Heather Alder is a big fan of Ozark. It’s where she spends her time and energy, both professionally and personally. Alder not only lives in Ozark – but it’s also where she does business at her store, Heather Hill Farms, and sits as Ward 3 alderwoman of the Ozark Board of Aldermen. She’s also the only female on that board.
“My work as an Ozark city alderman influences not only the people living in Ward 3, but in all of Ozark,” she says. “The decisions we make on laws, codes and policies will not only affect their lives now, but also in the future.”
Dori Grinder, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s vice president of membership development, says she has full faith in Alder’s voice having worked with Alder when Grinder directed the Ozark Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m proud to know that Heather, as the sole woman serving on this board, has no personal agenda, will always bring a level head to any discussion and has the heart of a community servant,” Grinder says.
Alder says nearly her entire career has been in leadership, and that it has taught her to lead by example in civic and business arenas.
“I have demonstrated leadership by not asking anything of my employees or others that I work with that I would not be willing to do and/or have done myself,” she says.
Alder co-owns and operates Heather Hill Farms, founded in 2002. Located near Lambert’s Cafe in Ozark, the store sells wine, cheese and gourmet foods. It was voted business of the year by the Ozark Chamber of Commerce twice and has recorded 10-20 percent annual sales increases, she says.
“Heather has maintained her operation and expanded operations, even during a rough economy,” Grinder adds.
Alder is also passionate about helping other businesses succeed, and previously served on the Ozark Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the board for the Carl G. Hefner Enterprise Center business incubator, which opened in May 2014. The center currently houses eight businesses at the Ozark chamber’s main office. On the board, Alder was involved in raising funds and forming a 501(c)(3) for the Enterprise Center.
“Heather was always sure to ask questions so she was sure she had all the information and was never afraid to speak up during precarious moments,” Grinder says. “Best of all, Heather’s manner is always respectful and controlled.”
These projects, Alder says, are her proudest moments.
“It has also given me the opportunity to network with other business leaders and to better represent, as aldermen, the needs of our growing community,” she says. “We developed the concept of the Enterprise Center as a business incubation center that would help new startup businesses in our area survive their first five years.”
Alder is a member of Ozark Rotary Club, 4-H Club and a Girl Scouts leader assistant, and she’s part of Impact 100 Ozark, an organization of women who pool resources to fund community grants.
“As a concerned citizen, I have also personally supported many school-related programs, the Ozark community and charities benefitting those less fortunate,” she says.
A pair of area medical colleges that received state grant funding in the fall are now investing the funds toward technology and new programs with the intent of attracting more students to the nursing profession.