A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE
Glois Appleton’s 50 Years at BKD Make Her a Firm Treasure
By Levi Costello
Glois Appleton looks like most every other BKD employee. She dresses sharply, works hard and is easy to talk to. She’s a grandmother and mother who’s active in her community.
But Glois isn’t just another BKDer. On August 8, 2016, she celebrated her 50th work anniversary with the firm.
A Rush from the Start
Glois began working for the firm’s Springfield office in 1966 when she was 18 years old.
She had just graduated from high school as valedictorian and was accepted into Southwest Missouri State College—now Missouri State University—with plans to become a teacher.
“I quickly realized that teaching wasn’t for me,” she admits. “I decided to pursue business instead.”
After enrolling in a go-at-your-own-pace business school and finishing all of her coursework in two months, one of her instructors secured an interview for her with BKD—then Baird, Kurtz & Dobson. At the time, there were only 14 people in the Springfield office.
“The lady who got me the interview told the firm I was 19 going on 20,” she remembers. “I was actually a month away from turning 19. I really hoped it wouldn’t be a problem.”
It wasn’t. After interviewing with partners Hearld Ambler and Jim Porter, they offered her the job at $65 a week. In 1966, the minimum wage was $1.25, so she was elated.
Working Alongside Firm Legends
Glois has had the unique experience of seeing many important people come and go during her 50 years at BKD. Some of the most respected leaders in firm history were people she knew personally.
“I worked with Wayne Henderson, Hearld Ambler, Jim Porter, Jim Glauser, John Bowles—all of the men that you see on the history plaques in the Springfield Office,” she says.
The stories of exceptional leadership are rooted in fact, Glois says, pointing to the firm’s steady trajectory.
“BKD has always been growing,” she says. “We’ve always moved upward, which is a neat thing to see.”
Retired Partner Jim White—who sadly died in early 2016—was one of Glois’ favorite people.
“He expected us to get our work done and to do it with excellence, but he understood that we had lives,” she says. “If we needed to leave early for a kid’s ballgame or if something came up, he let us leave and make up the time later. We didn’t have PTO back then, so having flexibility in our schedules was wonderful.”
A Love for Clients
When asked why she’s stayed with BKD for five decades, Glois responds quickly: “I stay because the work challenges me, and the people I work with are the best in the world.”
Glois’ job had her interacting directly with clients, some of whom she worked with for many years. Inevitably, she developed strong bonds. She often went out of her way—working nights and weekends—to make sure they received unmatched client service.
“These were my clients, not just BKD’s,” she says. “I wanted to make sure they were taken care of.”
Several of Glois’ best memories revolve around her clients.
“I remember a time when one of my clients called from his nursing home,” she says. “He was getting ready to take a trip and needed help packing. He didn’t have anyone else to help him, so I came by that weekend to see what I could do.”
The nursing home had packed him a bag, but it was too small for the length of trip he was taking. Glois went home, grabbed some of her own personal luggage and brought it back for him to use. She also took him to the bank and made sure he had everything he needed for his trip.
“I wrote a note and put it on his bag reminding him to grab his billfold and medication before he left,” Glois says.
The ‘Perfect Employee’
Retired Partner Bill Kirkman has nothing but positive things to say about Glois. Kirkman began working at the Springfield office in 1969 and benefited directly from Glois’ expertise. He would later become managing partner of the Southern Missouri practice and then the firm’s chief operating officer.
“Glois was a mentor to all of the new staff for a number of years,” Bill says. “She was the first to be there to help out. We’re a great firm, and people like Glois are what made it that way. If there was ever the perfect employee, it was her.”
Glois maintains that reputation to this day.
“Glois has been always someone who was approachable,” says John Wanamaker, who now leads the Southern Missouri practice. “She’s one of the most positive people I’ve ever met. I’ve never seen her have a down day. She’s always the first person to raise her hand and say, ‘Yes, I can.’”
No Retirement in Sight
When asked if she plans on retiring, Glois’ answer is adamant: “I don’t have plans to retire any time soon. I love the work I do. It still challenges me. Besides, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself with all that free time!”
It’s safe to say BKD will continue to benefit from Glois’ special insight for many years to come.