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2010 40 Under 40: Marissa LeClaire Weaver

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As associate director of student engagement at Missouri State University, Marissa LeClaire Weaver develops and implements programs aimed at helping college kids become better leaders for campus groups and other organizations they serve.

“Stronger leaders and better organizations influence the people that the organization interacts with on a regular basis,” she says.

At MSU, Weaver orchestrates staff and student training sessions, and she also creates and organizes open-enrollment workshops for the campus community. She’s a member of the Plaster Student Union management team. As coordinator of Sample Springfield, she brings together 50 local businesses that market themselves on campus during a daylong event.

Weaver also works as facilitator of the Low and High Ropes Course at Leadership Ranch in Republic. The outdoor leadership course is aimed at improving communication and problem-solving skills among participating groups.

“I have the opportunity every day to help others become successful,” she says.

Weaver also is passionate about learning, and she anticipates earning her doctorate in education, with a focus on educational leadership, from the University of Missouri-Columbia in May 2012.

She says, however, that even beyond the classroom, it’s important to be aware of new opportunities for learning, such as with the community organizations she serves.

“I think everyone who is a leader should recognize that dealing with complex problems is more efficient and productive when you have been exposed to lots of ways of doing things,” Weaver says. “When I am involved with an organization … I get to learn about how and why things are done the way they are there.”

Weaver serves on the board of Leadership Springfield, and she continues to volunteer with Delta Delta Delta, her sorority. She’s also a member of Urban Districts Alliance’s Hospitality Resource Panel, which works to make center city Springfield safe and prosperous.

But it is Weaver’s work with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks that she cites as her proudest accomplishment. She is a “big sister” with the organization, and she has spent four years nurturing her relationship with a local girl who was just 10 when they were paired.

“I am proud of the decisions she has made over the last four years. Her grades have been good, she has not been in trouble at school, her self-esteem is solid and she is just all around a great kid,” she says. “I know I can’t claim that our relationship has influenced all of those things, but if it helped in any way, then I feel as though it is an important accomplishment.”[[In-content Ad]]

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