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12 People You Need to Know in 2019: Carrie Richardson

Leading the Leaders

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Last edited 1:16 p.m., Feb. 5, 2019

Carrie Richardson is taking the helm of Leadership Springfield at a shifting of the tides. She’s the professional development organization’s first director following its transition to an independent organization in July 2018. For 34 years it was connected to the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.

Richardson came on the scene in June, following an 11-year stint at Ozarks Community Hospital LLC, where she finished as chief operating officer. A Leadership Springfield Signature Class graduate, Richardson says she read in an alumni newsletter that the organization was seeking a director and immediately took interest.

“I thought, wow, these are all the pieces which I love about my position,” she says.

With a three-person team, Richardson says Leadership Springfield’s board is implementing the management plan of The Great Game of Business Inc. She has history there, too, having worked part-time as marketing and program coordinator while earning her bachelor’s degree in communications from Drury University.

“We are ramping up our efforts, and that’s one reason why we were able to make this transition financially,” she says.

Richardson says her past participation a decade ago in class 25 of Leadership Springfield was pivotal in helping her discover her place as a leader.

“It helped shape who I am. I went through Leadership Springfield in a time of my life where I was growing,” she says.

She’s ready to share that experience with participants in the Signature Class, Leadership Academy for high schoolers, and Principals of Leadership for school principals.

Richardson also is putting her own spin on the group.

“We will be offering a one-day program day for alumni to re-experience a program day,” she says, noting the spring event will be based on a theme – for instance, criminal justice, civic awareness, education or health services.

Richardson also plans to launch a two-day crash course for new leaders in Springfield or those who want to learn more about their community.

“The focus is exposure to local leadership, issues and opportunities for community engagement,” she says.

Overall, Richardson says the goal of Leadership Springfield hasn’t changed.

“Why do we exist? To inspire, develop and connect leaders,” she says.

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