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2019 40 Under 40: Brandy Harris, 32

Director of Programs & the Sertoma Unit, Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield Inc.

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Brandy Harris is committed to make the world a better place for kids. And soon she’ll have a larger platform when she takes the helm of Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield Inc. as executive director, effective April 1.

It’s not her first promotion. In 2016, she pitched the idea to form her current role, director of programs, and was granted the title the following year. Harris and the Boys & Girls Clubs’ staff are getting noticed, as the nonprofit was awarded the 2018 Best Overall Program from the national organization.

Harris holds a master’s in early childhood education and family development from Missouri State University and volunteers with organizations serving kids.

Harris says she’ll “do whatever it takes to ensure kids have a place where they can be kids and families in our community get the help they need.”

What was your first job? Chuck E. at Chuck E. Cheese’s. I spent days in a smelly rat costume and kids often kicked me. 

What is your proudest moment? Based on my experiences as a child, a textbook might say I was predetermined to become something very different. I worked very hard to become the person I am. 

What did you learn the hard way? If you are the smartest person in the room, find another room. 

What historical figure do you identify with most? Shirley Chisholm: “I want to be remembered as a woman … who dared to be a catalyst of change.” 

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