Recap: Breakfast with the Masters

Four of 417-land’s most influential businesspeople shared their secrets at December’s B-School Breakfast.

By Lillian Stone | Photo by Brad Zweerink

Dec 08 2016 at 8:55 a.m.


Local professionals flocked to Andy B’s Restaurant & Entertainment the morning of December 8 to hear from some of 417-land’s most influential business leaders at Biz 417’s B-School Breakfast. More than 80 guests networked over a tasty breakfast from Andy B’s, then listened in on a Q&A with four honorees from Biz 417’s Biz 100. The panel featured Susie Farbin, co-owner and CEO of MaMa Jean’s Natural Market; Lyle Foster, CEO of Big Momma’s Coffee & Espresso Bar; Paula Adams, president of Penmac Staffing and Steve Edwards, president and CEO of CoxHealth.

Adrienne Donica, editor of Biz 417, warmed the panelists up with a game of Two Truths and a Lie. The game resulted in a few fun facts: Lyle Foster did not, as it turns out, play football in college—that was his lie—but Steve Edwards did ride his bike from Missouri to Kentucky with friends at the age of 16. Donica then led the panel through themes including the value of Springfield for businesses, which Adams feels is a huge. The best way to capitalize on that? “Get involved,” says Adams. “It’s extremely important to stay active—there are a lot of opportunities in Springfield.” The panel also addressed ways to build new revenue streams and prioritize diversity in the workplace. At one point, Edwards steered the discussion toward passion. “Find that passion,” he said. “Don’t stay at a job for more than a few months if you can’t find that passion.”

The panelists also detailed employee retention strategies like higher wages, education and incentives like the quarterly bonuses Susie Farbin offers her employees. The discussion concluded with a final question for the panelists: If they could begin their careers again, what would they change? All four panelists agreed: They had no regrets.

What’s next for the panelists? Paula Adams hopes to continue expanding Penmac into new states and towns while growing Penmac Education Staffing. Lyle Foster is writing a book on educational leadership, and is excited to continue his involvement in the renaissance of historic Commercial Street. Steve Edwards is steering CoxHealth in the direction of preventative healthcare, and Susie Farbin wants to look outside of 417-land for new opportunities for MaMa Jean’s to obtain buying power.

Missed out on December’s B-School? Check out photos from the event here. Don't miss the next B-School Breakfast occurs on April 13 featuring some of Springfield’s most powerful businesswomen.