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SGF Insider is a cooperative project between the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Springfield. We hope it will give you a look at the people and programs that help make the Springfield, Missouri community a great place to live, work and play.

We’ll publish two episodes a month:

  • One is “SGF Business Insider,” featuring Chamber interviews with business and community leaders about the programs and initiatives that help our economy and community grow. It’s a look at how things happen in our area, from new economic development projects to workforce development, efforts to encourage diversity, development of future leaders and more.
  • The other is "Plugged In," where Leadership Springfield looks at how people and places are connected to community. It’s an insider’s look at how community leaders of every age and stage make a local impact by diving deep into community red flags and blue ribbons and putting their leadership talents and strengths into action. You'll hear stories of people stepping up and plugging in to make a difference.

We hope you’re as excited as we are about learning more from these stories over the coming months. You can listen to episodes directly from this page, but be sure to subscribe to SGF Insider wherever you get your podcasts by clicking on one of the buttons below!

Thank you to our sponsors: American National Insurance Company, for sponsoring "Plugged In," and Old Missouri Bank, for sponsoring "SGF Business Insider." And a special thank you to Shaun Munday for composing our opening and closing theme music!

October 2021: How Do We Connect Businesses with Workforce Training?

This month we’re looking at the ongoing need for skills training in our region, and what one of our most important partners is doing to help address that need.

We talked with Jordan Schreiber, director of student recruitment for Ozarks Technical Community College. She told us about how OTC is utilizing the Missouri Fast Track program, a relatively new initiative working to remove financial hurdles for people already in the workforce who need additional training or certifications to advance in their careers.

September 2021: How Do You Lead a School District?

Dr. Grenita Lathan was named superintendent of Springfield Public Schools in early 2021 and took the reins of the district in July. Chamber President Matt Morrow had the chance to sit down with her and talk to her on a wide range of topics, including:

  • What attracted her to Springfield and SPS
  • Her approach to leadership
  • The district's response to the pandemic
  • And much more

August 2021: How Do Businesses Find and Retain Employees? (Part Two)

In the second of our two episodes focused on workforce issues, we talk to representatives from two of the Springfield area's largest employers. They tell us how their own organizations tackle the challenge of finding enough employees to help them grow and succeed, as well as how they show those from outside our region all that Springfield has to offer. You'll hear from:

  • Celeste Cramer, System Director of Recruitment and Retention with CoxHealth
  • Sarah Martin, Talent Acquisition Senior Manager with Bass Pro Shops

July 2021: How Do Businesses Find and Retain Employees?

Time and again, businesses say the biggest obstacle to growth is finding enough qualified people to fill the jobs they're looking to create. In this episode, Chamber President Matt Morrow talks with two people who are working every day to help employers address the workforce shortage issue:

  • Sally Payne, Director of Workforce Development for the City of Springfield
  • Rachael Mhire, Marketing & Events Manager for the Chamber's economic development department

June 2021: How Do We Learn from Peer Cities?

The Chamber has been leading the Community Leadership Visit (CLV) for more than a quarter-century, taking a delegation of community leaders to a peer city to learn from the experiences of another community and to bring back ideas that will benefit the Springfield region.

In this episode, four CLV participants talk about what has been learned from previous visits, how it has been put to work in Springfield, and why it's important for leaders in all sectors to be involved. Hear from:

  • Brad Erwin of Paragon Architecture
  • Heather Hardinger, member of Springfield City Council
  • Dr. Alina Lehnert, president of the Springfield R-12 Board of Education
  • Tim Rosenbury, the city's Director of Quality of Place Initiatives

May 2021: How Are We Developing Skills Training that Leads to Quality Jobs?

Every region in the country is competing to be the place businesses want to choose when they decide to grow and add jobs. But jumping to the top of the list requires a commitment to skills training and workforce development.

In our May episode, we talk with Robert Randolph, executive director of the new Center for Advanced Manufacturing at Ozarks Technical Community College, about the programs the college is developing. We also talk with Jena Holtberg-Benge. Jena is general manager with John Deere Reman, which just announced that they’re expanding their local operations, and we discuss why Springfield is the right spot for them to expand their remanufacturing operations.

April 2021: How Are Women Empowered to Lead in Our Community?

The Chamber held its annual ATHENA Award ceremony in March, recognizing two women who make a difference in our community. The ATHENA Award is given to someone who has spent their career empowering women to achieve greatness and improving the quality of life for others in the community. The Virginia Fry Rising Star Award is given to a young professional woman who is already making a difference in the community for herself and other women.

In this episode, we talk with ATHENA recipient Karen Kramer of CoxHealth and Rising Star recipient Brandy Harris of Boys and Girls Clubs of Springfield about their personal journeys, the importance of support networks, the people who have inspired them and how they work to inspire others.

March 2021: How Do Businesses Navigate the Digital Landscape?

The Internet, smart devices and social media have fundamentally changed the way individuals and businesses interact with each other - including how they make purchasing decisions. In order for small businesses to be successful in this new digital landscape, they must understand how to reach new and potential customers and make effective connections.

In this month's installment of SGF Business Insider, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce President Matt Morrow interviews Spencer Harris, president of Mostly Serious Interactive Agency. They talk about the results of the agency's recent digital landscape survey of Springfield-area businesses, including:

  • Smart phones and mobile devices and the role they play in purchasing habits
  • How people interact with businesses digitally
  • The power of people's connection to local business and how it translates online

February 2021: How Do We Win Projects & Create Jobs?

In this episode, Matt Morrow talks to Mary Lilly Smith, Planning & Development Director for the City of Springfield, and Ryan Mooney, the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Economic Development.

They talk about the process of competing for business expansion and relocation projects, including:

  • The criteria that businesses look at when considering where to locate or expand
  • The economic incentive process
  • The importance of placemaking

As a bonus, you'll hear Ryan's interview with Josh Bays from Site Selection Group. They spoke for the recent Manufacturing Outlook event about what goes into the site selection process and some recent trends in that industry.

January 2021: How Do Volunteer Leaders Prepare?

In this episode, Matt Morrow sits down with Robin Robeson of Guaranty Bank and Logan Aguirre of 417. Robin served as chair of the Chamber Board of Directors in 2020, while Logan takes that role in 2021. Hear their insights into:

  • Why they take time from their busy professional lives to get involved in volunteer leadership
  • What they've learned from their public service
  • How others can get involved in their community

Podcast Trailer

The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Springfield are excited to tell you about our new podcast adventure, SGF Insider, launching in January 2021. Listen to learn more!


Welcome to SGF Insider!

Matt Morrow of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Carrie Richardson of Leadership Springfield introduce themselves, their organizations, and the goal of this new podcast adventure. Listen to this brief introductory episode to learn more about what our organizations do and what you can expect to learn from SGF Insider!

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