With an evangelism of action, not words, Jane Owens Cage (’78) embodies the Wake Forest spirit of Pro Humanitate. She stepped up to serve her community when it needed her most, using business savvy and a gift for connecting with people and building consensus to lead the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team that brought Joplin, Mo., back to life after a catastrophic tornado in May 2011. As advocate, strategist and uniting voice, Jane Cage put her personal life on hold and her personal commitment to giving back into action.
Cage, owner and CEO of Heartland Technology Solutions, had been on the boards of the Humane Society, the Chamber of Commerce, First Presbyterian Church and St. John’s Regional Medical Center. She was not known for seeking accolades but for seeking to serve, whether by organizing holiday parties for families of inmates or wielding shovels during disaster cleanup in New Orleans and Iowa.
As a student, Emily Jane Owens from Charlotte, N.C., graduated summa cum laude and was a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the economics honor society. She received one of the highest honors for a graduating senior when the faculty selected her as one of three senior orators at Commencement. She married one of her economics professors, Bill Cage, and they moved to Joplin in 1978.
In April 2012 she was Joplin’s Outstanding Citizen of the Year and in December 2012, she was named the second recipient of the Rick Rescoria National Award for Resilience.
Cage knows that for Joplin it will take years to rebuild what it took just minutes to destroy. But she is committed to the long haul and accepts the responsibility — and the praise —with humility. “We have a long road ahead of us, but I am always heartened by the unity that’s shown when it comes to recovery,” she said. “It feels good to make a difference.”