The Network and Leadership Springfield had a huge turnout for our 2017 Leadership Kickoff event, with more than 100 members attending lunch and a Q&A session with new Chamber Chair John Wanamaker from BKD, LLP and Network Chair Britton Jobe from Neale & Newman. Leadership Springfield Board President Andrea Brady moderated the conversation – check out some of the highlights below!
2017 Chamber Chair John Wanamaker
John Wanamaker is the managing partner of BKD’s Springfield, Joplin, and Branson offices, where he is responsible for operations that generate more than $50 million in annual revenue. John is an active community member, having served with organizations like the Springfield Business Development Corporation, Care to Learn, and the American Cancer Society. This year, he chairs the Chamber’s Board of Directors. John is a graduate of Missouri State University.
Thursday’s lunch kicked off with a question for John about his vision and priorities for the Chamber in 2017. Wanamaker highlighted the Chamber’s four areas of strategic focus (membership, public affairs, economic development, workforce development) along with new initiatives like a community visioning project that’s bringing our community’s leaders together to develop a cohesive vision, identity, and priorities for the city. With the legislative session having just kicked off, Wanamaker also touched on some of the Chamber’s statewide legislative priorities, including support for Right to Work and opposition to any potential legislation that would allow room for discrimination based on age, sex, religion, sexual orientation, or other factors. The Chamber has not weighed in on such issues in the past, but given the economic ramifications seen in other states the Board is prepared to do so if such legislation is brought forward.
When asked what he thinks helped set the stage for his success Wanamaker stressed the importance of finding work that you love to do along with a commitment to lifelong learning. The other component? Having faith in yourself, even if you’re uncertain. Wanamaker reminded the audience that nobody ever knows or feels that they are 100 percent ready for a new opportunity, totally certain of their future success, or completely confident in their abilities. You have to be willing to accept the challenge! Lastly, have integrity. Every day, in every situation, always.
And how does a managing partner of a leading financial firm unwind? Wanamaker loves being on the water. So much so that if forced to choose a different career he thinks it would likely be something in the Navy. Wanamaker also enjoys reading and traveling with his wife. The two typically take an annual trip to Mexico but are changing things up this year and visiting Jamaica.
2017 Network Chair Britton Jobe
Britton Jobe is another MSU alum, having graduated with a degree in political science with a concentration in public law. Britton went on to study law at Creighton University in Omaha Nebraska before returning to Springfield to take a role at Neale & Newman. Britton has since been named Partner at Neale & Newman, and has represented clients at all court levels in Missouri, including the Supreme Court of Missouri. Britton is active in a variety of community organizations and has been a member of The Network’s Leadership Council since 2013. He has been a key player in The Network’s outreach to local college students and is a tireless advocate for Springfield.
When asked about his vision for The Network in 2017, Jobe spoke of the two action items relating to The Network that were adopted as part of the Chamber’s 2017 Action Plan. The first is a more focused approach to our efforts with local college students, concentrating on students in high-demand fields such as healthcare, IT, and engineering. The Network’s student outreach efforts have been broad based in the past, and Jobe is excited to see the organization take a more focused approach. The second item is more of an internal effort, as The Network dissolves the five existing work crews and offers two new alternatives for members looking to get plugged in. The first option is to join a Network Task Force, each of which has clearly defined goals and timelines for execution, and the second is to take advantage of a more robust effort to connect members to local organizations looking for YPs. Check out some recent examples (here and here) of ways we’re looking to make members aware of opportunities to get connected to local orgs.
The theme of getting connected and being involved was woven through several of Jobe’s answers, including his response when asked about what he thinks laid the ground work for his success as a young professional. Jobe told the audience that Springfield is a sweet spot – not too large of a market that you can’t make a name for yourself, and not so small of a town that it’s all about having the right last name. Crediting Neale & Newman for encouraging his community involvement, Britton went on to say that it has been his community involvement and relationships made because of it that have helped him get to where he is today.
Britton echoed John’s comments about enjoying travel, having recently taken his first trip overseas to Germany. Another favorite pastime? College basketball! This MSU and Creighton alum roots for both the Bear and the Bluejays. And dream job? Political consultant for this news junkie.
This event and so many others wouldn’t be possible without the support of our sponsors. Thanks to Mark Harrington, President and CEO of Old Missouri Bank, for joining us last week and helping us kick off a great year!