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Discussion Group: “Women. Life. Freedom.”

8:30 AM - Coffee & Lite Breakfast | 9:00 AM - Program Begins
8:30 AM 10:00 AM
Diastole Scholars Center

Discussion Group: “Women. Life. Freedom.”

8:30 AM 10:00 AM
Diastole Scholars Center

In the March event of our APS Discussion Group series, we discussed the ongoing protests in Iran, spurred by the arrest and subsequent death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September 2022. Some have called these protests the biggest threat to Iran’s regime since the 1979 revolution.  Amini was arrested in Tehran in September by the country’s “morality police” after allegedly wearing her hijab too loosely. She later died in police custody. Since her death, rallies and protests against the government have spread throughout the country, reaching into other parts of the world. The phrase “Women. Life. Freedom.” has become a rallying cry for protestors condemning the Iranian government.

This discussion was facilitated by Maggie Collins, Founder and Managing Principal of the Howe Street Group and APS Program Committee Member, with special commentary provided by Azzie Amani, Iranian-born activist who now resides in the Kansas City area.

Discussion Group Facilitator

Maggie Collins is the Founder and Managing Principal of the Howe Street Group, LLC. The Howe Street Group provides client specialized services including government and legislative affairs, policy analysis, content writing, political and campaign consulting, and nonprofit strategy and development.

Maggie’s career was formed in federal government service and she now puts that experience to use for her clients. During the terror attacks of September 11th, Maggie was a Legislative Assistant responsible for aviation issues in the United States Senate. Upon its formation, Maggie became the Assistant Director of Legislative Affairs for Border and Transportation Security at the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). She went on to serve at The White House under President George W. Bush on the Homeland Security Council. As the Director of Aviation Security Policy, Maggie was responsible for coordinating the implementation of aviation security policy across the US Government.

Since leaving government service, Maggie has worked in federal affairs for a Fortune 500 company as well as in major gift development for the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics.

Maggie holds a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College and a B.A. in Political Science and Communication Studies at the University of Kansas. Maggie lives in Kansas City with her husband Tom and their three children.

Special Commentary by:

Azadeh (“Azzie”) Amani-Taleshi was born in Tehran, Iran, and during the peak of the Iran and Iraq war in the late 1980s immigrated with her family to the U.S. where they settled in Kansas.

Azzie’s education covers a BA in Human Biology and an MA in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Kansas. She currently is a VP, Strategic Planning Director, working remotely for FCBCure, Interpublic Group, based in NYC.

Azzie’s 17+ years of professional experience was developed in NYC and LA before returning to Kansas. This journey helped Azzie develop a forward-thinking, astute, energetic and an entrepreneurial leadership mindset managing and leading blockbuster brands nationally and globally. Azzie also applied her experience to launch the first Fair Trade Iranian Saffron in the U.S., under a small business start up known as Pishkesh Market, which is currently on pause due to the sanctions imposed on Iran by the former administration.

Azzie was also trained as an actress in New York City and performed in local theatres and movies, one of which was a short movie landing her the best supporting actress award at an LA film festival.

Season Program Sponsors

Hall Family Foundation

Health Forward Foundation


Sue Seidler Nerman and Lewis Nerman

Marny and John Sherman

William Jewell College