BY SARAH STEPHENS, OWNER/EDITOR
More women are starting their own businesses or being promoted to higher levels of management across the country than ever before. From the kitchen to corporate offices, a new generation of women are in the workforce – degreed, determined and dedicated.
Women in Business were celebrated at a luncheon hosted by the Millbrook Area Chamber of Commerce Oct. 17 at the Millbrook Civic Center.
Two students from Stanhope Elmore High School were recognized with awards during the event. Anna Mitchell Clark and Anna Delprincipe were both recipients of an Award of Excellence from the Chamber in recognition of outstanding commitment to the Millbrook Community.
Tables were decorated along the wall sponsored by area women-owned business with information about their companies. There were numerous door prizes given, and lunch was provided by the Front Porch Grill.
Each table had a pumpkin as a center piece, each one have been decorated by an individual woman. Billie Wynn was recognized as having the best decorated pumpkin.
Tonda Haigler was the guest speaker for the event. Since March, Haigler has served as Vice President for Ambulatory Operations for Baptist Health.
Haigler is responsible for the operational oversight and system integration of all Baptist Health and UAB physician clinics. She came to Baptist Health from Community Health Systems, having held multiple hospital and clinic executive positions around the southeast over the last decade, including Chief Operating Officer at both Merit Health in Biloxi, Mississippi and Carolinas Hospital System in Florence, South Carolina. She holds a Master of Business Administration from Mississippi State University, (2006) and a Master of Public Health – Health Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi. (2001)
Tonda is a Fellow with American College of Healthcare Executives and a member of Medical Group Management Association. She has served in many civic and board roles such as United Way, Rotarian, Biloxi Chamber of Commerce and a Chapter advisor for the Vanderbilt Chapter of Delta Gamma National Sorority. She has been married to her husband Phillip soon to be 18 years and has two sons Paxton (10) and Finley (9) who both are active in baseball and soccer.
She credited many of her former employers, both men and women, for helping her to find her place in the business world. There were hard lessons along the way. Haigler said that as a woman in business it is important to keep a gentle spirit, without feeling like you have to be aggressive in a world that is still dominated for the most part by men. “You have to be fluid, because like water, you can roll through situations. If you are a rock, there are going to be problems.”
Haigler told the crowd that in her personal life, she is committed to Faith, Family and her Career, and in that order. She said that sometimes women can struggle in the professional world, but she encouraged the ladies present to continue, even through challenges. There are still some who have chauvinistic thoughts, even in today’s environment, but it is important to press on and prove how powerful a determined, intelligent woman can succeed in business.
She said she relies on her faith in dealing with her job, and prayer is a big part of her life. She said that humility plays a big role in success as well, and as a perfectionist, she has struggled in the past. She told the women present to remember to not expect perfection, but to strive for it every day. “Remember to offer yourself grace in all things,” Haigler said.
The next event for the Millbrook Area Chamber is the Business Jive After Five showcasing area businesses and their services. There is FREE admission for the General Public, and booths are FREE to Chamber members. There is a small fee for non-chamber businesses.
Business Jive After 5
Public · Hosted by Millbrook Area Chamber of Commerce
Monday, October 21, 2019 at 5 PM – 6:30 PM
3390 Main St, Millbrook, AL 36054-3219, United States
There is still time to include your business!
This is a business networking Event Join us for the Inaugural Business Jive after 5 where various businesses in Millbrook will be available to show what they have to offer the community. This event will offer great opportunities to make connections in the community and build relationships with other businesses. Door prizes will be given, so make sure to bring plenty of business cards! There will be a Corn-Hole Challenge for VIP’s and Guests, Hot Dogs off the grill, music and more!
For more Millbrook Chamber of Commerce events, follow them on Facebook, or their website at millbrookareachamber.com. You can also reach them at 334.285.0085.