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2016 40 Under 40 Yearbook: Caitlin Kissee, 28

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Then: Business affairs manager, Springfield Ballet Inc.
Now: Owner, Propel People Development LLC

At just 25 years old, Caitlin Kissee was one of Springfield Business Journal’s youngest 40 Under 40 honorees ever. And the millennial had big goals.

Then business affairs manager for the Springfield Ballet Inc. – a later title change made her executive director – Kissee left the studio life in August 2014.

As director of community relations for Loehr Chiropractic & Acupuncture LLC, she was tasked with developing the Loehr brand and establishing partnerships with businesses and nonprofits. Something already strongly in her wheelhouse.

In just under two years with the ballet, Kissee increased special event profits by 221 percent and closed a $10,000 funding gap. Noted in her 2013 profile, Kissee began working with the ballet’s 25-member board of directors with a focus on board training and development. Little did she know team and leadership development would become her life.

“I’ve found the place where my strength aligns with my passions and that’s a powerful thing,” she says of her startup, Propel People Development LLC, noting a need for leadership training in the marketplace. “I never considered entering that market, but I woke up one day and I had a business.”

She now works with companies from Corporate Business Systems to Summit Preparatory School and previous employer, the Springfield Ballet.

While running a business and working toward her master’s in organizational leadership from Evangel University – she graduates in May – might be enough for most, Kissee has more harrowing times ahead.

“By the time this prints, I’ll be a mom,” she says with a smile in her voice. “That will be a whole other chapter.”

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