Women’s History Month – The Outstanding Women of Myers and Stauffer

March is Women’s History Month, and we have created an Outstanding Women of Myers and Stauffer feature. We recognize four women who were nominated by their peers and managers for their talents and missions in those same categories:

Artistic Expression – Joanna Garnett (member, Kansas City), for her sourdough bread art, a newfound interest and natural talent.

Community Activism – Paige Ferise (health care consultant, Indianapolis) for her work with women in need, especially new and expectant moms, and her request for donations for them instead of wedding gifts for herself and her new husband.

Extraordinary Journey – Lisa Larson (health care senior manager, Des Moines) for her complex life in which she balances caring for her family and her parents, while working hard at her career and facing down a formidable foe: cancer.

Athletic Commitment – Sally Zhai (staff analyst, Denver) for her ballroom dancing with her fiancé, which includes travel and competitions.

Get to Know Joanna Garnett 

“Nominating Jo for her amazing Bread Art! The KC office knows Jo is a talented baker, but she’s really kicked it up in recent years…. Who knew Sourdough could yield such beautiful works of art?! With her assortment of “bread lames”(aka a razor blades), Jo transforms your average boule into something almost too pretty to eat.”

How did you get interested in bread art, and how long have you been doing it?
I follow some sourdough accounts on Instagram and was fascinated by the beautiful bread others were making. I wanted to see if I could do it, too. I have been making sourdough for about a year-and-a-half now.  

What do you love most about it?
Making bread is relaxing and rewarding. Stretching, folding, and shaping the dough gives me a Zen-like feeling – I am not sure why, though I know many other bread makers who say the same thing. I also love that I can feed my family delicious bread without all the preservatives in it.

What do you most want others to know about it?
Prior to my baking journey, which actually started with cookies, baking was intimidating because it’s so easy to screw it up. But if you practice, you start to learn how the dough should look and feel, and it’s really a simple process once you learn it.

What life and/or career advice would you give to young women especially who are trying to find their path?
Take the opportunities that are presented to you, even if they are scary. I am where I am in my career and life because I did not let the opportunities I was given pass me by, even when those opportunities took me way outside my comfort zone, which was often the case.

How do you help empower the women you work with here at the firm and at your organization?
I help empower all the team members I work with, women included, through constructive feedback and coaching, and by giving them opportunities like the ones I was given to try hard things and learn something new.