Archdiocese Local

CFNEK program offers continuing ed, networking opportunity

Accountants, lawyers, financial advisers and insurance professionals are invited to the 13th annual St. Thomas More Continuing Education Program on June 2 from 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas. PHOTO BY WES LEWIS/UNSPLASH

by Moira Cullings

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Dynamic speakers, networking opportunities and a faith-based backdrop are a few of the elements that make the St. Thomas More Continuing Education Program unique.

The 13th annual program, sponsored by the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas (CFNEK), will be held on June 2 from 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas.

The day will begin with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, followed by a continental breakfast and speaker series. It will include lunch and the opportunity to network.

Bill Maloney, executive director of CFNEK, will emcee the event.

“It’s designed to bring some of our Catholic professionals . . . together for not only a learning event where they gather continuing education hours, but also to network and meet other Catholic professionals within our archdiocese,” said Jane Schmitt, director of development for CFNEK.

The program is for accountants, lawyers, financial advisers and insurance professionals in need of continuing education hours to maintain their various licenses.

Schmitt said the program’s committee “went all in” on bringing people together in-person rather than offering a virtual or hybrid setting.

For Morgan Wade, marketing coordinator for CFNEK, that aspect of the program “makes it more meaningful.”

“I think community is such an important thing in our faith,” she said.

Although the setting is a spiritual one, attendees don’t have to be Catholic.

“We’re always looking to grow this,” said Schmitt. “We want lots of new folks and new faces.”

College students pursuing relevant fields, like accounting, finance and law, are invited to attend this year’s program free of charge so they can learn from the speakers and gain networking experience.

Businesses are also invited to sponsor the event.

Brian Leitner, managing director, wealth solutions, at Mariner Wealth Advisors, one of the program’s sponsors, will speak on “Enhancing the Client Experience.”

“Oftentimes, as professionals, we don’t give ourselves the space to take a step back and work on our business,” said Leitner.

“For example,” he continued, “when was the last time advisors revisited their client communication strategy, reevaluated where they spend their time or leveraged their data to help improve the services they provide?

“That’s what this presentation is all about.”

Leitner said he attends professional events throughout the year and is eager to give back by sharing what he’s learned.

“The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas is a fantastic organization,” he said. “The content and ability to network at this conference makes this event very special.”

Crystalyn Ellis, assistant disciplinary administrator at the Kansas Disciplinary Office, and Krystal Vokins, counsel to the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys, will speak on “The More Things Change, the More Things Stay the Same.”

Some of what they will cover includes an overview of the structure of the attorney discipline system and a review of the procedural rules, standards and Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct.

“Our office is always happy to work with organizations throughout Kansas to ensure attorneys have easy access to quality ethics programming,” said Ellis.

“We often find that attorneys do not always understand the scope, purpose or process of our office’s work,” she continued, “and providing programming at these events helps reduce the confusion or concern an attorney might have when a complaint is lodged against them, or when they are called to assist in an investigation.”

Schmitt and Wade are excited for this year’s speakers and hope attendees will also gain valuable information about CFNEK.

“[We’re] developing this network of advisers that are then advising their clients to keep the church in mind in their legacy giving and their legacy planning,” said Schmitt.

“It comes full circle as these advisers are meeting with clients,” she continued, “and they’re talking about their faith, their legacy, their philanthropy and their almsgiving.”

For more information and to register for the St. Thomas More Continuing Education Program, go to the website at:

About the author

Moira Cullings

Moira attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park and Benedictine College in Atchison. She majored in marketing, minored in psychology and played center midfield for the women’s soccer team. Moira joined The Leaven staff as a feature writer and social media editor in 2015. After a move to Denver, Moira resumed her full-time position at The Leaven and continues to write and manage its website, social media channels. Her favorite assignment was traveling to the Holy Land to take photos for a group pilgrimage in 2019.

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