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Vice president, Trust Company of the Ozarks, 3828 S. Fremont Ave., Springfield. One of the newest trust companies in the area, Trust Company of the Ozarks opened its doors April 20, 1998. Coffman joined as part of the start-up team because she wanted to be on the ground floor of a company whose philosophy of trust services was customer-service oriented. The company was formed by officers from the former Boatmen's trust department, and those entrepreneurs saw an opportunity for an independent trust company when NationsBank acquired Boatmen's. Coffman participates in a variety of civic and professional groups. She serves on the Greene County Estate Planning Council, is on the Leadership Springfield board of directors, the Friends of the Zoo board and is a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Springfield. She is also on the board of her family's business, Efco, in Monett.

Age: 46.

No. of years in Springfield/area: Moved with her family to Monett in 1958 when she was 5 years old. The family was relocating Efco from St. Louis, where both her parents grew up, to Monett. In 1964, the family moved to Springfield. Coffman has lived in Chicago and Kansas City, but has spent most of her life in the Ozarks.

Education: Parkview High School graduate. Attended University of Arkansas for three years and then returned to Springfield to finish her degree in English at Southwest Missouri State University.

Early career: At 16, Coffman stocked shelves at the K-Mart store that was on West Sunshine. She stayed on as a part-time cashier after school. When the mall opened, she became a salesperson at Spencer Gifts. During college, she had a number of part-time jobs, one of which was for Hertz at the airports in Fayetteville and Springfield. Through these jobs she got to meet a number of the entertainers who came to town: the Doobie Brothers, Johnny Cash and June Carter among them. After finishing her degree at SMSU, Coffman took a job with then Associate Circuit Judge Thomas K. McGuire Jr., which marked her entry into the legal arena, she said. From there she had a series of jobs as an administrative assistant to law firms. She moved with her husband, Stan, when his career with Gannett took him to Kansas City to launch USA Today. There she worked for a number of large law firms. The couple spent three years in Kansas City and then spent a little over a year in Chicago. It was in Chicago, where Coffman worked for a woman who was a controller for Boise Cascade that she started to see the opportunity for women in business. "She was truly a mentor to me and taught me a lot of about the workings of business. It was through her that I realized what opportunities were out there for women," Coffman said. After returning to Springfield and working for John Waters for a couple of years, Coffman had the itch for something new. The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce was hiring, and she took an administrative assistant position in 1989. She stayed with the chamber until leaving for Trust Company of the Ozarks in 1998. Jobs she held at the chamber included vice president of community development and director of business assistance in the economic development department.

Current projects: Working with several community banks over a large service area. The company provides trust and investment service to a number of the small banks in the area. This is an ongoing project, Coffman said, because she is interested in integrating herself into those banking communities and becoming a resource for trust services.

Management philosophy: "First and foremost, you have to treat people the way you want to be treated, take the time to listen to your customers so you can act accordingly, and do the right thing no matter what. If you do the right thing for people, you will always earn their respect and trust."

Spare-time pursuits: Helping her husband with his newest venture, the Ozarks Farm and Neighbor, and spending time on the family's farm. She also loves to read.

Family data: Married to Stan for 17 years. Her father and two brothers live in Monett with their families and her mother lives in Springfield.[[In-content Ad]]


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