Brian Fogle, president and CEO of Community Foundation of the Ozarks, has known Rachel Anderson since long before she became director of the eFactory at Missouri State University. For one thing, their families attend the same church. Fogle is friends with Anderson’s father, and Anderson went to school with Fogle’s son. Despite being from different generations they learn from each other through their differences.
Biz 417: Rachel, how have you regarded Brian as a mentor?
R.A.: I always saw Brian as somebody I thought fondly of and really respected his opinion. He’s always that person that, when he says something, people listen. It really resonates and has a big impact. So his communication style always really appealed to me.
I think it’s important to surround yourself and to learn from people that you really respect, whether it’s their communication style or follow-through or causes they’re involved in or work that they do. I was fortunate that Brian was easy to reach out to, and he’s open to new ideas and on collaborating on things. I respect people that will try anything, and if it doesn’t work, try something else but don’t just stop because it’s hard. And Brian is one of those people. So I definitely consider him a mentor.
Biz: Brian, how have you benefited from knowing Rachel?
B.F.: First of all, Rachel, thank you so much, and I appreciate that sincerely. I consider Rachel a friend and I’ve learned a lot from her. I bring a certain perspective as a baby boomer, but we’re just one segment. One of the things I share with her is that Springfield will never be what it needs to be if we can’t get people like Rachel back. If we’re going to grow and prosper and be vibrant, we’ve got to do a better job of keeping our best and our brightest here. We’ve got to give them a voice, and I’ve benefited from her voice, I can tell you that.
Biz: How does your connection benefit the community and your organizations?
B.F.: Our organizations are very complementary. Our (CFO) mission is to enhance the quality of life of all citizens in our region, and economic vibrancy and vitality is one of those things. So Rachel and I—we just had a conversation last week as a matter of fact, that we have 53 affiliates out in 58 counties across southern Missouri, and she serves a regional area, so how can we work together? We have traditionally focused more on education, human services, quality of life and economic prosperity jobs. Work is a big part of quality of life. So we’re having discussions all the time about how can we work together, especially in our rural regions where we overlap. We’ve got a great network out there. Rachel in her organization is building that, so complementing one another, we all win.
R.A.: I think so much of the work we do, probably similar to CFO, is to create those same types of opportunities for everyone because when you have access and people believing in you and opportunity, that’s really what makes a community. I think Springfield—southwest Missouri—with its collaborative nature and relationships, truly is a game-changer that has been created over the past 30 years that just doesn't exist elsewhere. I respect Brian because I know how much he led to all of that, and he works every day to continue to make it a better place.