Board of Directors

 

JLT President Brie Engelken-Parks

President
Brie Engelken-Parks
President@jltopeka.org

Brie Engelken-Parks is the President of the Junior League of Topeka. Joining in 2017, she previously served as the Vice President of Funding Development where she led the inaugural Little Black Dress Initiative raising awareness and funds to improve child welfare in Topeka. 

When Brie is not volunteering her time with the Junior League she serves as the Director of Marketing for AE Wealth Management, one of America’s rapidly growing Registered Investment Advisory firms. In her role, Brie creates strategies and plans that help recruit and retain financial advisors for AE Wealth Management while also building tools to help financial advisors across the country grow their business and better serve their clients. 

Outside of work, Brie is actively engaged in the Topeka community and has previously held board positions with the Race Against Breast Cancer and the American Advertising Federation of Topeka. She has spent time volunteering with the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center, Let’s Help, Project Topeka and Harvesters. Brie has been honored as one of Greater Topeka’s Top 20 Under 40, the YWCA 2020 Woman of Excellence for the Large Business Category, has received the Carolyn Terhune Volunteer of the Year award and Junior League of Topeka’s Active Member of the Year award. She’s a proud alumni of Kansas State University and more recently, Leadership Greater Topeka’s greatest class ever – the Class of 2012. Brie lives in Topeka with her husband, Matthew, and their two daughters, Audra & Ryann. When she’s not working, she enjoys reading, keeping up with the latest binge-worthy shows, going to the movies and spending time with her family.

 

JLT President-Elect Amber Carlson

President-Elect
Amber Carlson
President.Elect@jltopeka.org

Amber Carlson is the President-Elect of the Junior League of Topeka. She joined the Junior League of Topeka in 2015, upon returning to our community after an eighteen-year hiatus. She was the 2015-2016 New Member MVP and helped develop and formulate the plans for our magazine, Capital Impact, of which she served as the first editor for the inaugural edition. She briefly served on our board as VP of Communications in 2017. She then helped behind the scenes as a member-at-large and served on the Leadership Council as our Obligations and Recognitions Chair. Most recently, Amber was our 2020-2021 VP of Funding Development where she led the council to successfully diversify our fundraising efforts during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. She was the 2020-2021 Active Member MVP. After attending the University of Kansas, Amber made her way into the advertising world as an Account Executive and then as the owner of a small advertising, public relations, and marketing agency in Kansas City. She then gained experience in publishing as Advertising Director, Acting Publisher, and Associate Publisher of an alternative newsweekly in Augusta, GA. Amber and her husband have been married for twenty-four years, have six children, (Madalyn, Ann, Evelyn, Amelia, Brantley & Jack), one son-in-law (Cody), and one grandson (Charlie). They started the “Dr. Kristopher and Amber Carlson Family” donor advised fund at the Topeka Community Foundation in 2015 to pay it forward into the community that they raise their family in, and to encourage others to join in philanthropic giving. Amber is the VP of Operations for Mid America Health, PA.

 

JLT Treasurer Rockell Otero

Treasurer
Rockell Otero
Treasurer@jltopeka.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JLT Volunteer Logo

Executive Secretary
Laura Harrison
Secretary@jltopeka.org

Laura Harrison is starting her third year of membership with the Junior League of Topeka.  She is a mom of four very active and amazing children: Jackson, Grace, Brooklyn and Gabriel.  She has taught at Auburn Elementary for the last six years and enjoys the time working with students and their families. She loves reading, kayaking and spending time with her family.

 

JLT Vice President Communications Katie Blaufuss

Vice President, Communications
Katie Blaufuss
Communications@jltopeka.org

First and foremost, Katie is the wife of Chris Blaufuss, mom to Haydn and Ryker, and bonus mom to Lanah Ellis. Born and raised in Topeka, she moved to Manhattan, KS for just a short stint at Kansas State University for college and later graduated with a Bachelors of Business Administration & Marketing from Baker University in 2013. Katie has worked in the corporate world of banking for the past 11 years with experience in many areas. Most recently she has worked in the financing world with Wells Fargo since 2016. Katie has a huge passion for people, specifically the community of Topeka. Junior League of Topeka has helped her stay connected in the community even when her job has taken her all over the country for work. Thanks to COVID, work travel has been on the back burner which has allowed more space to fly in the volunteer world. Katie enjoys helping with the Topeka Rescue Mission, her kids school, and their activities as much as possible. Fun fact Katie’s boys have recently started racing Motocross which has been a blast and she loves seeing them live out their own passions.

