The 2019 Leadership Callaway County class embarked on a journey of learning Thursday.
"Some (participants) have already been in leadership positions, and some are up-and-coming leaders," said Callaway Chamber of Commerce executive director Tamara Tateosian.
Leadership Callaway County is a 10-month program offered by the Callaway Chamber of Commerce. It gives participants a peep into the county's needs and challenges, while also highlighting its strengths and potential for growth and economic development. Sessions will cover topics such as health care, history, law enforcement, local and state government and education.
"Every year, I'm adding to this list," Tateosian said.
Participants also plan and complete a project to improve the community.
Former participant Joe Coates' group revamped the basketball court at Veterans Park. The assistant branch manager at The Callaway Bank, Coates said he was able to put many names to faces through the class.
"Getting those relationships was what helped me the most," he added.
The new class participants are excited about the opportunity to make connections.
"I want to get to know the businesses and the business culture here," said Robert Boone, assistant director of administration for the City of Fulton.
He's only been with the city for nine months, and said Director of Administration Bill Johnson encouraged him to take the class.
Jenna Houchins, however, has lived in Fulton her entire life. She works at Callaway Electric Cooperative.
"I was born and raised here but I understand there's a lot going behind the scenes I don't know about," she said. "I'm looking forward to exploring the unknown."
Members of this year's class include:
Brian has been with The Callaway Bank since 2006, serving previously as a personal banker at the main bank and branch manager at south bank. In 2012, Brian transitioned into his current role as a commercial and real estate lender at the south bank location in Fulton.
Brian, originally from Hatton, graduated from William Woods University with a bachelor of science in business administration. Brian was previously the treasurer on the Kingdom Projects Board for eight years, and currently he is the treasurer for the Callaway County United Way. During his spare time, he enjoys spending time outdoors, hunting, competitive shooting and being with his family and friends.
Christy is a licensed practical nurse and a physician services manager for SSM Health Medical Group. She is currently managing Family Practice Clinics in Auxvasse, Wellsville and Fulton — which also includes the walk-in clinic. Prior to this position, Christy worked for Dr. Rebecca Kelley in a private Family Practice Clinic in Auxvasse.
Christy has 25 years of experience as a LPN and 19 years as a physician services manager. Christy is a member of the State of Missouri MGMA, Central Missouri MGMA and is the Director at Large for the North through the Central Missouri MGMA. She is married to Darren and has two children, Clay and Cami, and one fur baby, Henry.
Devin grew up in Grand Island, Nebraska, playing sports, fishing and enjoying time with my family. He went on to play collegiate football and track for four years at Doane University (Crete, Nebraska), graduating with an exercise science degree and minoring in biology.
This is where his interest in the health field grew, instilling a passion to help people. After graduation in 2012, Devin worked at a physical therapy clinic for the next year and a half until going to chiropractic school at Logan University (Chesterfield). After graduating in August 2017, he joined the team at Koelling Family Chiropractic to help the Central Missouri community heal naturally with chiropractic care. He's excited to be living in Fulton and learning more about the community as well as helping people in any way possible.
Hanna is the city clerk of Holts Summit. She is 26 years old and has lived within Callaway County her entire life, aside from her years at college. She graduated from New Bloomfield R-3. She then continued her education at Missouri Western University in St. Joseph for two years before transferring to William Woods University and graduating with a bachelor of science degree.
Upon graduating, Hannah accepted a job with the YMCA of Callaway County as the member services coordinator. She later earned a master's in business administration degree at William Woods University. During her time at William Woods, she began working part time for the City of Holts Summit. Upon graduating, she accepted a full-time position as the court clerk. As of March 2018, she was nominated to take responsibilities as acting city clerk. In June 2018, she transitioned to the city clerk position. Hannah is excited to be able to be the voice for this community and to continue to help everyone grow together.
Jenna was born and raised in Callaway County, attending Fulton High School and then Westminster College. She graduated from Westminster with a degree in biology. She is employed at Callaway Electric Cooperative and has had various responsibilities in her five-year career there. Before joining the team at Callaway Electric Cooperative, she worked at Analytical Bio Chemistry Laboratories in Columbia.
Jenna is happily married to Dennis Houchins, and they have a 3-year-old daughter, Adley. When she is not working, Jenna enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being outdoors, and watching her daughter learn and grow.
Jessica is a native of Springfield, Illinois. She earned a bachelor of arts in public administration from Eastern Illinois University, where she participated in track. She was also president of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority Nu Delta Chapter in 2013.
Jessica became a licensed nursing home administrator in August 2017. She accepted the administrator position at Churchill Terrace in 2017 after working for Americare since 2015 as an activity director. She enjoys roller skating, up-cycling thrift store treasures, dancing, painting, cooking and reading.
Robert is the assistant director of administration for Fulton. He was a Missouri state government employee for 35 years, retiring Sept. 1, 2017. Prior to working for Fulton, Robert served as the legislative coordinator for the Public Service Commission for 12 years. He previously served as the director of policy for Missouri Treasurer Nancy Farmer. Robert has also worked in the legislative branch of state government and got his original start in state government as a supervising revenue agent for the Department of Revenue.
Robert is a 1978 graduate of Hannibal High School, received an undergraduate degree in business administration from Drury University in 1982 and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1997.
Robert is a member of the Advisory Board for the Harry S. Truman School of Public Policy at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi. He has served as a member of the board for the Jefferson City area YMCA and was also a mentor with Big Brothers, Big Sisters from 2001-17. Robert is married to Monica Boone, has one daughter and two grandchildren.
Ashly was born and raised in Fulton. In her previous career, she was an assistant manager at Walmart. She moved to The Callaway Bank in March to begin her career as an assistant branch manager of the south location.
She has a wonderful blended family with her fiancé and his three children, as well as her 10-year-old daughter. They keep her on her toes. The family recently bought a house, so in her spare time she enjoys trying new DIY projects. She loves reading, being outdoors, traveling and spending time with her family. Ashly enjoys volunteering and helping out whenever possible. She is honored to have the opportunity to participate in Leadership Callaway.
Jo Belmont is the department performance coordinator for the work management department at the Callaway Energy Center. In addition, she was recently elected mayor of Mokane. Prior to her career at Ameren, she worked at the Fulton State Hospital, where she began as a ward clerk in the Biggs Forensic Center and advanced to the administrative assistant to the director of Hearnes. Over the years, Jo has been involved with the Fulton Jaycees and the Mokane Lions Club. She is a member of the South Callaway Community Church. Jo has a grown daughter, Cassie, and a 10-month-old grandson, Emmett.