Mostly Serious co-owners kick-off The Network’s Local Leadership Series

On March 25, The Network for Springfield’s Young Professionals hosted its first 2024 Local Leadership Series event with Jarad Johnson and Dr. Spencer Harris. Johnson is founder and CEO of full-service digital agency Mostly Serious, where Harris serves as co-owner and president. Together they also co-founded Habitat Communication & Culture, which serves as a strategic partner to organizations.

Moderated by Megan Buchbinder, The Network Leadership Council chair, Johnson and Harris discussed their involvement in the community, leadership tactics, goals, advice and encouragement for young professionals (YPs).  

Both leaders want to make southwest Missouri a place where families and business love working and living. They are highly involved in the Springfield community in a variety of ways, including Harris serving on the boards of Leadership Springfield and the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce as well as assisting many non-profits as a consultant.

“My time as a volunteer has been about how I can take things that I am interested in and passionate about, and finding places where those make sense,” said Harris. “Don’t volunteer because you have to, find something meaningful to you.”

Johnson’s community involvement includes being founding board president of Springfield Creatives, contributing to Springfield Community Gardens and serving on the boards of the Downtown Springfield Association and Galloway Community Improvement District.

“My favorite thing about Springfield is that it is a malleable community, we can determine what we want the city to be and it is small enough to have a significant impact,” said Johnson.

For Johnson, the reason Mostly Serious has had such success stems from the business partners’ unwillingness to give up despite challenges and barriers that may arise. He went on to explain many opportunities the pair had to sell the business, but they were dedicated to seeing it through.

“I think the most important attribute to long-term success is determination and just sticking to it,” said Johnson.

Both leaders also offered YPs suggestions for approaching leadership. Johnson suggested leadership requires extremely clear expectations you place on those you lead. His strategies include listening well, clearly recognizing skills and weaknesses, being radically available and prioritizing the success of others.

“My number one job is to support the people around me, that’s it,” said Harris.

As both leaders look to the rest of 2024, they discussed the goals they have set. Harris is prioritizing what matters most to him by using what he calls a “no list” to track his demands and responsibilities.

“The more I say no to, the more time I have to devote to the things that are meaningful to me,” said Harris.

Johnson said many of his goals revolve around intentionally listening to the market this year. He wants to keep in mind the value their company delivers to customers and how they can double down on their investments to build up those valued services.  

When asked for career lessons learned, Harris mentioned the importance of showing up as himself, sharing only his experience and what he knows.  

“It has been really important for me to stop worrying so much about what I think other people are expecting of me,” said Harris.  

If Johnson could give advice to himself as a YP it would be to have the courage to ask others for help.

“Reach out, be vulnerable and talk to others when you need help. It’s shocking what you can get back from that,” said Johnson.

The business partners encouraged YPs to use their time at The Network events wisely. Harris advised that there is a difference between trying to sell and trying to connect when networking.

“Your job is not to meet as many people as possible but to develop meaningful relationships with people who have the same concerns, ideas, opinions and passions about improving our community,” said Harris.