|President’s Message - Michelle Sparks, 2013-2014
Building a Strong Foundation: Pay It Forward
I am very honored to serve as your president. I chose my theme “Building a Strong Foundation...Pay it Forward” because it defines who I am.
I have been building my foundation for the past ten years. I joined this organization by way of Nancy Grey, who was my boss at the time at Applebee’s at the time, and is currently Business Women of Missouri state president. Nancy invited me to come check out this organization and see what it had to offer for women who were striving to be their best by doing their best.
Arlene Wischmeier, past president and past woman of the year, took me under her wing and began mentoring me. She encouraged me to apply for the scholarships Sedalia Business Women offers to women who are going back to school to further their education. Arlene also showed me what this club is so gracious about doing—giving back to our community. I became involved in Special Projects Committee and Foundation Committee. At that time in my life, I was a full time student, mother, and wife, but also worked outside the home thirty-plus hours weekly.
I found time for other outside interests and was a supervisor judge at the local election polls. I met another person there who I call my encourager, Anne Hamilton. She is a past local president and active long time member of this club. Anne is one of the club members who encouraged me to take an active interest in this organization, first as a member and now as an officer. She has encouraged me to do my best to “go set the world on fire.”
I want to give special recognition to another woman who was a friend when I needed it the most and meant a lot to me and my family. She was a past president and woman of the year—Doris Tippie. Her enthusiasm was such a delight to my life, and I will always cherish her friendship.
Where I would like to see this organization go this year? I have a few goals I would like to see our group accomplish:
- To retain our current membership, but also build onto our membership. I encourage you to invite friends and co-workers to come be part of our club. To continue “Building a Strong Foundation.”
- To be involved with Domestic Violence Awareness. That is why I chose the passionate, vibrant royal color, purple. It stands on its own accord by saying “I am a survivor.” I would like to see our club give support to the local community shelter, whether by volunteering time, donations of needed items, or through monetary donations.
- Vote to let your voice be heard. Be active in letting our legislators know how you feel about women issues and the Equal Rights Amendment. As the saying goes “Vote early and vote often.” We have a voice; we need to be heard. I have been a supervisor judge for ten-plus years, at voting polls. I feel that it is important to keep ourselves informed on the voting issues at hand.
I have seen many changes over the past decade as this group of women continues to embrace the old and yet remain flexible enough to embrace the name change from BPW to SBW. The women before me who served as president laid the groundwork of a strong foundation that we can continue building on.
When I told past state president, Betty Beason, that I was the next local president for Sedalia, she said, “You have some big shoes to fill.” I hope I am up to the challenge ahead of me, and with your support, I know I can be.
I especially like “Pay it Forward” as the best way to give back what has been given to you. By paying it forward, I have been involved in a woman-to-woman mentoring program. I’ve mentored several different individuals over the past several years. Watching them grow and give back to their community gives me joy to know I had a hand in their growth. They are stronger for participating in this program. To know that someone cares and supports you means a lot. My challenge to you is to become a mentor to someone you may not know very well and give them your support without expecting anything in return. I promise you, you will be rewarded, and it will come back to you in other ways.
Lastly, I would like to thank those that got me here to this point in my life: my family. To my husband Chris—your support means a lot to me. Thank you for allowing me to pursue my dreams. I know it has been a sacrifice on your behalf with me gone a lot, involved in many different organizations. I thank you for putting up with me and always loving me for the past twenty-three years.
To my daughter Ashley, I hope you will always pursue your heart’s desire. Don’t settle for anything less. I hope I have helped you become a strong, independent individual who will always seek to strive the best life has to offer. I want you to know how proud I am of you. You amaze me every day by how much you are growing up from a child to young adult. I know with my determination and your dad’s stubbornness, you are going to go far in life. I hope someday if you get the chance, you will be able to “Pay It Forward.” I love you both. Sometimes I take that for granted and don’t say it often enough.
To my grandma: thank you for being a positive role model in my life. You are always giving from your heart and wanting only the best for others. Love you.
To my friends who support me. I have had a lot of wonderful memories with you. Many of you have been a rock, a steady constant, and always there in my corner during the good times and bad. You have had my back, and I have yours. You are a solid piece of my foundation. I can count on you to be there to encourage me along the way.
To Linda Fisher: Thank you for taking me under your supervision wing. I hope I can “fill those big shoes” you are leaving behind and carry on where you are leaving off. You helped our organization out when we were experiencing some difficult changes. You did it with class, grace and made it look so effortless. Your encouraging words over this past year have meant a lot to me.
I hope this year holds a lot of promise and surprises. Expect the unexpected. I know it will be a challenging and a fun year. With my officers and club support, we can “Build a Strong Foundation by Paying it Forward” together.
SBW President 2013-14
Mission Statement: To achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education, and information.
We have upgraded our website to include a NEWS section. This section is your resource for information about conferences, community events, meeting calendar, friendship lunch dates and locations, latest news and club newsletters. The news and newsletter menu items on this website will take you to the new section.
Meeting: Sedalia Business Women holds a monthly general membership dinner meeting on the First Thursday of each month at 6:30 PM at the Best Western Inn, 3120 S. Limit, Sedalia, MO. Guests and visitors are welcomed.
Next Meeting: See schedule in Event Calendar.
Friendship Luncheon: Friendship luncheons are every Wednesday at 11:30 at various local restaurants. Join other Sedalia Business Women friends for fun and fellowship. The schedule can be found HERE.