Women in Business

Southwest Missouri Businesses That are Powered by Women

Meet the local leaders who are moving their respective businesses forward.

Mar 2023

Business women in a meeting
Photo courtesy Shutterstock

It’s no secret that southwest Missouri is full of female leaders guiding businesses to success. Read on to learn how local companies are committed to building diverse leadership, empowering their employees and enriching our business community.

Bryan Properties is Powered by Women
Ericka Peppers

Bryan Properties

417-864-6303 | 2659 E. Normandy Dr. Ste. 104, Springfield, MO | bryan-properties.net

Ericka Peppers has a message for all the girls dreaming of their futures: Focus on the right thing.“Focus on investing in you,” says Peppers, the Chief Operating Officer of Bryan Properties in Springfield. “Find something you love and give it your all. Become an expert in it.”

For Peppers, it was the C-suite. “I wanted to be in leadership. I never knew it would be in the housing space, but I always knew I had a passion for training, coaching and developing people and to set a bar of excellence and get everyone to it,” she says.

She honed those talents at her church—as director of the drama program—and in school, as a member of student government. She also had stellar mentors in her parents.

“They never accepted mediocre in anything I did,” Peppers recalls. “I had to be the best. We were never allowed to quit anything. I was on the swim team throughout grade school and high school, and while I was nowhere near the best, I was 1 of 3 girls who could even compete in the 500, which is 20 laps. I just never stopped. And every time I wanted to, my dad was on the sidelines, yelling at me to keep going. I can still hear him in my head: ‘GO! Get after it! Don’t stop, just keep kicking.’ This has directly channeled into roles in my adult life. I will never give up!”

Concepts by Design is Powered by Women
Photo by Leah StiefermannKallie Flood, Install Coordinator & Customer Service; Kacey Spurlock, Associate Project Manager; Sarah Shelton, Accounting, Estimator & HR; Caitlyn Hanger, Lead Technical Designer; Shelley Wehner, Owner; Kerri Ferris, Design Supervisor, Senior Project Manager/Designer Purchase Photo

Concepts by Design

417-725-3400 | 4123 N. State Hwy. H, Springfield, MO | cabinetconceptsbydesign.com

Concepts by Design is a local business with a national reputation. For 15 years, Concepts by Design has designed, manufactured and installed bespoke custom cabinetry and closets for the luxury home market.

Owned by Shelley and Matt Wehner and led by a team of women with varied backgrounds and skill sets, Concepts by Design brings versatile, creative ideas to the construction industry. Because every client and every project is unique, Concepts by Design relies on skilled technical designers, engineers, craftsmen and installers to bring their client’s dreams to reality. Shelley says, “Diversity is the secret sauce for incubating new ideas, integrating protocols and increasing efficiencies.”

Concepts by Design utilizes state-of-the-art software and manufacturing processes to design and produce the finest product in the industry. The company’s rapid growth attests to client satisfaction and industry recognition. Above all, Concepts by Design is honored to create custom, functional spaces for clients and their families. The designs and products the company creates improve the productivity and quality of life for each client they are fortunate to serve.

Erica Lea Design Studios is Powered by Women
Photo by Leah StiefermannTiffany Amass, Kayla Ziehr, Erica Hendrix, Isabelle Yeary, Beth Alvarez Purchase Photo

Erica Lea Design Studios

417-731-4086 | 380 E. State Highway CC, Suite D 105, Nixa, MO | Ericaleadesignstudios.com

Since 2010, Erica Lea Design Studios has worked with a host of clients both locally and nationally. This Nixa-based interior design firm partners with artistic and detailed professionals who represent all different trades, helping them make high-end concepts a reality.

This customer-focused design company uses a white glove, service-oriented approach. According to owner and founder Erica Hendrix, each project is unique because it “reflects the people who reside there.” She also says that creating a positive sense of place and home helps facilitate a family’s sense of belonging and enriches the community as a whole.

In addition to collaborating with an insightful team of female leaders, the ELDS team regularly conducts pro bono work with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Springfield HBA Board of Directors and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Whether they are working on a house or out in the community, the team at Erica Lea Design Studios hopes to “enhance and elevate” the lives of the people who make 417-land home.

