BOWE STEWART FOUNDATION MAKES HISTORIC GIFT TO INVEST IN WOMEN AS CIVIC LEADERS

The Peter Bowe and Barbara Stewart Foundation announced one of the largest gifts in the foundation's history to fund a multi-year initiative to diversify and expand the reach of The Policy Circle's Civic Leadership Engagement Roadmap program.

The Policy Circle Team

Stacy Blakeley

Stacy Blakeley

Executive Director

Stacy Blakeley brings 25 years of professional experience to her role as Executive Director of The Policy Circle. Her career commenced at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. as a staffer for the House Majority Leader Dick Armey. She transitioned from planning events for political leaders and diplomats to event marketing for corporations including Dean Foods, BMW, ATT and Exxon. In 2004, Stacy pursued her life-long dream to become an attorney and graduated from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. As a commercial litigator, Stacy’s practice focused on federal class action, construction and corporate disputes. In 2013, Stacy launched KSG, an event and consulting firm that served international ministries, national nonprofits and corporations. As President of KSG, Stacy and her team built and executed communications and event strategies to fundraise, launch products and build brand awareness. As a nonprofit consultant, Stacy has helped numerous nonprofits raise millions of dollars. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Wezmore, Marketing & Communications Task Force for Girls, Inc., C-Level Advisory Board for 4word, and the Legacy Council for Fair Park.  Stacy and her husband Jeff Blakeley have two teen daughters, 2 adult stepchildren and 5 grandchildren.

 
 
Kristy Kuna

Kristy Kuna

Director of Engagement & Expansion

Kristy serves as the Director of Engagement and Expansion, overseeing The Policy Circle’s growing and diverse Membership and engagement programs, and expansion initiatives. Kristy has devoted her career to making an impact through her work in the non-profit sector, bringing more than 20 years of experience focused in organizational building, along with creation and implementation of programs, membership and engagement strategies. Her previous work has been focused in healthcare advocacy, where she successfully built a national organization from the ground-up as a founding staff member and spent 17 years helping to build a thriving and successful non-profit patient organization. Throughout her impressive tenure, Kristy was able to be an active part in key facets to non-profit development with specialized skills in community building, volunteer engagement and management, program creation and member mobilization.

Kristy is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a degree in Organizational Communication. She is a proud Floridian where she lives in Tampa with her husband, Erik, a renowned rocket and space photographer, and her middle-school daughter whose immense love for animals has grown their family to include 2 dogs, a rabbit, three chickens and a horse. She enjoys being part of her daughter’s activities and school, where she currently serves on the PTA Board, in addition to taking long RV road trip adventures with her family.

 

 

 

Nicole Cline

Nicole Cline

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Nicole Cline has spent over a decade working in the public policy space. Currently, she is responsible for The Policy Circle’s national recruitment efforts and strategic growth initiatives. In leading The Policy Circle’s expansion, Nicole plays a leading role in engaging with investors, collaborators and aligned networks to recruit aspiring civic leaders to participate in leadership programming and to become active members of The Policy Circle community. 

The Policy Circle empowers women to take ownership of solutions in their communities by providing pathways to become active citizens who are knowledgeable about the impact of public policy.  

Prior to joining The Policy Circle, Nicole was Public Affairs Manager at the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, the state’s largest business association. She worked with Connecticut’s leading companies to influence the legislative process, frequently employing grassroots and grasstops strategies to achieve legislative and regulatory goals. She is most proud of spearheading the organization’s key contact program, “Adopt a Legislator.” 

Nicole has also worked on over a dozen federal, state and local political races as a campaign manager, fundraiser and writer.

She earned her B.A. in communications and political science from the University of Connecticut. She is also a graduate of the The Campaign School at Yale University and is a member of the American Enterprise Institute’s Leadership Network. 

