The Mississippi Business Journal hosted the state’s 50 Leading Business Women for a busy two days of networking, socializing and professional development August 20-21. The celebration of business success marked the 12th year for one of the state’s leading awards programs.
“It is an honor for us to recognize these women,” said MBJ editor and publisher Ed Darling. “Over the past 12 years, 600 of the best and brightest women in business have been part of this special program. They represent more than 80 communities — it is truly statewide in its reach.”
Getting started with Girls’ Night Out
This year’s festivities began with limousines to the historic Governor’s Mansion for a Girls’ Night Out reception followed by dinner at the Fairview Inn.
“Girls’ Night Out is a rare opportunity for busy professionals to get to know one another,” said MBJ advertising director Kathy Arich, who coordinated this year’s 50 Women program. “It is also a time when we can ‘let our hair down’ so to speak.”
There were three types of sparkling wine from Barefoot Cellars provided by E J Gallo Wines along with an assortment of cheeses served in the beautifully appointed dining room in the Governor’s Mansion, according to Arich.
At the Fairview, the women were greeted by owner Peter Sharp and then served a four-course dinner in the garden room.
“All courses were paired with an assortment of lovely Mirrasou wines provided by E J Gallo wines,” Arich said.
Day two started early with breakfast and a slate of seminars at Hinds Community College’s Eagle Ridge Conference Center in Raymond. The day was capped off by the annual awards luncheon. Speakers included Pat Franklin of BankPlus, Sister Dorothea Sondgeroth, president of St. Dominic Health Services and Vickie Powell of the Mississippi Economic Council.
Giving the keynote address was Margo Hemphill. Hemphill is owner of Oneway Inc., a graphic design and promotional products firm in Jackson, and an author, motivational speaker and a comedian.
Sponsors for the event were BankPlus, St. Dominic Health Services, the Mississippi Economic Council, Southwest Airlines, E&J Gallo Winery and the Women’s Business Council Gulf Coast.
Past winners participated in this year’s awards luncheon.
“That was really nice of them,” said MBJ account executive Ashley Varnes, who oversaw the luncheon’s door prize giveaway. “For them to continue to support 50 Women speaks well of the event.”
Members of the 50 Women Advisory Committee are Carolyn Boteler, president and owner of TempStaff, a 50 Women class of 2001; Lauren McGraw, owner of McGraw’s Gotta Go Portable Toilets, class of 2003; Shirley Hall, vice president of Hall’s Towing Service, class of 2003; Charlotte Reeves, president of A-1 Pallet Company, class of 2003; and Gay Saxon, coordinator of training services at Eagle Ridge, class of 2004.
A special magazine profiling each of this year’s 50 Women winners will be published later this month. Contact Arich at (601) 364-1011 or firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Business Woman of the Year
In January, the 2009 Business Woman of the Year will be announced as part of the Mississippi Business & Technology EXPO.
“We hope that everyone will join us as we recognize Mississippi’s leading business woman. Save the date — 1/15/09,” Arich said. “We will honor the top 10 finalists and celebrate the 2009 Business Woman of the Year with family, friends and colleagues.”
Complete details will be available online at www.msbusiness.com later this fall.
Contact MBJ staff writer Clay Chandler at clay.chandler@ msbusiness.com .