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Senior officers visit Springfield to deepen relationship with Ft. Leonard Wood


The partnership between Fort Leonard Wood and Springfield continues to strengthen. The latest evidence is the recent visit of 20 senior officers from the Fort’s Military Police School, who traveled to Springfield in October to learn about private-sector leadership strategies.

The day began with a welcome from Mayor Ken McClure and Chamber Board Chairman Jeff Childs, followed by a panel discussion with five Springfield business leaders, led by Chamber President Matt Morrow.

Mercy President Brent Hubbard, Assistant U.S. Attorney and City Councilman Abe McGull, City Utilities General Manager Scott Miller, President of Oke-Thomas + Associates John Oke-Thomas, and Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer of Guaranty Bank Robin Robeson all spoke about what leadership means to them and what their own professional development journey has looked like.

For Robeson, who spent time living on Ft. Wood throughout high school, her journey included taking risks.

“I have built my career on doing jobs that people thought were too hard or too risky,” Robeson said. “It really gave me opportunities to get leadership roles much sooner than if I hadn’t taken these risks.”

When asked what it means to be an effective leader, Miller expressed this easy to remember phrase: “Do the right thing, the right way, for the right reason.”

McGull, he learned from his own service in the U.S. Navy how important it is to lead by example, while both Hubbard and Oke-Thomas focused on the importance of effective and direct communication in order to be successful leaders in their organizations.

The group then spent time at the Bass Pro Shops Base Camp and SMC Packaging Group, touring each facility and learning about how each organization develops leadership skills and creates a strong corporate culture.

Sarah Hough, Bass Pro manager of community affairs, said the company uses exposure and experience to help cultivate leadership skills through mentorships, job shadowing, project teams and hands-on leadership experience.

Mark McNay, senior vice president and general manager at SMC Packaging, explained his company has implemented a leadership and professional development academy to help further leadership qualities of those who want to move up the ladder.

“We want to lead by example,” McNay said. “Here, that means providing opportunities to try things without fear of failure, learning to be humble, and remembering that someone gave you a chance once.”

The officers finished out the day with Dan Reiter, general manager of the Springfield Cardinals, who gave his own leadership tips and tricks, including the importance of networking. This was followed by a reception held at the Springfield Cardinals Clubhouse, hosted by the Chamber.

Brigadier General Brian Bisacre, Commandant of the U.S. Army Military Police School, led the Ft. Wood group throughout the day, and expressed his thanks and gratitude for the hospitality Springfield has shown Ft. Wood and their group of officers.

Supported by BKD CPAs & Advisors
Supported by BKD CPAs & Advisors
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