The Sedalia Business Women named their Women of the Year and Employer of the Year at its annual public relations dinner held Thursday night at the Sedalia Shrine Club, 1375 Elm Hills Blvd.

This year, the SBW chose to honor two women – Dr. Joanna Anderson, State Fair Community College president; and Bothwell CEO Lori Wightman, RN, FACHE.

Both had plans to attend the dinner, but neither were aware they were being recognized by the club. Both were joined by family members and friends who were hidden away in the back of the building until the announcement was made.

Betty Albrecht introduced Anderson and Wightman to a crowd of well over 70 people attending the beef brisket dinner, produced by Dennis Gerke.

Dr. Anderson was the first to speak after receiving her award from Albrecht, who chaired the Woman of the Year Committee.

“I just have to say it's great to be a co-woman of the year,” Anderson quipped.

“Encourage those around you to learn and achieve that goal that will help them be successful. Recognize those doing good work and set an example for others that they will want to follow,” Anderson said in her speech.

Anderson, who has lived in Sedalia for the past eight-and-a-half years, is retiring from SFCC in May. “I will truly miss Sedalia, because this is a giving and caring community," she said.

“I'm inspired by what SFCC does for our students, our workforce, our communities, and the 14-county region we serve ... The lesson for me here is I get to work at a place that inspires me, because of the impact all of those who work there, has on others,” Anderson concluded.

Anderson is the SFCC's fifth president, and has 35 years of experience working in the community college setting.

Wightman was next to speak at the PR dinner, and she also hit upon SBW President Robin Balke's theme for her tenure, “Encourage, Inspire and Empower.” Balke is the Sedalia SBW's 84th president.

Wightman said that her first and biggest influence on who she is today was her father.

“The three imprints my father had on me was “all skills are transferable,” “make a point, but do no harm,” and “embrace who you are, or who you were meant to be.”

She concluded her speech by saying “mentors lead us, if we are willing and open, if we are curious and want to explore and are open to learning. Be good at being you. Know what that means. Make a point without doing harm. And do not underestimate your transferrable skills.”

McCarthy Toyota was named the SBW's Employer of the Year. Accepting the award was communications director Karl Kramer.

“I think of each of you as leaders,” he told the SWB members, adding that leadership was important during COVID.

“Because as each of you are leaders, you solve issues that come up when there's adversity... you figure it out. Women are a strong part of our organization – our company has 650 employees. I see the impact of women that I get the chance to work with – whether it's economic development, government, local business, Chamber of Commerce – and they play a really important role, and I'm better because I get to work with a lot of strong women that are leaders that help overcome in times of need,” Kramer said in his speech.

--The Missouri Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Club Inc. was formed in 1923 to support women in training, education, and legislative issues. The organization continued under this name until it was re-chartered in 2010 as the Business Women of Missouri.

The Business Women of Missouri is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, self-governing, and member-supported organization, which encourages its members to “Believe in the Power of Women”. The mission of the Business Women of Missouri is to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education, and information.

The Sedalia chapter of the Business Women of Missouri and Professional Women’s Club was established in 1928, and when the state club re-chartered in 2010, Sedalia followed suit and was re-named the Sedalia Business Women (or SBW as we refer to it). SBW began with 30 members, grew to as large as 233, and although our membership is nowhere close to that number, our club is currently the largest chapter of the Missouri Business Women and the second-oldest civic organization in Sedalia; second only to the Sedalia Rotary Club.

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