Nicole is also an accomplished food publisher. Her food photography and recipes have been featured on the websites of Time, Inc., Country Living, Women’s Day, The Huffington Post and Buzzfeed. Her recipes and photos can be found at seasonlycreations.com 

 


 

Janet Burt

Janet Burt

Director of Programs & Operations

As the Director of Programs and Operations, Janet oversees research, development, delivery and success of content and programs offered by The Policy Circle.  She is responsible for continued membership retention, engagement, and delivering a superior member experience.  Janet also oversees the operations of the organization, including team accountability, finances, outcomes, and compliance. Janet has over thirty years of leadership and operational experience in growing the success of private and non profit companies with organizations like Fidelity Investments, the American Heart Association and Catholic Charities, in addition to her senior role as Chief Operating Officer of Westlake Financial Group, Inc.  Janet graduated from the University of Illinois with a liberal arts degree.   She lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her two of her four children, and enjoys travel, decorating, being a grandmother, and investing.

 


Savannah  Lane

Savannah Lane

Director of Education & Experiences

Born in Houston, Texas and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Savannah Lane found her passion for
the intersection of political engagement and the empowerment of women in local, national and
international communities from a young age as Virginia’s inaugural ANNPower fellow and
national service grant winner. Following her experiences at the University of Virginia, Savannah
honed her understanding of local political impacts on the global stage working for a Senate
reelection campaign and political consulting firm in areas surrounding digital media, social
media, outreach, event planning, and fundraising.

Through Savannah’s extensive service and advocacy work, she won the title of Miss Virginia
2015 in the Miss America Organization and worked in media realms with Dick Clark
Productions, national nonprofits, Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, the American Heart
Association and more. Through this role, Savannah won the talent and the Quality of Life award
designations for her service and commitment to the community.

Savannah moved to Washington, D.C. when she was one of eight women selected from across
the country to serve as a Star Fellow within the U.S. House of Representatives through Running
Start. Savannah honed her communication and strategy skills, digital media tools, and policy
understanding in the legislative body. From her time on the Hill, Savannah transitioned to the
think tank world where she directed a think tank in foreign policy issues ranging from the NATO
2030, transatlantic relations, the U.S.-Turkey bilateral relationship, and the Middle East.
Whether serving as a media commentator on international news outlets, leading strategic
communications, or directing international programming, Savannah has focused on connecting
bigger picture policies and issue areas to local audiences and communities. Savannah has
advocated for women globally and participated in training in conflict resolution in Morocco, a
diplomacy exchange in Dubai, and served as one of 25 international young professionals to take
part in the Aspen Institute’s NextGen Leadership Network.

Savannah is excited to join the Policy Circle team to further promote the role of women in
underrepresented spaces, equip women to drive grassroots change, and utilize the art of
storytelling to catalyze connection.

 

 

 

Kim Borchers

Kim Borchers

Associate Director of Civic Engagement

Kim currently serves as National Committeewoman for the great state of Kansas and is the President and owner of Bird Dog Recruitment and Consulting LLC. Kim’s firm focuses primarily on placement of senior talent at the highest levels of state and federal government along with management development. Prior to opening her firm, Kim was the Executive Director of Leadership Development at a national think, the Foundation for Government Accountability, where she created and launched the organization’s Talent Bank Project. Kim has spent 20 years in the grassroots movement starting as a young mom fighting pornography in her public library. She has served in a myriad of roles in the republican party starting as a precinct committeewoman and most recently as Deputy Chief of Staff for Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s administration. During Brownback’s tenure, she also served as his Director of Appointments for Boards and Commissions and the Director of Personnel for then Governor- Elect Brownback’s transition team. Upon graduation from the University of Kansas with a degree in Human Biology, Kim’s early career began in the healthcare industry working for TAP Pharmaceuticals. She also worked part-time in the radio business and was afforded the opportunity to create and host a local radio talk show program known as “News You Need to Know” on KMAJ 1440 AM. 

Kim’s work on the national level has led her to be recognized by the national conservative Independent Women’s Forum(IWF) in their Champion Women’s Series and as a featured speaker for the Policy Circle’s 2018 Circle Leadership Summit in Chicago. She is also a mentor and coach for women in politics for Michigan’s Republican Women’s League of our Own. 

Currently, Kim serves as, a Director for Kansas Delta Dental, a board member for the Eisenhower in Public Service Series, a board member for Cair Paravel Latin School, a volunteer for Topeka Civic Theatre and as an advisor for an anti-sex trafficking task force Freedom Now-USA and JAG-K. Kim and her husband of 25 years, Dr.Tim, reside in Topeka. Kim and Tim have a newly married daughter and son-in-law, Hannah and Garry, a daughter who is in her 2nd year at Liberty University in VA and her15 year old son, Jude.  

