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MOTIVATIONAL MESSAGE: Stacia Matthews gives the keynote speech at the Women in Business luncheon and awards on Aug. 21, 2019.

Six women were honored Wednesday at the annual Women in Business luncheon at the Elite Banquet & Conference Center in Kokomo.

The event, which is sponsored by Heartland Magazine, featured a variety of vendors, raffles, a guest speaker and the six businesswomen.

The theme this year was “What anchors you, what keeps you centered?” and the importance of helping and encouraging other women.

The guest speaker, Stacia Matthews, is a former health reporter and motivational speaker. She told the crowd of approximately 140 about her almost deadly stroke and subsequent coma and physical therapy, and the struggles she is still overcoming.

Matthews said after she had the stroke she had to relearn to do everything, from brushing her teeth to communicating with people.

She encouraged the crowd to “know their numbers” regarding blood pressure and other health indicators, and to remember that with determination, women can overcome seemingly unbeatable challenges.

After Matthews and lunch, the event turned to honoring the six women who were named Women in Business for 2019.

They are:

  • Jennifer Conyers, director of sales at Five Star Residences of North Woods Commons in Kokomo.

Conyers said her journey to where she is today was “God-given.”

“I didn’t know anything about senior living and I started blind on a wing and a prayer. … I am blessed daily by our residents, staff and families. Helping seniors and their families in a time of need is a true calling for me. I have built so many lasting memories and friendships.

“Our residents teach me daily about their lives, history, grace, staying humble, and remind to love life and people where they are. I would not trade what I do for anything. It’s a true blessing.

  • Buffey Hedrick, CEO of Indiana Heartland Federal Credit Union, Kokomo.

Hedrick credits her success to her joy in serving others.

“I believe success is defined by who you are and who you aspire to be,” she said. “It is about keeping integrity in everything you do. Success is serving others with all your heart no matter what position or title you have.

“… Success is seeing the best in others and not always the worst. Success is accepting your failures, and finding joy in your accomplishments. Success is always being willing to learn.”

  • Annette Russell, president and CEO, Security Federal Savings Bank.

She said women need one another’s support.

“I think women need to know they have support at work, at home and from other women,” she said. “It’s so easy to feel good about yourself when everything is going well, but when something doesn’t go as expected, we beat ourselves up in every aspect of our life. Recognizing that taking risks is admirable and that it’s OK to fail is priceless.”

  • Tami Stout, co-owner, Cone Palace,

She said women need to believe in themselves.

“Dream big and chase your dreams,” she said. “I had to decide life is what I was going to make of it. I knew I was 100 percent responsible for the outcome of success or failure in my career. You have to live a life that’s empowering to you. Learn from your mistakes and believe you can do anything you set your mind on.

  • Pam Leeman of the Hobson Insurance Agency.

Leeman stressed the importance of helping others.

“My parents instilled in me to always find time to give back to your community, she said. “I am so amazed at the satisfaction of enhancing the quality of life in my community. Helping others, by contributions of time, talent or treasure, has always been so very rewarding to me.”

Sponsors for Women in Business 2019 are First Farmers Bank & Trust, Solutions Salon & Spa, and Community Health Network.

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