A brand new chapter is underway in Kansas Metropolis’s ever-evolving panorama and ladies are at its forefront. On the future Kansas Metropolis Present stadium, which will likely be house to the area’s Nationwide Girls’s Soccer League staff, the primary of 11,500 seats are able to be put in, and town pulses with life, pushed by the ladies leaders who infuse it with creativity, dedication, and unwavering spirit.
The upcoming sporting venue in downtown Kansas Metropolis is greater than a spot to look at soccer—it’s a testomony to girls’s empowerment and perseverance. And each nook of town bears the mark of ingenious girls who’ve reworked their passions into must-see locations. Listed here are the tales of eight outstanding Kansas Metropolis girls and insights into the distinctive areas they’ve created, from dynamic cafes to cultural landmarks.
1. The faculty athlete constructing the world’s greatest girls’s soccer staff
A formidable innovator and champion of gender equality, Kansas Metropolis native Angie Lengthy performed a pivotal position in securing the Kansas Metropolis Present as one of many staff’s cofounders and co-owners. She continues to advocate for ladies’s participation in sports activities and lots of different domains—the brand new stadium is reportedly the primary to be purpose-built for a girls’s skilled sports activities staff.
Lengthy herself has excelled in numerous sports activities like soccer and rugby. She achieved All-American standing at Princeton College and captained two Nationwide Championship Groups. After finishing her economics diploma, the go-getter has been equally pioneering in credit-related asset administration, attaining JPMorgan Chase’s Managing Director put up by 29, then assuming the Chief Funding Officer position at Palmer Sq. Capital Administration, overseeing funding methods.
2. The primary-generation immigrant who launched Kansas Metropolis’s first (and solely) Vietnamese espresso store
Café Cà Phê, a café specializing in Vietnamese espresso drinks, appeared first on a pop-up foundation, then as a cellular espresso trailer, and most lately as an excellent brick-and-mortar store that blends nonstop enthusiasm with classic and trendy type within the Columbus Park neighborhood. Hailing from San Diego, the espresso store’s proprietor Jackie Nguyen is a first-generation daughter of a Vietnamese refugee.
After graduating with a BFA in Musical Theatre from California State College, Fullerton, she moved to New York Metropolis for an appearing profession that included stints on Broadway. Nonetheless, a profound connection to espresso, cultivated over eight years as a barista and a transformative journey to Vietnam, led Nguyen to shift careers and open Café Cà Phê following her transfer to Kansas Metropolis.
3. The Latinx entrepreneur bringing a café with coronary heart to town
Café Corazón is a Latinx coffeehouse, specializing in yerba mate and Latinx espresso drinks like horchata and dulce de leche lattes, with places within the Crossroads Arts District and Westport. Nevertheless it’s greater than a mere espresso store. Embracing sustainability and inclusiveness, co-owner Miel Castagna-Herrera has curated an area the place people from various backgrounds come collectively to savor artisanal brews and partake in discussions that foster connection.
The café additionally radiates the vibrancy of all of the house owners’ Latinx heritage. Castagna-Herrera’s father, Alberto José Castagna, an achieved artist and devoted yerba mate fanatic, immigrated from Buenos Aires to the U.S. at 16. And inspiration stems from co-owner Curtis Herrera’s grandparents, Felipa and Aniseto Herrera, who got here to the U.S. from Mexico within the Thirties to work on the railroads and the farms of Western Kansas.
4. The skilled chef who based a culinary social enterprise
In 2019, Kansas Metropolis native Shanita McAfee-Bryant established The Prospect KC, a nonprofit that tackles systemic inequalities from meals apartheid, together with meals insecurity, unemployment, and housing instability. It addresses these points by providing complete workforce growth encompassing case administration, abilities, finance, diet schooling, childcare, and job coaching to uplift Eastside group members.
Plus, The Prospect KC repurposed a former public works constructing within the 18th & Vine Jazz District, remodeling it into The Spot, a vibrant hub that features a 12,000-square-foot culinary area, café, and grocery retailer. There, college students can take part in a 16-week culinary coaching program to be taught abilities in meals preparation, meals security, and enterprise entrepreneurship.
