Rep. Windhorst Hosts “Emerging Women Leaders” at Annual Capitol Conference

SPRINGFIELD – State Representative Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis) says he was proud to host two influential women leaders from Southern Illinois at the House Republicans’ Annual Emerging Women Leaders Conference at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. Rep. Windhorst was joined at the conference by his guests Kristy Stephenson of Metropolis and Deborah Barnett of Marion.

Kristy Stephenson currently serves as the Dean of Career and Technology Programs for Shawnee Community College. Windhorst says Stephenson has been a major contributor for the College as well as working as an attorney in various roles in Illinois government.

“Kristy Stephenson is a very talented attorney and a dedicated public servant. Shawnee College is blessed to have her lend her talent to the school,” Windhorst said. “Kristy has already done great things in her career, and her future in higher education remains bright as well.”

Stephenson says she thoroughly enjoyed the conference and thanked Rep. Windhorst for inviting her.

“Thank you to Rep. Windhorst for giving me the opportunity to take part in the Emerging Women’s Leadership Conference,” Stephenson said. “It is always energizing and inspiring to engage with women leaders from across the State of Illinois.”

Deborah Barnett serves as the Executive Director of Southern Illinois Now (SI Now). Rep. Windhorst says  Barnett has made a tremendous impact as a leader in regional economic growth and development.

“A big part of SI Now’s success has been the hard work, abilities, and leadership of Deborah Barnett,” Windhorst said. “During Deborah’s tenure as Executive Director, SI Now has built a strong reputation for supporting existing businesses, attracting and expanding businesses, developing the region’s workforce, and promoting the region’s business opportunities both within the region and beyond.”

The SI Now Executive Director thanked Rep. Windhorst for the invitation to the annual leadership conference. “Serving the Southern Illinois region is in my DNA, so to have the opportunity to advance the region through SI Now and draw attention to our southernmost counties at the Emerging Women Leaders event was truly an honor,” Barnett said. “I thank Representative Windhorst for his leadership and for granting me the opportunity to be part of this inspiring and empowering day with women leaders throughout the state.”

House Republican legislators from throughout Illinois invited guests from their districts to participate in the Emerging Women Leaders Recognition Event, linking together the broad expanse of industries and diverse individual experiences found within the State of Illinois.

The House Republican’s third annual event included brunch featuring a keynote address by Springfield Mayor Misty Buscher; a Listening Session with Leader McCombie; a dedicated panel called “Own Your Power,” featuring Professor Linda Renee Baker with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, Kara Demirjian Hus, Vice President for T.C.C.I. Manufacturing, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lisa Holder White, and Susan Hayes Gordon, Senior Vice President and Chief External Affairs Officers for the Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Several additional panels were offered on various topics in law enforcement, economics, and more. Tours of the Capitol were also available with the Architect of the Capitol Andrea Aggertt.

House Republican State Representative and Deputy Minority Leader Norine Hammond is pictured here with Deborah Barnett at the 2024 Emerging Women Leaders Conference in Springfield.

House Republican State Representative and Deputy Minority Leader Norine Hammond is pictured here with Kristy Stephenson at the 2024 Emerging Women Leaders Conference in Springfield.