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Amy Bacon, 26
College Director of Development, Ozarks Technical Community College Foundation
Amy Bacon earned her associate’s degree from OTC in 2010 before moving on to Missouri State University. This last August she finished her master’s degree at Lindenwood University. The result of all that education? She’s working to help improve the place that started it all. “When I started at OTC I fell in love with what the college does and what it stands for,” she says. “It’s hard for me not to be passionate about it.”
As director of development for the OTC Foundation, Amy has administered the school’s donor-developed scholarships—more than $220,000 of them annually—that assist OTC students with tuition. Other duties include working with the foundation’s 29-member board, day-to-day fundraising, community relations and donor cultivation. Prior to her current position, Bacon worked as an academic advisor and as a student advocate since starting as a student in 2008.
Recently, Amy was selected to participate in the Chancellor’s Leadership Academy, a program of OTC Chancellor Dr. Hal Higdon where community college employees from across the country gather for education sessions and intensive leadership development. Outside of work, Amy spends time with husband Travis and daughter Brynn, and is a member of Rotaract, The Network and other professional organizations. She has also coordinated the All Collegiate Service Project, an effort among regional universities to benefit an area nonprofit.
Job title and where you work: College Director of Development; Ozarks Technical Community College Foundation
Education: Associate’s degree from OTC; bachelor’s degree from Missouri State; and master’s degree from Lindenwood University
City or town where you live: Springfield
1. How did you end up at your current job/profession?
I started working part time at OTC when I was attending as a student. I fell in love with the work the college does and also with the culture of the employees. When I transferred to MSU, I kept my part time job and upon graduation I was able to land a full time position at OTC. I moved into my current position last May.
2. Where do you find passion to do what you do?
I wake up every morning and go to work at an institution whose mission is to create better lives for the people it serves. If by going to work each day, I can help even one person achieve their dream of creating a better life for themselves and their family, it is all worth it.
3. Are you single/married, and do you have any kids?
I am married to my (sometimes) better half, Travis, and we have a one-and-a-half year daughter, Brynn.
4. What are your hobbies (when you’re not working)?
I enjoy reading (although I have found I do a lot less of this now that I am a mom). I also like being outside, going to the lake in the summer, and sleeping. Yes, I just listed sleeping as a hobby. Realistically, most of my spare time is spent chasing Brynn around the house or cleaning up the messes she has left behind. It’s not really play time in the Bacon Household unless every single toy we own is sprawled out on the living room floor.
5. Are you involved in any charitable organizations?
I am fortunate to work for a nonprofit on a daily basis. In addition, I serve on the committee which organizes the all collegiate service project. It is a partnership between Missouri State, Drury, Evangel, Southwest Baptist and OTC in which we pick a local nonprofit and combine forces to do the most good. For the last two years, the project has been Stomp Out Hunger; a shoe drive to support organizations aiding in hunger relief. Stay tuned for this year’s project!
6. Are you a member of any professional organizations?
I am a member of the Missouri Community College Association, Council for the Advancement of Education, Association for Fundraising Professional and Rotaract.
7. How would you define the secret to success?
I don’t know that I can pick one thing that I would say is the secret to success. Work hard, go above and beyond, be gracious, and love what you do.
8. What's your favorite thing about your career?
My favorite thing about my career is being able to make a difference in our students’ lives. The OTC Foundation offers scholarships and emergency assistance to OTC students so that they can focus on their education. The thank you letters some students send back are so inspiring. There is nothing more rewarding than reading one of those letters and knowing that we have helped a student on their journey to a better life. Not to mention, I work with some of the greatest people there are.
9. What's your favorite thing about working in 417-land?
The people. People in 417-land are amazing. They are generous and friendly, and they really care about our community. Anytime I have the opportunity to meet someone new, I am never disappointed.
10. If you could go back and give the high school version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Go easy on your parents! I was a bit of a handful in high school, let’s call it “strong willed.” They say that sort of thing comes back around to you and if so, I am in trouble!
11. What was your “dream job” at age 5?
I think I had about 10 different dream jobs when I was 5. I wanted to be a doctor (so I could hand out stickers), the President (yes, of the United States), a lawyer and a “business lady” (so I could carry a briefcase). I liked to argue as a child (sorry mom and dad) so for the longest time I thought for sure I would grow up to be a lawyer. Then I realized it’s not really like it is in the movies and there is quite a bit of research that goes into the profession. You don’t get to just walk around arguing with people all the time, so there went that. Then there was the time I wanted to be a paleontologist; but only because I knew how to spell it and thought it was impressive to anyone who asked. (This aspiration brought to you by the hit movie Jurassic Park.)
12. List three traits that define a successful career:
Innovation, integrity, adaptably, drive, happiness, I could keep going... How do people pick just three?
13. Why are you a 20 under 30?
I asked myself this same question when I first heard the news. I am truly honored to have been selected. I have always tried to be a “go-getter.” When there is a task that needs to be completed, I will be the first to step up and make sure it gets done. I also really believe in what we do at OTC. As a graduate myself, I know first-hand how life changing education can be. I feel fortunate to have a career where I can give back to the community while doing what I love.
14. What projects do you have on the horizon at your job that you’re excited about?
The OTC Foundation is getting ready to launch our second major gifts campaign. It will be a lot of hard work and long hours, but I couldn’t be more excited about the challenge. Anything I can do to help make southwest Missouri a better place to work and live is something I will be passionate about.
15. What completed project are you most proud of?
I finished my master’s degree in August of 2014, while working a full time job and being a mom to a new baby. Now the whole sleeping as a hobby thing makes sense, right?
Fill in the following blanks with five words or less:
Ice cream and laughter make life worth living.
A day at work wouldn't be complete without coffee and snacks.
Ten years from now, I hope I’m just as happy as I am today.
If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would take a major vacation. And I guess pay off those pesky student loans.
The best part about being a 20 under 30 is knowing that someone thought enough about me to take the time to send in a nomination.