Forvis is Powered by Women
Christy Yoakum, Catherine Gilpin, Kristen Wannenmacher Bright, Erica Smith, Julie Bilyeu, Amber Popek, Brandy Buckler, Camille Lockhart, Juli Pascoe


417-865-8701 | 910 E. St. Louis St., Springfield, MO | forvis.com

FORVIS is a professional services firm providing assurance, tax, and advisory services. Created by the merger of equals of BKD, LLP and Dixon Hughes Goodman, LLP (DHG), FORVIS is driven by the commitment to use our forward vision to deliver an Unmatched Client Experience™. Ranked among the top 10 public accounting firms in the country, FORVIS has 5,700 dedicated professionals who serve clients in all 50 states as well as across the globe.

FORVIS is proud to empower nine Inclusion Networks with the purpose to enhance the employee experience and the communities they serve. Inclusion Networks play an integral part in fostering a holistic Inclusive Experience for their team members while helping to advance their diversity and inclusion initiatives.

One of their nine Inclusion Networks is Women Forward. Women Forward exists to foster a culture of inclusion, equity, and belonging; recruit, retain, and advance women; and address the issues that affect women in the workplace and in society.

Here in Springfield, FORVIS currently has 14 female partners and managing directors in the office.

FORVIS was recently recognized for their equitable workplace environment by being awarded Comparably’s Best Organizations for Women in 2022.

Downtown Springfield is Powered by Women
Photo by Leah StiefermannTop row: Carol McLeod (Hold Fast Brewing), Susan McLeod (Hold Fast Brewing), Amy Bennett (Bosky’s), Valeria Boss (AVBS), Jes Dunn (Queen City Collectors), Becky Berger (Queen City Collectors) Bottom row: Khrystyna Sava (Rise & European Cafe), Uliana Komodi (Rise & European Cafe), Amy Reaves (Wellness Collective), Brina Thomas (5# Apparel), Anne Baker (Civil Kitchen, Finnegan’s Wake & Tinga Tacos), Sakiko Kong (The Riksha), Tonisha Manier (Mimi’s Soulfood), Emily Rapp (The Ritzy Flat) Purchase Photo

Downtown Springfield

417-831-6200 | 134 Park Central Square, Springfield, MO | itsalldowntown.com

Live, work and play—and do it all in downtown Springfield! From a multitude of restaurants, to diverse entertainment, to abundant retail and nightlife, downtown Springfield offers something for every age and interest.

For 58 years and counting, the Downtown Springfield Association has nurtured the vibrant community in the heart of Springfield. More than 50 of downtown Springfield’s businesses are powered by women, who provide some of the area’s best in dining, shopping, personal care and more. The odds are good that when you support a business in downtown Springfield, you support the vision and grit of a female business leader.

With its commitment to community development, the Downtown Springfield Association advocates for diversity and inclusion, fostering a welcoming environment where new businesses can thrive. What’s more, while located downtown, numerous nonprofits and businesses work directly to improve the quality of life for children, families and adults throughout 417-land.

The Downtown Springfield Association collaborates with community partners to produce popular area events, including ArtsFest, Cider Days and the Downtown Christmas Parade. On April 15, gather with 417-land at another very special event—Women’s Day Downtown—to celebrate the accomplishments of downtown Springfield’s female entrepreneurs. These women are powering 417-land into the future.

Ozarks Elder Law is Powered by Women
Photo by Leah StiefermannBack row: Lisa Dewoody-Clark, Amanda Wolf Middle row: Mel Myears, Vera Moritz Front row: Elyse Hartley, Lori Rook Purchase Photo

Ozarks Elder Law

417-868-8200 | 2832 S. Ingram Mill Rd #100, Springfield, MO | ozarkselderlaw.com

For over 20 years, Ozarks Elder Law has guided families through difficult transitions that come with aging and have worked with families of all generations to ensure their assets are wholly protected.

Lori Rook, managing attorney, Elyse Hartley, partner, and their all-female team of attorneys have broken the mold of the stereotypical law firm, taking “powered by women” to new limits.

The Ozarks Elder Law team is composed of powerful women—mothers, daughters, sisters, professionals and community volunteers who are driven by their hearts for family. These are not your run-of-the-mill attorneys; they’re women with the mission to support and protect your life’s unique situation­­­—the same as they would their own—with a passionate and holistic approach.

Each attorney holds extensive knowledge and experience in elder law, but the empathy they offer is what sets them apart. Ozarks Elder Law believes getting to know the client, their family dynamics and their goals are imperative pieces to customize a plan to preserve assets, protect legacies and provide peace of mind.

