Whether taking a restaurant order, working with a community devastated by a tornado or finding pathways out of poverty for those less fortunate, Pratt resident Jeanette Siemens has always been a listener.

 

“I’ve found the best way to help people is to really listen to where they are at, why do they think the way they do, what influences them, what are their real and pressing needs,” Siemens said.

It is that listening characteristic that led to her success as a former Dairy Queen owner with her husband, Jerry. Listening was key when she served as manager of the Pratt Chamber of Commerce, then with the Greensburg Chamber of Commerce rebuilding that community after the 2007 tornado. Listening made her an effective advocate for the poor as she established Circles of Hope programs in several south-central Kansas communities. Her ability to listen and represent made her the perfect candidate for a position on the recently formed Kansas Leadership Center advisory committee.

“I’ve always felt blessed that God put me in positions where I could help others,” Siemens said. “I did what I could, and I have learned so much from those around me.”

Recently named a Kansas Health Foundation Civic Hero and now a Distinguished Kansan by The Topeka Capital-Journal, Siemens said she is humbled by the attention.

“My goal, formed from many years of association with the Kansas Leadership Center, is just to help others develop the competencies to be good leaders, anytime, anywhere,” she said. “I guess it all really does start with listening.”