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Monday, October 08, 2012 9:48 PM

Thursday seminar aims to ‘invest’ in local women

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer

Judging by a growing attendance, organizers of the Investing in Women luncheon seminars say they are paying dividends.

Sixty-seven women are signed up to attend the Investing in Women seminar Thursday at Neosho County Community College to hear medical professionals from Ransom Memorial Hospital, 1301 S. Main St., Ottawa, talk about women’s health — in conjunction with national breast cancer awareness month. That preliminary attendance figure is up 17 from the group’s first seminar in July when Kay Barnes, former Kansas City, Mo., mayor, talked with 50 attendees about leadership, Michelle Smith said.  

“We were hoping to have 35 [people] attend our first seminar in July and got 50, so we were pleased with the turnout,” Smith, a commercial loan assistant with Arvest Bank in Ottawa, said. “Most of the responses we got from the first seminar were very positive.”

Smith said she got the idea to start the Investing in Women seminars after reading in an Arvest company newsletter about similar seminars taking place in the Arkansas communities of Bentonville and Rogers.

“It’s a chance for women to get together and network a little bit and share ideas,” Smith said. “It’s also a chance to learn about each other’s businesses, hear a good speaker and pick up tips and hints from each other and support each other.”

Smith enlisted the help of five other local businesswomen in April to pull the seminar series together. Those women — Lisa Johnson, Franklin County administrator; Tina Albers, Walmart Logistics general manager; Marie Gardner, associate dean for Neosho’s online campus; Barb Gibson, coordinator of operations and alternative education for Greenbush; and Genevieve Des Marteau, KOFO production director — are helping Smith coordinate the quarterly seminars.

Thursday’s seminar is set for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the auditorium at Neosho County Community College, 900 E. Logan St., Ottawa. Attendees will have the chance to network from 11:30 a.m. until noon, when the program will start.

“A box lunch will be provided to everyone who signed up for the seminar, and we’ll wrap a little before 1 p.m.,” Smith said.

Brenda Pfizenmaier, clinical dietitian and certified exercise instructor with Ransom Memorial Hospital, will talk with the group about ways to fit exercise into their hectic schedules, Smith said.

“We are all busy and don’t have a lot of time, so Brenda is going to tell us what we can do to stay fit and stay healthy in the limited time we have to devote to exercise every week,” Smith said.

Dr. Sara Krueger with the hospital also will talk about maintaining health and wellness, Smith said, as well as general women’s health topics.

The group’s next Investing in Women seminar is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 31 and will tackle the topic of social media.

“The seminar will look at how you can use social media to your advantage in your business, while avoiding some of the [social media] pitfalls,” Smith said.  

Smith said she was encouraged that although a half dozen women returned RSVPs saying other commitments would keep them from attending Thursday’s seminar, they asked to remain on the group’s mailing list for January’s seminar.

“I’m pleased with the attendance so far,” Smith said. “We asked everyone who is planning to attend to bring along a friend. I hope it will continue to grow.”

Doug Carder is senior writer for The Herald. Email him at

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