Where It All Began
In 1978, civic leaders Beth Smith and Marjorie Powell Allen sat down for lunch together. Allen, at the time President of the Powell Family Foundation, wanted Smith’s help in creating a space for women to interact with each other and support each other in improving their careers. The two studied the idea for two years before they opened The Central Exchange in a Crown Center office.
At the time, women were prohibited from joining both the Kansas City Club and the University Club — places where business was conducted by men. They envisioned a place where women could exchange ideas and opportunities.
The pair set out to gather an intentionally diverse group, in ethnicity and in age. When The Central Exchange opened its doors for the first time, it opened with 12 initial members: Terry Saterlee, Kay Barnes, Anita Butler, Joan Dillon, Adele Hall, Mamie Currie Hughes, Dorothy Johnson, Linda Moore, Linda Hood Talbott, and Judith Whitaker.
“Women needed services to help them get on track; then they needed opportunities. Other women, with funds to contribute, could offer this specialized support.”
~Marjorie Powell Allen
Central Exchange History
Linda Doolin Ward
Woman of the Year
The Enlightened Leader
Central Exchange Today
Our membership of more than 700 women and men from the Kansas City metro includes managers and executives, business owners, nonprofit and civic leaders, and community volunteers.
With more than 400 programs a year, CX offers a wide variety of professional development opportunities and networking events that provide resources and connections for members to advance their careers and build their businesses. Central Exchange leadership development programs create a pool of highly qualified leaders available for executive positions in the Kansas City area. This supports our strategic initiative win | win — a business case for Kansas City — to increase gender diversity at the top of area companies.