OBW names Moore Woman of Achievement
Rebecca Moore walks forward to accept the Owatonna Business Women 2023 Woman of Achievement award during a celebration held Saturday at Spare Time Entertainment. Moore is an active community volunteer and senior legal counsel for Federated Insurance. Staff photo by Joni Hubred
Rebecca Moore tries to live by the theme, “do justice, love mercy, walk humbly” and believes “each of us can do good where we’re at.”
On Saturday, she was recognized for the good she’s done in her community as the Owatonna Business Women’s 51st Woman of Achievement. The annual celebration was held at Spare Time Entertainment in Owatonna.
Moore was selected by an independent panel of women who reviewed five nominees. The list also included Jackie Berg, national sales manager for Wenger Corporation; Nicole Wacek, who works in finance for Steele Waseca Cooperative Electric; Blooming Prairie High counselor Mary Worke; and Third Judicial District Court operations manager Erin Vieths.
Moore is employed as senior legal counsel for Federated Insurance. She chaired the Better Together initiative, serves as vice chair for the Alliance for Greater Equity, has volunteered with Young Life and Junior Achievement, and is past president of the Steele County Bar Association and Fifth District Bar Associations.
Woman of Achievement nominating committee chair Katie Glaser said judges described Moore as someone who “shows up for people in our community” and exhibits “strength and courage to hold space for others to thrive.”
After being named for the award, though, Moore talked about the people who have been there for her, including her husband Will and their five children, parents Jim and Kathy Gunderson, her sister, and best friends.
“There’s a saying that it takes a village to raise a child, and I believe that, and I think it takes a village to keep raising people,” she said. “I see a lot of people who have just poured into me.”
OBW also honored Mary Larson with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Larson grew up in Owatonna and holds a degree in education. She her late husband Bruce were dairy farmers for 50 years in Steele County; she volunteered with 4-H and the Steele County Free Fair.
Larson served on the Owatonna school board for 14 years and helped found what became the 761 Foundation. It funds educational grants to teachers and principals, as well as scholarships for Owatonna Public Schools students.
This year’s Young Careerist Award went to Muna Mohamed. The mother of two young children, she has during the past few years earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. Mohamed started her own diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting business and serves as director of diversity and inclusion at Lifeworks Services. She is an Alliance for Greater Equity board member, volunteers at her mosque, and teaches Islamic studies.
Anisha Zak, OBW’s 2018 Young Careerist honoree, said Mohamed is passionate about helping others understand why it’s important to invest in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“She believes having real conversations will show that, while there has been progress, a lot of work needs to be done,” Zak said, adding Mohamed is proud to be the first black, Somali woman to win the award.