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Women's accomplishments influence community at large

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Once again it is time for Springfield Business Journal’s commemoration of the 20 Most Influential Women in southwest Missouri.

In addition to sharing their stories through this special publication, these women are the guests of honor at a Sept. 24 luncheon. We asked Doug Pitt, co-owner of ServiceWorld
Computer Center and co-founder of Care to Learn, to be a speaker at the 2010 event, along with Morey Mechlin, a longtime community advocate who’s now executive director of Care to Learn and served as master of ceremonies.

This year’s group of Most Influential Women is SBJ’s 11th class of influential women, bringing the honoree total to 220. The annual event brings together several hundred community and business leaders at the University Plaza Convention Center.

When speaking with a friend recently about the MIW celebration, he inquired if I was talking about “the thing for women.” I quickly – and maybe even a little tersely – replied, “No. I’m speaking of the event at which 20 women are honored for their professional accomplishments and their civic contributions. It’s the event that is annually attended by somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 women and men.”

Perhaps some would say that my response was merely splitting hairs, but my reaction reminded me how strongly I feel about the need to recognize and encourage the kind of leadership and selflessness exemplified by these extraordinary women in our community.

The size of the crowd each year tells me that there are others who share my genuine gratitude and awe of these women. It serves as a reminder that great women influence the lives of men, women and children all around us every day.

Everyone should be engaged in cheering these women on and recognizing their efforts.
Simply put, it’s not just a girl thing.

SBJ Publisher Dianne Elizabeth Osis, my mother and an influential woman in my life, shares her thoughts on Most Influential Women.

“The importance of this event and editorial focus has not diminished over time,” she says. “There are so many women whose hard work and sheer determination have formed the backbone of this community.”

The honorees featured in this booklet were among roughly 200 women nominated for recognition. Once nominated, each woman received a questionnaire that required written responses to these questions:
• How have you demonstrated leadership in your endeavors?
• As a leader/woman of influence, what is your proudest accomplishment?
• How have you influenced the success of others?
• Detail your leadership and influence in civic affairs.

Completed questionnaires were returned, along with a résumé and letter of recommendation for each applicant. The letter of recommendation is a fairly recent addition to the application packets. Though all of these women have reasons to brag, we find that most still find it foreign to detail their accomplishments.

Selecting the 20 women falls not to the staff of Springfield Business Journal, but to an independent panel of five judges. (Meet this year’s judges on Page 4).

The judges were instructed to score each response, voluntarily recusing themselves in instances where they may have lacked objectivity. Each judge’s scores were averaged and ranked, with Most Influential Women honors going to those with the highest scores.

Our writers used the application packets to put together profiles on each of the 20 women for this publication. What follows in these pages are the women’s stories from their individual perspectives. You will find women from all walks of business and life.

There are women who have overcome adversity, women who find purpose in how they are able to help others and women who find humor in the challenges that come along the way.

In addition to their profiles, we also asked the women to tell us more about themselves and their families, with some additional questions added in just for fun.

The staff of Springfield Business Journal is very honored to be associated with these women and to present their stories. Please join us in congratulating the 2010 Class of Most Influential Women.[[In-content Ad]]

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