Heather Hardinger is a thought leader at her dream job. She’s the director of workforce strategy and programs for Taney County Partnership, where she leads initiatives promoting inclusivity and growth.
Hardinger coordinated efforts for the Hispanic Workforce Coalition in Taney County and she’s involved with numerous organizations, including the Mayor’s Commission for Human Rights and Community Relations in Springfield, Bread for the World Inc. and Safe to Sleep women’s shelter.
Hardinger graduated from Evangel University with a bachelor’s in international and multicultural studies and from American Public University System with a master’s in political science.
What was your first job? Working for the Alaska state Senate as a Senate page at age 17. This sparked my fascination for politics and public policy.
What are you doing to make the Ozarks better? Serving on the Mayor’s Commission for Human Rights has opened my eyes to how we can all work together to make the Ozarks more equitable and make opportunities more accessible for everyone.
Have you ever met a celebrity? During my time as a Senate intern on Capitol Hill, I met Condoleezza Rice and Lisa Murkowski. I ran into Hillary Clinton on an elevator – twice! I also stood next to Joe Lieberman on a tram.
What app gets you through the day? Highly recommend the Bellabeat and Calm apps for guided meditations.
Auto service veterans choose Springfield for long-term investments in Blue Iguana.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares helpful advice and cautionary tips about the importance of tracking cash flow for new or established businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Michael Smith and Chris Sawyer, COO and CEO of Next Level Solutions respectively, discuss how they keep their remote teams and offices in and out of country on the same page. Next Level Solutions was ranked #1 in the Springfield Business Journal's 2021 Dynamic Dozen.
John Oke-Thomas, architect and co-founder of minorities in business, responds to the accusation that minority businesses are only successful because of the priority they have received in lending. He says that if a business uses a loan well, it shows their worth.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares tips for entrepreneurs who are ready to seek funding. Some of her tips apply broadly; some target technology industry businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and startups, and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Hollie Elliott discusses common misconceptions about locating your business in a small town. She says that there are a lot of benefits that people may not consider.
Drawing on his own experience dynamically evolving his company and business model, Jim Meinsen discusses when and how you might need to draw on new technology. Jim and Debbie Meinsen are co-owners of TCI Graphics in Springfield.
John Oke-Thomas, longtime Springfield architect, discusses his philosophy on architecture. He says that future historians will be focused on the sustainability of our contemporary architecture.
Erin Hedlun, director of marketing and communications at Evangel University, says compassion is an important job skill. Hedlun says it is a component of what makes a leader.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistree Pottery, talks about the concepting that went behind the aesthetic of the business.
Caleb Scott, coach and co-owner of Queen City Insane Asylum football team, says he had to sacrifice early on to make sure his team had places to play. With the business climate at the time, it wasn't easy.