Kim Crist, 44
Lives in: Springfield, MO
Director of Operations-Women’s Services, Mercy Springfield Communities
Charity: Great Circle
Mary Rose. My grandfather died when my mom was 19, so my grandma, Mary Rose, was a constant in our life. She watched us when my parents were gone, she vacationed with us, she threw the best parties for the holidays, stood in line for hours for the hot gift each year and always surprised us with something extraordinary. On one night out, she took us for pizza, followed by ice cream for dessert and then the sugar led to a need for salt, so she took us to McDonald’s for fries. It’s one of those moments you will remember forever. She loved sports, singing, pizza with beer and bingo. She knew how to enjoy life and have fun and taught us how to love family like there is no tomorrow. She was beautiful because of the supreme joy she brought to all of us grandkids. She recently passed, and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about Mary Rose, my lady.
I have an 11-and-a-half-year-old daughter, so I am constantly thinking about what I say and how I say it so that she feels good about herself and doesn’t spend too much time on questioning her own outward beauty. When it comes to inner beauty, I tell her to always be the one who is nice to other kids who may be struggling, to make sure not to get caught up in the drama or gossip about other kids, to imagine yourself in their shoes and then react in a way that would make you feel good if someone was doing the exact same to you. I think it’s important for kids her age to understand it’s not about the clothes or the makeup or the hair. It’s all about who you are, how you treat people and how you set an example for others.
My husband and I were both working at the Downtown YMCA when we met in 2000. He ran the adult sports leagues while still in college, and I worked in an administrative position a few years after graduation. Yes, he is younger! When I initially met him, I was not a fan. He came across as way too confident and seemed to know how to push my buttons, which was infuriating at the time. Somehow, the sarcasm and ribbing back and forth formed an unlikely friendship, and a year later, we started dating. We’ve been together 19 years, and, while he still drives me crazy at times, he wouldn’t be the success he is today without that confidence, and now it’s one of the things I love most about him.
I love going into meetings with one of my Mercy mentors, Bill Hennessey. It doesn’t matter what kind of day he’s having, he is always upbeat, happy and trying to move the mission of Mercy forward. He lives by the mentality of “it’s all good,” which inspires me to put aside anything that might be stressful at that moment, redirect my attention and reengage my excitement to do the work of Mercy.
My current vice president is also a lot like that in the fact that she doesn’t let barriers impede progress and is always looking for the positive solution to the problem. I truly appreciate her approach because I’m also a “don’t take no” type of person so it’s refreshing and inspiring to work alongside other leaders who are similar and want something greater for our patients, co-workers, physicians and Mercy.
Everywhere. I am surrounded by so much beauty in the people who I am fortunate to have in my life and those I have yet to meet. I have some of the best friends, both new and old, who each have traits that are uniquely theirs and beautiful; a daughter who is tenderhearted and filled with empathy and compassion; a workplace that is filled with the love and healing ministry of Jesus; a husband who, unbeknownst to me all those years ago, was actually the perfect match; and a family, both immediate and extended, who show me unconditional support. So, when I wake up and look around, I see beauty in the people right in front of me and for that, I am grateful.
Right now, we are hearing a lot about teen homelessness. Although it might not be the biggest issue today, if the problem is not addressed now while they are still young, it will lead to adult homelessness, which creates myriad other issues for our community in the future. There are many organizations that offer some sort of homeless program for teens, but the perception is that many are working independently of each other. As an individual organization, they are helping a small subset but if they worked collaboratively with each other, their impact could be that much greater. After learning about some of these issues through Great Circle and knowing leaders involved with other nonprofit organizations trying to tackle the same thing, it only makes sense to bring all the parties together to work in tandem with one another and figure out how to better improve access to housing and other much-needed services for teens who are on their own.
Behind the Scenes, Get Things Done
Get to know our 10 Most Beautiful even better. Then, watch them walk the runway at 417 Magazine's Indulge on October 3 at Oasis Hotel and Convention Center.