We Need to be Honest About Our Issues: What We Learned at B-School with our 10 for the Next 10

Impactful insights from the next generation of 417-land leaders including Catherine Bass Black, Heather Hardinger, Jeff Houghton and Joshua Widner.

Think of the experiences you can only find in 417-land. Chances are, one of Biz 417’s 10 for the Next 10 had something to do with it. On August 10, more than 125 people came to Biz 417’s B-School ready to learn about four of these leaders’ passions, projects and hopes for our community. Panelists included Catherine Bass Black, Heather Hardinger, Jeff Houghton and Joshua Widner. Here are the top takeaways.

Hire for the Person, Not the Resume

“I no longer look at resumes,” Joshua Widner says. “I hire human beings who are kind, sweet and have a good work ethic.”

Think Big

Don’t take any ideas off the table when solving tough problems. Recruiting workers from Puerto Rico to 417-land might sound crazy, but that’s exactly how Heather Hardinger and her co-workers at the Taney County Partnership are tackling Branson’s worker shortage.  

We Need to be Honest About Our Issues

According to Jeff Houghton, we can take pride in our city while acknowledging its deficiencies. Springfield struggles with diversity and poverty, and we have to be intentional about addressing those issues. 

Don’t Settle

Catherine Bass Black says we need to stop referring to Springfield as the third largest city in Missouri and start competing nationally. Along those same lines, Joshua Widner believes there is no reason we should be losing talent to peer cities like St. Louis, Kansas City and Tulsa. 

We’re Coming into Our Own as a City

Springfield is starting to develop its own identity, and we can all play a role in shaping it. Joshua Widner is working to turn Springfield into a food and beverage destination while Jeff Houghton is rallying local pride with the Springfield flag movement. 

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