2016 Event Details

Luncheon Speaker, Abby Arauz spoke of Generations!


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This year’s theme is “Celebrating Generations” and Abby Arauz, a third-generIMG_2926ation business owner, was presented with the Celebration Award. Arauz works in her family’s California, Missouri, wholesale feather business, Zucker Feathers, as well as starting and being active in their retail operation, The Feather Place.

Founded by her grandparents in the 1960s, the business is a leading U.S. supplier of feathers to the domestic and international wholesale and retail markets. As national retailers, they serve Hobby Lobby and Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, among other retailers. Additionally they supply feathers for show business costumes, including Beyonce’s musical tour, Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss in The Hunger Games, and the movie Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie. Arauz also works with Victoria’s Secret to create the wings that models wear in the annual fashion show and displays in Victoria’s Secret stores nationwide.

During her ten years as a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall, Arauz began working with the New York fashion houses and Broadway shows to supply feathers for their designs. As her family grew, Arauz and her husband decided to return to mid-Missouri, where she now works to oversee the operation of the family business, along with her brother Anthony and their parents.

“I never thought I’d go into the family feather business and I pursued other passions like dance and theatre which led me directly back to feathers,” Arauz said “Sometimes you have to spread your wings and fly to find your way home again.”

The family business employs more than 80 people, mostly in its California, Missouri factory, while others staff the showrooms in New York and Los Angeles. The staff are important to Arauz, who says, “I have such a sense of gratitude to have the opportunity to work in a family business. Along with that comes a deep sense of responsibility for the people working with us to continue my grandparent’s and parent’s legacy.”

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 2016 Lifetime Achievement Winner:  Donna Westhues

The Zonta Club of Jefferson City presented the2016 Mrs. William H. Weldon Lifetime Achievement Award  to Donna Westhues. Mrs. Westhues was honored along with 14 Women of Achievement nominees at the club’s annual Yellow Rose Luncheon on for May 17, 2016, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel. The theme for this year’s luncheon was “Celebrating Generations.”

Donna Westhues embodies the theme. She raised another generation of fundraisers while she raised funds for past, present, and future generations of Central Missourians.  Introducing Mrs. Westhues at the Luncheon was her son, Dan.  IMG_2935

Growing up in the household of Harold and Donna Westhues, Dan Westhues knew the saying “To whom much is given, much is expected” was not just an adage, but a way of life! In her latest challenge to raise funds for the Boys & Girls Club “Light the Way Home” capital campaign, Donna teamed with Dan as they co-chaired the highly successful effort. Tasked with the goal to raise $2.2 million to fund the new structure with the bottom level unfinished, Donna led the way to an almost $2.7 million result. Her efforts mean that 300 Jefferson City children will have a complete facility for the home away from home that the Boys & Girls Club is to many club members, both now and for many years in the future.

A three-time cancer survivor, Donna showed concern for other women with cancer through her “Look Good, Feel Good” program. Working with Terry Martin, an art instructor at William Woods University, Donna developed a pattern for a “chemo scarf” headdress. University students used the pattern to make the scarves, which were then distributed through the American Cancer Society to women undergoing chemotherapy. Martin recently donated a painting, shown here, of a woman wearing one of the scarves to an American Cancer Society fundraiser.

These are just two examples among many for Donna, who loves the opportunity to showcase the giving spirit of Jefferson City, her home for 45 years. Those years have seen her working on efforts for Capitol Projects, the YMCA, St. Mary’s Foundation, and the Cole County Historical Society, to name a few. Many generations of Jefferson City residents are better off since Donna Westhues came to town. We are proud to celebrate her and her contributions to our community with this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award.


2016 Women of Achievement Winners!


The “Celebrating Generations” theme speaks volumes to Carol Beavers. Although she’s the great-granddaughter of a woman who was a slave, she’s also the granddaughter of the first post-segregation, African-American principal in a Deep South school system. One generation forward reveals that she is the daughter of two college professors — one of whom was a Zonta Woman of Achievement nominee. Carol is now raising her own daughter and routinely gives her the gift she has extended to every community she’s been a part of: love through service. With a list of educational, professional and volunteer awards too long to share here, at the core, Carol Beavers is an accomplished engineer-turned-information technology professional who serves not only through the technology she knows, but also by working with people. Some of Carol’s favorite volunteer moments are efforts to put human trafficking laws in place, and providing assistance to those supporting loved ones with substance abuse issues.

Currently, Carol serves at Lincoln University, where she is Interim Director of the Office of Information Technology; at the Boys and Girls Club of the Capital City; in the Central Missouri Women’s Connection; and in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.





Sometimes it is generations of family that lead you to discover the factors for success. In reflecting on the gifts her parents gave to her, Paula shares she would offer the next generation five “S” lessons – spirit, studies, sport, service, and smile. Paula explains if you incorporate these into your life, you will be a gift to others. She demonstrates this truth in her own life as the Director of Rehabilitation Services at Capital Region Medical Center and President of the Missouri Physical Therapy Association. Paula gained the respect and trust of two Governors and was appointed to leadership responsibilities on the Missouri Advisory Commission for Physical Therapists. She has served as an advisory board member for the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at State Technical College of Missouri since 1995 and is a guest lecturer there and at the University of Missouri. Active in school activities and Trinity Lutheran Church, Paula was selected for the 2013 Leadership Jefferson City Class and continues to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce. Her personal work as a mother of two also demonstrates her commitment to the “S” gifts as her college age children are actively pursuing sports, challenging academic programs, and service in the communities where they reside.



Luncheon attendees enjoyed the musical talent of Emily Myers, daughter of long-time Zonta member, Brenda Myers.IMG_2941

2016 Women of Achievement Nominees

Theresa Backes                                     Shelley Gabert                                        Carrie Tergin

Carol Beavers                                         Kristen Hilty                                               Nancy Thompson

Paula Burnett                                         Elizabeth Lehmann                                   C. Allyson Walker, MD

Lisa Deutsch                                           Julie Prather                                               Laura Ward

Lora Bias Folz, MD                                 Stefanie Rome