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2015 Most Influential Women Honoree: Kristy Nelson

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Kristy Nelson values education, so it’s fitting she spends her professional time promoting it.

In her current role as director of marketing for Drury University’s College of Continuing Professional Studies and College of Graduate Studies, Nelson has had the opportunity to meet people and help share the stories of how they struggled and how receiving an education has helped them overcome some of life’s hurdles.

“My constant message to people of all ages – but especially women – is to pursue an education, regardless of the degree, training, certificate or school,” she says.

Wherever she goes, Nelson plunges in. When she worked at a bank early in her career, Nelson implemented its first counterfeit training program for nine locations. When her child was in preschool and Nelson was approached about starting a Parent Teacher Association, she founded Missouri’s first early childhood PTA.

And when she was unexpectedly asked to step in as interim executive director at former employer Habitat for Humanity, Nelson didn’t hesitate.

“In the eight months that I served in that role, I implemented several new procedures that not only saved the organization financially but also improved efficiencies,” Nelson says.

“In addition, I oversaw the launch of the ReCycle for Homes recycling center, including the grant administration and construction.”

Nelson also worked on expanding the organization’s service area outside of Greene County in order to serve more families and taught a class at Habitat for three years geared toward prospective homeowners that covered the emotional and socio-economic causes of clutter and hoarding while offering ways to cope and overcome some of those compulsions.

However, she says her greatest achievement in the role was to simply keep the team together during a period of great transition.

At Drury, Nelson continues seeking ways to serve. She is the staff chairwoman for the President’s Council on Gender Equity.

“My role is to represent all of our staff members to ensure their needs and concerns are addressed on any issues that the council undertakes,” she says. “Last year, we began the process of evaluating our campus from a working mother and family perspective. This has resulted in a three-year plan to implement items such as diaper-changing stations and nursing stations throughout campus.”

Nelson enjoys helping other women. Acting as communication manager for Kristi Fulnecky, who successfully ran for Springfield City Council in April, is Nelson’s proudest accomplishment so far.

“I enjoyed helping a very qualified minority woman reach her goal,” Nelson says of Fulnecky, who is a Comanche tribal member.

“I hope to be able to continue to help women have a voice in our government.”

Through professional and civic organizations, Nelson assists women with their business goals, critiquing resumes and connecting job seekers. And last year, she started a marketing business, Nspire LLC, to work with small clients.

“I have helped a local business double their number of inquiries, a political candidate win an election and a family tell the story of a deceased family member’s military service with the start of a biography,” Nelson says.


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