 

JLT Vice President Community Impact Ashley Landis

Vice President, Community Impact 
Ashley Landis
CommunityImpact@jltopeka.org

Ashley joined the Junior League in 2019. She previously served on the Membership Development Council as the Provisional Coordinator Assistant, working toward the goal of accepting new members at all times of the year, and as a member of the Capitol Impact Leadership Summit and Placement committees.
 
The path to Junior League was paved by the joy for non-profit organizations and working with the community that she experiences through her job at the University of Kansas Endowment Association. At KU Endowment Ashley manages the university-wide crowdfunding program, LaunchKU, while serving on various internal committees. This allows her to make connections with people on all five campuses and strategize how she can help them accomplish their goals. Making those connections and planning those strategies are her happy place and the skills that she is excited to utilize to benefit the Junior League in this leadership role.
 
Outside of Junior League and work, Ashley is a Perry Lecompton Elementary School Site Council member, a PLES PTO volunteer, a t-ball/softball coach and a 4H parent. She lives in the country with her husband, Daniel, and children Sadie Jo and Gehrig. Her hobbies include spending time outdoors, attending KU and Royals sporting events, and any excuse to celebrate the little moments that life offers with family and friends.

 

Junior League Volunteer Logo

Vice President, Funding Development 
Jodi Litfin
FundingDevelopment@jltopeka.org

Jodi joined the Junior League of Topeka in 2018, and has served on the Funding Development Council since that time. She has served on the placement committee, as a Little Black Dress Advocate, and as Derby Co-Chair.

Jodi attended the University of Kansas and graduated with bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish. While there, Jodi was an active member and was elected president of her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi. After graduation, Jodi returned to Topeka to attend Washburn University School of Law. During law school Jodi served the president of Phi Alpha Delta, Law Fraternity. She received her juris doctorate in 2010. Jodi is an Assistant Solicitor General at the Office of the Attorney General, where she represents the State of Kansas in criminal appeals before the Kansas Appellate Courts and assists with other post-conviction matters. Previously, Jodi worked as a Deputy District Attorney at the Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office.

Jodi is an active member of the Topeka bar. She was recently elected the President Elect for the Sam A. Crow Inn of Court, serves as Secretary of the Women Attorneys Association of Topeka, is a member of the Topeka Bar Association, and is a member of the Kansas County and District Attorneys Association. Jodi has also been a part of several Topeka “Bar Shows” and enjoys being an amateur singer, dancer, and actor every few years. Additionally, Jodi remains dedicated to her sorority. Throughout her time as an alumna, she has served in various roles in order to continue to support Alpha Delta Pi. She served as a Board Member for the Tau Building Association for six years where she helped facilitate a successful capital campaign and exterior renovation of the chapter house. For the last five years, Jodi has served as an advisor to collegiate women at the Alpha Eta chapter (Kansas State). Jodi has remained active in the Alpha Delta Pi Topeka Alumnae Association, serving as the President for several years and currently serving as Panhellenic Delegate. Jodi is also a Board Member on the Topeka Panhellenic Alumnae Council, a group of alumnae delegates in the community that award numerous scholarships to young women in Shawnee County every year and positively promote Greek life.

In her spare time, Jodi loves to spend time with her boyfriend, family, friends, and 18-year-old cat named Bruiser, travel, practice yoga, and garden.

 

JLT Vice President Leadership Laura Vaughn

Vice President, Leadership
Laura Vaughn
Leadership@jltopeka.org

Laura joined the Junior League of Topeka in 2016 and was named the 2016-2017 New Member MVP. Since then she has spent her time learning the ropes  of the Leadership Council, serving as the Training Chair and the Sustainer Relations Chair. She is currently heading up the JLT Bookclub, and thoroughly enjoys both the books and the friendships she has made with both Active and Sustaining members. She is excited for her placement as the VP of Leadership Council. Laura moved to Topeka in 2015, and is grateful to Junior League for the ability to network and feel at home rather quickly after living in several different areas of the country . After graduating from the University of Rochester in 2002, Laura lived in Boston for a year before applying to dental school.  In 2007, she graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Maryland Dental School and practiced general dentistry in Chicago. She then went on to earn her Pediatric Certificate at the Children’s Hospital of Colorado in 2013. Laura owns Vaughn Pediatric Dentistry, and she and her husband Matt live in Southwest Topeka with their children, Nolan and Callie. She serves on the Topeka Symphony Board, and was named one of Topeka’s Top 20 Under 40 in 2018.  In her favorite moments, she can be found hanging around a pool reading a book. 

