At first glance, Brandi Bartel says working in her career field may appear depressing. After all, as executive director of The Victim Center Inc., she often encounters the implications and collateral damage of tragic situations – broken families, physical injuries from abuse and the emotional turmoil of crime victims.
But those encounters are why Bartel says she does her job.
“Although it can be difficult to hear the stories of human suffering, I also have the privilege of seeing the healing that can happen on the other side of tragedy,” she says. “People often approach me in public years later to thank me for the work I do. Recently, a woman at the grocery store told me we saved her life. These moments are what get me out of bed each morning ready for a new day.”
The Victim Center provides multiple services for men, women and children who are victims of violence. Bartel began working as income developer and project director in 2005. In 2008, she was promoted to assistant director, and Bartel became executive director Sept. 1, 2012. She currently oversees 18 employees and 100 volunteers.
Jo Macdonnell, corporate controller for SRC Holdings Corp. and board chairwoman for The Victim Center, has worked closely with Bartel for years.
“I have never met anyone more dedicated and passionate about her work,” Macdonnell says. “Brandi is tireless in her efforts to bring awareness to the community of the unfortunate need of The Victim Center.”
Macdonnell also says Bartel is an exceptional steward of The Victim Center’s financials, with honest decision making that puts clients, donors and staff first. Bartel displayed these skills expanding the reach of The Victim Center – which she says is her proudest achievement.
The Victim Center is seeing a record number of clients, with more than 3,800 individuals assisted in 2016. The center’s space and staffing was insufficient to meet the need, Bartel said, so she formed partnerships with organizations to fund new positions and relocated staff to make them more readily available for clients’ needs.
“I am most proud of this accomplishment because of what it means to those who need our services,” she says. “Victims who call us are in crisis and often in life-threatening situations. It’s vital that these hurting individuals have access to the help they need.”
Bartel also is involved with multiple local organizations, including the Missouri Department of Public Safety’s Advisory Council to the Crime Victim Services Unit, the Child Abuse and Neglect Collaborative, Domestic Violence Taskforce, the Child Advocacy Center’s board and Isabel’s House advisory council.
Creating a support system is critical for crime victims, Bartel says, but also an applicable principal for the community in general. That’s how everyone succeeds.
“I truly believe that the health and safety of our citizens rely upon a strong network of collaborating organizations from various sectors of the community,” she says. “We all succeed when we work together, and we are stronger together as a team than apart.”
Revival 98 opened a dispensary; the 101st store for Andy’s Frozen Custard Inc. debuted; and Collectomaniacs card shop consolidated two stores in a move.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares helpful tools and resources to use for the customer discovery phase of launching a new tech business. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Jared Rasmussen, Office Leader for Springfield and Joplin with the engineering firm Olsson, explains the vision of the Renew Jordan Creek Project. He says the city's investment demonstrates it's commitment to the community.
Both Jeramey and Julia Henson talk about their experience in PDR (paintless dent repair), and elaborate on the need for efficient time management. Sometimes you need to know when to move on to the next project. Jeramey and Julia Henson are co-owners of the HM Dentworks Academy with Chris McWhirter.
Jessica Oliva, owner of Pickles and Buns food truck and co-owner of Tinga Tacos, says not to assume you know everything. She says her time in the industry has taught her that she always has more to learn.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, explains what entrepreneurs should know about starting the customer discovery phase for launching your great tech business idea. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and startups and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Hollie Elliot describes the trends she sees in small towns after the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. She says that people see opportunity in these rural places they might not have seen before. Elliott is the Executive Director of the Dallas County Economic Development Group.
Sean Thouvenot, vice president of Branco Enterprises, gives an overview of what the process looks like once you have decided to invest in a new building. This video is sponsored by Branco Enterprises.
Caleb Scott, owner and coach for Queen City Insane Asylum semi-professional football team, talks about team cohesion. He says that despite the fact he may not look the part of a coach, the men look past it to see how they can work together.
Barak Hill, a professional musician living in the Springfield area, recounts when he first realized he could take his music career seriously. He recounts his journey to the point when he realized his passion could do more than pay for itself.
Rachel Barks walks through her experience as an interior designer and a basic understanding of what she considers when looking at an interior space. Barks currently owns Artistree Pottery, a business she started in 2020 after a career in interior design.