Before founding her business in 1998, Anita Parran joined Central Exchange while Director of Communications at AARP. “I joined Central Exchange because I wanted to meet professional women, a group of exceptional women,” Anita says. “I have made all kinds of connections. I have a network that is unbelievable.” Today, Anita is Principal for KK Charles Communications, LLC. In addition to owning her business, she serves in multiple volunteer leadership positions, including Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the Association of Women in Communications (AWC) and President of the AWC Advancement Fund.
Her path to CX:
Anita became a Central Exchange member through her previous work at AARP. When the organization discontinued paying for her membership, Anita was quick to continue her involvement on her own and under the KK Charles Communications identification. After participating on numerous committees and in a plethora of events, Anita was surprised and elated to be asked to become a member of the Central Exchange Board of Directors. “I was on the board for seven years,” she recalls. “Which meant I lived at the Central Exchange downtown! I’ve loved being involved ever since.”
Central Exchange’s impact on her career:
The personal and professional connections Anita has made are the highlight of her membership. “I joined because I wanted to meet other professional women of substance,” Anita shares. She still gets together with Ellen D’Amato, previous president of Central Exchange, and many other women she served with.
Unforgettable membership experience:
When a friend asked Anita to help welcome author Stedman Graham to Kansas City, she quickly turned to her fellow CX members for help. In just two weeks, the team organized a program at Central Exchange featuring the author that ended up being standing room only. “Another time, Madeline Albright was here as a guest,” Anita notes. “Jane Fonda was here too. I’ve enjoyed every moment interacting with guests of the Central Exchange — many opportunities are available to enhance your intellect and that also entertain.”
Anita was a charter committee member for the first Central Exchange Leadership Lyceum daylong personal and professional development event with the event’s founder, Beth Zollars. Participating in the project management and programming that went into creating the highly anticipated event was a valuable learning opportunity for Anita. “That was a wonderful innovative experience,” she says. “The committee worked so well together. It turned out to be an exemplary example of substantive personal and professional development that endures today.”
Experience as an entrepreneur:
The relationships Anita forged at Central Exchange were far more important to her than signing on any potential clients. “If there was something I needed or wanted for someone, I knew who to call,” she explains. “Those connections were very valuable.” Through CX, Anita met Kay Barnes, former Mayor of Kansas City, and was appointed to the Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities. Experiences like this have undoubtedly propelled Anita forward as a community leader.
Friendship across generations:
Anita experienced CX’s ability to empower and connect women across generations as she developed a friendship with Sherrill Mulhern, President of the National Women’s Political Caucus Foundation. The two co-chaired a Central Exchange diversity committee and soon learned to appreciate each other’s unique perspective. “Sherrill had lived in Paris for a number of years,” Anita remembers. “She brought a European perspective to things and I learned so much from her. She is a dynamic woman.” Anita appreciates that the Central Exchange creates an environment and opportunities where women of all generations, professions and backgrounds can come together and make life-changing connections.
“Central Exchange has provided extraordinary experiences for me,” Anita says. “I’ve had fabulous relationships with everyone I’ve met; the organization has been a wonderful fit for me.” Today, Anita is a CX ambassador, often encouraging colleagues and clients to become a member and get to know the many exceptional women who call Kansas City their home.
Thank you to Anita for being a dedicated member and investing her time and talent into making Central Exchange a warm, inviting place for all women. Find support from women like Anita at Central Exchange. Empower your career — and your life! You’re invited to join us. Register for one of our many upcoming programs.
Since 1980, women like Anita have come to Central Exchange to empower their career — and their life. Meet more of our unparalleled members.