2017 MISSOURIAN AWARD PARTICIPANT
As CEO of award-winning JQH, Dowdy, a life-long Missourian, is focused on continuing a legacy of excellence that spans five decades set by renowned hotelier John Q. Hammons. Under Dowdy’s skilled leadership, providing exceptional service, pursuing innovation, and giving back are at the core of every endeavor of the hospitality company. With a portfolio of 35 hotels representing approximately 8,500 guest rooms/suites in 16 states, including eight hotels in Missouri, JQH’s properties are dominant in their markets. Her responsibilities with JQH also include the operation of more than 1 million square feet of meeting space.
Mentored by a Legend
Born in Aurora, and raised in Mt. Vernon, Missouri, Dowdy spent decades working hand in hand with Hammons to build the corporate infrastructure that eventually became a public hotel company. When the company was publicly traded from 1994 to 2005, Dowdy served as secretary and a member of the corporation’s board of directors, including serving as a member of the board’s finance committee. Over the years, Dowdy worked with Hammons to manage his personal finances and investments while also assisting in the operations of his companies. She also advised him with respect to business transactions. Dowdy was appointed as JQH’s executive vice president of finance from 2005 to 2010, after which she became CEO.
“I am humbled to be receiving The Missourian Award. Growing up in Missouri, I was taught at a young age that I could make a difference. I was shown that giving back can become a way of life and that each one of us can have an impactful role,” Dowdy said. “I am grateful to have had a mentor like John Q. Hammons, who exuded a ‘can-do’ approach at all times. I am pleased to have the significant responsibility of nurturing our company culture of being entrenched in the fabric of the community.”
Lifestyle of Giving Back
The inspirational legacy of giving back to the community that Juanita K. and John Q. Hammons established continues to thrive under Dowdy’s leadership. In 2015, Dowdy led the charge for JQH to select a national charity, which also has roots in Missouri. JQH and Springfield-based Convoy of Hope, a recipient of the prestigious Four Star Charity Award from Charity Navigator, are working together to feed the world’s hungry children and tackle systemic poverty in the United States and globally. Called JQH’s Legacy of Giving, the philanthropic initiative allows JQH’s more than 4,000 passionate associates the opportunity to personally get involved in a centralized giving program that can make a difference in the lives of millions of people. Since the kick-off event for JQH’s Legacy of Givingthrough year-end 2016, enough funding has been provided to Convoy of Hope to deliver more than $1 million worth of goods and services, including groceries, health screenings, hot meals and career service training, to children and families in need through Convoy of Hope communities. The philanthropic efforts of Dowdy and JQH resulted in Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel company, recognizing JQH as recipient of Marriott International’s 2016 Spirit to Serve Award.
In addition, Dowdy is active in personal volunteer leadership in the community and has served as a director and an officer of many charitable organizations, including the John Q. Hammons Foundation and the Regional Girls’ Shelter. She is a former president of a chapter of the American Business Women’s Association, the Missouri State University Foundation, the Soroptimists International of Springfield, and the Ozarks Regional YMCA. She currently serves as a board member for WIND FM and the Victory Mission. Dowdy is also on the board of Project H.O.P.E., an interdenominational service organization dedicated to meeting the immediate physical needs of impoverished people. Over the years, Dowdy has participated in impactful mission trips in Nicaragua with Project H.O.P.E.