Attorney, AG Financial Solutions
Speak to Courtney Hayes for any length of time, and it’s clear what animates her personal and professional lives.
“God gives grace to everybody, so I try to extend the same,” she said. “If I have the ability and the resources to help someone, I was put here basically to extend a hand to those people as well.”
Hayes has served almost her entire career as in-house counsel for AG Financial, the nonprofit financial arm of the Springfield-based Assemblies of God church. The company’s work includes areas such as loans to churches, investments, retirement plans and planned giving.
Hayes works on AG Financial’s for-profit side, covering insurance and risk management to private equity deals. But it’s hardly just a job for her. Hayes grew up in an Assemblies of God church in Eldon, a small town near Jefferson City.
Her father, Claude Hayes, was a prominent member of the church, and though he ran his family’s trucking business, he’d always wanted to be a lawyer. In a way, she said, “I kind of got to live out his dream.”
Hayes’ father died during her first year in law school at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. After graduating in 2004, she clerked briefly for a Kansas City firm. Then in 2005, a family friend pointed her to an opening at AG Financial. It would mean a lot to him if you considered it, she recalls her father’s friend saying to her.
“The faith is very important to my family. Being able to practice law and do it for a greater purpose was very important to myself and obviously my father,” she said.
It also makes use of the LLM in tax law she earned alongside her juris doctorate. Although she didn’t have a clear plan when she obtained her tax-law training — “financials were always an easier topic for me,” she said — it has proved to be integral to her current work.
Like most in-house counsel, she appreciates the chance to understand her industry and her company inside and out.
“It is a very different experience than with a law firm, but I enjoy it,” she said.
Hayes’ faith and love of community doesn’t stop at her office door. She is the president-elect of the Junior League in Springfield and works with the crisis nursery Isabel’s House, as well as with I Pour Life, an organization for kids who are aging out of foster care. She’s an adviser to Zeta Tau Alpha at Drury University and teaches business law as an adjunct professor at Evangel University. She serves meals through Victory Mission, is active in the James River Church congregation and is a member of Leadership Springfield.
“I’m a big action person,” she said. “If you’re going to complain about something, you need to do something about it.”