20 Under 30: Stephanie Sumners
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Photo Kevin O'Riley
Director of Alumni Relations and Special Events, OTC
Born: August 14, 1981
Ask any physicist—it’s virtually impossible to create something out of nothing. Yet, in only a handful of years as one of Ozarks Technical Community College’s top fundraising officials, that’s exactly what Stephanie Brown has done.
Compared to other local colleges, OTC is an infant. Endowments, foundations and alumni bases take time to establish. To compensate for the lack of quantity, Stephanie takes her passion for OTC’s mission—affordable education for everyone—to Springfield donors and OTC alums day after day after day, be it through conference room appeals or a super-successful golf tournament. Her efforts, and those of her two counterparts (a tiny department compared to other schools), resulted in more than $130,000 raised last year for the foundation, which provides scholarships for almost 200 OTC students, whom Stephanie gets to meet and watch as they progress through their chosen programs. “That’s one of the best parts of my job,” she says.
But Stephanie’s involvement doesn’t end there. She also teaches an OTC marketing course on Thursday nights and serves on the boards for Rotaract, the local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and her sorority’s (MSU’s Alpha Delta Pi) housing corporation. Add that to a recently completed Master’s degree, and you might ask how she stays sane. “I’m very organized. I’m kinda nuts,” she says. That, and her husband, Andy, doesn’t mind doing the cooking.
In the future, Stephanie hopes to remain in higher education and move up in the ranks of the fundraising elite. Her advice to people with similar jobs in the constantly fundraising city of Springfield? “Tell your story, and why your cause is unique.”
What’s your favorite
Childhood cartoon character?
Drury Panthers baseball team
Cherry Limeade Martini
Local bar AND restaurant (name both)?
Parlor 88, Flame
Thing your husband cooks?
Anything. He is a wonderful cook and I don't like to cook.
Course offering at OTC?
Principles of Marketing—I heard the teacher was excellent.
What’s the first website you check every day?
Perezhilton.com - I have to have my celebrity gossip.
One night, no consequences, whom do you seduce?
Either Tom Brady or John Krasinski
What’s the best thing about being younger than 30?
I can still get into Jordan Creek.
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