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2021 Economic Impact Awards: 'A heart for helping'

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Earning the Lifetime Achievement in Business Award is an extremely humbling experience. Springfield Business Journal founder Dianne Elizabeth Osis had the vision to begin this prestigious award 21 years ago. I was fortunate enough to be the recipient in 2017, and the company I founded, Penmac Staffing, has been honored with Economic Impact Awards multiple times.

This year’s Lifetime Achievement winner, Nancy O’Reilly, has always had a heart for helping women achieve their potential. I first met Nancy at St. John’s Regional Health Center, now Mercy. She was a health care professional in the mental health division. I remember her dedication to meeting the needs of her patients with compassion. Later, she started her business with a mission of helping people with addictions. She worked extremely hard, encouraging employers to help their employees by enrolling them in a comprehensive treatment plan in her clinic. The goal was for the employee to gain freedom from addiction and return to their employment. It was a successful venture.

Today, she devotes her time and resources to a worldwide mission of helping women gain independence from poverty and gender inequities through her Women Connect4Good Foundation. She is a tireless advocate for women to improve their lives. I have been honored to be involved with Suit Yourself Boutique in downtown Springfield, which provides upscale business clothing to women to help them succeed in the workforce. Thanks to Nancy’s support, hundreds of women in the Ozarks have been given a boost in their careers and self-confidence. That is only one small piece of the powerful work done by Women Connect4Good.

Like Nancy, all of this year’s EIA honorees have made a lasting impact on the Ozarks by providing excellent services and products, creating thousands of employment opportunities, and donating countless dollars and volunteer hours. Congratulations to Nancy and all the winners. Our community is a better place because of your caring.

Patti Penny is the founder of Penmac Staffing Services Inc. and the 2017 Lifetime Achievement in Business honoree from Springfield Business Journal.

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