Three Exceptional North Dakota Women Receive Recognition from the Women's Business Center
Center for Technology & Business (CTB) held their third annual Women’s Business Summit in honor of National Women’s Small Business Month October 12-13 in Bismarck. This was a particularly special year as the event coincided with the 15 year anniversary of CTB, which serves as the North Dakota Women’s Business Center.
The event brought together women from across the state for a unique networking and professional development opportunity designed to strengthen the state of women owned businesses in North Dakota.
At the luncheon on Monday, three of the attendees were surprised with top honors from CTB.
Meghan Wilkinson, Operations Director of AWTY Logistics in Dickinson was recognized as the first recipient of the CTB Outstanding Woman in Business Award. This award is meant to celebrate a woman who has truly excelled, not only in her professional life, but as a leader and role model in the community. Meghan exemplifies professionalism and positivity in all aspects of her life - always professional, always courteous and always leading through example. Outside of her full time career, she is also a Beach Body Coach and has inspired numerous women across the state to choose healthier lifestyles through eating right & exercising. She leads this effort by example through organizing marathon relays, online exercise videos, being a community health champion, and managing several Facebook pages to inspire other women - including Moms Run This Town, Megs Healthy Bod, and Mascara Muscles and Motherhood.
Paula Klein, Owner of Smartt Interior Construction in Fargo received the honor of being the first CTB Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award recipient. The exclusive award is designated to the owner of a North Dakota Certified Woman Owned Business who has demonstrated staying power, innovativeness, forward thinking and contributions to her community. Not only is Klein a woman pioneering a new business in a market segment predominantly driven by males, but her company also brings a new, transformative product to a very mature market. Competency and confidence have solidified her success, allowing her to grow her sales to over $2.1 million in just her third year of business. With Klein’s powerful belief in an exceptional product and her determination to provide innovative and comprehensive services to her clients, she is consistently breaking barriers in the construction industry. Most importantly, her vision goes far beyond her own success. She has been a role-model and mentor for 6th graders in the West Fargo Public School’s STEM program since its inception. Students enjoy Klein’s perspective, great sense of humor and her ability to challenge them. She is a shining example of the type of role model our young people need, especially for young women.
The entire crowd was brought to their feet at the announcement of the 2014 CTB Woman of Honor recipient – Sister Thomas Welder, President Emerita of the University of Mary. Sister Thomas is recognized as a woman who lives, serves and leads by example. She has served on numerous boards and has been actively involved in professional organizations and religious affiliations on both a state and national level. Her personal achievements, character and leadership have been an inspiration to countless individuals, students, entrepreneurs, and business and state leaders. This is the third year that CTB has selected a Woman of Honor. The women are chosen in recognition of their spirit of mentorship, leadership, strength, wisdom and foresight. Past recipients are Tara Holt, CTB Founder and Twila Martin Kekahbah, first tribal chairwoman for the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.
“CTB is honored to be able to recognize these amazing women and to celebrate not only their professional accomplishments but their personal desires to give back and to help other women grow. We hope that by sharing their stories we’re providing inspiration for other women to know that they have it in them to do great things and to make a difference in the lives of others as well.” Explains CTB Executive Director, Deb Eslinger.