Highland News Leader

Highland Business Women’s Club hands out awards

Award Winners: From left are Highland IFBW award winners Peggy Sebastian, Boss of the Year; Lisa Sauer, Woman of Achievement; and Maura Donnelly, Women Mean Business Award; along with Becky Obermark, Highland IFBW president.
Award Winners: From left are Highland IFBW award winners Peggy Sebastian, Boss of the Year; Lisa Sauer, Woman of Achievement; and Maura Donnelly, Women Mean Business Award; along with Becky Obermark, Highland IFBW president. Courtesy photo

HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital president and CEO, Terra Property’s chief financial officer, and a local State Farm Insurance agent were honored by other local business women at the Highland IFBW’s annual Boss & Guest Night on Nov. 9 at Windows on Broadway.

Peggy Sebastian, the president of chief executive officer of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland, was named Boss of the Year. Lisa Sauer, who has a State Farm Insurance office in Highland, was honored as this year’s Woman of Achievement, and Maura Donnelly, CFO of Terra Properties in Highland, was given the club’s “Women Mean Business” Award.

Any IFBW member or committee may submit a nomination in any of the awards. Nominees are judged on essays of 1,000 words or less.

“As women helping women, we believe in recognizing our own members for their achievements, recognizing local female business women for their achievements, and recognizing bosses who support our mission and provide community leadership,” said Becky Obermark, Highland IFBW president.

Peggy Sebastian, Boss of the Year

Award criteria: Supports the IFBW organization and its objectives, attitude toward employees, outstanding achievement in his/her career, assistance to women employees for further advancement, outstanding guidance to youth in the community, service in volunteer efforts in the community, and leadership effort in church and local organizations.

Nominated by: Colleagues at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital

What they said: “Peggy exhibits characters of leadership which those who report to her wish to emulate. She is truly a leader, and not a manager. She is one who inspires employees to ‘think outside the box’ and achieve their own greatness. She is well respected by her employees, because, as president and CEO of HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, she takes the time to connect personally and professionally with employees and to listen to their ideas and suggestions.

“Peggy values input from all levels of the organization and continuously recognizes the contributions and achievements by all. She excels at team building, and is a loyal employer who invests time and energy in those who have interest in furthering their careers within the organization. She is the first person to look internally to fill higher-level positions, and also challenges employees to grow. Working in healthcare, which is largely a women-driven nursing environment, Peggy is always presenting opportunities for women to expand their leadership roles outside of direct patient care.

“She is not one who seeks personal recognition, but instead focuses on living St. Joseph’s Hospital’s mission of serving and caring for others. Since coming to St. Joseph’s Hospital in 2009, Peggy has championed the vision of building a replacement facility to serve our community. In addition to bricks and mortar, one of Peggy’s many achievements includes bringing cancer care and advanced women’s services to Highland; including an outpatient cancer treatment program, PET scan, Stereotactic Breast services, and 3D Mammography. She also serves as our division executive champion for advancing our Cancer Care service line.

“Never losing sight of the true mission of the hospital, Peggy is always creating new opportunities for employees to connect with the religious values and provide time for reflection. She also sees the value of connecting the religious community with the hospital by supporting sponsorship of the Ministerial Alliance, participation in our Pastoral Care programs, and hosting a weekly Mass held in the hospital chapel. Peggy strongly supports community involvement through her membership with the Highland Rotary Club, serving as a member of the Board of Directors for Highland Chamber of Commerce, and serving as a board member of the Madison County Child Advocacy Center. She strongly supports her leadership team’s participation in community events and civic organizations.

“Always looking at the big picture and what the future holds for St. Joseph’s Hospital, Peggy has worked to develop programs that support our community youth. Under Peggy’s leadership, the hospital has partnered with Highland High School to provide first employment opportunities to today’s youth. St. Joseph’s also provides job shadowing and student nurse clinical rotations to prepare those who choose healthcare as a career.

“Peggy possesses all of the characteristics and values that are not only needed to make St. Joseph’s Hospital a success, but that her employees need and want to achieve greatness. She truly is a great boss who is deserving of this award.”

What Sebastian said: “I’m very humbled by this recognition. When you surround yourself with great people, excellence happens. This team makes me look good.”

