Less than two years into the role, Laura Farmer has made quick work of her position as executive director of CASA, which appoints volunteer advocates to work on behalf of abused and neglected children in the foster care system. Revenue, including grants and donations, climbed 33 percent in 2018 and private contributions have jumped 38 percent since she took over.
Her leadership was in full force last year when the nonprofit was informed it would have to vacate its low-cost office space with administrative support at Preferred Family Healthcare. In six months, Farmer rallied CASA staff, board members and stakeholders to find a new space, and she also found time to lead the organization’s expansion into Christian County. “CASA of Southwest Missouri is not the same organization it was when I became executive director,” she says.
What is your proudest moment? When CASA was granted approval to expand our program into Christian County. We are the first in the state to expand into a second court jurisdiction.
What are you doing to make the Ozarks better? I recruit volunteers called CASAs. It only takes one caring, consistent adult in a child’s life to make an impact.
What did you learn the hard way? It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Child welfare is not easy, because change takes time.
What is your theme song? “Whatever It Takes” by Imagine Dragons. My son and I sing it on the way to school every morning. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day!
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.