Few people know their calling at an early age. It seems that Andrea Sitzes was one of them.
“I started my own business at the age of 16 writing and designing advertisements for business leaders in my community,” she says.
That experience as a teenager prepared Sitzes for her current role as executive director of Show Me Christian County, a nonprofit dedicated to the economic development of Christian County.
“I am responsible for creating the direction and casting vision for how our organization will run,” Sitzes says. “Through my role in economic development, I am uniquely positioned to influence businesses and community growth on a daily basis. From large organizations to small-business entrepreneurs, I connect businesses with the resources they need to be successful and accomplish their goals.”
Her primary focus in the role is business attraction, workforce development and business retention and expansion.
“Working with high-level leaders, I am seen as an authority in the arena of economic development,” she says. “It is my responsibility to lead our county into the next era of growth.”
She served as the executive director for the Ozark Chamber of Commerce for three years before joining Show Me Christian County in March this year. Show Me Christian County, also known as the Christian County Business Development Corp., is a partnership between Ozark and Nixa to boost economic development.
While serving in that position, Sitzes says she had her proudest professional accomplishment when managing the growth of the chamber.
“Strategic planning and needs assessment are two strengths of mine,” she says. “In less than two years, I was a catalyst for restructuring the organization from the top down.”
Some of the changes she implemented were a new mission statement, a redesigned website, creation of employee manuals and operating procedures and rewriting the city-chamber contract.
“I didn’t accomplish the growth of the chamber on my own; my staff, board members and numerous volunteers contributed to our joint success,” Sitzes says.
She also has worked as a sales manager at Chateau on the Lake Resort, Spa and Convention Center and Big Cedar Lodge.
“The experience I gained in hospitality before starting at the chamber lent itself well to community development,” Sitzes says. “I spent nine years in the Branson market working for the Chateau on the Lake and Big Cedar Lodge. At the end of my tenure at the Chateau, in addition to my sales manager duties, I was training our team on new procedures regarding e-signature contracts and assisting the corporate office with creating a policy for all properties to follow.”
Sitzes earned a bachelor’s in public relations from College of the Ozarks. She is an active member in Billings Betterment Association, Clever Community Betterment Association, and the chambers of commerce in Nixa, Ozark, Sparta and Springfield.
She also serves on the board of directors for the Missouri Economic Development Council as co-director for District 6.
“From an early age I have found enjoyment in servant leadership,” Sitzes says.
The Bark Yard dog park and bar concept launched; Charity Fent Cake Design LLC moved; and a pair of business owners collaborated on opening The Hidden Hut LLC.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistry Pottery, talks about her struggle with PXE, or Pseudoxanthoma elasticum, a disease that affects the eyes. She says that despite her struggle, she is ultimately thankful.
Jessica Burkland, a Missouri State University business instructor in the Department of Management, talks about small business start-up trends in a post-pandemic year. Burkland, who owns Activate Consulting & Training and volunteers as a small business mentor for SCORE of Southwest Missouri, says startups that offer new services and products to help people work from home or that enhance mental health could find greater success.
Jim and Debbie Meinsen, co-owners of TCI Graphics, say the past year has been one of the toughest they have faced. Now in the company's 50th year, the couple says they learned a few things in 2020.
Charlie Rosenbury, president of Self-Interactive, calls on his experience in programming to illustrate lessons he has learned running a business and life in general. Springfield Business Journal's 90 Ideas is presented by Great Southern Bank.
Darline Mabins talks with SBJ’s Christine Temple about growing up after a tragic accident took the lives of her mother and older brother. Mabins is now the regional branch sales manager for Arvest Bank. No Ceiling is an SBJ podcast, going in depth with local women, sharing their journey to the top of their professions.
Caleb Scott, owner, coach and player for Queen City Insane Asylum semi-professional football team, talks about the ways that the team works to support each other on and off the field. Scott says you can’t force people to become leaders, they have to come naturally.
Steve Williams, owner of Crosstown Barbecue, discusses the role relationships have played throughout the 51 years that Crosstown Barbecue has been in business. He says that while he puts effort into providing the best food he can, ultimately “people like to do business with people they like.”
Randy Bacon, professional photographer and humanitarian, relates his experience building relationships with clients since he became a photographer. He says building relationships with his clients and perfecting his craft are the most important things he does to spread his business.
Sandy Higgins, owner of the Crackerjack Shack, shares the reason behind the business’ name. She says part of the inspiration goes back to a painting her daughter had in her room when she was younger.
Heather Kite, owner of Rooted Deep Farms, relates how she started up her business in the summer of last year. She says it was a long journey, but she is satisfied with the choice she made.