Willmar BPW honors Sietsema, Mill Pond

WILLMAR -- Peggy Sietsema was honored as 2006 Woman of the Year by the Willmar Business and Professional Women during a banquet Tuesday night at the Willmar Conference Center.

WILLMAR -- Peggy Sietsema was honored as 2006 Woman of the Year by the Willmar Business and Professional Women during a banquet Tuesday night at the Willmar Conference Center.

Also during the banquet, the Willmar BPW named Mill Pond Mercantile of New London the 2006 Employer of the Year.

The banquet was held during the 78th annual National Business Women's Week Oct. 16-20. Guest speaker was Ruth Lundquist of Savage, co-founder of Let's Dish, a Minnesota company that has revolutionized the way busy families put dinner on the table.

Sietsema's work affects health care policy

Peggy Sietsema has been chief nursing officer and associate administrator for clinical resources and safety at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar since 1995. Her career as a nurse began in 1967 at St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Paul. She held public health nurse roles including a position with the summer migrant health program in Moorhead.


Much of her 35-year career has been spent in clinical leadership positions. She has served on the Minnesota Hospital Association Patient Safety Committee since 2001 and on the board of directors of Stratis Health for the past 12 years. She is active in professional and nursing organizations and serves as president of the Minnesota Organization of Leaders in Nursing.

Through her work on state organizations, Sietsema has affected health care policy. Her work with the Patient Safety Committee of the Minnesota Hospital Association led to the development of the Minnesota Alliance for Patient Safety. The alliance recently received the prestigious Eisenberg Award from the National Quality Forum.

Sietsema is known by many as having spearheaded planning efforts that went into the Rice Hospital expansion and remodeling project. It was her vision to incorporate elements of sound, art, music and natural light to create a healing environment for all who pass through Rice's doors.

Amy Kelleher, communications coordinator at Rice Memorial Hospital, said Sietsema has been a steady and articulate voice for change, which led to creation of one of the finest health care facilities in Minnesota.

"The planning that went into the project was led by Peggy and her commitment for including staff at all levels throughout the project was unparalleled," said Kelleher.

Mill Pond protects

rights of workers

Mill Pond Mercantile, an entrepreneurial venture by Anita Stulen and Virginia Knapp, was cited as a leader in promoting and protecting the rights of working women. All of its 10 employees are women. Stulen and Knapp believe that family always comes first and work hours will be scheduled around family needs.


Stulen and Knapp steer their employees toward the best fit for their interests and skills within the company, and the company provides educational opportunities for its employees.

The company supports family priorities that arise during regular working hours. Employees are able to schedule themselves as their family needs allow, and partial shifts are encouraged to better accommodate family.

In the words of one employee, "We work together as a team; each employee is treated with respect. Employees are rewarded and recognized frequently. We feel very appreciated."

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