Industry Advocate Selected as Woman of the Year

Posted on in Business Operations

By Mike McGill, VGM Marketing

On Tuesday, Oct. 24, Barbara Smith was announced as the winner of the 2017 HME Woman of the Year award.  

The award was presented to Smith at a ceremony held at the Medtrade Home Medical Equipment Conference and Expo in Atlanta. She was one of four finalists selected to attend the conference and the special award presentation.         

 “I feel blessed that my contributions have been recognized by my peers, family, and staff,” said Smith, chief executive officer of Healthline Medical Equipment. “There are so many women out there doing great things in our industry, and it’s an honor just to be nominated.”

Smith has worked in the HME industry for 27 years, 25 of which have been at Healthline. Under her direction, the company, headquartered in Wichita Falls, Texas, has grown from three locations to 12 with 196 total employees.

Powerful Industry Advocate

Through the years, Smith has been a powerful advocate for the industry on the state and national levels. She will continue to share her passion by serving as president of the newly formed state association, TX MEP, which she helped create.  

“On behalf of VGM, I am proud to present the HME Woman of the Year award to Barbara,” said Mike Mallaro, CEO of VGM Group, Inc. “First and foremost, Barbara is a leader. She has earned the respect and admiration of the people in her company, the referral sources and patients she and her company serve, and her competitors and peers across the industry. She exemplifies the dedication and innovation required to evolve her business. Thank you, Barbara, for being a trailblazer in our industry.”  

The HME Woman of the Year award was created by VGM, which presented each of the four finalists with a framed certificate. Along with Smith, the finalists included Lelia Wilkerson, director, Heritage Medical Equipment & Supplies; Rita Stanley, vice president of Government Relations, Sunrise Medical; and Maxine Paul, director of sales and operations, NuMotion, and formerly owner of Academy Medical Equipment, Inc.   

Nominees for the award were from across the nation and included a broad spectrum of providers, manufacturers, association executives, and other professionals in home medical equipment, rehab, respiratory, and mastectomy. A selection committee chose the finalists using criteria that included implementing new business processes, advocating on behalf of the industry, improving the lives of patients, and impacting the community through volunteerism.  

For Smith, the award is an honor, but her drive to make a lasting impact on the industry she loves, community she calls home, and the patients she serves continues. 

“Our industry has changed significantly over the years, and we try to stay focused and evolve with it,” mentioned Smith. “I hope that I can continue to encourage women to be a part of HME. I tell every one of my employees, ‘When you take care of the people, the business is going to come.’ If you’re passionate about something, you’re going to be great at it.” 

Nominations for the 2018 HME Woman of the Year award will open in June. Help kickoff the nomination period by attending the Women and Wine event at VGM’s annual Heartland Conference June 19-21.

Visit to view the video announcing Barbara Smith as the winner.