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McKenzie Robinson | SBJ

2022 40 Under 40: Emily Denniston

Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce

Posted online

Emily Denniston says humility is key to effective leadership – and as vice president of public affairs at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, she leads with kindness in the Queen City.

She also serves as president of the Springfield-Greene County Library District and co-leads the Community Leadership Visit. She is on the boards for Isabel’s House, Community Focus Report’s Steering Committee and the Public Entities Diversity Initiative Performance Measurements subcommittee. Denniston, 37, who recently married her partner Meg, emphasizes LGBTQ inclusivity through policy and her existence.

“If I am able to exist openly as who I am, I hope it encourages others to do the same,” she says. “My ultimate goal is to help be a part of making Springfield better, more prosperous and, ultimately, more inclusive.”

First job? Metropolitan Grill.

Proudest moment? I got sober in 2008, and staying sober has changed my life in every way. 

Professional aha moment? There is not a hard and fast definition of what leadership looks like.

Most treasured possession? My dad gave me a handwritten letter when I graduated high school, and I have a pair of earrings that belonged to my best friend. My dad passed in 2007 and Ali in 2019. 

Favorite podcast? Pantsuit Politics.

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