Winter 2018 Review & Looking Forward to Spring

Centralia BPW kicked off 2018 with our 2nd annual Trivia Night. The committee co-chaired by Cary Day and Emily Kracht, chose to theme the night Groundhog Day Trivia. Participants competed for cash prizes for the top three teams. The committee also assembled over 20 baskets to be auctioned off as well as a 50/50 drawing and a drawing for Cardinals tickets. The night was filled with fun and friendly competition and was huge success.

At our January general meeting, the club added 4 new members; we were very excited to start the year with new interest and hope this will be a continuing trend throughout 2018.

Looking forward to March the club will hold our annual Reality Store for community 8th graders. This event is always fun for both the kids and all volunteers. It is eye opening from all perspectives as we as adults often forget the culture shock experienced when we learned about and put into practice things like mortgages, student loans, groceries, child care, etc. And the students learn that just because you make a certain salary doesn’t mean that is the number you will see in your bank account.

Guest Night will be held in April. This night is when we recognize our Scholarship Recipients as well as anniversary members who have been a part of the organization for many years.

2018 is shaping up to be a fun and fantastic year for Centralia Business and Professional Women, we cannot wait to share it with you!


Installation of New Officers

The May general meeting of the Centralia BPW was held at the Centralia Elks Lodge on May 10, 2017 hosted by Vice President Alishia Winkler.  Members enjoyed dinner and President Michele Garrison welcomed all beginning at 6 p.m. and led the membership in the Collect and the Pledge of Allegiance. April and May birthdays were then recognized.

Membership Chair Carrie Perkins-Schnicker had the honor of inducting new member Cindy Stoops.  President Garrison commended Karen Walsh, Legislation Chair, for the success of the club’s first Equal Pay Rally.




Tina Suarez conducted to 2017-18 officer installation which included outgoing officers receiving a butterfly which they then passed on to the new officers. New officers are: Alishia Winkler: President, Cary Day: Vice President, Stephanie House: Treasurer, Emily Kracht: Recording Secretary, Sharon Sanders: Corresponding Secretary.  The newly installed officers took their places at the head table and President Winkler proceeded to share with the club some of her ideas & goals for the coming year.


Centralia BPW meets the second Wednesday of the month at the Elks Lodge in Centralia. Dinner is serves at 5:30 and the meeting begins at 6. Please join us for our next meeting, Wednesday, June 14!

Guest Night Speaker – Laura Cornille-Cannady

Our April Guest Night is coming up on Wednesday, April 12. This year we have the honor of hosting Laura Cornille-Cannady as our speaker.Laura Cornille-Cannady

The oldest of eleven children, Laura grew up believing that she would be either a comedian or a psychologist. As a student at Quincy College in Quincy, IL, Laura pursued one of those dreams and majored in Psychology. With a B.A. in psychology, Laura began her career in higher education working in both housing and administration. Laura received a Master’s degree in Human Service Counseling from Illinois State University. After receiving her degree, Laura continued her work in higher education as an Associate Dean of Students for Millikin University.

While in higher education, Laura began her public speaking career. She became a well-traveled and much in demand speaker. She has provided training in a wide variety of settings including health care, government, social service, education, financial services, corporate, manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, not for profit and small business.

Laura left higher education to pursue a career in a corporate business setting. She worked as an employment specialist, training specialist and became the Corporate Training Manager for A.E. Staley/Tate and Lyle. For over 16 years, Laura owned her own training and consulting business, Learning Alliances Company and sold it January 2010. Currently, Laura works as a consultant to growing family-owned farms throughout the US and Canada. In this role, Laura’s goal is to prepare family-owned farms for rapid and sustainable growth by developing strategic and business plans, designing their organization, preparing for Human Resource compliance, recruiting and training talent as well as coaching the families on their family business concerns. Laura also teaches in an Executive MBA program. Laura has been a presenter at the Top Producer, Executive Women in Agriculture and Tomorrow’s Top Producer Conferences as well as a variety of other industry conferences.

Laura is an active member of her profession and her community. She is an alumnus of the 1997 Leadership Illinois Class and has been a past President and Treasurer of the organization. In recognition of her outstanding professionalism, she received the “1996 Women of Excellence Business and Professional Award.” In the community, Laura is a leader in the fight against breast cancer and has served on the board of the United Way and has worked with the Education Coalition. Laura has worked for a number of years with S.C.O.R.E. as a consultant and counselor. She is the founder of a not-for-profit organization, Wear To Work, which provided clothing and services to women who are making the transition from welfare to work. She also has served on the Quincy University Board of Trustees. Laura is the current President of the Decatur Area Women’s Network. Laura likes to spend her free time with her husband, daughter and grandchildren.

Please join us for our guest night!

February 2017 General Meeting

During the February General Meeting of BPW of Centralia, Mike Warden was our guest speaker. Mike spoke about the 1908 Race Riot the took place in Springfield, Illinois. The riot sparked a meeting of minds and eventually the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) formed in 1909.

Mike Warder BPW Guest Speaker

As far as meeting topics went, we discussed upcoming events that BP Women is not only involved in, but also hosting. These events include; a state BPW fun day, equal pay day rally in Centralia, working the recycling center, reality store for community 8th graders, and the state convention. We then discussed what a success our trivia night fundraiser was.

A nominating committee was also appointed for the upcoming election of officers.

We would like to remind everyone that we are still accepting scholarship applications through February 28, 2017. Those applications can be found HERE.

Our next meeting will be held on March 8, 2017 at the Elks Lodge in Centralia, IL. Dinner will be served at 5:30 and the meeting will begin at 6 PM. As always, stick around afterward for networking opportunities.

