This week we feature a very successful LeaderBear, Jennifer Artman. Jennifer went through the Commerce Bank Emerging Leaders program as a freshman in 2005 and went on to later facilitate the program in 2008. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in History from Missouri State in 2008. While she was an undergraduate on campus she was very involved being a SOAR Leader multiple times and president of her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, along with many other things.
Following graduation from Missouri State, Jennifer went on to law school at the University of Missouri. After graduating and passing the bar in 2011, she clerked for a judge on the Supreme Court of Missouri for a year. She is now an attorney with Shook, Hardy & Bacon, a national and international law firm headquartered in Kansas City, where she practices civil defense litigation. In her practice, she works on litigation teams to defend companies that manufacture products and are sued in either strict liability or negligence in courts across the country.
Jennifer is honored to represent clients ranging from Fortune 50, 100 and 500 companies to Kansas City small businesses, landowners, and individuals. She has been able to carve out a niche practice where she works for automotive defendants and clients in the construction and industrial services industry. She says, “my work is incredibly diverse and exciting. Some weeks I am traveling to take depositions in Alabama or Texas while other weeks I am in our Kansas City office, meeting with clients and assessing their risk or liability in specific situations.”
In addition to her work for the firm’s clients, Jennifer spends time working on pro bono cases for juvenile clients in the Jackson County Family Court and participating in the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association. In her personal life she enjoys running and competing in local races. So far in 2014, she’s ran three half-marathons and achieved a new personal best time for the mile!
Her advice to younger students:
“My advice may seem a bit unorthodox – do it all. Every bit of it. Try everything. Take every chance you can that is offered to you. I’m talking about classes, events, trips, study sessions, programs, opportunities to be involved on campus, friendships, late nights, seminars, international travel, volunteer activities, dinners, movies, books, thoughts, sports, ideas, food, discussions. Go to a place you’ve never been. Read an article you would never pick up on your own. Eat something that looks weird on the menu. Sign up for a leadership program, or go out for an activity that is different than what you usually do. How do you know what you like until you try it? You don’t know what you don’t know. I didn’t know who I was, and I keep trying new things every day to find out who I am. And I think every day I learn something new about myself that I didn’t know before.”
When asked what about our programs impacted her the most she replied,
“Finding out that I can both be a leader and simultaneously need a leader was something that hit me while facilitating the Emerging Leaders program. Before that experience I assumed I was either one or the other in a specific situation – and sometimes, the thought of being the “leader” was overwhelming, and other times the idea of “being led” by someone else was boring or stifling. But while I was facilitating the program, with some other excellent facilitators, I found myself learning more about time management, balance, life skills, motivation, and personal fulfillment than I have ever known from the participants. Keeping this in mind throughout law school and my practice as an attorney has made me better-rounded. While sitting in a meeting where I am likely perceived as the leader, I remember to ask for thoughts and suggestions from others. Meanwhile, I find the correct time to offer my input to others on teams where I am not the designated leader. By harmonizing these two roles, I feel more fulfilled about my position in my job. It also helps me take ownership of my ideas and feel like I am contributing to a process.”
Do you want to have the experience that Jennifer had in the Emerging Leaders program and learn things that you will later use in your professional life? We are now accepting applications for freshmen and sophomores for the Spring 2015 program. Applications can be filled out online until October 31, 2014 on our website: www.missouristate.edu/emergingleaders.