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2015 Most Influential Women Honoree: Marissa Weaver

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Marissa Weaver doesn’t just volunteer, she takes charge.

A collaborative thinker, Weaver is best when immersing herself in the task, helping that organization grow and pushing the envelope on what is expected. Those talents are best showcased through her work with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks and Leadership Springfield.

“I didn’t just get involved in one small aspect of the organization, I stepped into leadership roles,” she says. “I brought knowledge and became a part of the organization.”

Her statement hits the nail on the head. After five years serving as a Big Sister, helping facilitate training for staff and recruit volunteers, Weaver left her 13-year career with Missouri State University to take on the role of executive vice president for the mentoring organization.

Her time in the university setting, most recently as associate director of student engagement at MSU, and through her own studies – Weaver holds a bachelor’s in mass communications from Southeast Missouri State University, a master’s in counseling and student development from Eastern Illinois University and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Missouri-Columbia – prepared her for the role.

However, it is her endeavors with Leadership Springfield Weaver credits most and counts the enhancements made to the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s leadership arm as her proudest civic accomplishments. Weaver served as the group’s signature chair for two years.

“When I inherited the position, things were going OK. Participants weren’t necessarily complaining, but I could see so many opportunities to enhance the program,” she says. “During this time, we shifted from having the same facilitators for our retreats for almost 20 years, to a new curriculum and new facilitators.”

She also championed the connection to the social capital research being conducted locally to better understand the group’s impact. It was an extensive time commitment for Weaver, but one that cemented her role as a local leader.

“I would serve on any team Marissa was leading,” says Alina Lehnert, a fellow Leadership Springfield board member. “Why? She is trustworthy, ethical, doesn’t want to keep things status quo and has the ability to see community needs, rally the capital and mobilize resources to get things done.”

Weaver’s skills also materialize through her many other community efforts. In addition to serving her sixth year as a Leadership Springfield board member, she also is a six-year member of the Hospitality Resource Panel, a branch of the Urban District’s Alliance, is a member of The Network and recently served as president of the Lighthouse Child & Family Development Center Parent and Teacher Organization. She is a Springfield Citizen’s Police Academy graduate and served on the 2015 Impacting Poverty Commission.

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