Erica Renee Pefferman.
President, The Business Times Company; Publisher, Columbia Business Times.
WTF? What kind of question is this? (You’re not going to print that, are you?) I don’t know. I would be more interested in hearing what other people say my job description is. I am the Chief Vision-Caster and Obstacle-Remover. I am the Culture Defender. I hire and coach and woo. I am the storyteller for our community through this amazing team I have.
Years lived in mid-Missouri:
We moved here in October 2005, so going on 11 years.
I split my time evenly between Grove, Oklahoma and Carl Junction, Missouri as a kid with divorced parents. But . . . I tell everyone Joplin, Missouri, since no one knows where the others are and that’s where I spent most of my post-school life before Columbia. We also had our family-owned business there, so for me, that is my childhood home.
Favorite volunteer/community activity:
Ooohhh, you’re gonna make me pick? I do enjoy all of my projects, but I have to say that I have two loves that take the most of my time. One, I love my seat on the Job Point board a great deal. I love the work we do helping people become employed and change their own family trees. Two, I absolutely adore my involvement in Women’s Network. As their chairwoman this year, my goal is to get all 500-plus women to do something just a little out of their comfort zone while showing the community what badass women we are.
LinkedIn will tell it all better. But here’s the short version: Grew up in a family owned business. Started my own business at 22. Had two car dealerships, several rental houses, and a limo company when 9/11 happened. Bad things happened there, and I was forced to get a “real job.” I found myself in the radio business and fell absolutely in love with that industry and the people in it and the role it plays in all of our lives. After many successful years, my love of small business became bigger, and I became a consultant for sales and organizational health for media companies. That’s when I met The Business Times Company. We quickly decided to “go steady,” and now I’m a partner in the company. Best thing I’ve ever done.
Favorite thing about my job:
Warning! Cheesy answer! I have to say it’s the people I get to work with every day. I know, I know. Sounds like a boilerplate answer. But it’s not! I discovered a few years back that my calling is to create meaningful and healthy communities. I love to give a place on our team to a person that is super passionate about what they do and sold-out excited about doing that thing with our crew. A beautiful thing happens when you have 20 people all doing that together. Everyone here brings their A-game and their truly authentic selves. That’s a pretty fantastic gift to be given every day as their boss, and I don’t take that lightly.
Why I’m passionate about my company:
Because it’s mine. No, seriously . . . I’m not kidding. I have five kids, and I truly see this place as my sixth. I worry about it when I go to sleep. I wonder if it’s getting all the right nutrition and exercise. I make plans for it upon my demise. I legit love it. And let’s be real — I have a rock star job. I get to know all the coolest people and make friends in all the businesses and charities across all of mid-Missouri. How is that not awesome?! I get to tell everyone about all the exciting and interesting things happening in our businesses and our city. I love being that storyteller. I love watching it work! I love to see companies and charities thrive because of the attention we give them. There’s something super gratifying about using the blessings I have (a talented team with a robust platform and voice) for the betterment of others. It just makes me happy.
Favorite mid-Missouri restaurant:
No! I won’t pick just one. I refuse. I have many, because I seem to be a professional coffee-goer, lunch-haver,and happy hour attendee. So, here we go:
- Wolf’s Head – my favorite new find. Their Hot Mess with a side of mac and cheese rocks my world.
- Tellers – Spinach salad with blackened salmon, for those needing-to-be-good days
- Coley’s – Kate makes the absolute best martinis.
- Thip Thai – Love me some Thai food with a quiet booth and Wi-Fi.
- Kaldi’s – I’m pretty sure they put the fresh mint latte on the forever menu because of me.
- University Club – When you just need to make a statement. And that homemade ice cream!!
- D. Rowe’s – Those smoked wings are heaven. Wings and a loaded baked potato are comfort food!
A mid-Missouri businessperson I admire and why:
UGH!!! You realize picking among people and food I like is pretty brutal, don’t you? I admire so many people. I have an amazing group of friends and mentors who I can go to for anything, who I really respect, and who are genuinely invested in helping me be successful. So, this sucks. But, I’m going to do it. I’m going to pick someone. Peter Stiepleman is my guy. He’s the “CEO” of one of the largest businesses in our area — Columbia Public Schools. My conversations with him run the spectrum from how to handle public pressure to how to find the best solutions when you have so many different stakeholders to what the heck to do with our dang kids. We even come from different political views, but always leave our conversations feeling supported by the other and learning something new. He challenges me and supports me. He isn’t afraid to tackle the super big issues with grace and respect. AND, he’s just funny as hell. Right?? (PS . . . Dave Baugher, you were totally almost my answer.)
Can I say drinking without being judged? No? Then gardening. Or reading. How about gardening and/or reading while drinking?
ORANGE! Although, I am quite fond of shades of red for my hair.
If I weren’t doing this for a living, I would:
Own a broadcasting empire.
My next goal:
I’m trying to figure that out right now. I think we’ll buy something.
My husband, Brad, whose love language is Sarcasm. Thank goodness! He keeps me grounded. Most people would expect me to have a wallflower for a husband. Nay. He is awesome and is the strong person I need to handle all of this crazy. We have five children (his/hers/ours): Liz, 18; Cameron, 15; Andrew, 15; Colton, 13; and Katie, 8. I suppose you should also include my pets. We have two dogs, a cat, and somewhere around 25 chickens.
Most people don’t know that I:
left high school in my junior year, got a GED, and went to college during what would have been my senior year. Long story best told over beer. Big key player in that story was my stubbornness. Go figure.
If my coworkers could describe me in one word:
Again, I’d like to see what they say. But I’m going to go with…dedicated.
(Editor’s Note: For the last answer, we’re actually going to go with “Bossy” [just kidding, Erica])