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Sarah Eiffert has a confession: She makes mistakes. She tries to be intentional with her words and actions but doesn’t always hit the mark. She’s been called “too much.” And she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It took a long time for me to embrace my ‘too much’ and learn how to navigate life by being exactly who I am. I am open and honest about my mistakes and missteps because I want others to understand you can make mistakes and still be OK,” says Eiffert, director of human resources and workers’ compensation at Connell Insurance Inc. “My mistakes can be lessons to others, so most of the time, I will tell you how I screwed up and fixed it before I will tell you something I did right on the first attempt. Life is funny, with its ups and downs. … But with hard work, perseverance and some grit, you will usually get where you want. If I can leave anything behind with those I meet, I sure hope it is this.”
Eiffert joined Connell in 2016, assuming her current position in late 2021. She has worked with people from varied backgrounds, and she never tires of encouraging them to advocate for themselves.
“We never know what someone else’s story is until we stop and listen,” she says.
Considering her proudest professional accomplishment, Eiffert says it’s easily finishing her undergraduate degree after having her daughter.
Eiffert was five years into her schooling when she found out she was pregnant. Having felt a little lost and anxious to move forward in life, Eiffert immediately committed to finishing her degree at Missouri State University. She took her daughter to class, hoping the baby wouldn’t wake up, persevered through late nights and finagled a way to squeeze in the last three hours required to finish her degree.
“I had my diploma in my hand and my daughter on my hip – two things I could say with certainty were mine and I earned them,” Eiffert says. “When I am feeling discouraged or like the daily grind might not be worth it, I think back to her chubby little cheeks smiling so big when she was the center of attention at my graduation. I know many people finish college while having children, and while it doesn’t make me any better, it was mine and mine alone.
“That single decision led me on my career path and has opened so many doors for me and my family.”
Eiffert credits her grandmother, who had seven children and a successful business, and other strong women in her family for providing her with role models to inspire her.
“These women have supported me, guided me, taught me and shown me we can all do it if we set our minds to the goal,” she says. “I have had a lifetime of strong women in my life provide me with love, friendship, a shoulder to cry on or simply believe in me when I didn’t have the guts to believe in myself. I would have no greater measure of my leadership if even one person says the same thing about me when all of this is over."
The first downtown Springfield branch for Arvest Bank opened; a longtime licensed massage therapist became a first-time business owner; and 7 Brew Coffee opened its fourth shop in Springfield.