The Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce held our annual Women in Business Luncheon this past Tuesday. It was such an honor to recognize three outstanding women. Silvia Hernandez, Woman Owned Business; Linda Stiefel, Woman in Management and Kelli Gardner, Woman in Community Leadership.

Nanda Patel, owner of Holiday Inn Express & Suites and presenting sponsor, welcomed everyone saying “We are all leaders in business with a small addition to the line – women.” She continued with words of empowerment and encouragement for the close to 150 guests attending. DeeDee Frierson, owner of Lighthouse Business Network, gave the invocation with words from the book of Ester. Lunch was served on tables decorated by some of our local businesses, Suite K Salon & Spa, Carter’s Beverages, Tiger Lily Flowers and Gifts, Mountain Town Mercantile, Fort Payne Footworks, Alice Circle and Tracy Jones Realtor with Southern Properties.

Each event is made possible through sponsorships. These sponsors are the ones giving back to their communities and the best way to thank them is by utilizing their services. Our table sponsors this year were: Presenting Sponsor Holiday Inn Express & Suites; Table Sponsors were Nucor/Vulcraft, Farmers Telecommunication Cooperative, First State Bank, Times-Journal, First Fidelity Bank, Twin City Used Cars, Go Play Therapy, The City of Fort Payne, Summer Summerford for District Attorney (Paid for by friend of Summer Summerford) and America’s Best Care Plus.

Heather Lebischak was our guest speaker. She talked about appreciation in the workplace and how everyone’s idea of appreciation is different. It is so important to understand individually how your employees would like to be recognized. Makes sense huh, we are all different and while one may want public recognition many do not, so find out how to best appreciate your employees.

It was my pleasure to introduce our Woman Owned Business recipient Silvia Hernandez, owner of Go Play Therapy, a pediatric speech and occupational therapy center in Fort Payne. Silvia took the stage to thank everyone and gave a moving speech that had the audience in tears. Tricia Clinton-Dunne introduced our Woman in Management recipient, Linda Stiefel, Advertising Manager with the Times-Journal. Linda has been with the Times-Journal since the late 80’s making her mark in our community through her dedication to her clients and engagement with fundraising and community event participation. Next, Logan Legrande with Marked for Life Ministries introduced Kelli Gardner our Woman in Community Leadership. Kelli serves the community tirelessly always placing God first and doing what she says she is called to do. Kelli is a doer she is hands on and volunteers primarily with Marked for Life Ministries now, however over the years she has volunteered for many non-profit organizations. You can learn more by picking up a copy of DeKalb Living. Everyone at the event took home a copy as well, thank you Times-Journal.

Food was catered by Luann Hastings and dessert was lemon and toffee Macarons from Buttersnob/Blue Jug (the best I have ever tasted). Alan Kilgo, President of  Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and owner of My Supply was accompanied by some pretty awesome men in our community, and they served the tables. Servers included: Walter Watson Fort Payne City Council President, Mayor Brian Baine, Dana Goggans, Lee Davis, Kendall Shankles, Glenn Horton, Slade Carden and Todd Greeson. We closed the event with door prizes from those who provided table decorations plus DeKalb Sportsman & Pawn, Southern Properties, Metal Market and Hospice of North Alabama.

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