Springfield, MO

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SBJ photo by Jessica Rosa

2020 40 Under 40: Katie Buford, 32

Assistant Director, Nixa Parks and Recreation

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Nixa Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Katie Buford serves to better her community. Her work impacts Nixa residents’ health, enjoyment and family lives.

As talent attraction becomes more important to area leaders, Buford’s got her finger on the pulse of placemaking.

“My team and I are able to provide the opportunities needed for our community to create memories, learn new skills, explore their health and wellness journey, and experience the benefits of community parks and recreation,” Buford says.

In the city department, Buford helped create a Parks and Recreation business and marketing plan that’s seen more residents use its services, and she’s also in charge of coordinating the city’s Employee Think Tank.

What was your first job? My current employer. I started in 2005 at the front desk. I have loved the department and the city so much I have never left.

What is your proudest moment? Getting a copy of the book that had my published work in it: “Dressing the Part: Power, Dress, Gender, and Representation in the Pre-Columbian Americans.” It was such a surreal moment that years of work had produced and to see my name listed with distinguished women was incredible.

What was your professional aha moment? Realizing that most of my employees are working their “first jobs” or even “first real jobs.” It is my job to launch these people into their professional lives.


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