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2016 Most Influential Women Honoree: Tamara de Wild

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When it comes to influence, Tamara de Wild brings a lot to the table.

In her professional, civic and personal life, de Wild says she has worked to influence others in several ways.

“Each day, I try to always do my best and give it my all so that I have credibility when I try to motivate others to do the same,” says de Wild, eight-year associate general counsel and director of legal services at O’Reilly Automotive Inc. (Nasdaq: ORLY).

Previous to joining the auto parts company, de Wild spent seven years at Lathrop & Gage LLP, as well as a handful of years at smaller firms.

She also says she doesn’t shy away from tough decisions or recommending a course of action.

“In all endeavors, I try to be proactive, not reactive, and work with others to identify opportunities or problems which need to be addressed and develop and implement a plan of action,” de Wild says.

De Wild is board president of Ozarks Food Harvest, having served as a member of the administrative body nine years. She pegs her involvement with the local food pantry as her proudest accomplishment to date.

“In the time that I have served on the board of directors, I have twice helped lead the strategic planning process,” she says.

According to Springfield Business Journal archives, the nonprofit generated 5 million pounds in donations in fiscal 2008, which then was a record year.

“OFH now distributes over 16.4 million pounds of food annually, the equivalent of 14 million meals,” she says. “I am proud to lead OFH’s board of directors as the organization continues to evolve in order to meet the needs of the ever-increasing number of people who are food insecure in its 28-county service area.”

But de Wild has demonstrated leadership and influence with other organizations, as well. A 1992 graduate of Drury University, she was named last year to the Breech School of Business Advisory Board and previously served on the 2008-10 Alumni Council. A graduate of Leadership Springfield Class 22, de Wild has been a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield since 1997, serving the group as president 2009-10. A four-year board member for Springfield Ballet Inc., de Wild, who holds a law degree from Wake Forest University, has been a member of the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association since 1995.

Her experience has provided opportunities to influence the path of others.

“Often, people are afraid to stretch – to try something new – without encouragement. I have had a number of people come to me over the years who started their conversations with, ‘Do you think I can ... ’ or ‘Do you think it would work if ... ’” de Wild says. “I relish the chance to help others reach their full potential either in their careers or in community involvement.”

Hanging in her office is a quote by sales trainer and author Brian Tracy: “Live your life in every way to earn and keep the respect of the people you respect.”

And for de Wild, success in business springs from nurturing influences.

“I think the best way for any group or organization to succeed is to recognize the potential of the members of the team and provide them the opportunity to reach that potential,” she says.


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