Kaitlyn McConnell has a deep affection for the Ozarks region. She’s the eighth generation of her family to live in southwest Missouri.
Her historical affinity plays out at work as media relations manager for CoxHealth, where she launched a writing series about the hospital’s history. McConnell also created a new strategy for CoxHealth’s social media, helping its Facebook page grow nearly 350 percent since 2015.
Given her passion, McConnell started the website, OzarksAlive.com, to publish stories and photographs about people, places and unique bits of regional culture each week. Its Facebook page has over 25,000 likes. While her first love is the Ozarks, McConnell spent nearly three years living in Norway working for the oil and gas industry and has visited 27 countries.
Have you ever met a celebrity? I was the biggest Andy Williams fan. When I was 17, I wrote him a fan letter and got to meet him backstage at one of his shows in Branson.
What are you doing to make the Ozarks better? While (in Norway), I had the chance to really miss the Ozarks. When I came back, I made a concentrated effort to get plugged in. One of my main focuses at the moment is as president of Missouri Writers Hall of Fame.
What is your best productivity hack? To accomplish a large project, I try to do a little bit of work on it every day.
What is your theme song? Bobby Darin’s “Fabulous Places.”
Atlanta-based Chicken Salad Chick made its Springfield debut; husband and wife Garrett and Rose Cochran opened Heirloom Candle Bar; and mobile eatery Girldad BBQ LLC was launched.