International Women’s Day



October 29, 2021

paulfolkphoto-instagram-1127-ig-17942085097447627Among the many firsts associated with Sedona Schnebly is her beautiful statue gracing the entry to the Public Library as part of the City’s first Art in Public Places project in 1994. Sedona’s great granddaughter, journalist and author Lisa Schnebly Heidinger, posed as Sedona for artist Susan Kliewer as she created the sculpture. I got the honor of meeting Lisa last week while she was in town.

This scene of three accomplished women creating an enduring monument is just one snapshot in the illustrious photo album of women’s achievements in Sedona. To honor that legacy, the chamber will host a special celebration of area women.

It all starts with Sedona Schnebly, the determined, educated, charming, reserved, devout, tough, talented woman who chopped wood, killed chickens, harvested crops, raised children and welcomed strangers on the banks of Oak Creek beginning in 1901 – and who everyone knew as Aunt Dona or Mother Schnebly.

As most locals know, T.C. Schnebly was the settlement’s first postmaster, naming the town after his wife when his initial selections were rejected by the Postmaster General. Sedona’s mother Amanda Miller invented the unique name for her daughter, born in Missouri in 1877, never guessing it would someday be world famous. “It was her only flight of fancy,” says Lisa Schnebly Heidinger.

Sedona embodied the strength of pioneer women, but the death of Pearl, her 5-year-old daughter who was trampled by a horse when she became tangled in the reins, triggered a depression in Sedona so profound the family left Arizona in 1910 and did not return until 1931. Resuming her active, engaged life in the town bearing her name, Sedona was popular, respected, admired and deeply loved. She died on November 13, 1950 and is buried next to Pearl in Cook’s Cedar Glade Cemetery. The Sedona Heritage Museum recently hosted a Voices from the Grave Cemetery Walk to share Sedona’s story and others.

In the spirit of Sedona Schnebly, we think it’s time for a new tradition: publicly recognizing our modern-day women leaders. That’s why we are excited to announce our Inaugural International Women’s Day Luncheon on March 8, 2022, at the Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock Tequa Ballroom, where we will present our first ever “Business Woman of the Year” Award.

We intend to make this an annual event and the award one of the area’s most prestigious honors. We invite you to get involved from the start. Among the local women business leaders you know, who do you admire and why? Is she a role model, a mentor, an innovator, a ground breaker, a business success, all the above and more? Once you’ve decided on your potential honoree, please nominate her at The deadline is December 1, 2021.

A big thank you to our sponsors: Goldenstein Gallery, Body Bliss Factory Direct, Northern Arizona Healthcare, Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, The Verde Valley Independent and Village Gallery of Local Artists for your support. A portion of the funds raised will go to the Sedona Heritage Museum dedicated to a beautification project of the Sedona Schnebly grave site. Capacity is limited to 200 people and seats are selling fast, so to learn more about the event, as well as table, half-table and single ticket prices go to Don’t wait.

We are fortunate our town is named after someone as decent, caring and strong as Sedona Schnebly who welcomed everyone with open arms. Please join us in honoring her memory and the women of today who are advancing her legacy. I hope to see you at our IWD22 luncheon to celebrate our past and present women leaders. Be sure to keep up to date through our e-newsletter and this column!

-Candace Carr Strauss,