KX News wants to recognize the great contributions women have made to our nation and local communities. Remarkable Women is part of a nationwide Nexstar Media initiative to honor the influence that women have had on public policy, social progress and the quality of life.

Throughout Women’s History Month, KX News will highlight four local women who inspire, lead and forge the way for other women. It’s not just about one day or one month — it’s about what they do, day-in and day-out. The four finalists were selected from 60 nominees and will be eligible to be named our 2021 KX News Remarkable Woman of the Year.

Our 2021 KX News Remarkable Woman of the Year will travel to WGN Studios in Chicago with the chance to be named Nexstar Media Group’s national Woman of the Year.

The Nexstar Media Group’s Woman of the Year will be featured and announced on the WGN’s Remarkable Women Special on April 10th!

Remarkable Woman: Lorena Poppe

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You may not have heard of her, but Lorena Poppe, the owner of Poppy’s Promise and a disabilities advocate, has made quite the impact on our community.

“It started out as just a job, but really very quickly became a passion. I just fell in love with the work I was doing,” said Poppe.

For almost 30 years, Lorena Poppe has worked to help support those with disabilities.
Owning her own business, advocating at our capitol, and recently launching a non-profit organization, she’s been a beacon of light for many.

“Lorena is one of the nicest women I think I’ve ever met and had the privilege of knowing. She has a genuine heart for kids with disabilities and a genuine heart for people in general,” said Krisann Miller, owner of Little Lights Pediatrics.

Poppe started out pursuing a business degree at UMary. Now putting what she’s learned to use, she employs over 50 individuals.

“Employing people who are very passionate about helping people to realize their dreams and goals has motivated me. We’re thinking outside of the box. We’re coming up with, what I feel, are new and innovative ways to approach services, and providing supports to families,” said Poppe.

Melinda Retzer, who’s worked with Poppe for over seven years, says she couldn’t ask for a better boss.

“She is very much like a mentor. Obviously, when I have stuff where I’m like, I don’t know how to do this. She’s like let’s learn together. She is CEO Executive Director. And she is just leading the charge as a woman,” Melinda Retzer, the Operations Director of Poppy’s Promise.

Poppe tells us part of her mission is to fill the gaps where families’ and children’s needs are.

“Families may tell us they need someone who can come and help their family through a shopping trip or can help through a meal preparation or getting through a bedtime routine. That kind of thing.
We may be helping families who are working during the day and need some specialized childcare for their child,” said Poppe.

Miller, who does contract work for Lorena, says not only has Lorena been a friend, but she’s also been a teacher.

“Lorena is very active also in legislature, legislation for kids with special needs, advocating for their needs and their families needs. And so I’ve learned a lot about that process,” said Miller.

Poppe tells us she hopes to inspire other women to follow their passions, and couldn’t have done it without the support she received from others.

“I’m pretty proud. We have a pretty strong and I would say fierce group of women who are in leadership roles here. They build me up and I hope I do the same for them,” said Poppe.

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