Freaky Friday Trivia

BPW Centralia Trivia 2017BPW, Centralia, IL held our Freaky Friday Trivia Night on February 3, 2017. After the set back of having to postpone the original event due to weather. We are so excited that the evening was a HUGE success. We had 23 teams compete for the winning title & cash!

A great big shout out to our current Vice President, Alishia Winkler for her wonderful welcome and description of what Business & Professional Women of Centralia is all about.

In addition to the trivia game, we also held a 50/50 raffle and we also had 21 basket raffle items.


Thank you to all of our team who participated in and supported our event, we hope you had as much fun as we did! And thank you to all of our committee members that put in time to make this event the huge success we knew it could be! And thank you to our membership who either helped work the event or  formed a team!

Marcus Holland, husband of member Nikki Holland, deserves a big thanks all his own! We were so pleased to have him as our MC for the evening. He set the vibe for a fun & memorable evening. We would also like to thank the Elks for everything they have helped our club with!

We hope to make this night a yearly event & look forward to any feedback!

BPW Centralia Trivia 2017

BPW Centralia Trivia 2017

BPW Centralia Trivia 2017

BPW Centralia Trivia 2017

BPW Centralia Trivia 2017

BPW Centralia Trivia 2017

BPW Centralia Trivia 2017

BPW Centralia Trivia 2017

2017 Scholarships – Centralia, IL


Business & Professional Women’s Club of Centralia, Illinois, proudly offers scholarships each year to a number of students in the area. We offer scholarships for graduating high school seniors, upperclassmen, as well as a 25 & up scholarship.

The club holds several fundraisers each year to support our scholarship fund. The most popular & notable event being our annual salad luncheon held in August.

A committee of members is selected to read over each application & carefully choose recipients. Our recipients are notified and then honored each April at our Guest Night.

Scholarship applications are linked below or can be downloaded HERE. Or pick one up in your councilor’s office at school!

2017 Graduating Senior

2017 Upperclassman

2017 25 & up

December 2016 Meeting

Our December meeting was held on Wednesday, December 14, at the Elks Lodge in Centralia, IL.

Our Public Relations committee, headed by Cary Day, put on an excellent Christmas party. We had an ugly sweater party and a fun ugly ornament exchange.


In addition to all the fun, we also collected for several annual donations.

Rev. Tommy Henegar accepted our donation to CCBA (Food Pantry).


Melissa Webster accepted for One Hope United.


Elizabeth Bennett accepted for The Salvation Army.

salvation-army-Elizabeth Bennett

A huge thank you to all our members for your generosity! We are certainly blessed to be able to give to those in need, especially around the holidays.

Please join us for our next general meeting on Wednesday, January 11, at the Elks Lodge in Centralia, IL.

November 2016 Meeting

Our November general meeting was held Wednesday, November 9. Gayla Harting, the City of Centralia Community development director was our guest speaker. Gayla informed our members about current events in the City as well as what her job entails to help clean up the city limits.


Member Becky Ault, PAVE president accepted our annual donation.


Kathy Donnelly accepted our donation to Home to School Connection.

Home to School

Women in Business Week | 2016

BPW Week 2016 kicked off on Tuesday, October 11, with a proclamation by Mayor Tom Ashby at City Hall. Our President Michele Garrison was present with members as well as BPW week committee chairs, Jayme Godoyo and Lorraine Bassett.



Our week of events continued on Sunday, October 16, with the announcement of Woman of the Year. This year, Allison Austin was recognized as the 2016 Woman of the Year. Allison is employed at the Marion County Housing Authority and is involved in a myriad of different organizations and events throughout the community. Also recognized were Past Women of the Year.





Next up was the Boss of the Year celebration in conjunction with Business After Hours held at Centralia Estates on October 17. This year, our Boss of the Year is Traci Macz of Macz, Day, & Irvin funeral homes. Traci, too, is involved in many community service activities not only in Centralia, but throughout the entire county. It is clear she is respected and trusted not only by her employees, but also throughout the community. Also recognized were past Bosses of the Year.



On Wednesday, October 19, Jayme, Lorraine, Michele, Allison, and Traci appeared on WILY with Doug Dunahee.

Our annual Scholarship Salad Luncheon was held on October 21. Tina Suarez and Vickie McDaniel were our outstanding chairs of this event. The Luncheon was a wild success, we raised a significant amount of money for our scholarships to be awarded in the spring!

We concluded our celebrations at the annual Halloween Parade on October, 29, in Centralia. Our President, Woman of the Year, Boss of the Year, and even our State President, Susan McGarth represented us by riding in the parade. Also representing the club in the parade were Alishia Winkler and Stephanie House who carried the banner in front of the cars.





A huge thank you to everyone who participated in our annual BPW week. These events cannot take place with success without the participation of our club and community.

October Meeting

Our October general meeting was held on Wednesday, October 12 at the Elks Lodge in Centralia. Judge Jo Beth Weber presented a program on the Jefferson County Drug Court which she established in 2013. Judge Weber stated that the mission of this drug court is to serve everyone in the county, reduce crime, save tax dollars, and insure compliance with probation and monitoring.


Patty Williams attended on behalf of the Centralia Chamber of Commerce and accepted the Chamber’s portion of the 2016 BalloonFest proceeds.


Also in attendance was Pam Byrd, whom accepted our annual donation to S.A.F.E.


We welcomed new members Christy Williams and Debra Westbrook. new-members

Our October birthdays included LaQuilla Graham and Ann Chapel.

Please consider joining us for our next general meeting, Wednesday November 9, at 5:30 at the Elk’s Lodge in Centralia!