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Opinion: SBJ adds events to recognize top employers, nonprofits in 2024

Publisher's Perspective

Posted online

As we look ahead to 2024, it is with great pleasure that we introduce two new awards programs to round out Springfield Business Journal’s slate of events celebrating excellence in our business community: Employers of Choice and Nonprofit Excellence Awards. It will undoubtedly be a busy year with 10 awards celebrations and 14 editorial content events, but each brings important and unique recognition to the people, organizations and initiatives shaping the local business landscape. By shining a spotlight on their excellence, we hope to inspire others and foster a culture of growth and innovation.

First, SBJ will reintroduce Employers of Choice on June 28, 2024. Some of you may still remember an event by the name of Choice Employers that was produced and hosted by SBJ from 2006 to 2013. Following a successful run of eight years, the event was retired when the list of honorees and the stories they had to tell became somewhat static. Now, however, with virtually all businesses thriving in and out of the area and competing to attract and retain talent in a post-COVID environment, shining the light on those organizations that prioritize their employees’ well-being, growth and development has become more important than ever before.

This event will celebrate employers who go above and beyond to create a positive work environment, foster a culture of inclusivity, provide opportunities for professional advancement, and who have comprehensive compensation and benefits packages. By recognizing these exceptional employers, we hope to raise the bar by inspiring others to excellence and thus elevating the overall quality of workplaces in our area.

Next, look for SBJ’s Nonprofit Excellence Awards to make its debut on Aug. 29, 2024. Much like Employers of Choice, the dawning of Nonprofit Excellence Awards will be a reintroduction to the local business community. The event was first produced by Drury University through what was then known as the Center for Nonprofit Leadership under the direction of Dan Prater. The event continued for two years with Prater in 2019 and 2020 following his move to FORVIS LLP, then BKD. As we are all painfully aware, public events of all kinds took a long hiatus immediately after.

The staff of SBJ is delighted and honored to bring back the tradition in 2024 with FORVIS as the presenting sponsor and Prater and Carly Taft in advisory roles. In an era where social responsibility and community engagement are paramount, it is crucial to acknowledge the remarkable contributions made by nonprofit organizations, their leaders, donors and volunteers. This event will serve as a platform to honor and celebrate the exceptional work carried out by these organizations in our community.

Similar to other SBJ events, nominations can be submitted via throughout the year. Nominations for these two newest events are expected to open by Oct. 1, 2023. Application packages will be sent to all nominees following the nomination deadline and materials will then be evaluated and scored by an independent panel of judges.

As we look forward to the upcoming year, these two business events will undoubtedly serve as catalysts for positive change in our community. By recognizing employers of choice and nonprofit excellence, we aim to inspire others, foster collaboration and create a business environment that values social responsibility and employee well-being. Join us in celebrating these remarkable achievements and let us collectively shape a brighter future for our community.

Springfield Business Journal Publisher Jennifer Jackson can be reached at


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