Emily Graves, who earned a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Baker University in 2015, was elected to the Ottawa (Kansas) City Commission.

Graves said that, selfishly, her reasoning behind running for commissioner was for her family. She and her husband, Darek, and their two children, Carter, 7, and Kinsley, 4, have lived in Ottawa for eight years. She would like to implement family-friendly activities in the city, ones that make Ottawa an enjoyable place to grow up, for both her own children and the rest of the community. She also hopes to help establish a thriving downtown by developing current businesses and attracting new ones.

In addition to her duties as a city commissioner, Graves serves as the director of materials management at Ransom Memorial Hospital. She also is a volunteer for the Communities in Schools, president of the CASA of the 4th Judicial District board and is a member of this year’s Leadership Franklin County class. Graves feels that her position as a city commissioner will take her service to the next level.

“I get to serve and make changes that impact the community on a larger scale,” Graves said. “I figured that things are going to change whether I am a part of it or not. It just basically boiled down to if I wanted to be a part of that change or not. And I do.”

The position runs to January 2020, just enough time for Graves to make the changes she hopes to employ. And in the long run, Graves believes she can use her organizational leadership degree to support the community whenever and wherever she can.

“Baker University was part of my family for the last two years,” Graves said. “I started the program because I wanted to learn how to be a good, effective leader. This program at Baker allowed me to transition from being an aspiring leader to where I am now.”

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