Springfield, MO

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2012 Most Influential Women Honoree: Victoria Queen

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The teacher has become the student, and Victoria Queen says what she’s learned has made her a more effective teacher.

Queen, the president of Victory Trade School, is currently working on a doctorate of philosophy in higher education administration at Saint Louis University and writing her dissertation on experiential andragogy – the art and science of helping adults learn.

A nontraditional student, Queen returned to school at age 30 and discovered a passion for learning after she aced her first test. Through working for 10 years at Lyon College in Arkansas, Queen says she developed a team approach to leadership. Meetings at Victory Trade School, she says, are roundtable discussions where members have mutual respect and decisions are shared.

“I have a democratic and inclusive leadership style where team members are proactive and involved. Using the synergy of a team by developing strengths and compensating for weaknesses of each member means we can accomplish much more than any individual,” Queen says.

Her vision and approach to character building through education and service has earned VTS awards and national recognition from organizations such as Action Institute, World Magazine and the National Restaurant Association.

While teaching college business courses at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners, Queen says she conjured the idea for Victory Trade School, melding together her love for education and business through social enterprise in 2003. She has since developed VTS and the learning laboratories of Cook’s Kettle, The Branch Bistro and The Vine greenhouse, which allow adult students to learn in business settings.

“The vulnerable students, many who were jobless or struggled with addictions in the past, graduate VTS to work in local eateries throughout the area, further their education at local colleges, volunteer in the community and serve local churches,” Queen says.

Queen is currently serving her sixth term on the board of directors for the Community Alternative Sentencing Program Inc., and she is a member of the North Springfield Betterment Association, and the American Culinary Federation.

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