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 took an adventure. But alas, here I am. I have come home,” Trevathan said. “Hannibal is a place where dreams can come true. Twisted Juniper started as a small seed half a world away.

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

While the women enjoyed lunch provided by Java Jive and paid for by local businesses, they listened to six speakers representing different topics.

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

Mackenzie Dieselhorst, director of the Hannibal Chamber of Commerce, said Johnson approached her about organizing the event in Hannibal.

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

Desselhorst said there are more women in leadership and business positions now than in the past 11 years at the Chamber of Commerce. They look to each other for guidance and support.

“One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that we realized that if we tried to do this alone, we wouldn’t be able to overcome the challenges. We need to be more supportive of each other and show up for each other. I think this is a great way to start it and celebrate it,” Desselhorst said.

Diselhurst was the first of six speakers at the program, moderated by Sarah Dean, director of grants at the Riedel Foundation.

Diesselhorst spoke about the rich history of Hannibal’s women. She spoke about Margaret Tobin Brown, whom Diselhurst described as not only the “unsinkable Molly Brown” aboard the Titanic, but also a philanthropist and activist who fought for women’s rights among many other things.

She also talked about Mary Byrom, who walked through Hannibal in the rain to vote for city council. This was the first election held after the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment earlier that month.

“So Byrom was the first registered woman to vote here in Hannibal,” she said. “More than 100 years later, here we are. There has never been a better time to be a woman in business in Hannibal.”

Other speakers were:

  • Maria Kuhns, director of the Hannibal Regional Center for Economic Development;
  • Cara Fiorelle, owner of Rialto and CFO at Douglas Community Center;
  • Katie Welsh, 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 Center for Economic Development.

“We also want to say a huge thank you to Cara Fiorel for allowing us to use the beautiful space at Rialto, and to Katie Welch of Java Jive for catering,” Johnson added.

The luncheon was organized by Commerce Bank, F&M Bank, Hannibal National Bank, Homebank, Benson Financial, Royal Banks, Great Rivers Bank and Lisa Kairy of Prestige Realty. The event was sponsored by Moberly Area Community College, SBDC of Missouri State, Hannibal Chamber of Commerce, Douglas Community Center, Hannibal Regional Economic Development Center, and Rialto.

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