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2010 Most Influential Women Honoree: Mindy Spitz

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Through her work, Mindy Spitz is able to do her part to fight hunger in the Ozarks.

As community relations manager for Panera Bread, Spitz gets to donate bagels, cookies and gift certificates to fundraisers and coordinates the company’s end-of-day donations to area food pantries and shelters.

“There are few things as gratifying as speaking with a food pantry volunteer whose voice breaks with emotion when describing how much their clients appreciate the breads they receive,” Spitz says.

Spitz says her dynamic personality helps her to influence others’ success in her professional role and in service on civic organizations’ boards.

“Many people have joined the chamber and other community groups with my gentle persuasion,” she says.

Her professional role, she says, is to support the seven Panera Bread locations in her territory. Among her duties, she recruits nonprofit groups to hold their fundraisers at the cafés, giving them the opportunity not only to raise money but also to boost awareness.

Among the organizations with fundraisers that have benefited from Spitz’s efforts are Children’s Miracle Network, Relay for Life, Habitat for Humanity, American Red Cross and Killuminati Foundation.

She oversees Panera’s Pink Ribbon Bagel campaign, which donates 25 cents from each of the “pink ribbon” bagels sold during October to the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks.

“During my tenure at Panera Bread, we have donated $17,378 to BCFO from this program,” she says.

She also initiated the Panera Run, and the three events she’s coordinated so far have raised $26,600 for Ozarks Food Harvest, the Care to Learn Fund and the Foundation for Springfield Public Schools.

As a former vice president of the board of directors for Ozarks Food Harvest, Spitz worked on the organization’s capital campaign committee, which raised more than $5 million to build a larger food bank facility.

“The additional space aids in feeding thousands more hungry individuals and families in our community,” Spitz says.

She also is chairwoman of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, welcoming new chamber members and giving them information about expanding and promoting their businesses.

“The ambassadors are the representatives of the chamber and of the city of Springfield, welcoming new member businesses into our area,” Spitz says. “I take this responsibility very seriously, since we are the first impression new members have of the city and the chamber.”

Spitz and Panera partner with Ozark Greenways for the annual Bike, Bus, Walk to Work week, which encourages fuel conservation through using alternative modes of transportation to get to work.

“I also study natural (and) alternative health and strive to provide an example of healthy living,” Spitz says.

As a result of her efforts, people in the community know Spitz can be called on for help.

“When the need arises, I’m willing and capable to assume the leadership role,” she says. “Peers, co-workers and friends often look to me to take the lead on projects and events.”[[In-content Ad]]

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