Whenever and wherever you need them, this law firm, powered by women, has offices in nine 417-land communities to best serve you: Springfield, Joplin, Ozark, Marshfield, Nixa, Lebanon, Bolivar, Branson and Republic.

Choosing a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.

Paragon Architecture is Powered by Women
Photo by Leah StiefermannFront row: Patrice McDonald, Beth Keeling, Emily Biagioni-Paulette Back row: Gina Harris, Lindsay Reichert, Mary Compton, Jessica Struckhoff, Kirsten M. Whitehead Purchase Photo

Paragon Architecture

417-885-0002 | Springfield, Joplin, St. Louis | paragonarchitecture.com

The architects and interior designers at Paragon Architecture are passionate about providing flexible design solutions and project management services for clients all over Missouri. Since 2010, Paragon has focused on the design of educational environments, civic and healthcare institutions, corporate offices and beyond. No project is too large or too small to be within the scope of their work.

Paragon Architecture’s success is built upon the strength of its professional relationships—with clients, with community and within the Paragon team. Over 60 percent of the Paragon team is powered by women. In an industry that is predominantly led by men, the Paragon team’s diversity helps them meet the diverse needs of their clients and the communities they serve.

The team is driven by a singular motto: “Be the Sherpa.” From start to finish, Paragon’s architects and designers walk alongside the client, guiding them through every step of a project and prioritizing the client’s vision and goals. They understand that a finished space should live up to its full potential. It should speak to a company’s mission; it should facilitate collaboration, innovation and efficiency.

Ultimately, Paragon Architecture betters communities, one space at a time.

Pinegar Honda is Powered by Women
Baylee Massey, Lisa Gottman, Mary Mahoney-Stout (seated), Brittany Smith, Jennifer Ayers-Stewart, Monique Carriger, Aftyn Wacha, Cathy Jones (seated), Jennifer Moore and Abbi Pinegar-Rose

Pinegar Honda

417-765-0363 | 3520 S. Campbell Ave., Springfield, MO | pinegarhonda.com

The automotive industry is traditionally dominated by men, with women comprising just a small percentage of the industry’s workforce. Yet at Pinegar Honda in Springfield, over two dozen female employees are raising the percentage, removing barriers and inspiring other women to consider careers in the automotive industry. Women work in all areas of the Pinegar Honda dealership. Monique Carriger, General Manager, guides the team with her years of experience in the industry. Brittany Smith leads the sales staff, which includes six women. Abbi Pinegar-Rose and Lisa Gottman oversee marketing for the Pinegar dealerships. These female leaders set a high standard of excellence and offer a fresh perspective that benefits both the company and the customer.

Today, most dealerships are owned by corporations and conglomerates that have no ties to the local community, but Pinegar Honda is proud to be family-owned and operated. It’s the secret to their success for over 40 years, with their deep personal connections to 417-land. Pinegar Honda treats customers like family. Whether a customer is test driving a vehicle or searching the Pinegar Honda website, the dealership’s no-hassle atmosphere makes it easy to purchase a vehicle.

Simmons Bank is Powered by Women
Photo by Leah StiefermannSarah Russell-Frossard, Stephanie Matthews Purchase Photo

Simmons Bank

417-875-5267 | 4625 S. National Ave., Springfield, MO | simmonsbank.com

For 120 years, Simmons Bank has grown from a small, community bank to a premier Mid-South bank spanning six states. Simmons Bank offers a full suite of financial products and services designed to meet the needs of individual consumers and business customers and in 2022 was named to Forbes’ list of “World’s Best Banks” for the third consecutive year. With attention to service and detail, paired with a caring team focused on delivering an excellent customer experience, Simmons Bank is proud to provide innovative and quality financial products and services to their customers.

Simmons Bank’s commitment to diversity and inclusion makes the bank a great place to work. Simmons invests in female leaders through mentorship, leadership training, the Women of Simmons Business Resource Group and a supportive workplace culture. Simmons Bank invests in the communities it serves through service and philanthropy.

Senior Private Wealth Strategist Sarah Russell-Frossard and Business Development Officer Stephanie Matthews serve the Springfield and Joplin communities by connecting customers to professionals in partnership with Simmons Bank and Simmons Private Wealth. Together, they work closely with their teams to provide a customer experience that exceeds expectations. Each Simmons Bank team member understands the value of supporting their customers and their community through teamwork, passion and high performance.

