TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Minority and women leaders from across Kansas are being recognized for their important and innovative work in their communities.
One of those people is LaFarris Risby, a Junction City business owner.
When LaFarris Risby and her kids moved to Junction City two decades ago, she was a single mother with only $50 in her pocket. So Risby knew she’d have to work hard to make a life for her family.
“I decided that this is something I wanted to pursue. So I went back to school and got my degrees and my certification and my education,” Risby said.
Then she opened up Loving Arms Childcare and Preschool. Now it’s the largest African-American owned business in the community.
Being recognized by the Kansas Department of Commerce at the minority and women in business luncheon on Thursday was an honor she said she never saw coming.
“For real? That’s what I said. For real? Because I didn’t expect it, but it’s wonderful,” Risby said. “It feels great getting recognized for the work that I love to do. I enjoy working with children and families and making a difference in a child’s life.”
The department also honored other leaders and the energy company Evergy for their work investing in diverse business endeavors. Diversity and inclusion representative Michelle De La Isla said that’s an exciting honor for them.
“We want to ensure that we represent the communities that we serve. If given an alternative, we want all of our customers to choose us. In order to do that we need to hear and support everybody in our community,” De La Isla said.
It’s all recognition and support that fuels diverse entrepreneurs like Risby.
“It’s good to be recognized so people can know what you’re doing, so people can connect with you to help you fulfill your goal and your mission for your community,” Risby said.