Lisa Sauer, Woman of Achievement

Award criteria: Outstanding achievement in her career, assistance to other women in their career advancement, outstanding guidance to youth and young career women, significant contribution to the IFBW Federation objectives, service in volunteer efforts in the community, leadership in church, local, state or national programs, and leadership effort to encourage women to enter politics.

Nominated by: Cindy Vosholler and Mary Gray, colleagues at State Farm Insurance.

What they said: “Lisa’s goals and achievements have never been are about doing what is right! She belongs to the IFBW and other organizations not to ‘just be a member.’ She strives to make each organization better by her being an active participating member. She serves on boards and committees not because she has nothing else to do, but because she cares!

“She approaches her profession the same way. She feels that education is one of the most important services she can provide her policyholders. Educating someone about their needs and listening to their goals is the first step in helping them cover those needs and accomplishing their goals. She makes it a point to build a relationship with her customers, not because she has to… but because she cares!

“Her accomplishments with State Farm have been many. She has achieved Legion of Honor, Silver Scroll, Bronze Tablet and Ambassador Travel many times over the years. We could go into all the details on what it takes to achieve these awards, but your head would be swimming in numbers. These awards have never been about recognition! They represent what it means to do ‘what is right for the customer and what is right for State Farm,’ not just to be successful, but because she cares!

“She is also a great boss! We have known her for a while now and she makes it a point to be fair. She expects 100 percent from us because she gives 100 percent in everything she does. She is always looking for ways to help us reach our goals. It is never about Lisa or her office, as far as Lisa is concerned, it is our office and we are a Team, because she cares!”

What Sauer said: “I am thrilled to receive the 2015 Woman of Achievement Award! It means so much to be recognized for hard work and caring about my customers. For the last couple of years, I have been accustomed to handing out awards, and it was a surprise and honor to be on the receiving end!”

Maura Donnelly, Women Mean Business

Award criteria: Outstanding achievement in her career, assistance to other women in their career advancement, outstanding guidance to youth and young career women, service in volunteer efforts in the community, leadership in church, local, state or national programs, and leadership to encourage women to enter politics.

Nominated by: Rob Bowman, president of Terra Properties.

What Bowman said: “It has been my pleasure to work with Maura Donnelly for more than a dozen years. She currently serves as Terra Properties’ chief financial officer. This position not only has Maura overseeing all of Terra’s corporate finances, but she also handles all the financial reporting for the forty-plus entities that own the properties we manage. Quite a task when you realize Maura is responsible for the finances of more than $50 million of residential and commercial investment properties.

“Part of Maura’s duties place her in charge of Terra’s accounting and residential property management staff. That staff includes eight women. Over the years she has been here, Maura has been responsible for hiring, training, coaching and supervising these associates. To be honest, her judgement of character and her ability to train and lead our personnel far exceeds mine. Maura has been quite successful in building a strong and loyal team dedicated to serve our clients, our residents and each other.

“One of the things I preach is to give back to the community. Maura has taken her volunteer work to another level. In addition to her service as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and coordinator of the Parish School of Religion at her church, Maura is a past president of the Highland Rotary club (2011-12) and currently serves as the Assistant District Governor. Maura is also active as a Highland Chamber of Commerce Ambassador. She got her start in community involvement and her leadership training by chairing many projects for the Highland Jaycees.

“Part of Maura’s duties as one of Rotary’s Assistant District Governors is to drive membership, including the establishment of new clubs. I know that Maura feels that Rotary has provided her with the chance to hone her leadership skills, enhance her networking opportunities, and expand her community involvement. Maura focuses her energies on recruiting more women into the Rotary clubs as well as into leadership positions within a club so that they, too, can benefit from the experiences Rotary has given her.

“Through her work, as well as her involvement in her community and her church, Maura Donnelly exemplifies the type of successful and involved woman for which the IFBW stands.”

What Donnelly said: “I am honored to be recognized by the Highland IFBW for this award, as I’m sure they have many great business women in our community to select from each year. I am grateful that my boss, Rob Bowman, appreciates my professional efforts within Terra Properties and thank him for nominating me and for always supporting my community service over the years.”

About Highland IFBW

The Highland chapter of the Illinois Federation of Business Women is an organization of “women helping women” and meets the second Monday of each month at various venues. All working women are welcome and invited to attend. For more information, contact Paula Redman at 654-3647.