10 honored as Missouri Women of Achievement

Joe Gamm/News Tribune
Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe addresses recipients of the 2023 Women of Achievement Awards on Thursday, March 23, 2023.
Joe Gamm/News Tribune Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe addresses recipients of the 2023 Women of Achievement Awards on Thursday, March 23, 2023.

This year's women of achievement represent numerous industries and come from all across the state.

The Missouri Lt. Governor's Office recognized 10 women Thursday in the Missouri Capitol Rotunda with the 2023 Women of Achievement Awards.

Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and his wife, Claudia, established the awards in 2022 to honor the accomplishments of women across the state.

Opening speaker Gov. Mike Parson said 10 of his 17 cabinet leaders are women.

It's not simply because they are women, he continued, saying he wants to have the most qualified people in the best positions to benefit the state.

Parson recounted that when he was a wrecker drive, he met his wife, Teresa, who was working as a teller in a bank drive-through. She spent the next 40 years in the banking industry. She worked all the way up to senior vice president.

But she was passed over time and again for men when president openings occurred.

"I thought, 'If there was ever anyone who deserved it,' and I know she's my wife and I'm biased," Parson said. "It was a man's world back then -- and just the world we lived in."

There is no reason for the world to be that way anymore, he continued.

"I want the best people around me -- the best, qualified people around me -- I don't care who they are," he said. "I don't care what gender. I don't care which race. I don't care. All I want is good people around me every day as governor because my job is not to pick and choose the cabinet. My job is taking care of the people of Missouri."

He can't do that by himself, he added.

The award recipients weren't being recognized because someone had picked their names out of a hat, Parson said. They were receiving the awards because they deserve recognition, he said.

Recipients for 2023 were:

Patricia Jo Boyers, of Poplar Bluff, a Missouri cable industry veteran who serves as president of BOYCOM Cablevision Inc.

Tammy Buckner, of Kansas City, the founder of Techquity Digital LLC, a minority women-owned technology solutions company.

Aretha "Eky" Combs, of Kennett, a former board president for the Kennett United Way.

Joan Daleo, of St. Charles, the president of Ole Time Produce, Inc., a fresh foods wholesaler that is connected with local growers.

Wendy Doyle, of Kansas City, the president of United We, which tackles barriers to women's economic growth and unlocks their economic potential through research, policy solutions and civic engagement.

Meagan Perry Kaiser, of Bowling Green, chief operations officer and soil scientist of Perry Agriculture Laboratory Inc., which conducts nutrient analysis on soils, plant tissues, feed, seed, water, manure and fertilizers.

Cora Scott, of Springfield, the director of public information and civic engagement for the city of Springfield.

Carol Watanabe, of St. Louis, the founder and CEO of Defenders Gateway, which released an app for military families. The app connects military members, their families, veterans, families of fallen heroes, law enforcement and other first responders.

Robin Wenneker, of Columbia, a University of Missouri Board of Curators appointee, and managing partner for CPW Partnership, which is a family business that owns farm, rental and raw land holdings.

Angela Zeng, of St. Louis, the founder and CEO of Fulfill Food & Beverages, which creates plant-based and eco-friendly wellness drinks.

  photo  Joe Gamm/News Tribune Missouri Gov. Mike Kehoe describes his wife's challenges trying to break through a glass ceiling in the banking industry during distribution of the 2023 Women of Achievement Awards.
  photo  Joe Gamm/News Tribune Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe presents a 2023 Women of Achievement Award to Tammy Buckner, of Kansas City on Thursday, March 23, 2023.

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