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Opinion: Dreams do come true in Springfield

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I didn’t plan to live here. I was recruited out of college, and Springfield was supposed to be a pit stop on a number of pit stops in the late 1990s on my way to a thrilling, sky-rocketing career in the newspaper industry. That sentence sounds old. However, this story ends well, and life has ironically illuminated a perfect pathway for me.

This journey is summarized by my wife Shallina’s first gift to me in 2013 when we started dating – a bright yellow T-shirt emblazoned with the words, “Springfield, MO – Where Dreams Come True.” She heard me lament that this wasn’t the plan. Why was I still here? And this gift was her answer. I knew then she has been the key reason dreams come true around these parts for me.

Since then, I’ve had three of these same shirts and they serve as a silent reminder, imparting invaluable lessons on resilience and the boundless potential that defines Springfield and its neighboring communities. A sign in our home also echoes this sentiment. We celebrate our 10-year anniversary in June, and we have mastered the most important journey of our lives: blending a family of seven in a way I never could have imagined. Yes, dreams come true in Springfield, Missouri.

How did I get here? I was a kid from Kansas simply wanting a job offer before I graduated so I didn’t have to move back in with my parents. The job offer came from Springfield News-Leader Retail Sales Manager Debbie Kiser in spring 1998. Yes, I started here in Springfield going door to door in Nixa and Ozark as a wet-behind-the-ears sales representative doing his best. It was here that I discovered my why – to contribute to business owners’ success by solving problems through creative solutions so that I could help make their dreams come true.

My first stint here wasn’t long. Dreams were not coming true. I quickly reached my capped earning potential, and I left for Kansas City nine months later. This brain got drained to go to a bigger market for more money and more opportunity. And I wasn’t disappointed. I advanced to vice president of advertising at the Kansas City Star by age 32. Despite success, I returned to Springfield for family reasons in 2008 as director of sales for the News-Leader until 2014. Following this, I pursued various ventures, including serving as Springfield Business Journal’s associate publisher, alongside Jennifer Jackson in 2016. Jennifer significantly impacted my career trajectory. Feeling stagnant in technology, I worked for Classy Llama for three years with some of the smartest people I’ve ever met before reconnecting with Jennifer at SBJ last year.

My initial month as SBJ publisher has been invigorating. Meeting each team member, delving into our collective why, and understanding individual strengths and challenges have set the stage for growth. We have added a marketing director, are reimagining events and diving back into the community while reconnecting with so many wonderful colleagues and friends.

The future of SBJ gleams brightly in its 44th year of publishing. Business is thriving, our team is solid, and our business authority in the market stands unwavering. With 25 years in media, 16 in Springfield, and three solely dedicated to digital marketing and e-commerce, I am poised to steer SBJ into the next era. I believe in the power of user experience and will apply this to redefine your interactions with us, setting an unparalleled standard in the business news landscape in this region. Expect surprises, delight and, above all, the highest level of trust demonstrated in all we do – earned through local, unduplicated, fair and honest news coverage.

Yet, this journey is not mine alone. It is ours. I invite you to join me on a coffee roadshow, a caffeine-fueled connection where your thoughts, aspirations and suggestions will shape the future of SBJ.

As we embark on this exciting chapter, remember: SBJ’s success hinges on yours. Together, let us continue to be your trusted business authority, fostering dreams and shaping a prosperous future for Springfield.

Marty Goodnight is the publisher of Springfield Business Journal. He can be reached at mgoodnight@sbj.net.

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