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10 Most Beautiful Women

10 Most Beautiful Women

Meet 417 Magazine's 10 Most Beautiful Women and learn about the local charities that they represent.

By Savannah Waszczuk

Sep 2017

Photo by Starboard & Port Creative“How can I show someone kindness, or make someone happy, or let someone know they are loved, or make someone laugh so hard that they cry? I just want to be the kind of person who brings good to whatever situation I am in," Rachael Mhire Snow says.

There’s a whole lot more to beauty than what you see on the surface, and no one knows that better than the women featured in the following story. 

Every year we devote pages of our magazine to honor 10 of the most generous, caring, driven, smart and inspiring women in southwest Missouri. It all starts with nominations from you, then we narrow the pool to 20 finalists and you—our readers—vote and choose the final 10.

The winners are living, breathing examples of what beauty truly looks like, and these 10 are proof that it all starts with the heart. They’re outstanding parents, spouses, friends and daughters. They’re powerful business owners and outstanding employees. And more than anything else, they’re committed volunteers—each one has selected a charity, and the woman who receives the most votes during online voting and who is named on the most ticket sales to 417 Magazine's Indulge will have a portion of the proceeds donated to her charity. The winner will be announced at Indulge, where all 10 of these wonderful women will walk the runway.

Pampering by Bharat Shah, MD, FACS
Fall fashions by Harem & Company
Hair by Karma Salon
Photography by Starboard & Port Creative
Makeup touch-ups by aestheticians Jillian Kane and Amanda Woodman

Click on each woman's photo to read more.

Alyea Alldredge
Girls on the Run of Southwest Missouri

Kat Allie
Springfield Regional Arts Council

Lisa Bakerink
Friends of the Garden

Andrea Banwart
Ambassadors for Children

Dana Dutton Hesington
On Angels' Wings

Halley Fleming
The Patriotic Education Program at College of the Ozarks

Michelle Houghton
Harmony House

Lacy Martin
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks

Rachael Mhire Snow
Junior League of Springfield

Jessica Williams
Lost and Found Grief Center


Photo by Starboard & Port Creative

Alyea Alldredge, 36
Springfield
Co-owner of BigTime Results/W.H.A.L.E.done! WellCoaching
Charity: Girls on the Run of Southwest Missouri

 

As a gym co-owner and a wellness coach, Alyea Alldredge’s career is all about helping people live their best lives. “We help clients set goals and keep them accountable to those goals,” she says. These goals focus on eight areas of wellness including energy, diet, exercise, health, weight management, mental and emotional fitness, life satisfaction and hydration. “I just love being a part of people changing their lives for the better,” Alldredge says. One of her favorite stories to share involves a woman who’s more than 70 years old and lost more than 40 pounds. “She wrote me a card that inspires me to keep going,” Alldredge says. “It said, ‘Thank you for helping me have the best year of my life.’” 

Alldredge changes lives outside of the gym, too, including the lives of the young girls involved with Girls on the Run of Southwest Missouri. “I’m the board president now, and I’ve been involved with the organization for nine years now,” Alldredge says. She visits the organization’s sites a few times each year and participates in their sessions, which tackle topics such as gossiping, bullying, body image and beauty. “We work to teach these girls that beauty comes from within,” Alldredge says. “The mission states that we inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experienced-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.”


Photo by Staboard & Port Creative

Kat Allie, 46
Springfield
Department Chair, Fine Arts and Humanities for Ozarks Technical Community College

Charity: Springfield Regional Arts Council
 

Nearly 3,000 students have sat in Kat Allie’s classroom over the years. Before she began overseeing OTC’s fine arts and humanities department, she taught courses at Missouri State and OTC, jobs which led her to exactly where she needed to be. “During that first semester, everything in my life just clicked,” Allie says of her return to school to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in painting. “As far as being a teacher, I feel as if my biggest goal is to be extremely encouraging and help students reframe their way of thinking.”

Encouragement is also the goal when it comes to Allie’s daughter, 11-year-old Zoe. “She has this really, really bright red-orange hair,” Allie says, sharing one of the many things she loves about her child. “I tell her I’m proud of her every night. It’s so important for a child to get a sense of 
security and self on a consistent basis when they’re young.” 

Allie spends a lot of her free time painting—she’s a board member of the Springfield Regional Arts Council, and she donates many of her works to nonprofit organizations. “I think art, and anything in the creative world—that’s what encourages people’s lives,” Allie says. She mentions how both OTC and the Springfield Regional Arts Council include transforming lives and enriching the community in their respective mission statements. “Transform and transform, and community and community,” Allie says. “That’s what I do every day.”


