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.
Auto service veterans choose Springfield for long-term investments in Blue Iguana.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares helpful advice and cautionary tips about the importance of tracking cash flow for new or established businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Michael Smith and Chris Sawyer, COO and CEO of Next Level Solutions respectively, discuss how they keep their remote teams and offices in and out of country on the same page. Next Level Solutions was ranked #1 in the Springfield Business Journal's 2021 Dynamic Dozen.
John Oke-Thomas, architect and co-founder of minorities in business, responds to the accusation that minority businesses are only successful because of the priority they have received in lending. He says that if a business uses a loan well, it shows their worth.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares tips for entrepreneurs who are ready to seek funding. Some of her tips apply broadly; some target technology industry businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and startups, and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Hollie Elliott discusses common misconceptions about locating your business in a small town. She says that there are a lot of benefits that people may not consider.
Drawing on his own experience dynamically evolving his company and business model, Jim Meinsen discusses when and how you might need to draw on new technology. Jim and Debbie Meinsen are co-owners of TCI Graphics in Springfield.
John Oke-Thomas, longtime Springfield architect, discusses his philosophy on architecture. He says that future historians will be focused on the sustainability of our contemporary architecture.
Erin Hedlun, director of marketing and communications at Evangel University, says compassion is an important job skill. Hedlun says it is a component of what makes a leader.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistree Pottery, talks about the concepting that went behind the aesthetic of the business.
Caleb Scott, coach and co-owner of Queen City Insane Asylum football team, says he had to sacrifice early on to make sure his team had places to play. With the business climate at the time, it wasn't easy.