Longevity of service has been a central focus in both professional and civic pursuits for Jeff Allen.
As a 14-year partner at BKD LLP, Allen has served as one of the team leaders of the certified public accounting firm’s national community health center practice for nearly two decades. In its nearly 25 years of existence, the practice has grown to serve approximately 300 community health centers in 40 states, he says. The community health center team has more than 40 personnel in 2019, up from just two people in 2000.
“We have helped many communities across the country in bringing health care to their underserved populations and those who have had difficulty in obtaining health care due to access barriers,” Allen says, noting being asked to lead the team is the proudest moment of his professional career. “It’s a nice marriage of my passion for numbers and my passion to help people.”
Allen’s leadership roles extend beyond BKD, as he’s currently board president for the Nixa Education Foundation, a deacon with the Nixa Church of Christ, and treasurer for both the Choir Booster Club of Nixa Schools and the Doula Foundation of Mid-America Inc.
During his five years in the board president role, the Nixa Education Foundation fund has grown to nearly $300,000 from $75,000 and has achieved 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. The organization has awarded more than $100,000 in grants for classrooms in Nixa Public Schools.
For Allen, a standout moment in his community service involved work with Advocates for a Healthy Community Inc., which helped land a community health center grant. That ultimately led to the start of Jordan Valley Community Health Center, he says.
“This entity has brought health care to many in the Springfield area, and to help in a small way to make that a reality is a big source of satisfaction for me,” he says.
Allen points to mentorship from more experienced partners at BKD as a key component of his career track, admitting he often struggled as a young professional. Now, he takes pride in mentoring and coaching opportunities he’s afforded at the firm.
“I personally believe that in order to be a good coach, you must have the hard conversations,” he says. “It is easy and very important to praise and to trumpet the success of others, but constructive, thoughtful criticism can be very beneficial to the career of a young professional.
“Seeing some of our younger staff really get excited about client service or a particular industry and being able to coach and mentor them into being firm leaders is one of my most favorite and rewarding parts of my career.”
Clients often request Allen spend time with their new finance officers to mentor them in the community health center industry and prepare them for a career in the field, he says. To him, the stronger the management team, the stronger the community health center is in carrying out its mission.
“I enjoy being an extension of their management team and take pride in their success,” he says.
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