members of the Fellowship Bible Church.


Hannah Naeger, D.D.S.

Shunga Family Dental Care

Hannah Naeger was born and raised in Topeka and enjoyed the arts and cheerleading as a high school student at Topeka High, where she returned to act as cheerleading coach. She is also a member of the First United Methodist Church.

Her art and dance interests came from her parents who have devoted their lives to supporting the arts and children in the Topeka community.

Naeger joined Heinbach-Larkin DDS in Topeka as the primary dentist serving patients in their Shunga Family Dental Care office. She graduated with a Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry in May. She received her bachelor's degree from Rhodes College, B.S. in Chemistry, Cum Laude.

Michele Fleuranges Parker

Black Deer Ventures

Michele has been involved in the financial services industry for over 25 years. She completed her undergraduate studies at Wheaton College, Mass. earning a BA in Economics. She founded an executive search firm, which specialized in financial services and diversity searches across various industries. Michele is also a licensed life insurance producer.

Alexander Smirnov

Kansas Ballet

Alexander Smirnov is the artistic director of the Kansas Ballet. Alexander has dedicated his life to the pursuit of excellence in the field of ballet and considers it a privilege to be able to share his experience, knowledge and passion with the next generation of artists and athletes.

In addition to his international career as a performing artist, Alexander is also a highly sought after master class teacher. He has been a guest instructor at several summer intensives around the country and enjoys passing his extensive knowledge on to students as well as professional dancers.

Kansas Ballet strives to enrich our community through the art of Classical Ballet. Since its founding in 2013, the non-profit Company has provided more than 75 free ballet performances and events in our community.


Shari Soper

Hill's Pet Nutrition

Shari Soper has worked in Human Resources for Hill’s Pet Nutrition, a global division of Colgate-Palmolive, for ten years. In her current role as Talent Acquisition Manager, she manages global recruitment projects for both Colgate and Hill’s, and leads the Hill’s US talent acquisition team to deliver results for the business. Shari helped to establish the Hill’s Women Empowered Network and served as the Committee Chair for three years. She also teaches multiple classroom courses at Hill’s, including Business Presentation Skills and Competency Based Interviewing.

Shari grew up in Topeka and returned in 2003 after living in Kansas City for some time. Shari graduated from Topeka West High School and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management and Leadership from Friends University. She and her husband have three daughters, two in high school and one in grade school. She has a strong personal interest in the arts, and her daughters are also actively involved in both school and community theater.

Interested in learning more?

Are you interested in learning more about helping TPAC fulfill it's mission through becoming a board member? Email the Board of Trustees at

TPAC Mission

"To foster the performing arts through excellence in programming by providing for the advancement, promotion, presentation, and development of the arts to meet the diverse cultural and educational needs of our community."
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