Topeka’s Top 20 Under 40: Michaela Saunders

Michaela Saunders
Age 37
Communications Coordinator and Assistant to the Dean
College of Arts & Sciences at Washburn University

Screenshot 2018-11-07 14.13.13Michaela stays up-to-date on trends in destination, community and economic development to sustain the vibrancy of Topeka and Shawnee County. In 2016, she was recognized as a Kansas Destination Specialist by the Destination Marketing Association International for her commitment to the Kansas travel and hospitality industry. Outside of work Michaela is a member of the City of Topeka Sustainability Advisory Board and the Topeka Collegiate School Marketing Committee. Michaela considers recovering from a debilitating injury that required 10 weeks in a wheelchair after surgery to repair her pelvis with six locking screws and a 6-inch titanium plate as her greatest accomplishment to date.

“If my son, and his generation, always can be proud of where they are from, we will have done something amazing as a community.”

What are you doing daily to ensure your growth and development as a leader?
I read a lot—about the industries I work in, the craft I practice and the specific skills I’m working to develop. I don’t go very long before signing up for another class or training opportunity. I also practice listening to those around me, so I can grow from their feedback.

How do you foster creative and innovative thinking within your organization?
We talk a lot as a team about our collective and individual creative processes. The more we each understand our own creative process, the more we can reach the goals before us.

What is your motivation?
My primary motivation is that my son always be proud to call Topeka his hometown. He was born here, not long after Jeremy and I moved to this community. He’s the only one of us who will be a born and raised Topekan.

Back to the full list of 20 Under 40 Honorees

Responses Compiled by Lisa Loewen, Erin Aldridge & Enedina Patch
Photography by Nathan Ham, Nathan Ham Photography