Skip Navigation


Governor Kelly Announces $10M for Broadband Projects in Rural Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced today that $10 million has been awarded to 12 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the latest round of Broadband Acceleration Grants. The awards will be paired with an additional $12.7 million in matching funds, resulting in an investment of nearly $22.7 million for high-speed broadband access projects across 14 rural Kansas counties. Kansas Tourism, Visit Wichita Partnering to Host 2025 TBEX Summit Kansas Tourism and Visit Wichita are proud to announce Wichita as the host city for the Travel Blogger Exchange (TBEX) Summit on October 1-4, 2025. This esteemed event will bring together leading travel bloggers, influencers, journalists, content creators and tourism industry professionals from around the globe to explore and enjoy the heart of the country. Commerce Launches Statewide Exporters Roundtable Series he International Division of the Kansas Department of Commerce today announced it will begin a monthly Kansas Exporters Roundtable series in July. With three-quarters of potential customers located outside of the United States, Commerce will visit 12 cities across the state and offer assistance for small- to medium-sized Kansas companies. Kansas Launches National Campaign to Attract and Retain Talent Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland, alongside leaders from across the state, today unveiled Love, Kansas, a dynamic talent attraction campaign aimed at boosting Kansas’ population by inviting past residents to choose the Sunflower State as their future home. This national marketing initiative will highlight Kansas as an exceptional place to live, work and raise a family, with a special emphasis on “boomerangs” – individuals with previous ties to the state. View All


Business Regions Made in Kansas Our Department Publications Initiatives & Incentives Transparency Database About Us Notices Contact
Lieutenant Governor Toland Congratulates Rhonda Harris on “Women of Influence” Award

Oct 29, 2021

Lieutenant Governor Toland Congratulates Rhonda Harris on “Women of Influence” Award

TOPEKA – Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland congratulated Rhonda Harris today on being named the Distinguished Mentor Honoree at the Seventh Annual Women of Influence Awards. Harris received the honor Thursday at the Capitol Plaza Hotel as part of an event presented by the Greater Topeka Partnership and The Women’s Initiative.

“Congratulations to our own Rhonda Harris for being recognized as the Distinguished Mentor,” Lieutenant Governor /Secretary Toland said. “Rhonda’s outstanding leadership and service to the people of Kansas, especially the women and minority business community, has not gone unrecognized. She is a distinct difference maker every day, and our state is extremely fortunate to have her leading these critical efforts at the Department of Commerce.”

Harris is the Director of the Office of Women and Minority Business Development at the Kansas Department of Commerce. She has served in this role for the last 22 years, with a total of 36 years with the State of Kansas. She currently serves on several committees and boards related to women and minority business development efforts, and recently was selected to serve as a charter member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Board for NetWork Kansas.

Harris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology from Baker University and a Master’s in Industrial Psychology with an emphasis in Business from Emporia State University. She also is certified as an Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP).

“I am truly grateful to be the recipient of this award, as it represents the importance and worth that we place on preparing our next generation,” Harris said. “Mentoring is one of many ways to assist growing entrepreneurs, especially women and minorities, reach their full potential, and I am honored to be a part of their journeys.”

The Women’s Initiative is an umbrella program under the Greater Topeka Partnership that promotes efforts to empower, educate and celebrate women. According to The Women’s Initiative, “A distinguished mentor is a woman who advises other women in order to help them advance and develop their own path to academic and professional success. She generously shares her time to be accessible to the mentees. A distinguished mentor imparts guidance and expertise in encouraging and critiquing the mentee’s leadership, training and other scholarly works. She encourages mentees in networking activities with other professionals, as well as promotes and makes others aware of the contributions and value of their mentees.” Every year, one or two honorees may receive the prestigious Distinguished Mentor award. Harris is the sole honoree of this year’s award.

Other honorees Thursday evening were Woman of Influence award winners Melissa Brunner from WIBW and Lucy Opit from Midwest Barber College; Outstanding Entrepreneur honoree, Cheryl Clark from Dare to Dream; the Breakthrough Business Award honorees, Leslie Fleuranges from Tender Loving Care Pet Nursing Hotel and Darlene Morgan from Milk & Honey Coffee Co.; the Community Service honoree, Lauren Tice Miller from the Office of Kansas State Treasurer Lynn Rogers; the Rising Star honoree, Grace Clinton from Helping Hands Humane Society; the Education honoree, Carla Pratt from Washburn University School of Law; and the Emeritus Award honoree, Kak Eli-Schneider from Washburn Rural High School.

About the Kansas Department of Commerce

As the state’s lead economic development agency, the Kansas Department of Commerce strives to empower individuals, businesses and communities to achieve prosperity in Kansas. Commerce accomplishes its mission by developing relationships with corporations, site location consultants and stakeholders in Kansas, nationwide and worldwide. Our strong partnerships allow us to help create an environment for existing Kansas businesses to grow and foster an innovative, competitive landscape for new businesses.