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Big Brothers Big Sisters names new CEO

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Last edited 9:09 a.m., April 8, 2021

A two-year employee of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks got the nod from the nonprofit's board to fill the top position.

Susan Mellentine, who has served as BBBSO's development director since February 2019, was hired as CEO for the nonprofit last month.

"Being a part of this agency for the past couple years and seeing the potential that we have to impact the children in our community gets me really excited to be a part of the bigger picture," Mellentine said in an interview with Springfield Business Journal.

Mellentine succeeds Ashley French, the nonprofit's CEO of more than four years who exited in December. French started that month as director of women's and children's services for Jordan Valley Community Health Center, according to her LinkedIn profile. French also was reelected as the city of Strafford’s mayor yesterday.

Mellentine, who has served as interim CEO since French's exit, was selected by the board from 80 applicants, she said.

Mellentine brings a wide range of experience to the top job at BBBSO. Her career has included stints as a billing specialist, homeschool teacher, ministry director and business owner, according to her LinkedIn profile.

"As a leader, you wear many hats," she said, noting her past career experiences have served as stepping stones to the CEO job at BBBSO.

A common thread in her career, Mellentine said, has been a focus on children.

"My passion lies with the kids," she said. "That really has never changed."

BBBSO has an operating budget of $1.1 million and 13 employees, said Mellentine. The organization matches children, or "littles," with adult mentors known as "bigs.” BBBSO’s Impact 1000 initiative is seeking to serve a thousand children in the community.

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