 


 

Olivia McCarver

Olivia McCarver

Donor Relations Manager

Olivia’s responsibilities as the Donor Relations Manager include donor acknowledgement and communications, event support, and foundation engagement. Prior to joining The Policy Circle, she spent nearly eight years in advancement at a private university. She brings experience in donor stewardship and events, capital campaigns, and development marketing and communications to her role.

Olivia graduated from the University of Arkansas with a B.S. in Agricultural Communications. She and her husband, Ryan, live in Northwest Arkansas. She enjoys being outdoors and spends her free time hiking with her dogs, horseback riding and working in the yard. Olivia recently served on the building committee for the renovation of the 100-year-old sanctuary owned by her church and chaired the communications committee for the $1 million capital campaign.

 

 

Maddi Thayer

Maddi Thayer

Events Manager

Maddi currently serves as the Events Manager at The Policy Circle. She is responsible for the management, production and execution of all live and virtual events. Prior to joining The Policy Circle team, Maddi was Event and Development Coordinator for Katy Sky Group in Dallas, Texas. She worked with a number of corporate and non-profit organizations to organize and execute event logistics, communications and fundraising efforts. She now brings her love of events and communications to The Policy Circle team. 

Maddi is a graduate of Dallas Baptist University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She lives in Dallas, Texas, where she spends as much time as possible outdoors, with friends, family and her dogs, and exploring new places. 

 

 

 


 

Beth McQueen

Beth McQueen

Membership Engagement Manager

Beth McQueen brings years of experience in education, administration, leadership and outreach. After receiving her BA in Early Childhood Education from Clemson University, Beth began her career as a teacher and developed the prekindergarten program in her county, a first in the state of Florida. She later spent a semester studying literature and writing in Australia through a Michigan State University education abroad program. She then received an MEd in Educational Leadership from University of North Florida. Her passion for people and culture soon brought her to the nonprofit sector where she served as an outreach director for a multicampus, megachurch. Beth has experience developing partnerships, training volunteer teams and traveling globally to provide support and encouragement to missionaries and agency representatives. Beth is an avid reader, loves to travel and enjoys hiking and exploring her surroundings wherever she may be.

 


 

Board of Directors


Sylvie Légère,
Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board
Angela Braly,
Co-Founder and Secretary
Kathy Hubbard,
Co-Founder and Treasurer

 

Laura Cox Kaplan,
Creator/Host She Said/She Said
Carol Greene,
Consultant with Greene Advisors

In 2020, The Policy Circle’s National Advisory Council was launched to provide a forum to share insights that will help shape The Policy Circle’s expansion, experience and impact.  

We’re proud to partner with the following leaders:

  • Cathy Cranberg, Founder Authentic Agility Games, Business Leader, Community Builder 
  • Jessica Dean, Senior Vice President, Bradley Impact Fund 
  • Rebecca Dunn, Dunn Foundation, Trustee
  • Meg Duke, Supporter
  • Jackie Emmet, Supporter
  • Richard Emmet, Supporter
  • Beth Feeley, Senior Advisor, Woodson Center
  • Elizabeth Fowler, Director and Executive Vice President, Triad Foundation, Inc.
  • Dawn Hoffman, Supporter
  • Ina Kim-Schaad, Mental Performance Coach
  • Blair Maus, Supporter
  • Melinda Oakes, Executive Director, Triad Foundation 
  • Shyan O’Shaughnessy, Supporter
  • Liz Orella, Supporter
  • Jill Schram, Schramily Holdings LLC
  • Anne Sinnott, Supporter
  • Barbara Stewart, Co-Founder, Bowe Stewart Foundation
  • Stacy Smith, Supporter
  • Mary Beth Weiss, Supporter
  • Anne Shane, Education Advocate
  • Allison Gulbrandsen, Co-Founder, The Donald and Allison K. Gulbrandsen Foundation
  • Kathleen Shanahan, CEO Turtle & Hughes
  • Heidi S. Cruz, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs & Co
  • Carrie Daanen, Supporter