General Manager, Oasis Hotel & Convention Center
The woman who receives the most votes during online voting and has the biggest crowd at the event will be able to donate a portion of the Indulge event ticket proceeds to her charity. The winner will be announced during Indulge.
What is your local 417-land charity of choice, and why is it important to you?
Your sister. Your best friend. Your coworker. Yourself. Any of these women, along with anyone you know and love, could be or has been a victim. Statistics state that 1 in 3 women are victims of domestic violence each year. Because victims often feel ashamed and frightened of the consequences, they often don't speak out.
Fortunately, here locally resides an organization that is taking a stand against domestic violence by raising awareness and empowering victims to regain their livelihood through the organization's countless programs. As the largest domestic violence shelter in southwest Missouri, Harmony House provides shelter, food, clothing, job assistance and medical attention to victims of domestic violence. The organization also helps victims regain their confidence and independence through counseling and support groups.
Harmony House works tirelessly to raise awareness and educate the community on the impact of domestic violence. The organization hosts a public awareness campaign called iCar, to address the issue and to drive a "quiet" topic to the attention of many. I was honored to be a face for the campaign by wearing a symbolic black eye sticker for flyers and promotional material. The iCare campaign has also featured city officials, community leaders, law enforcement representatives, business owners and victims of domestic violence.
Do you volunteer, or are you involved in any philanthropic or community organizations? If so, what are they, and what do you do?
Small acts when multiplied by many helping hands can transform the world. I currently serve on the board for Harmony House and will once again be involved in this year’s iCare campaign. I am also on the planning committee for the American Cancer Society’s Cattle Barons Ball, an annual event to raise money for cancer research and education. Through my position at the Oasis, I am fortunate to continuously be involved with many additional non-profit organizations and their individual fundraising events throughout the year.
In addition to these philanthropic organizations, I am also involved on the board for the Springfield Hotel Lodging Association which works to bring visitors to the area and contribute to the economic development of the region.
What has been your proudest moment? Or, what are you most proud of?
Leading my team to become the No. 1 hotel out of over 800 hotels with Ramada Worldwide in 2015 stands out as my top career moment. This was an incredible achievement for the Oasis. The winner was selected through guest service reviews, revenue growth and quality assurance inspections. We have since won numerous awards, however achieving #1 was by far my most proudest career moment.
What was one particularly defining moment in your life? A life-changing moment.
Within just a few years, I lost my father and step-father to cancer and my brother-in-law of twenty-five years in an auto accident. The loss of these strong, amazing men left a void in my life. However, coping with the loss has shown me how precious life truly is and taught me to cherish family time, enjoy the small things and appreciate every breath I take. I have set my focus on carrying on the qualities of these three men so that in turn, I will also be remembered as making a positive impact and contribution as a family member, friend, employee and a contribution to my community.
When you were a child, who did you think was the most beautiful woman? Why?
No question, my mother. She was and still is the most beautiful woman I know. I remember how physically beautiful she was when I was growing up, but as I got older, I realized just how beautiful she is on the inside. The sacrifices she made to provide a good home to my brother, sister and I is something that I will always admire. She was a single mother that taught me at a young age what being beautiful truly means - through encouraging me to be true to myself, to be confident, to be kind and to never be jealous of someone else’s successes. She led by example and was living proof of how to be a hardworking, successful, and independent woman.
What do you think is the biggest issue or challenge 417-land is facing right now, and how would you tackle it?
Opiates and heroin are one of the biggest issues currently haunting 417-land, in my opinion. It is an ugly subject but it is affecting a great amount of people through their own addiction or those close to them and destroying countless lives. Addiction has no gender or race, age, or social class. The effect of these dangerous and destructive drugs are not only on the user but also on the ones that love them.
Addiction has a huge impact on our community because it often correlates with criminal activity such as theft, burglary, domestic violence and assault crimes. It also creates homelessness and panhandling. If our community could find a way to decrease drug usage, I am confident that we would also experience a decrease in crime. I believe that by creating more awareness and education of how to recognize the signs of drug use and abuse initially, making treatment more accessible and less taboo, as well as providing support and counseling for those fighting the battle for someone else are a reasonable start to tackling the issue.
Drug addiction affects people all around us and sometimes people that we would least expect. This horrible epidemic has affected my life through someone very close to me struggling with addiction. If we stand together and let our voices be heard, change will happen and recovery will be a growing trend within the community.
See the winners in the September issue!
Get to know our 10 Most Beautiful even better. Then, watch them walk the runway at 417 Magazine's Indulge on September 13 at Oasis Hotel and Convention Center.