Leading with a Woman's Voice: Connection & Advocacy within the Workplace

Leading with a Woman's Voice Event Graphic
Monday, March 28, 2022 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

To celebrate March's Women's History Month and to continue our Leading with a Woman's Voice series, the Office of Alumni Relations will host a virtual event, "Connection and Advocacy within the Workplace." The program will begin with a panel discussion between female leaders. Afterward, guests will have the opportunity to participate through breakout room conversations in the hopes to connect with and learn from each other. This is an interactive, online experience. Topics will include: building relationships with fellow female colleagues, leadership opportunities, seeking mentorships, and celebrating lifelong learning.


Register HERE!


About the Panel:

-(Panelist) Roxane Harris, '92, CFE: Vice President Franchise Operations at H&R Block 

Roxane loves supporting 1,100 franchisees who own retail offices that deliver tax, bookkeeping, and payroll services to people living in communities across the U.S. and internationally. Her career journey started over 30 years ago where she has worked for three amazing companies in corporate America, moved three times, had side hustles in direct sales, and was even a small business owner for five years while working a corporate job. Along the way, she obtained a master’s degree in technology, had three children in two years, learned how to lead a team of 2,000 associates, and gained skills in areas such as merchandising, operations, marketing, and financial services. In life and in work she has had setbacks, but she utilizes these as learning moments. Her favorite quote is “the difference between the possible and the impossible lies in determination” by Tommy Lasorda. For enjoyment, she spends time traveling and helping her kids play soccer, basketball, and track.


-(Panelist) Audrey Masoner, '00: Chief Financial Officer at UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas

Audrey Masoner is the Chief Financial Officer for the UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas, which serves over 170,000 of Kansas Medicaid members.  Audrey brings a diverse background of professional leadership experience, spanning organizational disciplines from finance to operations.  Before joining UnitedHealthcare, she most recently served as a Senior Finance, Pricing and Proposal Manager, at CenturyLink, Director of IT Account Management at DST and as a Senior Product Development Manager at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Cobalt Ventures).  She held multiple finance roles at Sprint, and lead divestiture and integration roles within Embarq/CenturyLink. Audrey received a BSBA in Economics and Finance from Rockhurst University and her MBA from Baker University.  Audrey is also a local children’s book author and volunteers at reading events and educational speaking opportunities on a regular basis.  She currently serves on the boards of Inclusion Connections, Junior Achievement KC and Kansas City Young Audiences.


-(Panelist) Bess Wallerstein Huff, '21 EMBAVice President of Marketing and Sales at Starlight

Bess has nearly 20 years of experience in the performing arts industry both as an arts administrator and entrepreneur.  Currently, she is the Vice President of Marketing + Sales oversees the marketing, communications, organizational branding, ticketing, and sales teams at Starlight.  Previously, Bess worked in marketing and programming at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and led the communications, media and community relations, institutional and programmatic marketing, organizational branding, and outreach programs at the Center.  Bess has worked as the Director of Operations and Community Relations for the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and Production Manager for Theatre League, Inc. presenting Broadway shows across the country. As an entrepreneur and advocate for cultural growth, Bess was the founder and co-owner of Show Delivered, a company that connected performers to audiences at home, in driveways, yards and cul-de-sacs keeping local performers employed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bess was the owner, founder, and chief member of CounterClockwise Comedy a professional experimental improvisation comedy group that “roasted” over fifty popular films (a la Mystery Science Theatre 3000) such as Top Gun, Dirty Dancing, Flashdance, E.T. Die Hard, Pretty Woman and Jurassic Park.  She was the founder and producing artistic director of One Time Productions, an environmental theater company based in Kansas City which produced theatre performances in non-traditional spaces, engulfing audiences into the living theater experience. For OTP, Bess produced and directed Museum by Tina Howe (2005), True West by Sam Shepard (2007) and the regional premiere of Arts or Crafts by Rob Roznowski (2009).  She has served as the Executive Producer of the Kansas City Improv Festival (2007, 2008) and helped launch the Prairie Village Jazz Festival, a new cultural event for the city of Prairie Village, Kansas in 2010. 

Bess has worked as a director, producer, writer, and actor for several performing arts institutions including: Theater in Shawnee Mission Park, The Fishtank Theatre and KC Fringe Festival. Appointed by Johnson County Commissioner Steve Klika, Bess currently serves on the Public Art Commission in Johnson County, KS and is a board member and treasurer of the Greater Kansas City Attractions Association.  Bess is also a member of the Charlotte Street Foundation’s Programming Committee which reviews grant applications for performance projects. Bess is a graduate of the Kansas City Chamber Centurions Leadership Class (2019) where she served as the Co-Chair of the Community Leadership Committee and led the planning of the 2019 Women’s Forum.  Bess was appointed to the Marketing Committee of the Central Exchange’s Leadership Lyceum in 2017 after being awarded the Adele Hall Endowment for Advancement and Development Scholarship (AHEAD) through the CX in 2016. She continues to volunteer as a judge of theater performance and break-out workshop leader for the Arts Council of Johnson County’s Shooting Stars Scholarship program. Most recently, Bess was named a 2020 Rising Star through Kansas City’s The Independent Magazine.  She holds a BFA in theatre performance from the University of Central Missouri and graduated as an Executive Fellow with Rockhurst University’s MBA class of 2021.   


-(Moderator) Kristy Bayer: Director of Athletics at Rockhurst University

Kristy was named the Director of Athletics at Rockhurst University in July 2021. This made her the first woman in RU history to hold this position. Bayer previously served as the deputy director of athletics and senior woman administrator at Emporia State University from 2017 to 2021. A 2020 graduate of the NCAA Pathway Program, a selective training opportunity for emerging leaders, Bayer held a number of leadership positions, including serving on the NCAA Championships Committee, and the NCAA Board of Governors Committee to Promote Cultural Diversity and Equity. At ESU, Bayer was a member of the Athletics Advisory Board and the University Diversity and Inclusion Alliance.

Prior to her time at Emporia State, Bayer spent 14 years at Arkansas Tech University as the associate athletic director/senior woman administrator and head coach of the volleyball team. She had a career coaching record of 364-132 and won seven conference tournament or regular season titles at ATU. In her final season, Bayer was named the AVCA Central Region Volleyball Coach of the Year after leading ATU to a 35-1 record in 2017. She was a five-time conference Coach of the Year honoree.

Bayer is a graduate of Grand Valley State University, where she was a four-year starter on the GVSU volleyball team and still holds the school record for career assists with 5,441 from 1997-2000. An All-American selection her senior season, the former Kristy Kale was inducted into the Grand Valley State Hall of Fame in 2007. Bayer holds a Master of Education in higher education from GVSU and is pursuing a Doctor of Education in higher education from the University of Memphis. She is a native of Jackson, Michigan.


*All alumni, parents and friends are welcome, but content will be focused primarily on a female audience. 

This virtual event will be hosted on the Zoom platform. Users can create a Zoom account for free at Zoom.us

Questions? Contact Hannah Tarwater,'18, '21 MA at hannah.tarwater@rockhurst.edu or 816-501-4888.