The Network’s New Year, New Leaders

The Network for Springfield’s Young Professionals kicked off the year with its annual New Year, New Leaders event on February 13. With more than 90 members in attendance, the event featured Megan Buchbinder, The Network Leadership Council chair, and Brian Hammons, Chamber board chairman. The two Chamber volunteer leaders shared their professional journeys, life and career tips for young professionals (YPs), and their favorite things about the Springfield community.

Moderated by Past Leadership Council Chair Bryant Young, the event’s interview-style format included questions about keys to success. Buchbinder, marketing director for the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, discussed her career transition from arts to tourism. She also shared the importance of networking as a YP. She believes her willingness to build and maintain relationships sets her apart from others in her field.

“I didn’t get any job by myself,” said Buchbinder. “The jobs all came from relationships I built along the way.”

Hammons, president of Hammons Black Walnuts, described growing up around the family-owned business in Stockton and briefly practicing as an attorney before returning as the company’s third-generation leader. Hammons Black Walnuts’ story is an example of Ozarks entrepreneurial success that has been ongoing since 1946.

When asked about interests outside of work, Hammons shared his love for running and attending Missouri State University basketball games. Buchbinder expressed her appreciation for the arts, musicals, and taking advantage of the scenery from Springfield area nature trails.

Both leaders offered advice to YPs looking to grow in their careers. Buchbinder advised members to keep in mind only what is in their personal realm of control and to recognize that even unexpected changes can lead to something better. Hammons recommended always keeping the mission in mind for the business or organization.

“Keep the main thing the main thing,” Hammons said.

Lastly, Buchbinder and Hammons encouraged members to be active in The Network and in the community, becoming a catalyst for the Springfield region.