Photo by Starboard & Port Creative

Lisa Bakerink, 54
Springfield
Executive Director, Friends of the Garden​
Charity: Friends of the Garden​

 

As the Executive Director of Friends of the Garden, Lisa Bakerink is surrounded by all things beautiful. For her, a day in the office means she’s just steps away from 40-plus blooming gardens and hundreds of fluttering butterflies. But neither of these things are the best part of her job. “It’s the people aspect,” she says. “One of the best things about being here is watching people interact with all the park has to offer.” 

A particular story Bakerink likes to share involves a grandmother who brought her granddaughters to the butterfly house while their mother was going through cancer treatments. “One of the girls was not engaged—she was very angry and sad,” Bakerink says. “But then one of our volunteers started releasing butterflies. It ended up being a really positive experience that helped her get out of that sad and angry place for a while. I love being a part of the team that provides this beautiful garden experience. I love being able to provide hope.” 

Bakerink’s career also connects her to 24 partner organizations, and she volunteers with several of them, including Springfield Sister Cities Association. “Being able to host people from other countries in my home has been a real blessing,” Bakerink says.


Photo by Starboard & Port Creative

Andrea Banwart, 37
Republic
Executive Director at Republic Area Chamber of Commerce

Charity: Ambassadors for Children
 

Andrea Banwart uses her social media presence for more than connecting with friends—she uses it to connect foster families with various needs. “I feel strongly that it’s my responsibility to attempt to relieve some of their burden,” says Banwart, who has had foster children placed with her own family. “There are organizations out there that provide amazing resources for foster families, but they can’t provide everything for everybody.” 

Banwart spends a lot of her time volunteering for other causes, including Give Back-Republic, an organization that raises funds for the Tiger Totes backpack program that provides children in need food for the weekend. “It originated from a small group that we met with weekly for years,” Banwart says. “Almost all of us had a direct connection to the education world. We knew that when kids would come to school hungry, they wouldn’t be starting out on the right foot.”

Andrea and her husband, Derek, have three biological children and one adopted child, and Banwart likes to get them involved in volunteering as well. “There was one time when my oldest daughter, Lydia, who was 9 at the time, befriended a woman when we were serving a meal downtown,” Banwart says. “The woman started crying. She said, ‘That little girl spent all that time talking to me. I can’t remember the last time someone invested all that time in me.’ She gave this woman hope, and my daughter got to see this example of beauty.” 


Photo by Starboard & Port Creative

Dana Dutton Hesington, 52
Monett
Registered Nurse at Mercy Hospice
Charity: On Angels’ Wings 

 

For the past eight years, Dana Dutton Hesington has worked as a hospice nurse and provided comfort for patients at the end of their lives. “I always asked myself, ‘What’s my purpose? What am I supposed to be doing?’” she says. “I don’t think I truly knew until I became a hospice nurse. This is where I feel like I can make a difference.”

Hesington has worked in the health industry much of her adult life, and she’s found herself on the receiving side of care as well—once when she and her husband lost one of their six sons to the genetic disorder Trisomy 18. “We knew from about 13 or 14 weeks that something was wrong,” Hesington says. She asked a local photographer if he would take photos of her son when he was born. “I knew our time with our son was going to be limited, but we were hoping for at least a year and not days,” Hesington says. 

The photos are tokens of remembrance for the family, and they’re priceless to Hesington. That’s why she started volunteering with On Angels’ Wings, an organization that provides free professional photographs and support for children from newborn to age 18 battling terminal conditions. Although she volunteers for multiple charitable organizations, it’s On Angels’ Wings that hits closest to home. “This one is really where my heart is,” Hesington says.


Photo by Starboard & Port Creative

Halley Fleming, 32
Branson
Vice President of Marketing, Branson Bank

Charity: The Patriotic Education Program at College of the Ozarks ​
 

Branson Bank often has donation requests from nonprofit organizations. Members of those organizations always talk to Halley Fleming, and they often leave with much more than a check. “I know the people in my organization and what they feel passionate about,” Fleming says. “I’ll reach out to the associates within our organizations and ask if they want to lend a helping hand.”

When she isn’t connecting Branson Bank’s 57 employees with local nonprofits, Fleming keeps busy with many other tasks at the bank, including running the veterans program she started eight years ago and is particularly passionate about. “We’re currently honoring our 24th veteran,” Fleming says. “The program is a way that we pause and recognize these men and women for their service and sacrifice.” 

Her time outside of the office is equally busy, starting with a 5 a.m. workout and continuing after work with a daily adventure—always with her two kiddos in tow. “We go on adventures all the time,” Fleming says. “It might be going to the park, running or hiking.” Regardless of the task at hand, these adventures are the most treasured parts of each day. “Sometimes we’ll be driving down the road and I’ll just look at them sitting in the back seat,” Fleming says of Brock, age 5, and Teagan, age 3. “I’m so honored to be their mom.” 


