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Springfield, MO

2017 40 Under 40 Honoree: Vanessa Brandt, 38

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Vanessa Brandt led a culture refresh at Marlin Co. after the Springfield ad agency was purchased in 2015 by national marketing firm Advantage Sales & Marketing LLC. During what Brandt calls a difficult time for Marlin employees, she conducted one-on-one meetings to tackle challenges and concerns. The firm’s first female managing director and the youngest to hold that title, Brandt also was key in maintaing the company’s relationships with its largest and longest client, Starbucks. Formerly a vice president for international ad agency Visual Latina, Brandt led a FIFA World Cup promotion that ended up being the single-largest revenue-producing campaign for Coca-Cola North America.

What was your first job? A hostess at a Mexican restaurant called Maria’s.

What are you doing to make the Ozarks better? I volunteer with many organizations that are important to me including the Junior League of Springfield, Girls On The Run and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

What did you learn the hard way? Being super busy and overworked is not a badge of honor.

What’s your greatest regret? I travel a lot for my job. I typically only see the airport, the hotel and the office and miss all of the amazing cities I am fortunate enough to visit. There is more to life than work and I regret that I haven’t taken more time to slow down and enjoy the view.

Have you ever met a celebrity? I’m the queen of meeting B-list celebrities. Most notably, Jason Biggs from “American Pie.”

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