McAfee-Bryant’s personal gastronomic profession started in her teenagers with skilled coaching at Johnson County Group Faculty and culminated in restaurant possession, awards, and successful The Meals Community’s Cutthroat Kitchen. In the present day, the chef-turned-founder serves on boards like Harvesters, the Better KC Meals Coverage Coalition, and Lazarus Ministries KC.
5. The hospitality knowledgeable behind a few of Kansas Metropolis’s greatest bars
Devoted to crafting beautiful cocktails, Swordfish Tom’s is an intimate bar within the Crossroads Arts District that transports patrons to the class of the Prohibition period. Its restricted capability and cash-only coverage create an surroundings harking back to the golden age of the speakeasy—right down to its location in an underground former boiler room. The bar, together with Chartreuse Saloon, is the brainchild of Jill Cockson, certainly one of Kansas Metropolis’s most celebrated bartenders. She’s additionally a TEDx speaker and a companion at Drastic Measures, a bar in Shawnee that lately earned a James Beard Award nomination for Excellent Bar.
With greater than 20 years of bartending expertise, Cockson’s experience comes by way of within the distinctive cocktail menu that includes spirits that she hand-picks primarily based on high quality, in addition to the model’s enterprise practices, together with her laser-focus on hospitality. In case you present a spirit or ingredient desire, she’ll warmly create an off-menu libation only for you.
6. The musician who’s making certain that the jazz scene continues to flourish
As a extremely sought-after vocalist, distinguished bandleader, and host of the radio present twelfth Avenue Bounce, Eboni Fondren carries the mantle of Kansas Metropolis jazz and town’s storied musical heritage. Born in Chicago, Fondren emerged as a gifted singer and actor, inheriting her abilities from a household of achieved artists and discovering inspiration in traditional R&B, old-school soul, and up to date jazz. After incomes a twin diploma in Enterprise Communications and Broadcast Administration, the chanteuse relocated to Kansas Metropolis, establishing herself as a power within the native jazz scene. Her musical ventures embody Eboni and the Ivories, in addition to collaborations with esteemed musicians and the Misplaced Wax Band. Fondren’s performances fuse jazz requirements with a sprinkle of R&B, charming audiences along with her magnetic stage presence.
7. The native reinventing the Kansas Metropolis Museum
Shifting towards interactive reveals and group involvement, the Kansas Metropolis Museum has reworked into an attractive storyteller that mirrors the various material of Kansas Metropolis’s historical past and up to date panorama. The museum’s govt director Anna Marie Tutera, a second-generation Italian and Croatian from Kansas Metropolis, is guiding the revitalization of this establishment that preserves and celebrates town’s historical past, tradition, and spirit by way of collections, exhibitions, and applications.
Her educational background features a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Northwestern College and a Grasp of Arts in Museum Research from John F. Kennedy College, specializing in integrating hip-hop into youth schooling by way of museums. With greater than 25 years of expertise working in nonprofits and at museums just like the Chicago Youngsters’s Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Fashionable Artwork, Tutera and her household lastly returned to her hometown in 2012 to advocate for town’s arts and tradition.
8. The craftsperson making handmade items extra accessible
In 2011, a gaggle of Etsy sellers native to Kansas Metropolis determined to prepare their very own craft truthful after seeing comparable occasions bypass their hometown for bigger cities. The consequence was The Strawberry Swing, one of many world’s high indie craft festivals. As a staple of Kansas Metropolis’s artisanal scene, these gatherings vibrantly have a good time boundless creativity that fosters entrepreneurship and group in an ecosystem of markets and month-to-month pop-ups at iconic native venues.
Katie Mabry van Dieren, the driving power behind Strawberry Swing, additionally helps native artisans with Store Native KC. Three retail places (Crown Middle, Brookside, and Leawood, Kansas) and a web-based market showcase greater than 300 native artisans, and each product proudly hails from Kansas Metropolis and fosters entrepreneurship and group involvement.