Christian County Top 10 Under 40

The Nixa Young Professionals, a subgroup with the Nixa Chamber of Commerce, announced plans to honor the top 10 young professionals under the age of 40 later this fall.

I was excited to learn that one of the first big undertakings for the Nixa Young Professionals will be a drive to recognize 10 of the top working professionals from Christian County.

This effort by the Nixa Young Professionals group can accomplish a whole lot more than giving 10 people some plaques and helping them feel good about themselves. This is an effort that can encourage community building, it can help identify the leaders of the present and the future of Christian County and it can help encourage the honorees and others to take interest in something much greater than themselves and their own interests.

I really hope that people of Christian County feel encouraged to participate in the nomination process.

“Nominations are being accepted to recognize 10 of the top young professionals (persons under age 40) who are leading in Christian County,” a press release from the Nixa Young Professionals reads.

Pretty straightforward. Applicants will be considered based on professional achievements, community involvement, innovation and leadership. There are plenty of folks under the age of 40 who fill up the pages of this newspaper on a weekly basis for leading, serving their community and achieving, but I hope that this effort by the Nixa Young Professionals uncovers some unsung and unheralded leaders in our community.

Off the top of my head, I can think of attorneys, city councilmen, clergymen and women, business executives, educators and government workers who are worthy of being nominated for this honor. However, I’d like to see some hard-working types like auto mechanics, electricians, contractors, plumbers, mid-level managers, IT professionals, hair stylists, restauranteurs, farmers and small business entrepreneurs thrown into this mix. Working people make many of the day-to-day events we take for granted possible. Maybe an upstart of employee at a convenience store or a local grocer has an incredible story to tell.

“You do not need to be a member of the Nixa Young Professionals nor the Nixa Chamber to be considered for this recognition, nor must you be a member to nominate someone,” the press release states.

I’m really glad that the group spells out that it is looking beyond its own members for these awards. I also hope that people in parts of Christian County that aren’t necessarily within the Nixa or Ozark city limits feel encouraged to participate.

As part of my work, I’ve interviewed plenty of Christian County leaders who have made it beyond the age of 40. Two I am comfortable naming who have made common statements about youth in leadership are Christian County Presiding Commissioner Ralph Phillips and State Rep. Lynn Morris, R-Nixa. In conversations with these two elected officials, both have spoken to me multiple times on multiple occasions about their desires for younger leaders to emerge in this county, whether they are elected officials or leaders of another kind.

I think Phillips’ and Morris’ views on young leadership are well-founded. County commissioners and state representatives make decisions and cast votes with the future in mind much of the time. Many of the choices they make will not have much impact on the present day, but as results develop over time, will leave a lasting impact on the future.

This effort to congratulate and celebrate young leaders of Christian County is great, and I hope that the selection process is done in a way that is inclusive and fair. I look forward to covering these awards and interviewing some of the top 10 leaders who are selected and honored at the end of the process.

Visit to make a nomination before Sept 30. Nominees should either work or live in Christian County.

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