The Sedalia Business Women's organization named Michelle Sparks their Woman of the Year for 2018 Thursday night at the Sedalia Country Club during the SBW's annual Public Relations Dinner.

Sparks has served twice as president of the SBW, reportedly the largest club of its kind in the state. She currently serves as a paraprofessional at Heber Hunt Elementary School.

"Her character, work ethic and generosity embodies everything that is good about SBW in our community," said Lori Haney, Woman of the Year Committee chairwoman, as she introduced Sparks to those attending the event.

"Well for once, I'm speechless," Sparks remarked upon taking the mic. About a dozen friends and family members were tucked away in the golf pro area of the club until Sparks was announced as the winner. "I want to know how you all kept it a secret?" she asked.

"I am honored, I am floored. It just takes your breath away. I look around and see all these amazing women in this room who are just as deserving," Sparks commented. "I'm excited that my family and friends made it, and that you took time out of your busy day to come honor me. I'm tickled pink, you guys."

Sparks is the SBW's 39th Woman of the Year. The award was instituted in 1979, Haney added.

State Fair Community College was named the SBW's 2018 Business of the Year.

SFCC President Dr. Joanna Anderson accepted the award from Carol Sawyer.

Dr. Anderson noted how women are no longer just behind the scenes. SFCC is a great way for area women to find a new career path, she said.

"Thank you for the recognition," she said. "We are very very grateful."

In the top photo: Lori Haney, SBW Woman of the Year Committee chairwoman, left, presents the Woman of the Year plaque to SBW Past President Michelle Sparks, right, on Thursday night at the Sedalia Country Club. 

In the bottom photo: From left, Brad Henderson, Marketing and Communications executive director; Randall D. Eaton, Board of Trustees president; Dr. Joanna Anderson, president; and Carol Sawyer, SBW Business of the Year Committee chair.

Randy Kirby