I came to Lawrence as so many do - I was an undergraduate student at the University of Kansas. I graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors degree in Film and English. From 2000 to 2006 I worked at the Community Mercantile. I also worked for the Lawrence Public Library during that time. In 2006, I enrolled in law school at KU. In early 2007 I decided to pursue a joint degree and get my Masters in Social Welfare. In late 2007, I had my first son. In 2009 I married my partner and had my second son. In 2010, I graduated from KU with a JD, MSW, and went to work at the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence doing facilitation and community organizing.
Upon the end of federal grant at the coalition, I went into private practice with Dennis "Boog" Highberger. We opened Highberger & Ananda, LLC, where I practiced primarily immigration, civil, and domestic law. I returned to the coalition providing direct legal representation for nearly two years before coming back to KU - this time as an employee. I am currently the Deputy Title IX Coordinator and Policy Specialist in the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access, where I do difficult but fulfilling work investigating instances of discrimination and harassment on campus.
As a child in southeast Kansas, I organized my cousins and sisters to write and illustrate a magazine dedicated to saving the planet that we distributed proudly to our family. I stood up to violence and injustice, defending myself and others who grew up in poverty. I was a Girl Scout for nearly a decade. As I've grown, so too have my interests. I've gone from advocacy and activism toward working within the system to bring the change I want to see, a natural evolution toward change. I work with my mind to create the world my heart believes in. I ask difficult questions and make difficult decisions, and I believe in accountability.
University of Kansas, 2004
BA Film and English
University of Kansas, 2010
JD, KU School of Law
MSW, KU School of Social Welfare
I have nearly five years of experience with Policy Governance, a form of leadership that empowers one individual to make operational decisions and gives the board policy authority and supervision authority over that individual. The City of Lawrence uses a similar form of governance with authority given to the city manager for operational purposes, and the commission governs via ordinance and policy. No one person is an expert in all things, and policy governance is considered a progressive form of democratic governance. This foundational understanding of our form of governance (both in limitation and broader authority) is experience that others do not have and is an asset for a city commissioner.
Criminal Justice Reform Experience
I have led an entire community in criminal justice reform. This process began by developing a coordinated community response group that met regularly and then engaging in a process of assessing the role of each system within that process to identify gaps in services individuals receive. I worked with groups that historically have some level of conflict - we addressed everyone from the dispatcher and 911 operator to post-release supervision. I facilitated this process, and I am pleased to say that the process that we used for reform became a successful model for the rest of the state. My experience facilitating and working within and among systems is a valuable skill for city commission work.
I have led several organizations and groups, including serving as president of The Merc Co+op for two years and currently serving my second year as president of the Waldorf Association of Lawrence Board of Trustees. I have also held leadership roles and positions on the Kansas NOW board, Lawrence NOW board, Amnesty International Legislative Coordinator, and others.
Business Ownership Experience
I understand the unique challenges and rewards that small business ownership offers. My firm, Highberger & Ananda, LLC, was a small firm consisting of two partners that provided sliding scale legal representation on a variety of matters. My representation included civil legal matters, including divorce/custody and protection orders, Child in Need of Care cases, immigration matters, and misdemeanor criminal defense work.
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS/VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE
KU Staff Senate (elected position) - 2017
Waldorf Association of Lawrence Board of Trustees, President, 2014 - present
The Merc Co+op Board of Directors (elected position), 2012 - present (President 2014 - 2016)
Coordinator, Lawrence DACA Clinic 2013
Peggy Bowman Second Chance Fund Board, 2012-2013
Assistant State Coordinator, Kansas NOW, 2008 - 2009
Jana Mackey Speaker Series Planning Committee, 2008 - 2009
Lawrence NOW President, 2007 - 2010
2016 - Present University of Kansas - Deputy Title IX Coordinator and Policy Specialist
2014 - 2016 Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV) - Legal Assistance for Victims Project Attorney
2014 - 2017 University of Kansas, School of Social Welfare - Adjunct Instructor BSW/MSW Program
2012 - 2014 Highberger & Ananda, LLC - Managing Partner and Owner, Attorney
2009 - 2011 KCSDV - Criminal Justice Curricula and Protocol Coord.
2009 ACLU KSWMO - Intern
2007 - 2008 Douglas County District Attorney's Office - Practicum Student/Intern
2006 - 2007 Lawrence Public Library - Circulation
2000 - 2006 The Merc Co+op - Cashier/Cheese Buyer