Sharing Our Stories

by Jan Wright, Publisher

It’s the end of another year… can you believe it? After celebrating the 25th anniversary of 40 Leaders Under Forty last month, this issue marks our eighth year recognizing Women of Influence in our community. We thank you—our readers, advertisers and sponsors—for your tremendous support.

The women leaders profiled in this issue are as dedicated in their careers and community service as they are diverse in their stages and walks of life. It is most rewarding for me to meet these influencers and learn about their unique journeys. By sharing their struggles—as well as their successes—they help the rest of us on our own paths. In their stories, we recognize our common humanity. 

Having been at the helm of Peoria Magazines for nearly three decades, I’ve learned to appreciate that everyone has a story. And everyone’s story is significant in its own way.

New readers may not know much about my own past. It includes being widowed at a young age, after having started the business with my late husband. It includes being a single mother, running the business, and working daily with my son for more than a dozen years. All the while, I’ve been fortunate to have a tremendous group of friends who have offered emotional support and business advice, which I’ve needed to sustain the journey. 

I have women friends I consider mentors who are at least 10 years older than me, and others who are at least 10 years younger. Despite our age differences (and often because of them) we’ve been able to learn from one another. My respect for them is immense. 

It’s important to note that people do not simply wake up one morning to find themselves leaders of influence. Rather, they set ambitious goals, worked hard, listened to others, persevered and flourished—in what is still too often a “man’s world.” We hope they inspire you to do the same.

Join us on December 4th at the Women of Influence Forum to learn from and network with remarkable women (and men) of all ages, careers and walks of life. Listen to their stories, and share your own. You’re sure to walk away with new friends, new contacts and new sources of inspiration. 

This holiday season, enjoy your time with family and friends. If you are traveling, don’t forget to buckle up and drive sober. Finally, support our small businesses by shopping local—not only at the holidays, but all year-round! iBi