A project of The Beacon’s Community Engagement Bureau, the Community Advisory Board advises the organization on improving our journalism, reaching underserved audiences and improving our public service to the community.

Community input is vital to our success. The advisory board is made up of a representative group of volunteer members who live and work in the Wichita region and advises The Beacon’s staff on issues of interest to the broader community and providing feedback to inform decisions about our journalism. Learn More.

Cindy Miles is the president and CEO for the Kansas Nonprofit Chamber and owner of the Slumber Party Place. Cindy has been providing consulting for nonprofits and small businesses for 15 years and specializes in working with nonprofit startups. She also advocates on behalf of children and individuals who are abused and those who suffer from mental illness, addiction and underserved communities. Cindy is passionate about serving the community and serves on numerous nonprofit boards and committees.

Michael Birzer is a professor and graduate coordinator in the School of Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, where he has served since 2004. He specializes in the study of policing. Dr. Birzer is serving a second term on the Kansas State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services. He also serves as chair of the Sedgwick County Community Corrections Advisory Board, and he is a Wichita Police Foundation board member. 

Martha Pint works for the U.S. Department of Labor as a wage and hour investigator, enforcing the Fair Labor Standards Act and Family Medical Leave Act among other laws. She previously worked as an encoder with the U.S. Postal Service. She currently serves as co-president of the League of Women Voters Wichita-Metro and League of Women Voters of Kansas. When not working or volunteering, Martha spends her time reading and relaxing with her husband, Corey, and their five kids and five grandkids.

Angela Breer has a passion for improving the community and implementing and planning creative campaigns to make a difference in peoples’ lives. Currently, she fulfills this passion as a communications director covering Kansas for the American Heart Association. She’s a Wichita native who attended the University of Kansas and received a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a focus in strategic communications. In her free time, Angela enjoys creative projects, binging a good show and reading a page-turner of a book.

Mary Dean moved to Wichita in 1979. She is a former board member of the Wichita Branch NAACP, was chair of the Wichita Branch NAACP Legal Redress Committee and served as the NAACP legal redress investigator. She is the founder of  PWOW (Progressive Women of Wichita). Mary Dean is the author of “The Black Legends of Kansas,” which celebrates over 100 Black women in Kansas and around the world. She is the mother of three children, grandmother to eight and great-grandmother to 13.

Melody McCray-Miller has served the community in multiple capacities, leading with  a strong commitment to community service and a belief in people having a voice in their own destiny. She served as a state representative for the 89th House District from 2005 to 2013 and was the first African American woman to represent the 4th District on the Board of Sedgwick County Commissioners, following in the footsteps of her father, Billy McCray. McCray-Miller is also the proud owner of Miller’s Inc. for the past 21 years.

Diane Tinker Hurst is a project manager in industry, defense programs at Wichita State University, working with industry engagement and applied learning and helping lead WSU’s successful application for the innovation and economic prosperity designation from the Association of Public Land Grant Universities. She recently earned a master’s degree in public administration with certificates in nonprofit management and economic development from Wichita State. She is an award-winning actor, a recent inductee into the Mary Jane Teall Hall of Fame and a lifetime member of the Mary Jane Teall Awards Executive Committee.

Cecilia Green was VP of public relations for Associated Advertising before moving in 1990, when her husband, Darrell, took a job at the Art Institute of Chicago. She was an award-winning PR director for professional associations in Chicago for 25 years. She founded Arts in Bartlett (IL) in 2002 and served as executive director of its arts center. The Greens moved back to Wichita in 2021 after retirement and Cecilia became a member of the Wichita Professional Communicators and the League of Women Voters. She is passionate about the arts and interested in seeing that senior issues and voices are represented in the media.

Brandy Willett is the regional director of Wichita State University’s Small Business Development Center. Her personal and professional passion is helping businesses communicate clearly and effectively to increase connection, understanding and growth. Brandy received her bachelor’s degree in organizational communication from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and recently completed her master’s degree in communication at Wichita State University’s Elliott School.

Trish Hileman has been an active member of Wichita’s neighborhood, city and educational community for over 10 years. She started serving at her children’s schools and in her neighborhood association and later ran for school board. She is active in local politics, serving as a Republican precinct woman and serving on local nonprofit and city-appointed boards. Trish is also active in Ridgepoint Church.

Liz Hamor champions justice, equity, diversity and inclusion and participates in  leadership within her community. Hamor holds a master’s degree in ESOL and bilingual education from Kansas State University and taught in Emporia and San Antonio, Texas. In 2014, she co-founded GLSEN Kansas and spent years working toward a safer, more inclusive Kansas for LGBTQ youth. In May 2021, she left GLSEN Kansas to focus on empowering Kansans through her leadership consulting business, Center of Daring.