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Springfield, MO

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2017 40 Under 40 Honoree: Cecelia Havens, 39

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Whether on work time or leisure, Cecelia Havens is focused on one thing: making the world a better place. Havens only has one life and she wants to leave a legacy. She has spent nine years at AIDS Project of the Ozarks, first as director of development raising $1.6 million for the organization, and most recently as project and compliance director taking the lead on the many compliance components inherent in the running of a health clinic. In her spare time, Havens started a grass roots group called Gardening Friends in which members pledge to grow food in their gardens for the homeless. Havens and her family are also in training to be a foster home.

What was your first job? I did a lot of babysitting when I was young, but my first real job was working at Burger King when I was 16.

What’s your most treasured possession? I have a hideous ceramic dog my grandmother left me when she passed in 1997. She and I had a private joke about it, and it confused a lot of people when she left it to me. It really is amazingly ugly, and I couldn’t love it more.

What about your job would shock clients? I think the clients would be shocked to know how much work and energy goes into ensuring our doors stay open and we are compliant with federal regulations. I don’t mean to say we are on the verge of shutting down, far from it, just that the sheer amount of work that goes into keeping the funding flowing and meeting all the restrictions and federal regulations is an unseen Herculean task.


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