AVON — When women gather to honor other women, it’s not uncommon for the conversation to be sprinkled with childrearing anecdotes and stories about how home and work have not always commingled gracefully.
Women who climb the ladder of success in their chosen field will often say it was not just because of their own determination, but also in spite of the obstacles placed before them. Those honored at the Women of Achievement luncheon, a resurrected event sponsored by the Elyria YWCA to coincide with its 100th anniversary, had their fair share of stories to share Tuesday.
“Whenever I tried to do something I thought was too hard, I found there were also people willing to stand with me,” said local attorney Freddie Springfield. “My children even held a Freddie Day. I was trying to go to school and take care of my family and they were there to help me do both. I learned quickly — if you try, you will find there are people there to help you.”
Springfield, who works in the Lorain County Prosecutor’s Office and has been practicing law for 30 years, remembers when she had to attend classes at night because she also had to work full time and care for her family. But the hard work has paid off.
Springfield, Lynn Miggins, president and owner of Elyria-based KS Associates, and Annie Heidersbach, the director of corporate and foundation relations at Baldwin Wallace University, were lauded as the 2013 Women of Achievement Award recipients.
They were chosen from a field of 16 local women that included Kim Black-Brown, Red Cross of Lorain County board member and human resource director at U.S. Steel Corp; Susan Bungard, attorney and director of Cleveland Hearing and Speech; LaTaunya V. Conley, the city of Elyria’s Equal Employment Opportunity-Minority Business Employment coordinator; Elyria school board member Evelyn France; Kathleen Lesner Hall, director of human resource for Nordson Corp.; Lorain County Metro Parks board member Sherrill (Cookie) McLoda; Patricia Morrisson, founder and owner of Footprints Tours; Dayle Noll, president and CEO of the North Ridgeville Visitors’ Bureau; Connie Osborn, president and CEO of Neighborhood Alliance; Rita Price, director of the North Ridgeville Office for Older Adults; Dr. Melanie Satterfield of Oberlin Family Dentistry; Joan Villareal, senior vice president at Lorain National Bank; and June Yost, director of North Ridgeville Community Cares.
All of the women, as Tony Gallo, from the Lorain County Chamber of Commerce put it, have “made Lorain County a better place because of it.”
The women have been made better as well.
“I’ve gotten so much more in return than what I have given,” Heidersbach said. “We all work for a financial paycheck, but we also work for a mental paycheck. The mental paycheck I receive for working with students is worth so much more to me.”
The keynote speaker was Cheryl Krueger, the founder and CEO of Krueger & Co. She is probably best known as being the force behind Cheryl & Co., a gourmet food and gift corporation that started out as Cheryl’s Cookies.
A member of the board of trustees for the Bob Evans farm board and The Ohio State University, Krueger knows a thing or two about being a woman of achievement. She received her own award in the Columbus area in 1991 and, in 1999, Working Women magazine named her the top female entrepreneur of the year.
She said her success has been traced back to many simple concepts.
“It’s all about customer service. It doesn’t matter if you’re in education, politics, business or health care, if you don’t take care of your customers, someone else will,” she said.