Starting at ground level suited Audrey Garard just fine. She began her career as a sales representative, first at Springfield Granite Co., then Grooms Office Environments.
“I knew nothing about the industry or even who Herman Miller was,” she recalls. “But I saw a job opening on Monster.com for a sales position at Grooms.”
Garard crushed it. She owned the high sales mark for three straight years, quickly moving to sales manager, then chief operating officer. Up next was buying the company from founder Olin Grooms. She and husband Jonathan closed on the deal in 2015. In the three years since, business has doubled from $7.5 million in 2014 revenue. Along the way, she became the youngest owner, at 34, of a Herman Miller dealership in the country.
What are you doing to make the Ozarks better? I have recently started volunteering to stay overnight at Safe To Sleep, Springfield’s only homeless women’s shelter. On any given night between 30-50 women stay there.
When did you realize you had grown up? The first time I signed paychecks.
What about your job would shock people? I spend a lot of time talking about bedbugs and I have to be tested for tuberculosis once a year.
What did you learn the hard way? If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
What is your proudest moment? When I turned the key to my own business for the first time.
Read the profiles of this year's honorees.