20 Under 30 Class of 2012

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to meet the 2012 class of 20 Under 30.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

(page 1 of 10)

In January our readers nominated a collection of accomplished young professionals for this honor, and our editors narrowed the list to the impressive top 20. Here are the talented young men and women.

Written by Savannah Waszczuk Photos by Kevin O’Riley Styling by Kaye Lee and Clarissa Peterson Women’s Clothing provided by Harem & Company. Illustrations by Monica Duwel, Garrett Derossett and Jessica Kennon

 

Amy McGehee is truly living her dream. “I have always loved to bake, and it was my childhood dream to own a bakery,” McGehee says. She graduated from Drury University in 2008, and in 2009 at age 23, she was encouraged by family, friends, teachers and a former employer to open her own bake shop. She purchased the assets of The Bakehouse, and she rents a location downtown for Amycakes Bakery. In addition to selling her scrumptious creations at Amycakes, McGehee also donates baked goods weekly to Harmony House, an organization that provides shelter, advocacy and education to survivors of domestic violence, and she also donates to one of various non-profit organizations monthly.

417 Magazine: What was your “dream job” at age 5?
Amy McGehee: I wanted to be a baker or a princess, but my older sister consistently reminded me that I wasn’t born into royalty.

417: How did you end up at your current job/profession?
A.M.: I have always loved to bake, and it was a childhood dream to own a bakery. With the encouragement of family, friends, teachers, and one of my former employers, I sought the opportunity to open my own shop.  I was able to train with Barb Baker, the retiring owner of the Bakehouse, for two months, and then opened Amycakes in August of 2009.

417: Where do you find passion to do what you do?
A.M.: I find passion through curiosity—always trying to find the best combination of ingredients, making every product from scratch, learning something new every day to make my products better, making mistakes and learning from them.

417: What are your hobbies (when you’re not working)?
A.M.: I spend most of my waking hours at the bakery, but when I am home, I continue to love to cook or bake. I do love to knit and play with my puppy, watch the Food Network, go to Trivia night at Finnegan’s and host creative parties (especially murder mystery parties).

417: What charitable organizations are you involved in?
A.M.: Pre-bakery I enjoyed several volunteer jobs, but my involvement at this time is limited (time wise) to donations of treats. I donate weekly to Harmony House and monthly to one of several non-profit organizations.

417: What professional organizations are you a member of?
A.M.: I’m a member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Springfield Association.

417: How would you define the secret to success?
A.M.: I believe success is directly related to the passion you feel for what you do. I also like to surround myself with friends who have very positive attitudes. They encourage me each day.

417: What’s your favorite thing about your career?
A.M.: I’m able to be creative, learning new and better ways to do things each day.

417: What’s your favorite thing about working in 417-land?
A.M.: I love the sense of community and the support among all of the locally owned businesses.

417: If you could go back and give the high school version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
A.M.: Have more confidence in yourself!

417: List three traits that define a successful career:
A.M.: Hard work; Surrounding yourself with positive energy; Being curious and willing to experiment.

417: Why are you a 20 under 30?
A.M.: Because I have amazing friends who nominated me, and they know how hard I work and that I love what I do.

417: What projects do you have on the horizon at your job that you’re excited about?
A.M.: In April, I am taking an intense weeklong class on Fondant and Gum Paste with Collette Peters of the Food Network! I can’t wait to learn more cake decorating techniques!

417: What completed project are you most proud of?
A.M.: I made a groom’s cake that looked like the Alamo, cutting each little stone by hand and then painting a food-color wash to make it look weathered.  It was so much fun to create, and the bride was wonderful!

Fill in the following blanks with five words or less:

Friends and family make life worth living.

A day at work wouldn’t be complete without a dance party.

Ten years from now, I hope I’m still baking.

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would buy some sweet bakery equipment.

The best part about being a 20 under 30 is meeting people with similar goals.

 

 


A little more than one year ago, TaJuan Wilson left a job at a community college in Rock Springs, Wyoming and moved to Springfield. “I was looking for professional growth and challenge, and I also wanted to be closer to my family in Arkansas,” says Wilson, who is originally from Bearden, Arkansas. Wilson’s education, a B.A. in political science and communications from Ouachita Baptist University and a master’s of public administration from Keller Graduate School of Management, helped him attain the position of the director of TriO Programs at Missouri State University. “I have a strong passion to help underrepresented populations reach their full potential, and I get to do that every day in my current role,” Wilson says. He also serves as a big brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks and serves on the executive board for the NAACP. He’s also the chair of the NAACP’s college chapter, and he is a member of The Network and the Springfield Chamber of Commerce.

