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story.lead_photo.caption Emily Mantle is the program director at Missouri Center of Nursing; she previously did marketing/public relations work for JCMG. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

When Emily Mantle was younger, she always thought she would be a teacher. However, an after-school job working for a local advertising agency ignited a passion for a different career path — marketing and public relations.

While attending Helias High School, the Wardsville native got her feet wet with office work at the agency, then started taking on bigger responsibilities after graduation and studying for her bachelor's degree in business and marketing and master's degree in business administration at Lincoln University.

"I was able to work there through college and went from doing clerical work to being an account executive putting on seminars across the country and much more," she said. "It gave me a vast experience of public relations and marketing."

After 10 years at the agency, Mantle was ready to expand her skill set even more, taking a market research position at St. Mary's Hospital. For three years, she added another component in marketing to her tool belt, delving into behind-the-scenes research on why marketing decisions are made through consumer surveys, market share studies, studying completed research and where the organization needs to advertise.

"We learned about the people in our service area and where they need to go for their health care needs," she said.

She then took a position at Jefferson City Medical Group, expanding her experience to include writing and other aspects of the field to her resume.

"I did more writing, public relations, marketing, advertising, social media, assisting with website upgrades and the Express Care launch — the whole gamut," said Mantle, who was director of marketing/public relations at JCMG. "I love health care, and I love working with people.

"No one really wants to go to the doctor, but in doing whatever you can to make that experience a better experience or helping patients is our job. A lot of people who have contacted me have asked who I would recommend. Given their personality and knowing the personalities of our health care providers, it was nice to be able to find a good match for those patients to build those relationships."

Another big part of Mantle's job at JCMG was connecting the health care business with the community through events, forums, and charitable partnerships and activities. This was not a stretch for Mantle, who has been involved in community causes since she was in grade school.

From raising funds for the Walk for Life in grade school and a bike ride event to support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to being a 15-year participant in the Jefferson City American Heart Association Heart Walk, Mantle has become even more involved with organizations such as March of Dimes, the Salvation Army, United Way and Relay for Life during her time in the health care field. In fact, she has served on the marketing committee and continues to serve on the governing board of directors for the United Way of Central Missouri.

"When I would help organize events at JCMG, I was always trying to find someone who was touched by the organization. That is what I love about United Way; it impacts so many people in this community. You give a donation, and you are helping thousands of people. It stays in our community; it is a win-win," she said.

Fueled by her love of helping others, she and her husband, Darrell, a community bank president for Central Bank in Holts Summit, have encouraged their two children to support local causes. The Mantle family participates in the Heart Walk, and 14-year-old daughter Lainie and 9-year-old son Landon have joined in the Walk for Life.

Like her mother, Lainie also loves joining in events and causes that support children and babies, and she loves going to the March of Dimes events.

"She won a golden doodle in a raffle there, and Lucky is now 7 years old," Mantle said with a laugh. "Anytime there is an opportunity to assist children, she is there to help."

Previously serving on the school board and now serving on the Parish Council for St. Stanislaus School in Wardsville is important to Mantle, and she hopes to get more involved with her children's activities with the flexibility her new job provides.

After many years with JCMG, Mantle accepted a position as a program director at the Missouri Center of Nursing on Sept. 25. This nonprofit organization was created by nurses to implement nurse-lead projects addressing gaps in health and health care, providing opportunities for collaboration among nursing and health stakeholders to advance a culture of health for Missourians.

The Missouri Center for Nursing has three major initiatives: encouraging nurses to get on boards and commissions to speak up for patients; providing leadership training for bedside nurses; and providing and advocate for its Military Medic to BSN partnership program, Mantle said.

"(Military medics) come home from being deployed and they have all these skills and training, but that doesn't often transfer to the civilian world," she said. "This program is designed to help those individuals with those skill sets and fast track them through a BSN program so they can have their certification and become a nurse, be a health care provider and be able to use those skills they learned."

Mantle is excited to meet with nurses, find out what the organization needs to address and help advocate for the Military Medic to BSN partnership.

"I have worked with some incredible physicians, nurses and staff in my career. Nurses are such a caring group of individuals, and I am looking forward to meeting with nurses throughout the state of Missouri," she said. "I'm really excited about the opportunities. I feel like I found my passion in health care."

Q. Who has invested in you and your career?

A. "I have been supported so wonderfully throughout my career — my husband, my children, my co-workers. I have been blessed to work in this community. It is a very supportive community. My husband and my family (are) the reasons why I do what I do and make the decisions that I do."

Q. What choices have you made to invest in yourself and your own success?

A. "With every position I've held and job I've had, I have looked to gain more experience to further develop my skill set. I want to continually grow and do what I can for others. That is why we are all here, to take care of others. I have tried to develop more skills and try not to stay stagnant. Marketing is an ever-changing field, and trying to learn more helps you do your best and the best for the organization you work for."

Q. Of what professional achievement are you most proud?

A. "I have always grown with every position that I've taken; that is an achievement in itself. I'm super excited about my new position (at Missouri Center for Nursing), and it's an opportunity to grow even more."

Q. What do you see as the biggest issues facing women in the workplace?

A. "Being mom and making everything fit. You want to be there for everything that your children do. I think the biggest issue is balancing time, home and work."

Q. What drives you most in your career?

A. "My family. My career is to help to provide a good life for them. I want to set a good example for (my kids) and teach them to be responsible."

Q. What advice would you give to a woman entering the workforce?

A. "Be genuine and be yourself; be a person of integrity."

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Marylyn DeFeo: 30-year volunteer exudes generosity

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