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Newsmakers: Jan. 24-30, 2022

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Banking
Amy Wilkerson was hired as vice president of private banking for Springfield First Community Bank. Most recently a senior loan officer with Southern Bank, she has 30 years of banking experience, including work in commercial and consumer lending, operations, bank finance and accounting, compliance, retail and trust.

Education
The Missouri State University Board of Governors chose six students for the Citizen Scholar award: Diana Dudenhoeffer, a journalism major from Springfield; Manuel Jose Elivo-Jerez, an MBA student from Dominican Republic; Emily Fessler, a master of public health student from Wisconsin; Cole Howerton, a history major from Conway; Weston Phipps, a master of experimental psychology student from Houston, Missouri; and Morgan Spoor, a nursing student from Gainesville.

Health Care
Kyler James Sherman-Wilkins, of Springfield, joined the Missouri Foundation for Health Board of Directors. One of four new members for the statewide health advocacy organization, he joins local businesspeople Brooks Miller of Jordan Valley Community Health Center and Ashanti Tate of Heartland Center for Behavioral Change on the 16-member board. Sherman-Wilkins works as assistant professor of sociology and faculty affiliate in MSU’s gerontology program.

The Federal Communications Commission awarded Mercy a $2.2 million grant to expand virtual care options for patients in its three-state network. The health system plans to dedicate $793,788 in Missouri for telehealth service upgrades.

Municipal
The city of Springfield hired Susan Istenes as planning and development director, effective Feb. 15. She’s directed planning and development for the city of Clayton since 2010 and holds a master’s in urban and regional planning from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Istenes will serve as principal adviser to the Springfield city manager, supervise 25 employees in the department and lead the preparation and maintenance for the Forward SGF master plan.

Five locals were among the 39 female professionals selected to participate in its 2022 Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge program: Dana Ausburn, Lisa C. Hall and Amby Lewis of Springfield; Kristy Carter of Rogersville; Shannon Cuff of Battlefield; and Brittney Smith of Ozark. Facilitated by the Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation, class members attend 12 full-day sessions over nine months at select cities statewide to experience and discuss community issues and to receive training for leadership roles in their communities. Ausburn is a vice president for Commerce Bank; Hall, associate professor and coordinator of gerontology program at MSU; Lewis, founder/president of A Girl Like Me Network; Carter, executive director of Least of These Food Pantry Inc.; Cuff, associate provost of adult, online and graduate education for Drury University; and Smith, founder of Novus Initium Insurance.

Nonprofit
Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce appointed John Oke-Thomas of Oke-Thomas and Associates Inc. as chair of the board of directors and Dee King of Burrell Behavioral Health as chair of The Network, a leadership council for young professionals. As leader of The Network, King also holds a seat on the chamber board.

Convoy of Hope was listed No. 48 on Forbes’ annual America’s Top Charities. It’s the highest ranking for the international relief agency since 2019, when it first made the list based on charitable commitment, fundraising efficiency and other factors.

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