Photo by Starboard & Port Creative

Michelle Houghton, 35
Springfield
Self-employed Counselor, Artist and Performer

Charity: Harmony House
 

What is it that makes you you? That’s the question Michelle Houghton suggests everyone asks themselves. “When you’re doing the thing that is the most you, people will respond to that because you’re being authentic,” she says.

This isn’t limited to professions—it’s crucial with pastimes, too. For Houghton, she feels the most herself with a paintbrush in hand—a hobby she began not long after having a personal meltdown. “There was a moment when I was broken down, crying in my backyard,” Houghton says. “I was crying because it was a Sunday night, and I just didn’t think I had it in me to go to work the next day or continue on with the next week.” 

This moment also led Houghton to co-found The Bravery Board, an organization created to encourage and inspire women to push boundaries, thrive in their personal lives and make their families, workplaces and communities better. “We wanted to do something inspirational and help people stay connected to a community that could help push them along,” she says.

Houghton’s professional experience includes nearly half a decade at Burrell Behavioral Health and seven years as a counselor in the Ozark School district, and she hopes to start her own private practice after baby No. 2 arrives.


Photo by Starboard & Port Creative

Lacy Martin, 38
Springfield
Vice President at Commerce Bank

Charity: Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks
 

When Lacy Martin learned her 6- and 10-year-old daughters had no idea what “disco” was, an impromptu dance party was in order. “When you have to clean up the kitchen after dinner, a dance party just makes it better,” Martin says. “Music is always on in our house. I’m the mom who hosts dance parties, and the girls help clean up.” 

Eating together is important to Martin, whether she’s sharing pizza with her husband and their girls at family game night or loading up the crew and heading to Seymour for Sunday lunch at her parents’ house. “My sister and brother-in-law come, and sometimes my grandmothers are there, too,” Martin says of the routine get-togethers. Perhaps the most important meal Martin shares, though, is the weekly cafeteria date with her little as a part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Lunch Buddies program. “I felt that if I was going to sit on the Big Brothers Big Sisters board and make decisions, I needed to get close to the heart of the organization,” Martin says. Whether the two are practicing spelling words, sharing funny stories or simply chatting about life, Martin says it’s the interaction that’s key. “A lot of times these kids are going through challenging situations at home,” Martin says. “Spending a little bit of one-on-one time with them gives them hope.” 


Photo by Starboard & Port Creative

Rachael Mhire Snow, 34
Springfield
Economic Development Marketing Coordinator at Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce
Charity: Junior League of Springfield

 

Rachael Mhire Snow remembers singing on stage when she was 4 years old. “My mom and her siblings used to go around to different churches and venues singing when I was younger,” Snow says. “They got us kids involved, and I haven’t stopped singing since.” 

These days she has the opportunity to regularly sing in front of hundreds of people as a part of the worship team at the North Point Church Nixa campus. “I love singing music that connects with people—that helps inspire or bring joy or peace to others,” Snow says. “Anything that pours goodness into the world.”

Helping others is a common theme for Snow, who is also a lunch buddy with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks, is on the board of directors for Springfield Creatives and is a member of both the Junior League of Springfield and The Network. She has a show-stopping smile—the kind that lifts the mood when she enters a room. “My goal every day is to bring joy to the world around me,” Snow says. “How can I show someone kindness, or make someone happy, or let someone know they are loved, or make someone laugh so hard that they cry? I just want to be the kind of person who brings good to whatever situation I am in.”


Photo by Starboard & Port Creative

Jessica Williams, 28
Springfield
Missouri State student and STAXX employee​
Charity: Lost and Found Grief Center

 

As Jessica Williams talks about her mother, she starts with a decades-old story. “I remember when I was little, in elementary school, they had us write down what our greatest fears were,” Williams says. “I remember writing down, ‘Losing one of my parents.’” 

Williams was forced to face that fear at age 21, when her mother passed away from brain cancer. “It was one of the darkest times in my life,” Williams says. “I remember I thought I had no future. I had no hope. I didn’t want to move on because I didn’t want to forget. I didn’t want to be happy again.” 

After taking a grief class, Williams’s spirits improved, and she became involved with Lost and Found Grief Center, an organization founded to provide grief support to individuals and families in 417-land. “I was volunteering there twice a month,” Williams says. “I eventually want to be a facilitator there.” For now, she keeps busy working part-time at STAXX and going to school for nursing. “I always promised my mom that I’d go back and finish,” Williams says. “She always taught me to be a light in this world, no matter what. She told me, ‘You’re good at seeing people. You see them when they’re hurting.’ I do. I want to be their light.’”