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!
Cuban cuisine arrived on C-Street with the opening of La Habana Vieja; independent brokerage Gateway Real Estate opened its first office; and a veteran of the restaurant industry invested in her first food truck.
Barak Hill gives advice based on what he learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affected his business. He says we should all have a backup plan ready to use.
Sandy Higgins, owner of the Crackerjack Shack, recommends the book "The E-Myth Mastery" by Michael E Gerber. She says it changed the course of how she runs her business.
Aaron York describes the work culture he tries to foster at Donco3 and why he attributes to it a part of Donco3's success. Rachel York is a co-owner of Donco3 and Aaron is the General Superintendent.
Hollie Elliott, executive director of the Dallas County Economic Development Group, explains how local schools factor into business decisions and affect a local community.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistree Pottery, says an important lesson she learned was not to over-expand and to do her research before hand. She gives examples from her experience as a startup business owner.
Jim and Debbie Meinsen own TCI Graphics, and are now celebrating 50 years of business. Jim Meinsen takes some time to explain his philosophy on debt, and how to stay out of it.
Caleb Scott, owner and coach of Queen City Insane Asylum semi-professional football, says the early grind was hard, but it was worth it. The team is in their second season carrying a national ranking of number 2 in the NFA IDFL.
Barak Hill, local musician and entrepreneur, tells about his switch to livestreaming in 2020. He says it was a necessary move, but also not an easy one.
Jessica Burkland, a SCORE mentor and an instructor at the MSU Department of Management, gives us a rundown of the non-profit organization SCORE. SCORE stands for Service Corps of Retired Executives and offers free consultation and advice to business owners.
Hollie Elliott, the executive director of the Dallas County Economic Development Group, discusses some of the ways helping small town businesses is different than in larger cities. The Dallas County Economic Development Group is a 501(c)(3) non-profit aimed at helping local existing and new businesses in the county.