Columbia Locally Owned Retail & Services, COLORS
JOB DESCRIPTION: Helping locally owned businesses expand their network and draw attention to the advantages of buying local. I coordinate behind-the-scenes activities for COLORS and public outreach. I also help plan promotions and community events for COLORS and keep businesses involved in the not-for-profit organization. Current projects include the COLORS Community Party on June 12 at Mojo’s and public service announcements scheduled to run on KBIA and KOPN.
YEARS LIVED IN COLUMBIA: 11 years
ORIGINAL HOMETOWN: Harrisonville, Mo., a rural town south of Kansas City, where everyone knows each other by name. While in high school, I worked in a shoe store that my father had built.
EDUCATION: I earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri in consumer and family economics, with an emphasis in personal financial planning
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: There is virtually nothing in the local community that I haven’t tried to get involved in. COLORS allows me to connect with all local businesses and the events that they have going on. I am also secretary for Big Canoe (a sustainable, urban agriculture organization), a La Leche League leader (a mother-to-mother breastfeeding support group), involved in Roots (a self-directed learning community), a T/F volunteer and an active participant in Bike Walk and Wheel Week.
PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: While in college, I worked at First National Bank, the only locally owned bank in Columbia. After several years there, I became a full-time mother for my two daughters. I had the opportunity to help at several locally owned businesses during that time, which is what brought me to COLORS. COLORS gives me the opportunity to support all local businesses in one job.
A COLUMBIA BUSINESSPERSON I ADMIRE AND WHY:
Local food and farmers are very important to me. What they do for our community is something that I feel I can never be thankful enough for! One farm specifically is Ken and Jen Muno at Goatsbeard Farm. Ken and Jen have followed their dreams, creating a beautiful farm and making an amazing local cheese. By bringing their family and business together, they constantly work to create a local business that can succeed in the current economy.
WHY I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT MY JOB: Buying locally is important, and I am very passionate about helping the community understand why. As COLORS operations manager, I strive to fulfill COLORS objectives to raise public awareness, help create branding for local businesses, coordinate group promotions and keep Columbia the colorful community it is.
IF I WEREN’T DOING THIS FOR ALIVING, I WOULD…work for a local business, maybe even own one. (But after seeing the amount of commitment that goes into local business ownership, I realize that it would be very difficult to do while raising children).
BIGGEST CAREER OBSTACLE I’VE OVERCOME AND HOW: Local business owners are the busiest people! Sometimes it is challenging to get them to commit to or find time to promote their business with COLORS. I find going to them works best, since they rarely leave their businesses.
A FAVORITE RECENT PROJECT: Planning community events is one of my favorite things to do. Currently we are planning a community party to help educate citizens on the importance of buying locally and to meet local business owners. I get to interact with local business owners and some of the best local musicians to put together a great event, which takes place at Mojo’s at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 12.
WHAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THIS PROFESSION: It’s fulfilling to be an advocate for an organization that spreads the word about how important it is to shop at local businesses. Locally owned businesses are better for our economy and keep more money circulating within our community. They live in our community and make decisions that affect them directly, helping create a unique character for Columbia.
WHAT I DO FOR FUN: I enjoy bringing people in the community together, especially outdoors. I love riding my bike downtown and eating at a local restaurant with my children, especially when restaurants serve food from our local farmers.
FAMILY: I have two amazing daughters that I homeschool – Aubrielle, 8, and Savannah, 5.
FAVORITE PLACE IN COLUMBIA: Columbia is full of amazing spaces. The new Uprise/Ragtag space is currently our family’s favorite. We also really enjoy Stephen’s Lake Park, but there is nothing like going out to Goatsbeard Farm and playing with the goats!
ACCOMPLISHMENT I’M MOST PROUD OF: Being a mom! There is nothing in life that will center you and make you realize the importance of life until you are with your children. Teaching them to value their community and being patient with them at their level are the most challenging jobs I have ever had.
MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW THAT I…get tired. I have an amazing amount of energy that I love to give to many things, but, yes, even I get tired sometimes.