Soaking up the knowledge and support from the Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge
I am an avid learner. I love to learn about all kinds of things. On any given Saturday morning, you’ll find me coffee in hand learning how to propagate succulents or reading a business book. I’m a big fan of the philosophy that “you will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read” (Charlie Tremendous Jones).
As expected, 2023 has been a great year of learning for me primarily because of the adventure I’m on after being selected as a part of this year’s cohort for the Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge. Established in 1990, the Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge is the marquee program of the Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation. The Challenge is a year-long statewide traveling symposium that provides women leaders with education and experiences to assist them in addressing critical issues facing our state. The sessions begin in March and conclude in November of each year.
Participants meet for four, three-day sessions combining:
- Continuing education in leadership development
- Discussion of statewide policy issues
- Exposure to the philosophies and thoughts of the state’s business, cultural, educational, and political leaders
- Expanding professional networks & channels of communication
So far, I have completed two of these sessions, the first being in Columbia and Jefferson City to focus on education and government and the second in Kansas City to focus on community development and social issues. As a person who writes about Columbia for a living, I was pleasantly surprised to learn even more about our city. I learned about plans for our second nuclear research reactor and was able to tour Next Gen. We toured the prison in Jefferson City and learned how to lobby at the capital for issues that are important to us.
However, the most impactful event of this challenge for me thus far has been the trip to Kansas City. We toured several amazing nonprofits including Operation Breakthrough, Veterans Community Project (tiny home community), and Pawsperity. We learned from a panel of women leaders on how they orchestrated the vast improvement of a mostly abandoned community by partnering with the artist community.
When I say I was very convicted by this trip, I mean I came home changed by what I saw. I have been thinking about how my marketing firm can focus on missional marketing. I immediately set appointments with leaders in our non-profit community such as Jane Williams (Love Columbia) and Darin Pries (CMCA) to see how what I witnessed compares to what we do. I discussed our affordable housing accessibility issue with Randy Cole at the Columbia Housing Authority as well as the wrap around services offered by and through his organization.
Ultimately, I was moved to put my name in the hat for the open seat on the Housing and Community Development Commission and was approved and appointed to that role. I’m thrilled to act on what I learned here in COMO. I’m thrilled to keep telling the stories in these pages of the organizations doing amazing work. And I’m thrilled to see how I can be part of the solution for our housing crisis.
What do you want to learn more about and how can we help with that? Let me know.