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PYSK: Melissa Smith

Business Development Associate for Boone Hospital Center

AGE: 34

JOB DESCRIPTION: As a member of the Boone Hospital Center team, I work with various departments to promote all aspects of BHC and our wellness program, WELLAWARE. WELLAWARE helps to develop health awareness for both community and corporate audiences. I meet with employers, community leaders and physicians to coordinate and deliver the impeccable services of BHC.


ORIGINAL HOMETOWN: This is hard to determine because my childhood was somewhat mobile. My extended family lives in Warren County. I lived in Georgia from age 9 to 15. I graduated from high school in Pittsburg, Kansas. OK, it’s official: Columbia is my original hometown!

EDUCATION: B.A. Business Administration, Columbia College

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Through the WELLAWARE program at BHC, I get to volunteer at events related to improving the health of the community. We support “Know Your Numbers” events at the Youzeum, sponsor the WELLAWARE Lee Pfeffer Memorial 5k, Partners in Education with Jeff Junior, and every year, we host the BHC Heart Fair, which had over 500 people this winter. But my other community involvement revolves around my son, Sam. I am a member of Russell Boulevard Elementary PTA, and I have worked with the Columbia Pride Soccer Club. I am a member of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, where I sit on the governmental affairs committee and the Women’s Network. Sam and I also attend The Crossing Church.

PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: I started with MetLife straight out of college, and I graduated to a position with GE Financial Assurance as a boundaryless sales team leader. We collaborated with other sales arms of GE to cross sell the multiple service lines of GE to corporate partners. My next opportunity was regional vice president with US Allianz, where I wholesaled variable annuities to brokers. I loved this role, but the travel was difficult to balance with my son. I got into healthcare by landing a business development position with TimeLine Recruiting, where I was quickly promoted to executive director. As I traveled, I was able to meet with healthcare leaders to discuss physician recruiting needs and how that related to growth and development in their communities. Finally, after recognizing the challenge of traveling once again, I found a position with BHC.

A COLUMBIA BUSINESS PERSON I ADMIRE AND WHY: I admire all working moms and their direct supervisors, because the true integration of career and family is very difficult.

WHY I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT MY JOB: I believe in the mission of Boone Hospital Center: improving the health of the people and communities we serve. I believe Boone is passionate about me as an employee, and the feeling is mutual. We have a great team!

IF I WEREN’T DOING THIS FOR A LIVING, I WOULD: be a chef, have my own cooking show, or be a world-traveling food critic.

BIGGEST CAREER OBSTACLE I’VE OVERCOME: I don’t know if this is purely career or a little bit of life lesson, but I would have to say forgiveness. In most dynamics, whether it be professional or personal, you’re going to encounter obstacles or get a few battle scars. Early in my career, I took all of those personal encounters, but not anymore. I am not dismissing accountability, but I ask myself all the time, “Is this going to determine life or death?” Once you learn to forgive, life is far less stressful.

A FAVORITE RECENT PROJECT: My focus at BHC is both corporate and community promotion. With regard to the corporate aspect of our services, we have developed a collaborative offering for employers. As the “hometown hero” of healthcare, we are strengthening our strategic partnerships with employers to help support all aspects of employee health, from wellness and prevention, to work injury and rehabilitation, to behavioral health. From the community aspect, we are currently partnering with Healthcare USA and a number of other volunteer organizations to provide and support a back-to-school fair that will provide preventative screenings and school supplies to kids that might not otherwise be able to attain those services or supplies.

WHAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THIS PROFESSION: The number one skill is to be a good listener. Second, say what you mean, and mean what you say.

WHAT I DO FOR FUN: Fun for me is getting together with the “girls.” They know who they are! I’m always up for trying new restaurants. Sam and I like to play golf or tennis. We think nature rocks! Where I’m at is where it’s at.

FAMILY: My mom, Betty, is one of 11 children: 10 girls and one boy. She lives in Pittsburg, Kansas with her husband. My dad, Dennis, and his wife life in Bedford, Texas.  Dad has one brother, and he and his wife have one son. I have 27 first cousins. And the best part is I have one son, Samuel Clarkman Smith, born and raised in BoCoMo.

FAVORITE PLACE IN COLUMBIA: Pride Park, Cosmo Park, Daniel Boone Little League Fields, basketball courts and school events. If you know me, you know the war cry.

ACCOMPLISHMENT I’M MOST PROUD OF: Of course, I’m proud of raising a kind, confident, intelligent, witty son. But the fact that his dad and step mom, and I can do this together with minimal disagreement is a true accomplishment and blessing. Shout out to Dan, Kristine, Christian and Caden!!!

MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW THAT I: I can still do a front flip off a diving board.

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