Alumni Spotlight | Crista Hogan

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Who can run an organization, run a race, and run legal opinions all in the same day?  Crista Hogan can…and that’s just for a warm-up before lunch!

As a lifelong learner, Crista Hogan is a well-established and respected leader in the Springfield community, most notably in her 19-year tenure as the Executive Director of the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association. A graduate of Leadership Springfield’s Signature Class 13, Crista is a Springfield native who has had a passion for law since she was 9 years old. She carries that passion with her today, along with a continual desire to become a better professional.

Crista’s memories of Signature Class 13 include fun moments spent sharing bus rides and building relationships. She values the life-long colleagues and friends she gained from the experience. What she remembers most was the blending of different types of people, coming together to plan out a successful program day, and the lessons they learned together as a team. Being a part of Leadership Springfield gave her some valuable experience in modeling program days that she would use later in her career and helped her to see parts of the inner workings of the community she might never have experienced. In addition to being a Leadership Springfield graduate, she has also participated as a speaker and panelist for other Signature classes.

When asked about Springfield’s strengths, Crista believes our “strong base of business and civic leaders” who collaborate for the good of the community is something special. She says this community is a place that is open and caring, with a ready conduit of receptive leaders who are willing to make great ideas happen. Crista highlights how collaboration and converging efforts is Springfield’s strong suit. Crista loves our community’s outdoor sports and natural surroundings, especially our Greenway Trails. She enjoys fishing and trail running and staying active outdoors. Not even a broken hand could keep her from running her most recent race!

As Executive Director of the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association, Crista enjoys working with other talented lawyers who are civic-minded and willing to use their talents for the betterment of the community. She is particularly proud of their work with legal interventions and forgiveness for people trying to get out of the cycle of poverty. She says it is exciting to see their expertise used to make a real difference in the community. Being around talented lawyers is not always easy, though, she says – lawyers are literally trained to find other people’s mistakes – and so she is always challenged (in a good way) to do her very best possible work.

COVID-19 has not seemed to slow Crista down. She believes the experience has only challenged the SMBA to find new, creative, and effective ways of carrying on their programs. In a way, it has refined what they do, allowing them to create better ways to communicate and convey information between the courts and the lawyers. She credits the innovative and adaptive nature of her profession with this smooth transition.

Crista’s leadership is not limited to the local area. She is also a member of the American Bar Association House of Delegates and the Board of the National Association of Bar Executives. She is a member of the Missouri Public Defender Commission and participates in the Missouri Supreme Court’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness. Recently she was awarded the President’s Award from the National Association of Bar Executives for her exceptional work with the organization. She was the first leader of a city bar association to receive the award!

When it comes to mentorship, Crista believes anyone can be a mentor. Young, old, experienced, inexperienced—she thinks everyone has something to teach others. Crista thinks whether they realize it or not, every person that you interact with can serve as a mentor if you pay attention to the way they handle situations. She especially loves spending time with young leaders, observing the different approaches they bring to the table, and she believes that incorporating young leaders on her board is important for the sake of diversity.

Crista’s advice to budding leaders is “show up.” “To me leadership is work. You show up to something you’re interested in. It can be a political campaign, a food bank, or PTA, and you volunteer to do a job for them…before you know it, you’re in charge of a lot of things,” she says. “That’s how you can climb the ladder to become a leader. Once you’re there, you need to have discernment, the ability to make decisions efficiently and effectively, a lot of trust, and good judgment.” We thank you for your insights and for your leadership in our community, Crista Hogan.

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