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Springfield, MO

2012 40 Under 40 Honoree: Katie Davis

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When Katie Davis took the reins of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks in late 2010 at age 27, she became one of the youngest CEOs among more than 300 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies nationwide.

“The board of directors recognized my talent and leadership two years ago as they began grooming me for the position of CEO by promoting me to the assistant director position,” Davis says.

The regional agency, which supports mentoring relationships between adults and children, serves 20 southwest Missouri counties with satellite offices in Branson and Joplin. Last year, the organization supported 1,012 matches between adults and children, and Davis says the organization achieved record annual revenues of $937,191.

A major test of skill blew her way on May 22, 2011, when the Joplin satellite office was in the direct line of the tornado that struck the city. Davis had led the agency in a move to go paperless just months before the tornado hit, and as a result, the Springfield staff was able to access Joplin’s files immediately, contacting families to check on their safety. Three days after the storm, she had volunteers and staff organized to secure and clean up what was left of the office, and within a week, they had a storage pod filled with what was salvageable, and all the families were accounted for and safe.

Another career milestone was achieved through successful implementation of the 30 Men in 30 Days campaign to help serve more than 70 boys who were on a waiting list for Big Brothers.

BBBS of the Ozarks has experienced 85 percent growth during the past five years, Davis notes, allowing more children to be served by an expanded staff. In 2010, when she was still assistant director, Davis began working on a capital campaign for a 1,180-square-foot addition to accommodate growth.

“For 18 months, I worked with in-kind donors, board members, foundations and individual donors to secure just more than $150,000,” Davis says. “Oct. 31, 2011, was my proudest professional accomplishment to date because we were able to break ground on our building addition with the cost of the addition fully funded.”

Since moving into leadership with BBBS, Davis has worked to combat employee turnover, which she says is a reality many nonprofits face.

She initiated a staff retreat and advocated for additional benefits, including retirement and growth incentive plans.

“The growth incentive plan allows the staff to keep track of monthly revenue and expenses, while being rewarded for staying under budget in expenses and over budget in revenue,” Davis says.

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