 

JLT Vice President Membership Development Renae Carsten

Vice President, Membership Development 
Renae Carsten
Membership@jltopeka.org

Renae is originally from Hutchinson, KS and has moved around several cities in Kansas before settling in Topeka 12 years ago. She is a Nurse Practitioner at Stormont Vail and received her Master’s Degree from Washburn University. Renae has been in healthcare for over 16 years. After Renae’s husband and her officially decided to stay in Topeka and raise their three young kids here, she has become more involved and taken a greater interest in our community.

Renae joined the Junior League of Topeka in 2017, where she has served on multiple councils and held various positions, most recently as the Provisional Member Coordinator. In 2020 Renae developed the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Taskforce, also serving at it’s first Chair. Additionally, she was named Active Member MVP.

Outside of Junior League, Renae serves as a Troop leader for her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop. She is also currently a member of Topeka United’s Mosaic Partner Pairs. She is passionate about adventure and time spent outdoors such as hiking, gardening, sports, and travelling. Renae also enjoys reading, photography, and relaxing with her husband to watch whatever our current favorite TV show is.

 

JLT Vice President Nominating Sheila Krohe

Vice President, Nominating 
Sheila Krohe
Nominating@jltopeka.org

Joining League in 2017, Sheila has served on the Communications Council, prior to being elected to serve as the VP of Nominating. While on Communications, she also served on the Transformation Committee and as Boutique Coordinator. Sheila is an avid volunteer in the community. A lifelong Topekan, she and her husband have two children that are proud 4th generation Topeka High Trojans. In addition to volunteering for many years in the school system with various PTOs and her involvement in Junior League, Sheila also serves on the board for NOTO and is chairing a gala and concert event for the Topeka High 150th celebration. With a degree in Anthropology and minor in Criminal Justice, she has held positions investigating financial crimes and served as a Special Agent for the Kansas Attorney General’s office until 2012. Currently she is a Substitute Teacher for Topeka Public Schools. In her spare time, she loves watching her son perform with the Topeka High Drumline and her daughter dance in Company with Ballet Midwest. If there is any time left at the end of the day, she also enjoys crafting and spending time with friends and neighbors.

 

JLT Director of Sustainer Relations Haley DaVee

Director of Sustainer Relations
Haley DaVee
DSR@jltopeka.org

Haley DaVee is the Sustaining Representative of the Junior League of Topeka. She joined Junior League in 2008.  During her time as an active member, Haley served as the Assistant New Member Chair, the New Member Chair, VP of Membership Development and a member of the Leadership Development Council.  She because a sustaining member in 2015.  

Outside of Junior League, Haley is the Executive Vice President of the Heartland Credit Union Association, a regional trade association serving close 200 credit unions in Kansas and Missouri. She was a member of the 2013 class of Leadership Kansas.  Haley currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Library Foundation of the Topeka Shawnee County Public Library as well as the Board of Directors of the Kansas Cooperative Council.  

Haley and her husband, Jason, have two daughters, Hadley and Eleanor.  In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and traveling (or dreaming of travel). 

 

JLT Sustaining Advisor to the President Marsha SheahanSustaining Advisor to the President
Marsha Sheahan

Marsha is a native Topekan, Kansas State grad, married to Bill and has three adult children. She retired in 2015 after 36 years from the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce as their vice president of marketing and leadership. Marsha directed the Leadership Greater Topeka program from 1984-2015.

Marsha was a league member from 1973-1989, serving as new member chair, newsletter editor, headquarters search chair, community vice president and president. As a sustainer, she has been an advisor to multiple presidents. Marsha has also served on the boards of the Topeka Community Foundation, Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library Foundation, Topeka High School Historical Foundation and provided consultation on strategic planning, nominating and by-laws to myriad organizations in the Topeka area.

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