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May 9, 2019
By Tara Garcia, communication assistant
This story appears in the spring 2019 edition of the Northwest Alumni Magazine. To access more stories and view the magazine in its entirety online, click here.
Northwest Missouri State University alumna Sherry Turner is an influential resource when it comes to business development and entrepreneurship and serves the Kansas City metropolitan area as a leader for advancing women in business.
Turner is the founder of OneKC for Women, a place where women can connect and help one another grow and succeed. Through its different organizations, women can find resources, opportunities and connections to advance employment opportunities in the Kansas City area. The alliance helps women grow a business and find guidance. It supports women trying to overcome the barriers to success.
Turner’s effect on the Kansas City-area business is visible through the lives of hundreds of women she helps each year. In 2015, Turner won the Missouri Women’s Council Award of Distinction at the Governor’s Conference on Economic Development, which is presented to an individual or organization for having significant impact on women and their families.
“We created the alliance for OneKC Women to help brand all of the services and resources that are available,” Turner said. “Our models and everything that provides resources is done through education which leads to empowerment. We don’t enable any of our clients, it’s not a handout. It’s simply resources that are available to help them determine what their options are.”
Founded in 2009, the alliance brings together organizations to assist women on their journey for personal, professional and financial sufficiency. These organizations include the Women’s Employment Network, Women’s Business Center, Women’s Capital Connection and WE-Lend.
Turner says the alliance helps better achieve the goal of empowering women to achieve financial independence.
“When someone is teaching you how to pull your credit report, look at it and determine what is on it or what needs to be assisted,” she said. “There might be a collection on it that you are not aware of, and being educated about those things produces an amazing empowerment for the client. The more education that we have in the space of understanding our own financial destiny, the better off we will be. That empowerment has a ripple effect, meaning a lot of our clients come to us because they have been referred to a client that has already been through one of our programs. It’s got its own juice and its own way of really being exciting for other people to participate.”
Turner’s motivation is to better fill gaps for women in the business world and the workforce.
“There are gaps for pay equity, there are gaps for women in business funding, access to capital and access to grow their businesses,” she said. “Those are all the motivations for staying in this space because there are still things to be done and there are still problems that are not fixed.”
Women all over are starting their own businesses, and Turner sees some doors opening with new options. Society is changing and women need to know their options. But she says there’s still work to be done.
“I’ve worked in corporate, federal government, entrepreneurship with family businesses,” Turner said. “I've had a lot of past experiences and I’m here today because it’s not fixed. We can’t ask women to be successful in their businesses if they don’t have access to capital. We needed to fill those gaps that have those big deficits. It’s motivating but entrepreneurial. It’s business and financially focused for the client.”
Turner is a native of Kansas City and earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Northwest in 1981.
“I had the opportunity to go up to Northwest and visit for a weekend, and then I fell in love,” she said. “No matter who I met, it felt like there was heart and family to it. I definitely think it still has that feeling. The people I knew that went to Northwest were huge parallels for me, which was a big influencer.”
Turner found lifelong relationships and believes Northwest equipped her to find employment after graduating. Northwest also offered her a quality learning experience that was affordable.“Anyone that would have reviewed my résumé and saw Northwest Missouri State University would’ve found that to be incredibly favorable and that’s true today as well,” she said. “It was some of the best times looking back now. You can’t believe it was only four years when you’ve created these relationships that have carried on for over 30 years.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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