The 2019 Outstanding Woman in Business has a simple philosophy:
“Be kind to each other. Make this world a better place—one where service-oriented women are leading the way.”
Concordia University honored Seward’s Dixie Zabka with the Outstanding Woman in Business Award on April 12, adding her to the ranks of 17 other local women who have achieved the honor over the years.
Zabka addressed the past recipients in her speech to the crowd in the Cattle Conference Room at Concordia.
“Thank you for your lives of devotion to your businesses and to the Seward community,” she said. “I’m glad to be a member of that community.”
The award is presented each year by the Concordia Business Club, and this year’s luncheon featured speaker Deb Burma, a motivational speaker and author for Concordia Publishing House.
Burma spoke about living on the edge, whatever one’s edge may be—to accept a new challenge and take healthy risks while trusting God’s plan.
“You never know how He will use what He’s called you to do. As a leader and a servant, I heard beautiful words about Dixie being both,” Burma said.
Zabka spoke about her history in the business world. She was raised in Fullerton, where she began work at her father’s real estate office.
“Customer service was important in 1965, and it’s still important today,” Zabka said.
She shared how her family, friends and colleagues showed her how to be a great businesswoman—especially her mother, who worked to build the family business while Zabka’s father served four years in the Navy, “so there would be something for him to come home to.”
“She was my mother, she was my friend, and she was amazing,” Zabka said.
Zabka later served as a bank teller for a while and did home transcription.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and worked 17 years at the district office for Seward Public Schools.
Zabka and her husband, Greg, purchased Wood Brothers Mortuary in 1998, 21 years after Greg began working there.
She began helping at the funeral home, which they eventually renamed Zabka Funeral Home. They opened a second location in Dwight in 2016 before selling the business to Brad and Jill Perdue in 2018.
The business is celebrating 145 years in 2019 as Zabka-Perdue Funeral Home.
Zabka said though they handled the business of a mortuary, their mission was more about the service to families.
“We are all in service occupations, we just go about it from a different perspective,” she said.
She and Greg developed a motto many years ago, and they worked to build their business on it.
“The secret to success in business is this: give people more than they ask for, and do it cheerfully. You will make the world a better place one day at a time.”