Councilwoman Lauren Nelson leads as a voice for others

Ward 4 Councilwoman Lauren EH Nelson doesn’t view herself as a leader. Rather, she sees herself as a representative who is part of a team.

She grew up in Callaway County and graduated from South Callaway schools. Lauren joined the Street Fair Committee in 2013 and wanted to become more involved in the community as the years went by. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she decided to run for City Council.

“I was looking at what I wanted to do. I know people within the city family, and I wanted to see a change,” she said. “I went for it, and I won. It’s been a ride. It’s much more of a commitment than I ever thought it would be, but it’s great. I love to support the community, and I love to be a voice for people that don’t necessarily have one.”

“We couldn’t do it without each other, and I respect every single person on the Council. I think that all of our viewpoints are different, and that’s what makes us strong.”

Lauren said she enjoys the work and finds it fulfilling. On the Council, she has  the opportunity to use her voice, which she recommends those looking to be leaders try to do as well.

“If you feel strongly about something, stand up for it. I think that so many times – it doesn’t necessarily have to be a female, it can be anybody – you’re overshadowed. You don’t feel like you can say what you want to say,” she said. “For me personally, that’s another reason that I am passionate about doing this. I feel like I have a strong voice, and I’m not scared to use it. I want to stand up for everybody and everything that I believe in. I think that’s the hardest thing – that people are overshadowed or they are overpowered. They feel meek, and they can’t say something. More than anything, it’s important to always stand up for yourself. Believe in what you believe in, and don’t be afraid to say it.”

Lauren is a third-generation Callaway resident and South Callaway graduate. She attended school in Springfield and lived in Sikeston for five years before deciding it was time to move back to Fulton. Now, she works as the office manager at Fulton Dental Center, a practice her mother helped start in 1978. She said people come into the office and still know who she is because of her mom.

“I was young. I was only 16 when I lost her, and I didn’t understand ‘love you, hate you, love you.’ I never got back to that love you stage. Now that I look back on it, there are so many valuable lessons that I’m like, ‘oh god, she said that, and then now it’s true,’. “As a kid, you think ‘Never. That’s never going to be me. She’s not right, and that’s not right’. Many life lessons I’ve learned, I’ve known the whole time; looking back, you just don’t want to accept it as a kid. Looking forward, I know that she shaped me into the person I am. We’re identical people.”