Women in Business lunch connects, inspires Hannibal women


Emily Trevathan speaks about her journey of opening Twisted Juniper Yoga on Friday aftternoon at the Women in Business lunch. | Megan Duncan

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Emily Trevathan, real estate agent and owner of Twisted Juniper Yoga in Hannibal, left Hannibal as a young adult in search of other opportunities .

“When I left, I adventured. But alas, here I am. I came back home,” Trevathan said. “Hannibal is a place where dreams can come true. Twisted Juniper started as a little seed half a world away.”

Trevathan described her journey to open Twisted Juniper on Friday afternoon at the Rialto in Hannibal at the first Women in Business lunch, organized by Moberly Area Community College.

While women enjoyed lunch catered by Java Jive and paid for by local businesses, they listened to six speakers who represented various topics.

“The whole purpose of the event is to celebrate, promote and inspire women,” said Wendy Johnson, director at MACC in Hannibal. 

McKenzie Disselhorst, director of the Hannibal Chamber of Commerce, said Johnson approached her about doing the event in Hannibal.

“This is a great time to celebrate women in business in Hannibal,” Disselhorst said. “We have some Hannibal students here, and we hope to get them thinking about what it means to them for their futures.”

Disselhorst said more women are in business and leadership roles now than in the last 11 years at the Chamber of Commerce. They are looking to each other for mentoring and support.

“One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that we realized if we try to do it alone, then we won’t make it through the challenges. We need more support for each other and to show up for each other. I think this is a great way to kick that off and celebrate that,” Disselhorst said.

Disselhorst was the first of six speakers in the program, which was emceed by Sarah Deien, grant administrator of the Riedel Foundation.  

Disselhorst spoke about the rich history of Hannibal women. She spoke about Margaret Tobin Brown, who Disselhorst said was not only “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” on the Titanic but also a philanthropist and an activist who fought for women’s rights among several other things.

She also spoke about Marie Byrum who walked across Hannibal in the rain to vote for a city council election. It was the first election held after the 19th amendment was passed earlier that month. 

“So Byrum was the first woman on record to vote right here in Hannibal,” she said. “More than 100 years after that, and here we are. There has never been a better time to be a woman in business in Hannibal than there is right now.”

Other speakers were:

  • Maria Kuhns, director of Hannibal Regional Economic Development Center;
  • Kara Viorel, owner of Rialto and chief financial officer at Douglass Community Center;
  • Katy Welch, owner of Java Jive; and
  • Susan Wathen, vice president of Human Resources at Hannibal Regional Hospital.

Johnson said the event was a community collaboration with Moberly Area Community College, the Chamber of Commerce and the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Center.

“We also want to give a huge thanks to Kara Viorel for the allowing us to use the beautiful space at the Rialto and to Katy Welch of Java Jive for the catering,” Johnson added.

The lunch was made possible by Commerce Bank, F&M Bank, Hannibal National Bank, Homebank, Benson Financial, Royal Banks, Great Rivers Bank and Lisa Kairy for Prestige Realty. The event was sponsored by Moberly Area Community College, America’s SBDC Missouri, Hannibal Chamber of Commerce, Douglass Community Center, Hannibal Regional Economic Development Center, and the Rialto.

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