For nearly two decades, Springfield Business Journal has honored women for their accomplishments and contributions, both professionally and in the community, across southwest Missouri. This 19th-annual class of Most Influential Women brings the count to 380 professionals.
The award recognizes the careers, civic leadership and influence of 20 women chosen by an independent panel of judges. The women will be honored during an Oct. 12 luncheon.
This year’s class of honorees range from university executives to banking and finance professionals.
The 2018 Most Influential Women honorees, in alphabetical order, are:
• Joselyn Baldner, Central Bank of the Ozarks;
• Tara Benson, Missouri State University;
• Chelsey Bode, Pearson-Kelly Technology;
• Paula Brookshire, Springfield Public Works;
• Rhonda Christopher, BKD Wealth Advisors LLC;
• Emily Denniston, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce;
• Bridget Dierks, Community Foundation of the Ozarks Inc.;
• Lorianne Dunn, Springfield Little Theatre;
• Carol Embree, Springfield Public Schools;
• Daphne Greenlee, Mercy Springfield Communities;
• Jessica Harmison-Olson, Club Management Services LLC;
• Erin Hayes-Dennis, College of the Ozarks;
• Stacey James, James Financial Partners LLC;
• Caitlin Kissee, Propel People Development LLC;
• Jessica Kruse, Christian County Circuit Court;
• Lori Letterman, Webster County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office;
• Jessica Martin, Martin & Wall LLC;
• Andrea Sitzes, Show Me Christian County;
• Sheila Thomas, Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce; and
• Shanda Trautman, Old Missouri Bank.
The Most Influential Women luncheon will begin with a silent auction at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 12 at University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center, 333 S. John Q. Hammons Parkway.
Springfield Business Journal has partnered with local nonprofit Women in Need for the event in an effort to raise money and help provide resources to enable women and provide a hand up.
Visit SBJ’s Most Influential Women awards page for more information on the event.
Visionhealth Eye Center in Republic moved; Gettin’ Basted expanded north to Springfield; and the second Springfield facility for Blue Iguana Car Wash opened.
Jennifer Charleston, a 20-year veteran of the Springfield Police Department and the only female lieutenant in the department, talks with SBJ’s Christine Temple about her career in law enforcement and her new position in the department as a liaison to the LGBTQ+ community.
Moving from physical meetings to digital meetings can feel like a barrier, but Mackenzie Scherer, an independent technology business consultant, says it can be an opportunity. Scherer says that with good moderation, a digital meeting experience can make people feel more included in the discussion.
Abby Glenn, development director for Habitat for Humanity, says corporate partners are a huge asset to the work they do. Corporate donation matching programs help individual donors feel they are contributing more and help Habitat for Humanity cover the large costs of their projects.
Alex Neville-Verdugo, museum director at the Discovery Center in Springfield, describes the opportunities the Discovery Center has through partnerships with other educational organizations. Neville-Verdugo says the Discovery Center’s virtual learning program reaches across multiple countries, with traffic mostly coming from the U.S. and Canada.
Elizabeth Hurst, business development manager at HR Advantage, says we do see fewer women in the workforce today than before the pandemic. Hurst says many women want more flexible work environments and that is one way employers can capture the female labor force.
Curtis Marshall, CEO of Tie & Timber Beer Company, says he sees work-life balance very differently. When he was younger, he would push himself to take on more and more responsibility, but would stop and put his career on hold for months while living in New Zealand or Mexico, or to start a pet software project. He says he lives by the philosophy of work hard and play hard.
Brent Cochran didn’t think he would become a retailer, but when thinking of ways to keep his young adult son with Down syndrome intellectually engaged, he came across a father and son team that did just that. Cochran, now owner of Al’s Pals Pet Place, says both the needs of his son and his affection for the family dog with a sensitive stomach led him to the world of e-commerce.
Michelle Romero, co-owner of PKD Venue, says her business has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by changing its business model to include food service. Now on top of serving as a venue for rent, they can keep revenue through online and pick up and go orders.
Dr. Clifton Petty, dean of the Breech School of Business at Drury University, lists three priorities for an effective MBA program. Petty says an entrepreneurial focus, a cohesive group of fellow students and an emphasis on hands-on experience are things students should look for in an MBA program. This is sponsored content.
Megan Short, the executive director of the Springfield Contractors Association, discusses her company’s organization strategies to encourage networking. She encourages organizing networking events around some activity and working to explicitly provide time during events for people to chat and have conversation.