When Bontiea Goss replies to an email, she often uses the pronoun “we” instead of “I.” That’s just one of the smallest ways she implements her philosophies of collaboration as chief operations officer of Preferred Family Healthcare Inc. Success, Goss says, does not happen in a vacuum.
“By building the work culture that lives by the philosophy that ‘no one of us is as good as all of us,’ I and others have modeled to hundreds of leaders an approach to management that encourages bringing out the best each of us has,” she says. “I believe strongly that none of my accomplishments were done in isolation of our team of officers who serve this wonderful organization.”
Before employment at PFH, Goss was involved in founding Alternative Opportunities Inc. – providing behavioral health services – with “a group of forward-thinking, social entrepreneurs” in 1993. The organization grew to employ 3,500 staff before merging with PFH in 2015. Goss continues to oversee behavioral health services, but now serving more than 100,000 people in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Illinois and Kansas – with more than 5,000 individuals in Greene County alone.
“The challenges of running a company the size of PFH are daunting, yet Bontiea finds time to tour the offices where our services are provided in five states,” Mercy manager of facilities engineering Mark Kastner says. “This allows her to personally stay in touch with the ‘boots on the ground,’ and lets associates see their COO as someone who cares about them.”
Goss has a wide-reaching platform and says she loves using that reach to help other women attain their goals – which she has done her entire career through involvement with Carol Jones Recovery Center for Women, Lakes Country Rehabilitation Center Association and Springfield Partners LLC.
“Mentoring the strong women throughout the Springfield area influences the success of this community more than any single act by any single individual,” Goss says.
Some of those strong women she is proud of are her three daughters – a business and Spanish double major and mother; an electrical engineer for City Utilities of Springfield; and a psychology student.
“I have three brilliant, independent and determined daughters,” Goss says. “They represent the best of women and their choices.”
Goss’ passion for helping others succeed led her to found Lakes Country Rehabilitation Center’s employment and vocational services department when she worked as director of employment services from 1988-1994. The program connects local businesses to qualified candidates.
“This has resulted in thousands of local residents being removed from government assistance and becoming contributing members of the community,” Goss says.
“The qualities Bontiea possesses, which make her a successful leader and propel her above her peers, are her tenacity, passion, dedication, focus, creativity and progressive vision,” Kastner says. “And she possesses these ingredients in just the right ratio.”
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