The Greater Topeka Partnership’s Chief Equity & Opportunity Officer, Glenda Washington, is pleased to announce the new community conversation series, “Seat at the Table.” This series on equity and inclusion will serve to educate and connect a diverse group of Shawnee County citizens during three or more ongoing, in-depth group discussions, in the form of lunch or dinner sessions. The Greater Topeka Partnership is currently inviting community and business leaders to host these ongoing conversations.

Seat at the Table hosts may invite 7-10 guests to join a lunch or dinner, for a 2-3-hour experience, once a month for at least three months. The Greater Topeka Partnership staff will assist in organizing the sessions and can identify possible participants, if needed. The Partnership will also provide a trained facilitator and scribe to take notes to be shared at future meetings. Groups may meet in person or by Zoom; meeting links to be provided by Partnership staff. The first lunch or dinner will be designated as a “getting to know you” meeting; all other intentional conversations will commence at the following meetings. 

“A Seat at the Table is an afternoon or evening of open and honest dialogue and impactful discussion about our community,” said Glenda Washington, chief equity & opportunity officer, Greater Topeka Partnership. “The hope is that these lunches or dinners will be a foundation for understanding, appreciation of differences and unveiling of similarities.” 

Washington continued, “Conversations will center around racial equity and equality, inclusion and social justice or current events of the day. We believe that once barriers are removed, we can eliminate the disparities that hinder our growth as a community. We also believe that this platform will allow everyone to learn, contribute and understand their role as we build a more inclusive community.”   

Envista Credit Union’s Chief Business Development Officer, Tara Dimick, will host the first Seat at the Table session; time and date to be determined.  

“We know that each person brings something special and unique to the table—from our history and culture to our experiences, knowledge and personalities. It is our differences that create an innovative and growing community,” said Dimick. “Our company is better because of each individual’s gifts and backgrounds and we want to always strive for our table to be full and inclusive.”

Partnership CEO Matt Pivarnik said, “We are excited to help inspire unity in our community. Only when we all have a welcome seat at the table will our city and county reach its full potential, economically, politically and socially.”

In the spring 2021, the Partnership will host “The Longest Table,” a culmination of the dinners and luncheons where we bring the entire community together on Kansas Avenue. Details on this event are forthcoming.


If you would like to host a Seat at the Table community conversation, or if you would like additional information on this topic, contact Glenda Washington at