Miss Kansas’ Outstanding Teen board of directors takes volunteering as a family unit seriously. Lisa Ronen and her two daughters, Becki Ronen Walenz and Mandy Ronen, have shared the struggles and successes of their extended pageant family since 2010. They value each other as individuals as well as members of a team.
“I love the saying, ‘It takes a village’ as I think this concept applies to not only the pageant but life in general,” says Lisa, the executive director of Miss Kansas’ Outstanding Teen. “A family, village, or team is vitally important to the success of any organization. A team should be more efficient than all of the individuals put together.”
Each of the Ronen women has been able to hone her individual skill set in order that the Kansas organization can benefit. Lisa entered the world of MAO in 1976 when her sister was named first runner up to Miss Kansas. Lisa herself advanced to the state competition’s Top Ten in 1979, and six years later, she became the director of her local pageant. Through the years, she’s held just about every volunteer role possible including pageant mom. Mandy competed first, but it was Becki who clenched the role as Miss Kansas 2009. Not much for sibling rivalry, Mandy stepped into the role of volunteer instead of contestant.
“We never wanted to compete against each other,” Mandy says.
Thanks to this familial lesson, although competition is a reality for contestants, Mandy, who produces the show and recruits contestants, is able to help her Kansas teens enter into each year for the right reasons–service and scholarship–not just simple to win a crown.
But thanks to the crown on her head, Becki lends support to constants that only a titleholder can give. While she lives in New York, she still lends emotional and practical support to those preparing for the stage.
“Becki has national experience from participating in the Miss America pageant and understands the organization better than anyone,” Lisa says. “Because of Becki’s experience and the support she received, her desire to give back to an organization that gave her so much is great…. Her knowledge is very valuable to our continued success.”
It is with great care and much heart that scholarship organizations across the country continue to bloom after decades of existence. This kind of success comes from the united mission of volunteers to hasten young women into the world around them as well-rounded and dedicated citizens. Like a mother who dreams to see her daughter succeed, the volunteers of MAO dream to see the goals of their contestants come into reality.
Read more about the Miss Kansas Organization and the volunteer efforts of co-executive director Lisa Miller in the February issue of fourpoints! Subscribe today!
Written by: Erika Fifelski, fourpoints staff writer