Toth and Associates is Powered by Women
Photo by Leah StiefermannKara Estrada, Hillary Proffit, Lilly Boyd, P.E., Alicia Bennett, P.E., Melanie Parker, P.E. Purchase Photo

Toth and Associates

417-888-0645 | 1550 E. Republic Rd., Springfield, MO | tothassociates.com

For nearly 20 years, Toth and Associates (TOTH) has designed reliable infrastructure for 417-land, including electrical power, roads and systems for wastewater, drinking water and stormwater. Much of TOTH’s work is also noticeable through projects such as new and improved schools, safe rooms, parks, hospitals, municipal facilities and residential/commercial site development.

TOTH is led by highly skilled electrical, structural and civil engineers. While they know there is more work to have broader representation in the male-dominated field of engineering, TOTH wants to do what they can to have a more diverse team. For example, nearly 20% of TOTH’s engineers and interns are women, exceeding the national average. TOTH’s Women In Engineering not pictured are: engineers Jaunice Terrel, Aniesa Parrigon, E.I., Charlie Dimke, and Megan Moua and college interns Hannah Rushing, Kathrine Strickland and Grace Jenkins Welsh.

TOTH is committed to fostering women and young people in engineering by supporting STEM education and cultivating a company culture that attracts a diverse talent pool. They believe that more focus on STEM will help inspire young people of various backgrounds to pursue careers in engineering. TOTH will continue evolving to have a welcoming culture for women and others pursuing those careers.

Volt Credit Union is Powered by Women
Photo by Leah StiefermannTaryn Ice, Vicki Owens, Shana Jahnke, Jacqueline Post, Courtney Keleher, Teri Bee, Loretta Roney. Not pictured: Kerri Southard, Marissa Weaver, Jackie Sisk Purchase Photo

Volt Credit Union

417-862-0471 | 2624 W. Republic Rd., Springfield, MO | 2440 N. Kansas Expressway, Springfield, MO  / voltcu.org

Members of Volt Credit Union know that their money is in good hands. After all, they own the business. The member-owned, non-profit credit union is overseen by a volunteer board of directors, and profits made are returned to those members in forms including reduced fees, higher savings rates and lower loan rates.

Volt recognizes the anxiety surrounding money at every stage of life, from young people learning financial responsibility for the first time to those recovering from financial setbacks, hoping to start anew. The credit union accepts deposits, makes loans, and provides a wide array of other services to help its members with any financial questions or needs they might have.

That same foundation of member support applies to Volt’s staff. They invest in the lives of their employees with unique benefits, like a more casual dress code, extra ReCharge Time & Volt Volunteers Hours.

Employees are provided with ongoing training and tools to help increase their awareness and understanding of differences and why they matter.

Female leaders driving Volt’s success include President/CEO Loretta Roney, Chief Retail and Commercial Officer Caroline Richardson, Chief Operations Officer Shana Jahnke, and Chief Experience Officer Vicki Owens.

Volt celebrates diversity. They believe it makes for a strong business community because it brings in new ideas and talented people.

Arvest Bank is Powered by Women
Photo by Leah StiefermannJami Dressler, Summer Massey, Liliana Lopez Garcia, Penny Lacy Purchase Photo

Arvest Bank

417-885-7240 | arvest.com

Arvest operates across four states, but the bank stays true to its core values by maintaining local leadership in each market. Arvest empowers these local leaders to meet the needs of their customers and make an impact in their communities.

Springfield’s team is made up of women who embody the bank’s mission–“People helping people find financial solutions for life.” Equipped with years of experience and the tools of a full service bank, this team provides solutions for customers, including loans, deposit services, investments, succession strategies, and treasury and cash flow management.

Whether it’s planning fundraisers for bank-lead initiatives like Million Meals, helping educate future leaders in our schools, feeding families of medically fragile children, packing food at the local pantry, or serving on nonprofit boards, these Arvest associates demonstrate through their actions what it means to be committed to the community.

Serving customers and community, Arvest’s powerful associates make a lasting impact on 417-land.

