By Michelle Higginbotham, associate publisher

Reading this year’s nominations for Women of Influence brought one of my favorite sayings to mind, “People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it,” attributed to the author George Bernard Shaw. Reviewing the list of accomplishments of this talented group of ladies makes you wonder how they find enough hours in the day.

I am often asked about the selection process, and while there is no magic formula, I can tell you that the selection committee looks for women who have gone above and beyond the requirements of their jobs. In other words, are they involved in the community because it’s part of their job description or is their service in addition to their employment? While many of our recipients over the years have been small business owners, that is certainly not a requirement, and neither is being employed, for that matter. One of this year’s honorees is retired but her nominator pointed out that she had made volunteering her post-retirement career. Her continued involvement in the community and efforts to advocate for other women were impressive.

While some people receive multiple nominations or are nominated more than one year in a row, we look for quality of the nomination information rather than quantity of nominations for a particular person. It’s always helpful when a nominator takes the time to explain in detail the nominee’s accomplishments, particularly when specific examples are cited. It gives the reviewers a sense of how passionate the nominee is about their community involvement, versus someone who may be only be involved in activities related to their own children or church.

I was working at the Springfield Business Journal in 2004 when we partnered with Security Bank to launch the Women of Influence program. Security Bank’s commitment to the community and encouraging women in leadership roles is evident in their own staff, so they were a natural fit for this program. I’m pleased to now be back at the Business Journal to celebrate the 10th year of recognizing Women of Influence in our community.

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