Nancy O'Reilly, an author and gender equality advocate, last night accepted Springfield Business Journal's Lifetime Achievement in Business distinction at the annual Economic Impact Awards.
The founder of 10-year-old nonprofit Women Connect4Good Inc. spoke to the power of building a community behind a cause during a ceremony held at Oasis Hotel & Convention Center.
"No one gets anywhere by themselves," she said. "We're all in this together."
Established in 2011, Women Connect4Good helps women network with others and raise their status. The nonprofit fills funding requests for organizations promoting the cause, and O'Reilly often is called to speak on gender equality topics.
"The most important thing I had to do was empower myself first," she said last night.
O'Reilly's Lifetime Achievement honor came at the conclusion of the Economic Impact Awards, which were timed to coordinate with SBJ's anniversary. The business journal is in its 42nd year in operation.
During the event, emcee Jeff Seifried of Connell Insurance Inc. announced the winners of awards honoring companies for years of service.
In the category of 75+ years in business, CoxHealth took the top honor. Finalists were College of the Ozarks and Mercy Springfield Communities.
Bolivar-based Citizens Memorial Hospital was No. 1 in the category of 30-74 years in business. Central Bank of the Ozarks and Court Appointed Special Advocates of Southwest Missouri also were honored.
For 16-29 years in business, Jordan Valley Community Health Center was the winner over finalists Abacus CPAs LLC and Pearson-Kelly Technology.
Phoenix Home Care and Hospice was No. 1 for eight to 15 years in business. Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Inc. and Hurts Donut Co. were runners-up.
Pitt Technology Group won top honors for one to seven years in business, with Pure & Clean LLC and TheraCare Outpatient Services LLC as finalists.
The Economic Impact Awards additionally honored the Missouri Small Business Development Center as Business Advocate of the Year; O'Reilly Automotive Inc. as Philanthropic Business of the Year; Laura Farmer with CASA as Community Involvement Champion of the Year; Don Helms with Munchie Mo's Sauces LLC as Entrepreneur of the Year; and Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri Inc. as Charitable Nonprofit of the Year.
Profiles on the honorees will be published in SBJ's Aug. 2 print edition.
Raleigh, North Carolina-based Advance Auto Parts opened its first store in Springfield; Natural Grocers made its Springfield debut; and a business owner with experience in the insurance, financial planning and digital marketing fields entered the restaurant industry.
Marc Thornsberry, a Senior Engineer at CJW, says he joined the company after working in the public sphere. He says CJW had a ton of experience working with the community, and putting their customer's and clients.
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.