Jaimie Trussell doesn’t like to sit around and wait for things to happen, even the simple stuff.
“I am always the girl who starts the line at potlucks,” she says. “I know that may not seem particularly ‘leaderly’ at first blush, but I think it speaks to who I am. I am not one to sit idly by when things need to be done, and I am always ready to be the one to get things going.”
Trussell is chief development officer and vice president of marketing and communications at Adult & Teen Challenge USA, a faith-based nonprofit with the mission of providing teens and adults solutions for freedom from addictions and life-controlling struggles.
In the position since March, she oversees all organizational development activities, including Adult & Teen Challenge USA’s corporate relations, major giving, donor relations and fundraising events. She also creates and implements marketing and communication plans, while serving as an advocate and resource for development programs of the national office and local Teen Challenge centers.
Trussell says her friends and others who know her can depend on her to lead any project or to get things going.
“It seems to me that while I can defer to others in authority, more frequently I find myself assuming authority when others hesitate,” she says. “Though I have experienced environments where this characteristic – women demonstrating bold leadership – was perceived as unseemly, it’s not something I can change. It’s just how I was made.”
In 2016 with Convoy of Hope, Trussell helped bring Day of Hope to Springfield to help those in poverty. The event, which had 2,500 volunteers serving over 8,000 people, is something she will cherish forever.
“Guests received haircuts, family portraits, hot lunch, groceries, school supplies, new shoes, counseling and an introduction to community services available to them,” Trussell says. “It was an amazing day for everyone involved.”
The budget for Day of Hope was set at $150,000, but in the end, Trussell says over $267,000 was raised.
Trussell says she is naturally enthusiastic, and many people know her as a natural connector.
“I love finding the exact right person, for the exact right assignment,” she says. “Several of my friends consider me their ‘fairy job mother,’ because of the knack I have for finding the ideal candidate for an open role.”
She says some of her recent matchmaking skills include recommending Marissa Weaver for a new position at Springfield Public Schools and Krista Adams as director of development at the History Museum on the Square.
Trussell says it’s important to give time and energy to causes of interest.
“My husband and I are members of the Founders Club at Missouri State University, the Hope Society at Convoy of Hope and also regularly support several other local charities,” she says. “We feel very fortunate to be in a position to give, but also feel very strongly that giving is not only our privilege but our responsibility.”
The Forward SGF comprehensive plan was born from the input of residents, and one message that came through loud and clear was their desire for connection.