Service was the key quality the Monument Business and Professional Women chapter recognized as it selected Elizabeth Stobel and Allyson Berggren for its 2021 Young Careerist and Woman of the Year, respectively.
Announcing the winners at its Sept. 21 meeting, Monument BPW president Linda Redfern spoke highly of both women, saying they were deserving of their awards due to their service to the community and desire to promote women in the workplace.
BPW member Mary Winn said she was particularly pleased with the recipients chosen this year, as she has a special connection with both of them.
“I’m very proud to be a past teacher of both Libby (Elizabeth Stobel) and Ally (Berggren),” she said.
Stobel, who is a lawyer, is also the single female shareholder at her firm, Simmons Olsen Law Firm. In her application for the Young Careerist award, Stobel outlined that, while most individuals of her generation don’t see themselves staying put, she hopes her future will be one where she is “sitting at the same desk, answering the same phone, with many of the same clients.”
Stobel said she also hopes that in the future, she’ll have more women shareholders around her.
“While I am the sole female shareholder in my firm today, I hope that (in) 10 years I am surrounded by women,” she said in her application. “I have observed the unique outlook that women can provide in the legal realm and take my role very seriously in ensuring that we are a workplace accommodating and encouraging to women. I know that I stand taller due to those who paved the way before me and wish to raise up those waiting in the wings.”
Stobel also made it clear that she is service-minded and relationship-oriented, both in her application and in her acceptance speech at the BPW meeting.
“While excellence in the content of my position is still my utmost priority, I have discovered the importance of building trust and relationships along the way,” she said in her application. “In the years to come, I want to continue to serve clients in a manner filled with compassion and expertise, so that each person I work with and for feels more informed and empowered for their time spent with me.”
Stobel said at the meeting that she “really enjoys getting to know clients, getting to know personalities … I just love those areas in my job that our relationship-oriented. I love opportunities that I have not to just to meet with somebody once, but the time to build on that and move on and see them for the years to come.”
Following Stobel’s recognition at the meeting, Berggren was introduced as the Woman of the Year. Winn spoke to Berggren’s character, explaining why Berggren, who is the director of volunteer services at Regional West, was deserving of this year’s award.
“She is just kind of like the Energizer Bunny — she keeps going and going and going and has just contributed so much to our community,” she said.
Aside from working with volunteers every day, Berggren is also a part of community organizations like the Oregon Trail Days Board of Directors, United Way of Western Nebraska Board of Directors and WNCC Lifelong Learning Advisory Board. She also founded two local organizations, the Deter Dynasty Foundation, which is a non-profit in honor of her father Chuck Deter that provides scholarships to students and financial assistance to the Gering Wrestling Program, and the ICE Enrichment Academy, which is an after-school and summer programs academy for students K-8 that provides additional enrichment learning opportunities for area students.
With her extensive community involvement, many of the Monument BPW members already knew her fairly well in one way or another. Winn said that most recently, she has been working with Beggren as a volunteer at the Regional West gift shop.
“Imagine, if you can, a workforce of women in their 60s and 70s, who work once every two weeks — so just about the time where we’re somewhat confident at what we’re doing on the cash register, we forget,” she said to laughter throughout the room. “She has two qualities needed to deal with that, and that is patience and a sense of humor. And I mean, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, what she does at the hospital. … She is so much fun to work with. It makes working for nothing enjoyable.”
Berggren acknowledged the BPW members she has worked with, and attributed her success as a person to them, along with other family and friends close to her.
“I always say I’m as good as those I surround myself with, and a lot of you people are in my tribe … so thank you,” she said. “I couldn’t do what I do without the people I surround myself with. People come to me all the time, and people recognize me as being stretched and pulled in all directions, and I only do that because I have good people around me.”
Both Berggren and Stobel said they were honored to be selected for their respective awards.