Columbia, MO – The Heart of Missouri United Way is pleased to announce its 2023 class of Board of Directors. Five members were elected to the board to serve three-year terms and two members were elected to serve a one-year term beginning in May of 2023. The members were elected during a board meeting on April 19, 2023.  

2023 Class of the Board of Directors 

 Jennifer Gordon, Woodhaven  

Jennifer Gordon currently serves as the Senior Director, Mission Integration, at Woodhaven, a Columbia-based non-profit organization that supports adults with developmental disabilities through residential living, day programming and community employment services. She joined the Woodhaven team in September 2022 and is responsible for strategic planning, leadership and staff development, and community building among Woodhaven’s various stakeholders.  

Sharon Horbyk, Missouri School Boards Association  

Sharon Horbyk is the Chief Relationship Officer for the Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA). Prior to her work with MSBA, Sharon was an Account Executive with eBOARDsolutions in Lawrenceville, GA, and was the Executive Director of the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce in Houston, Missouri. While in Houston, she served on the local school board for 17 years, as well as the Board of Directors of MSBA, and is a past president of that association. She has served on the Missouri Vision Project task force and was a founding member of the Houston Community Foundation. Sharon is also a private piano instructor, and serves on the board of directors for Heart of Missouri CASA.

Catherine Meagher, EquipmentShare  

Catherine Meagher is Marketing Strategy Manager for EquipmentShare. Originally from Michigan, she moved to Missouri to pursue and earn her undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri in Columbia. Prior to joining EquipmentShare in 2021, she worked at True Media for six years. In her free time, she volunteers for Heart of Missouri CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for Children.  

Claire Owen, Columbia Insurance Group 

Claire Owen is Vice President, Secretary & General Counsel for Columbia Insurance Group.  Prior to joining Columbia Insurance Group in 2017, Claire was an attorney in private practice in both Kansas City and Jefferson City and served as in-house legal counsel for O’Reilly Auto Parts at its corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri. She received both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Missouri in Columbia. Outside of work, Claire serves on the Friends of the Libraries Board at the University of Missouri, as well as the board for her local pool association and as an advisor for the local chapter of her college sorority.  

Bill Watkins, Community Member 

Bill Watkins has served over 30 years in Local Government in three states, the last 23 years with the City of Columbia. During those 23 years, Bill served as the first REDI Director, Assistant City Manager and the final 5+ as City Manager. He subsequently served as COO of Riback (now a division of Plumb) Supply, a statewide plumbing/HVAC equipment wholesaler. After selling the company and retiring, he obtained a real estate license and was affiliated with Maly Commercial Realty until retiring again during the pandemic.   

Bill earned his bachelor’s (74) and master’s (76) degrees from the University of Missouri. Bill currently serves on several Community Boards. 

Jeff Lashley (Ex Officio) MACC 

Dr. Jeff Lashley currently serves as the MACC President. Dr. Lashley spent ten years in mental health private practice and served as Clinical Director for Preferred Family Health in Kirksville before joining the faculty of MACC in 1996. He was a full-time instructor of psychology for six years, moving into the position of Dean of Academic Affairs in 2002. He became the Vice President for Instruction in 2006, and President in 2013. 

He attended MACC as a student in 1982-83 before transferring to Northeast Missouri University in Kirksville, MO where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Master of Arts degree in Counseling. He completed his PhD degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Iowa State University.

Bill Polansky (Ex Officio) Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture  

Billy Polansky is the executive director of Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, working with the organization since 2009. During that time, he has led CCUA’s growth, using food to meet the diverse needs of low-income families, Veterans, youth, and all people across our community. He has a bachelor’s degree in geography and a Master of Business.