Springfield, MO

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2013 40 Under 40 Honoree: Chantal Drennen

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Pursuing the American dream became Chantal Drennen’s reality early in life. Drennen has found success in business and kept an active role in the community, even before she became a naturalized citizen in 2008.

Born in Argentina, Drennen studied at Drury University where she received a bachelor’s in business administration while putting her native Spanish to use as a bilingual teller with Great Southern Bank.

She would later work in management positions with LHP Transportation Services and CSL Plasma before opening her own business, downtown’s Gelato Mio, in 2010.

“I have been able to pursue the American dream,” she says. “I would not be where I am today and have helped as many people as I’ve helped thus far had I not become an American.”

While the business has since closed, Drennen relates her entrepreneurial experience in opening the gelato store as a means of honing her business skills which led to her current position as regional marketing manager with Phoenix Home Care.

Drennen takes pride in her role with the company ad the freedom she is given to use her marketing skills to help clients – encompassing children, young adults and the elderly – maintain their independence at home.

Drennen contributes to a host of community organizations, perhaps most notably through involvement with the Springfield Sister Cities association.

Serving on a two-year stint as a co-chair of the Tlaquepaque committee for Sister Cities, Drennen helped facilitate exchanges between the Mexican city and Springfield.

In particular, she helped coordinate ArtsFiesta and arranged visits from Mexican musicians to Springfield area schools.

“This is very rewarding to me to see the kids’ eyes light up and their smiles ear to ear as they enjoy the common language of music,” Drennen says.

Organizing cultural mixers and translating during official visits are just small examples of Drennen helping others; personally she feels pride in helping to persuade a mother of four to attend radiology school, assisting her father’s immigration to the United States and supporting her husband, Andy, in obtaining his certified financial planner certificate.

Outside of involvement with Sister Cities, Drennen coordinated Harvest of Clothing in 2011, helping accumulate more than 30,000 pounds of clothing for Springfield Victory Mission. She is also on the United Way of the Ozarks Community Investment Panel, part of the family selection committee for Habitat for Humanity and actively volunteers with the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes and Meals on Wheels among nearly a dozen more individual philanthropic efforts.

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