Helen D. Anthony
Secretary, Planning & Zoning Commission, City of Columbia
OCCUPATION: Attorney and community activist
AGE: 50 | YEARS LIVED IN MID-MISSOURI: 7 | HOMETOWN: Norfolk, Conn.
EDUCATION: I received a bachelor’s degree in government from Colby College in Waterville, Maine, and a law degree from New England School of Law in Boston, Mass.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: I am currently secretary of the Planning & Zoning Commission for the city of Columbia; board member of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri; member of Assistance League of Mid-Missouri; member of External Advisory Council; master of public health, University of Missouri; and vice president of the Pines Homeowner’s Association.
PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: I started working full time as a paralegal and then law clerk for Sloane & Walsh LLC, an insurance defense litigation firm in Boston, while attending law school at night. When I graduated, I was promoted to associate and worked there until I had my second child. I took time off and had my third child in three years then opened Jursek, Dennis & Gagnon LLC, a general practice law firm two blocks from my home in Needham, Mass. I was a partner in that firm until I married my husband and moved to Missouri. Although licensed to practice in Missouri, I’ve stayed home to raise our teenagers.
A COLUMBIA BUSINESSPERSON I ADMIRE AND WHY: Vicky Riback Wilson, former state representative and Service-Learning Fellowships coordinator, University of Missouri, because Vicky has tremendous passion for everything she does and is tireless in her support of progressive candidates and causes.
WHY I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT MY JOB: I’m passionate about my work on Planning & Zoning because we are in the process of preparing a Comprehensive Plan that will embody the goals and objectives identified in the visioning process undertaken by the city several years ago.
IF I WEREN’T DOING THIS FOR A LIVING, I WOULD… have time to work full time for pay!
BIGGEST CAREER OBSTACLE I’VE OVERCOME AND HOW: Striking a balance between being a partner in my own law firm and raising children. I overcame it by getting very little sleep.
A FAVORITE RECENT PROJECT: Completion of the East Area Plan. The plan, which is a collaborative effort with Boone County Planning & Zoning, offers recommendations on future land uses and development strategies for an area covering 13,446 acres in eastern Boone County. I’m proud of the process and the product. It’s an excellent precursor to the Comprehensive Plan.
WHAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THIS PROFESSION: Serving on the Planning & Zoning Commission is almost a full-time job. As a commissioner and member of the executive committee, we have two or three meetings a week, with homework in between.
WHAT I DO FOR FUN: Travel, run and play golf.
FAMILY: I am married to Douglas C. Anthony, chairman of the Departments of Pathology and Anatomical Science at MU. We have four children: James Anthony, 25, a student at Columbia College; Kevin Jursek, 19, a sophomore at MU; Chris Jursek, 18, a freshman at Florida Southern College; and Laura Jursek, 16, a junior at Rock Bridge High School.
FAVORITE PLACE IN COLUMBIA: Katy Trail. We didn’t have anything quite like this on the East Coast. I’m in continual amazement of how beautiful it is.
ACCOMPLISHMENT I’M MOST PROUD OF: My children.
MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW THAT I… have run three Boston Marathons.