TOPEKA (KSNT)– A local woman went from serving as a city council member in her hometown of Hutchinson to mayor. Now, she’s serving the state of Kansas as she and her team find ways to better Kansans lives through broadband accessibility.

For many people, broadband is something we live with every day, and at times we might not even realize how much of a necessity it is. But thousands of Kansans are living without it. And that’s where Jade Piros De Carvalho steps in.

“Congress has invested a ton of money through the Infrastructure Act to try and bridge broadband gaps,” Piros De Carvalho said. “And those dollars are being funneled down through the states for allocation. So that’s what our office does. We allocate both federal and state grants.”

Piros De Carvalho is the Director of Broadband Development with the Kansas Department of Commerce. She and her team work to help the hundreds of thousands of Kansans who don’t have access to broadband services; whether that’s because they are in rural areas or can’t afford it.

“We have 144,000 people lacking internet service at basic speeds,” she said.

She isn’t new to helping the public. Before she worked for the state at the beginning of 2023, she was the mayor of Hutchinson. She served on the city council for 10 years. Then, they voted for her to serve three years as mayor of the town.

“Met a lot of people, knew a lot of people, and had a deep love for the community and a deep desire to give back to the community that had given me so much,” Piros De Carvalho said.

Her passion to help everyone have internet access started while she was working as mayor. She worked for a private company at the time focusing on rural expansion, which caught the eye of a state leader, Lieutenant Governor David Toland.

“When this role came up, the lieutenant governor tapped me for it,” she said. “Because I had that background in the industry and also a deep passion for public service.”

Through her work, she will continue to close a gap that many of us might not realize is there. And for this Everything Woman, her hard work isn’t going unnoticed.

In January, she left her job as mayor, and for the first time outside of college, she left her hometown of Hutchinson to work in Topeka. But the town couldn’t let her go. She was honored as this year’s “Woman of the Year” by USA Today. An editor for the city newspaper nominated her.

“I think I’m a woman who cares deeply about making the world a better place,” she said. “And to that extent, that makes me…aspirational. Because I think that’s why we were put on this earth, is to uplift others. To uplift communities.”

If you have someone you think is an Everything Woman, nominate them here. We feature these stories once a month.