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Home Features Phi Beta Lambda Hosts 14th Annual Women in Business Luncheon

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by Abigail Wisniewski


Concordia’s Business club, Phi Beta Lambda, hosted the 14th annual Women in Business Luncheon on Tuesday, March 14 to gather together community members, faculty, students and other guests and to honor the recipient of the Outstanding Woman in Business Award.

The award is presented each year at the luncheon to a woman who has been a business leader in the Seward community.

“The Women in Business Luncheon is a really good opportunity to honor the commitment and the impact that women have had on Seward county and their dedication to making it a better place,” senior secretary of Phi Beta Lambda Naomi Quigg said.

The 2017 recipient of the Outstanding Woman in Business Award is Dr. Carla Ketner, owner of Chapters Books & Gifts in Seward.

“(Ketner) is very dedicated to her work at chapters and she’s been a long time figure in Seward county,” Quigg said. “She’s just a great example of what it means to be a servant leader, and (is) dedicated to improving her community.”

When Ketner opened her store, she did not have a background in business. She has a PhD in literacy development and a background in education. Before opening Chapters, Ketner was an elementary school teacher and also taught teacher education programs at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Nebraska Wesleyan.

Ketner was at home raising her two sons and then looked into new options as they began school.

“I didn’t really want to go back to the classroom. I didn’t want to leave Seward,” Ketner said. “I was looking for something different.”

A friend joked with her that she should open a bookstore in Seward. The idea took root, however, and Ketner began looking into whether it might be possible. She learned as she went, learning how to draft a business plan, the codes and ID numbers needed to open a business, and the ins and outs of running a business. Her store has now been open for 13 years.

“The best part is the people I get to meet,” Ketner said. “Customers are wonderful. (I) meet people in the community that I wouldn’t get a chance to get to know otherwise.”

Carla also enjoys working with her staff, getting to know famous and local authors, and attending book expos.  

Many of Carla’s staff members, friends and local business colleagues attended the luncheon to honor Carla’s achievement.

“I am very honored to be receiving it and I appreciate it very much,” Ketner said. “The biggest reason I appreciate it is that I know there are a lot of business owners in this community who deserve that award who have been role models to me, who I’ve enjoyed working with and getting to know.”

The luncheon also featured Dr. Vanessa Seifert as the Keynote Speaker. Seifert is a bi-vocational Director of Christian Education at Calvary Lutheran Church in Lincoln. She is also a leadership coach in Lincoln.

In her address, Seifert expounded on the idea that faith is not meant to be compartmentalized, such as food on an elementary school tray, but that our faith should be touching every aspect of our lives. 

“All of faith is life and all of life is faith,” Seifert said in her address.

Members of Phi Beta Lambda hope that the luncheon displays to other students what opportunities are available to them through the business club, specifically through leadership and organizing an event like the Women in Business Luncheon.

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