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4 • OZARKS REGIONAL YMCA • SPRING 2018 NEW HIRES AT THE Y Suzy Callaway - Executive Assistant to the CEO and the Development Office Suzy’s demonstrated skills and knowledge, her tenure in our Y, and her passion for the mission combine to make her our best choice to fill the role. She has served in a variety of roles at the Pat Jones Family YMCA for over seven years. Hayden Ponsar - Program Director, School Age Services Hayden Ponsar has been serving with the YMCA since 2010, where he began as a Counselor and later Program Director at Camp Wakonda in Springfield, Missouri. He has served as an Outdoor Educator at Camp Tecumseh YMCA, and Program Director at YMCA Camp Carson, and is now glad to return to the Ozarks Regional YMCA to serve my community. Suzy Callaway Hayden Ponsar Katy Johnson Katy Johnson - Family and Youth Program Director, Ozark Mountain Family YMCA My desire to make a difference in the lives of children brought me a degree in Education, which allowed me to work in the Nixa and Lebanon school districts and teach preschool before joining the Ozark Mountain YMCA team. I’m continuing my passion for working with children, but in a role with more freedom and an approach that impacts the most families in my community. DODGE. HEALTHY LIVING By Katie Tonarely DIP. DUCK. DIVE. G. PEARSON WARD YMCA- Who says kids get to have all of the fun at the YMCA? At the Y, we’re about healthy living, for all ages! This year, adults can get in on the action with the third annual dodgeball tournament on April 14. Why dodgeball? It’s fast-paced, fun and a great way for every adult of every athletic level to get involved. Though the dodgeball tournament is on the surface a day of fun, we partner with the community to help further our Mission. In 2017, DJ CEO emceed our event and then hosted the official after party. The results? His after party raised $1,000 for our Annual Campaign, which helps kids and low-income families right in our community. We can also add that 417 Taphouse donated $1000. Grab a team of six and register online at or either Springfield location. A team of six is just $60, and each participant gets a t-shirt. This bracket-style tournament runs for several hours, with games being best two out of three. Want more fun? 417 Taphouse at 431 S. Jefferson in the Wilhoit Plaza is again partnering with the Downtown Y with drink specials and fun for dodgeball participants all day. Music will keep the energy going, and vendors will keep participants entertained when they’re not hanging at Taphouse or playing. New this year! Sign up for our dodgeball league on Wednesday nights this spring. After the tournament, participants say they just can’t get enough of the fun, fast- paced sport, so the Downtown Y will be hosting a league for adult dodgeball play. Get your teams ready!

OZARKS REGIONAL YMCA • SPRING 2018 • 5 Congratulations to Charity Elmer, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at CoxHealth for appearing on the cover of this month’s Biz 417 issue! She is a wise and successful leader, and we are fortunate to have her serve on our Board of Directors. Courtesy of 417 Biz Written by Lillian Stone As CoxHealth’s first in-house legal counsel, Charity Elmer has built the health system’s legal presence from the ground up. Now, Elmer leads a stellar woman-dominated team with equal parts candor and compassion. Charity Elmer will be the first to admit that she is not a numbers person. “That’s why I went to law school,” she jokes. “Because I’m not good with blood or numbers.” That humility is part of what makes Elmer’s leadership style so refreshing. Her candor is reflected in the way she deals with her all-star legal team; it’s also apparent in her approach to mentoring young women in and out of the office. Elmer is passionate about owning her weaknesses and prioritizing transparency—an approach she cultivated after years of fighting her way to the top in a highly competitive legal setting. Elmer’s law career began at Price Fry & Robb, where she started as an intern for local legal powerhouse Virginia Fry and then was hired as an associate attorney. When Fry transitioned to a role at Blackwell Sanders, Elmer joined her. Elmer quickly found that, in the legal world, competition was king. “You may bill the most hours, and you may provide excellent service, but everybody’s trying to become partner,” she says. “That means you’re trying to work better and faster than everyone else.” For Elmer, the environment was challenging but manageable thanks to coaching from Fry, who quickly became Elmer’s mentor in the male-dominated law firm. “At that time in the legal profession, there just weren’t many [women],” Elmer says. “Virginia was a total trailblazer.” Fry’s mentorship had a major impact on Elmer’s compassionate approach to leadership. Elmer recalls one instance early in her career when she missed an important deadline for a client. Instead of chastising her, Fry was supportive, coaching Elmer in finding a solution to correct the problem. “Telling her [about my mistake] was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done,” Elmer says. “But her reaction was the most reassuring and powerful thing ever.” While Elmer was at Blackwell Sanders, she SHE MEANS BUSINESS The key to managing top-notch employees when the going gets tough? According to Elmer, it’s essential to make your team feel valued and accepted, even when you might not understand their perspective. “Make people feel safe when expressing their opinion,” Elmer says. “Don’t belittle them or make them feel stupid, even if [their opinion] doesn’t make sense to you.” Elmer has an inherently transparent communication style, working to tie radical honesty into her daily dealings at the office and with the multiple young women she mentors through community programs. “The best advice I can give is to own your strengths and weaknesses,” she says. “I’ll tell you all day long the things I think I could do better.” Furthermore, she’s committed to learning from her mistakes and bettering herself in challenging situations. Whether it’s crunching numbers or riding out a challenging legal situation, one thing is certain: Elmer’s compassionate nature has taken her straight to the top. had the opportunity to work on a malpractice case involving a CoxHealth physician, who mentioned the health system was hiring its first-ever in-house legal counsel and encouraged Elmer to apply. She couldn’t resist. “There aren’t many in-house positions in Springfield,” Elmer says. “But an in-house position at Cox- Health was the most desirable place I could have ever imagined working.” After her first interview, she was so certain she wouldn’t get the job that she ended up shredding the information she was given so no one would know she applied. About a month after her first interview, however, she was asked back for a second interview—and got the job. “Getting a position like this for a billion-dollar health firm at the age of 31—as a female, no less—is exceedingly rare,” Elmer says, who considers the feat her biggest accomplishment to date. When she started in the role, she didn’t have an office or a secretary—instead, she used vacant offices left by co-workers who were on vacation. Today, she’s built up a staff of five full- and part-time legal experts, four of whom are women. She describes herself as a “traffic cop,” overseeing her team’s approach to a variety of company-wide legal matters and other issues such as compliance, risk management, workers’ compensation and insurance. Needless to say, the stakes are high. “Health care is one of the most heavily regulated industries,” Elmer says. “You screw things up, there are mandatory fines and penalties. Worst-case scenario, people can go to jail.” Outside of the traditional legal issues, Elmer’s team deals with a plethora of emotionally tough patient care situations. “Not a day goes by when we’re not helping someone make a life-changing decision,” Elmer says. Photo Credit: Brandon Alms for 417 Biz