417 Magazine: How would you define the secret to success?
TaJuan Wilson: Treating others the way you want to be treated, working hard and having a good attitude. In addition, never forgetting where you come from, how you got to where you are and how quickly it could all be reversed keeps me grounded.

417: How did you end up at your current job/profession? 
T.W.: I relocated to Springfield from Rock Springs, Wyoming last February. I was looking for professional growth and challenge, and I also wanted to be closer to my family in Arkansas (my hometown is Bearden, Arkansas). I interviewed with Missouri State University and I was offered the position as Director of TRiO Programs. I accepted, and the rest is history.

417: What are your hobbies (when you’re not working)?
T.W.: I enjoy volunteering, writing, travel, fast cars, reading, relaxing at home, and spending time with family and friends.

417: Where do you find passion to do what you do?
T.W.: I have a strong passion to help underrepresented populations reach their full potential, and I get to do that every day in my current role. I firmly believe if you do work that you love, and work that fulfills you, the rest will come.

417: What charitable organizations are you involved with?
T.W.: I currently serve as a big brother with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Ozarks. I have also volunteered time with Habitat for Humanity, the American Civil Liberties Union and Heifer International.

417: What professional organizations are you a part of?
T.W.:  I serve on the executive board for the NAACP (I also serve as the Chair of the College Chapter), I am a member of The Network, and the Chamber of Commerce.

417: What’s your favorite thing about your career?
T.W.: I get to work with the population of students I really want to. Consequently, I get to impact lives each and every day. That’s powerful!

417: What’s your favorite thing about working in 417-land?
T.W.: The Springfield community has been very supportive, and I am extremely grateful for that.

417: If you could go back and give the high school version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
T.W.: Don’t sweat the small stuff.

417: What was your “dream job” at age 5?
T.W.: I wanted to be a dentist.

417: List three traits that define a successful career: 
T.W.: Hard work, dedication and continual growth.

417: Why are you a 20 under 30?
T.W.: I believe that I am a “20 Under 30” because of my strong faith, my motivation to succeed, the fact that I’m surrounded by good people, and because of my parents, who shaped me into the person that I am.

417: What projects do you have on the horizon at your job that you’re excited about?
T.W.: We are in the process of revamping our Upward Bound program to make it an even more enjoyable experience for our students. This will include new activities and more interaction with our students. TRiO programs consist of eight programs total. We are currently funded for two programs at Missouri State; Upward Bound and Student Support Services. I will be writing new grants with the hopes of bringing some additional services to our campus.

417: What completed project are you most proud of?
T.W.: Completing my master’s degree at the age of 22.
Fill in the following blanks with five words or less:

Family and Faith make life worth living.

A day at work wouldn’t be complete without my students.

Ten years from now, I hope I’m happy and healthy, continuing to serve others.

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would create a non-profit for underprivileged youth.

The best part about being a 20 under 30 is my career is just beginning.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More Articles Like This

Food Lovers Handbook

A field guide for the best meat, cheese, eggs and more in 417-land.

Top Dentist 2017

Teeth feeling achy? Smile losing its luster? If it’s time to see a dentist to perk up your pearly whites, look no further than these 103 professionals in 417-land who were voted as the top of their trade.

Area Elementary School Students Are Now Being Treated Via Telemedicine

Thanks to a grant funded by the Missouri Foundation of Health and with the help of the Children’s Miracle Network, students with minor illness symptoms are being treated without leaving the schoolyard.
Edit Module
Edit Module
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Sign up for our newsletters Follow us on Instagram

Edit ModuleShow Tags

  1. Emerson Park, Local Men’s Grooming Line Transports with Scents
    Style is more than a look; it’s a feeling and an essence. And no one knows that better than...
  2. 25 Barbecue Road Trips
    We drove in all directions to visit the best barbecue joints around. Dig in for the delicious...
  3. The World’s Hottest Peppers are Grown in Strafford
    Pam Shelburn and her husband, Bill, grow some of the world’s hottest peppers in their garden in...
  4. Explore 28 Great Parks
    Make it your mission to explore as many of these state, national and local parks as you can this...
  5. Republic’s Scuffed Edge Flea Market
    At Scuffed Edge in Republic, one creative maven shares her passion for refurbishing home decor.
Edit Module
Edit Module