BluCurrent Credit Union is Powered by Women
Courtney Pruente, deAnna Downs & Hannah McCaig

BluCurrent Credit Union

417-887-1983 | 1770 W. Sunset St., Springfield, MO | blucurrent.org

BluCurrent Credit Union has been dedicated to building better lives together right here in the Ozarks since 1929. Today, the financial institution proudly serves over 23,000 members and currently has over $300 million in assets. BluCurrent may be one of the largest credit unions in southwest Missouri, but the team still excels at providing personalized, convenient service to every member.

BluCurrent’s growth and success would not be possible without the female leaders that proudly represent the mortgage department: deAnna Downs, SVP of Mortgage Lending, Hannah McCaig, Mortgage Sales Manager, and Courtney Pruente, Mortgage Support Manager. Under deAnna’s direction, the mortgage team assisted 713 families in purchasing or refinancing their homes in 2022.

Equal Housing Lender. NMLS #459303. Member NCUA.

Brookline Doorworks

Christine Howell, owner of Brookline Doorworks, is opening doors in a predominantly male industry. Her goal is to teach young girls, like her daughter, that you can run any business you put your mind to.

If you have a garage door, she is here to serve you! Brookline Doorworks has a fantastic showroom where you can see many different door options and even configure a custom door for your home. Most people use their garage door more than their front door, so they strive to get to every service call the same day or the next day—that is service you can rely on.

Guaranty Bank is Powered by Women
Amy Wilkerson, Zilian Falig, Kathy Qu, Heather Ramsey, Becca Morgan, Tambra Foote-Bates

Guaranty Bank

833-875-2492 | gbankmo.com

Since 1913, Guaranty Bank has remained dedicated to having a positive impact on communities across 417-land through volunteerism, philanthropy and a responsible approach to financial services.

Guaranty’s impact would not be possible without extraordinary leaders like Tambra Foote-Bates, HR Manager Officer, Becca Morgan, Talent Acquisition Specialist, Heather Ramsey, Senior Vice President of Private Banking, Amy Wilkerson, Vice President Private Banking Officer, Kathy Qu, Private Banking Officer and Zilian Falig, Private Banking Specialist.

In 2022, Guaranty Bank earned Platinum Elite status with the U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loans. As a community bank, they prioritize providing an unmatched, high level of service in southwest Missouri.

Perimeter Behavioral Hospital

Perimeter Behavioral Hospital of Springfield is here to provide hope and transform lives. Available 24/7, Perimeter assists youth who are suffering from mental health crises and those who are unable to keep themselves and others from harm.

The leadership and nursing team which is over 50% female, work closely together to provide compassionate care. As CEO, Alyssa Ingle draws on her experience in clinical psychology, business development and community outreach to create a solution-focused atmosphere. The team at Perimeter ensures through daily therapy groups, individual and family sessions, and providing additional environments such as a recreation gym and sensory room, each patient’s stay is a healing experience. Once stabilized, patients receive aftercare plans to be able to successfully return to the community.

Perimeter Behavioral Hospital of Springfield is truly a powerful resource for families in 417-land.

Quality Clean

417-833-4250 | 2305 E. Olive Ct. A, Springfield, MO | myqualityclean.com

Locally owned and family-operated, Quality Clean offers quality service, with a drive to elevate small business and serve the community. Owner Cindy Gibson says, “Our business is here to grow and help others succeed. Small businesses are the core of the 417 area.”

Gibson’s female leaders empower staff and promote diversity. “Diversity,” she says, “allows for collaboration and inclusion. This helps us be more productive.”

In a time of uncertainty, Quality Clean has expanded services, including discounts for those in need and electrostatic spraying to combat illness.

Celebrating 20 years in 2023, Quality Clean provides the quality results your business deserves!

Wil Fischer Distributing

Historically, the beer industry was predominantly male-driven, but that has been changing recently here in 417-land.

Erin Lee, the VP of Human Resources at Wil Fischer Distributing, has played a key role in redefining their people efforts for the last 10 years.

Wil Fischer Companies is a beverage distributor that has serviced Southwest Missouri for 56 years. They now operate in over 60 counties throughout Kansas and Missouri and in the last 9 years, have tripled in size through several acquisitions.

Erin has helped lead many growth initiatives in her tenure and is joined by many other talented women who have expanded into leadership roles throughout the organization.

Biz 417's Women Who Mean Business


When presented with challenges, these women don't back down. These five stories are about braving the unknown, conquering tragedy and pioneering the future. Meet the Biz 417 Women Who Mean Business.