Recently, I was blessed to be part of the wedding of my Mrs. Ohio sister, Stephanie White. My husband and I flew from Columbus to Dallas so we wouldn’t miss it and while at the wedding, many of the guests couldn’t believe we traveled across the country. To me, it could have happened in Timbuktu and we would’ve found a way to be there because I carry a piece of each one of my Mrs. Ohio sisters in my heart.
That I would have ever been a beauty queen was the farthest thing from my mind growing up. I loved to watch Miss America on TV like every little girl, but I never competed. In fact I didn’t come to pageantry until I was a Mrs. So, with zero experience and a goal I became Mrs Ohio America 2002. And through this, I ultimately had an experience that shaped my life more than holding this title, I directed Mrs. Ohio for a decade.
Over the last 10 years, my co-director Krista Yovanno and I put in long, hard hours to make this event one all of the participants would hold special in their hearts. In return, the gift to me that was more precious than gold was the amazing women I met. Every woman whose path I crossed shaped me for the better. Especially, my Mrs. Ohio sisters.
I had the privilege and opportunity to work with each of these women as they went to compete for Mrs. America and through watching their journeys, here’s what I learned:
Mrs Ohio 2003 Katherine Boyd – True winners are invested in others.
Mrs Ohio 2004 Krista Yovanno – The most beautiful women on the outside are often the most beautiful on the inside.
Mrs. Ohio 2005 Rhonda Shappert – There’s a victory around the corner if you hang in there long enough to realize it.
Mrs. Ohio 2006 Lisa Piepsny – Confidence is the most beautiful thing a woman will ever wear.
Mrs. Ohio 2007 Christine Wright – Claim your dreams in a tangible way and they will come true.
Mrs. Ohio 2008 Tonya Stump – If a solution to your dilemma doesn’t exist, create it and you’ll be wildly successful.
Mrs. Ohio 2009 Stephanie White- Walk with God in a way that He is so real to you that you can hear His breath.
Mrs. Ohio 2010 Kimberly Miller – If you have a goal, throw yourself into accomplishing it as soon as you identify it, work every day at it and NEVER look back.
Mrs. Ohio 2011 Melanie Miller – When you are married, the big goals are more achievable if they are the goals of the couple.
And, I had the honor to meet a few Mrs. Ohio’s that came before me and from them I learned:
Mrs. Ohio 2001 Darlene McKinney – A winner looks like a winner. All the time. No matter what.
Mrs. Ohio 19888 Doreen Luke – Women get more beautiful with age
Mrs. Ohio 1986 Elisabeth Bell – The special quality a panel of judges sees in a woman that makes them choose her is apparent to the world lifelong.
I think you learn something valuable from everyone you take the time to get to know. I’m grateful to the many women who have lived the kind of lives that have had a profound impact on me.