Southeast Hosting ‘A Commitment to Our Community’ Nov. 6


Southeast Missouri State University’s Harrison College of Business and the Southeast Region Missouri Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) will present “A Commitment to Our Community” Nov. 6 on the Southeast campus.

“What if we brought together some of our community’s greatest business leaders, influencers and the exceptional people in our community who believe that our best days are ahead of us and not behind us?” said Dr. Sarah Holt, assistant professor of management at Southeast.

That’s what this event intends to accomplish – “to bring together the area’s greatest business minds and business leaders to hear how we can all make a difference in our community,” she said.

“‘A Commitment to Our Community’” will offer the opportunity to hear from community leaders on why they believe the best days are ahead if we focus on serving each other,” she said.

The interactive event is planned for 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. in Glenn Auditorium of Robert A. Dempster Hall. The event begins with a light breakfast and coffee, and an opportunity to network and visit with vendors in the Dempster Atrium.

The event, open to the public, kicks off with a presentation at 10:30 a.m. by inspirational speaker and best-selling author John O’Leary.  He will sign copies of his book, “ON FIRE: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life,” during the noon hour. To view a video invitation to O’Leary’s presentation, visit

The conference is free for Southeast students, $40 for MGMA members and $50 for community guests. To register for the event, visit For students planning to attend, the cost of lunch is $15. Those wishing to attend the luncheon must register online at The Harrison College of Business is sponsoring lunch for the first 50 registered students.

This gathering of community leaders, including Tammy Long, director of the Missouri Chamber Federation, is a perfect example of an event that aligns with the Missouri Chamber Foundation’s 2030 plan, event planners said.

“Missouri 2030: An Agenda to Lead,” is a 15-year strategic plan to reposition Missouri as a global economic leader. The plan is the result of a 2014 study launched by the Missouri Chamber Foundation examining the current state of Missouri in several economic areas. It concluded, in part, that without unified, statewide business leadership and ambitious new efforts, the state’s economic performance is not likely to improve.

“Their mission is to create thriving communities across the state of Missouri,” Holt said. “This event is an opportunity for the community’s greatest education, health care, business and entrepreneurial leaders along with our students to discuss the issues that make a difference in our region and to invest time in their own growth and personal development.”

A 1 p.m. panel discussion of community leaders will discuss a commitment to the region’s long-term success, the characteristics of a thriving community, the influence of stakeholders in the community, the commitments the panelists’ institutions have made to the area and how others can make a difference. The audience will also be given time to interact with the panelists.

Panelists will include Dr. Judy Wiles, professor and interim dean of Southeast’s Harrison College of Business; Judy Aslin, vice president and chief nursing officer of SoutheastHealth; Maryann Reese, president and chief executive officer of Saint Francis Healthcare System; Stan Crader, president of Crader Distributing Company and Blue Mountain Equipment; and Jon Rust, publisher of the Southeast Missourian and co-president of Rust Communications.

This event also provides a unique opportunity for students to learn about the importance of their career and life decisions and how they can make a meaningful difference.

“The speakers will help them see they are living in an exciting time and help them understand the significant role they play in our community,” she said. “Additionally, the community leaders they will meet will provide them a positive outlook on their future. This event is an opportunity for students and community participants to invest time in themselves.”

A presentation titled “A Commitment to Our Community” will close out the event at 2 p.m.

John O’Leary

As a curious nine-year-old boy playing with fire and gasoline in 1987, O’Leary created a massive explosion in his home, burning him over his entire body. He was given a one percent chance to live.

His epic story of survival was first showcased in his parents’ book, “Overwhelming Odds,” in 2006. It was this book that first invited O’Leary to embrace his miraculous recovery and share it with the world. The power of his message, who he is as an individual, his emotional story-telling, unexpected humor and authenticity make each of his presentations truly transformational.

O’Leary’s first book “ON FIRE: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life,” was an instant #1 national Bestseller; more than 30,000 copies were sold in the first three weeks. O’Leary is a contributor for The Huffington Post and Parade Magazine website and has an online community of more than 75,000. He and his wife, Beth, are the parents of four children.

For more information on this event, visit


*Photo caption: John O’Leary