Foundation News

Alumni Spotlight: Jennifer Schnieders

Jennifer (Pollock) Schnieders graduated from Helias in 1993, and then attended St. Louis University, where she earned her BS in Exercise Science. She then went on to earn her Masters and eventually Doctorate degrees – both in Physical Therapy.

Jennifer currently serves as the owner/CEO of Outbound Physical Therapy & Rehab, a two-clinic outpatient operation providing physical and occupational therapy, along with other wellness services. She is a member of the Foundation for the Benefit of Helias Catholic High School board of directors, and served as the vice-chair for the Foundation’s 2023 “Continue the Legacy: One Gift, One Goal” annual fundraising campaign. She will be the chair for the 2024 campaign.

Jennifer and her husband Jay Schnieders, who is also a 1992 graduate of Helias, currently reside in Jefferson City and are members of St. Peter Parish. Together they are raising three sons – Archer, a Helias senior; Dawson, a Helias sophomore; and Tucker, a 7th grader at St. Peter Interparish School.

In her free time (we’re still trying to figure out how she has any…) Jennifer enjoys teaching fitness classes, practicing yoga, traveling, and reading. She is also very active in both her local, school, and professional communities, and has even been recognized for her commitment to service. Earlier this year she was named a recipient of the Florence P. Kendall Service Award, awarded to a physical therapist by the Saint Louis University Program in Physical Therapy in recognition for performing outstanding service to the healthcare community.

Jennifer’s many organizational leadership roles have included:

– American Physical Therapy Association (APTA):

  • Chair, Council of Chapter Presidents (2022); 
  • APTA Private Practice Election Teller (2021-2022);
  • APTA Private Practice Section Key Contact Sub-Committee (2019-2021);
  • APTA Missouri – President (2017-2023);
  • APTA Missouri – Payment Chair (2016);
  • APTA Missouri – Private Practice Section Key Contact Task Force (2016-2019)
  • APTA Missouri – District Chair (2012-2016)

– Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors – Member at Large (2019-2021)

– Zonta Club of Jefferson City Board of Directors – Director (2017-2021)

– St. Peter Interparish School Advisory Board (2012-2015)

– Gamma Phi Beta Sorority Chapter Advisor – University of Missouri Alpha Delta Chapter (1999-2002)

Jennifer has also served as chair in various capacities for numerous events and organizations, such as Helias Catholic Boys Golf Team’s Glow Golf event; Zonta Club’s Yellow Rose Luncheon and Sipping for Scholarships events; Mid-Missouri Heart Ball; St. Peter Interparish School Big Bucks Bonanza and annual golf tournament. She also served as Team Captain for “Tucker’s Troops” during the 2013 March of Dimes March for Babies.

When asked about her biggest personal and/or professional achievements and goals, Jennifer shared two specific instances that stood out to her before commenting on what drives her as a local business owner and member of this community.

  1. “I worked for 6 years to get legislation passed that allows patients to see a physical therapist without a doctor’s referral, and we succeeded in April 2023! Several of my colleagues and I were fortunate enough to be at the bill signing and meet the Governor.”
  2. “I was recently elected to serve my national association as a Director on the American Physical Therapy Association Private Practice Section’s Board of Directors.”
  3. “Professionally, my goal is to continue supporting growing the services and programs at Outbound, and offering employment opportunities that staff find fulfilling and rewarding. This will allow my company to continue supporting the Jefferson City community and the people in it.”

Q & A

HFWhat are some of your fondest memories of your time at Helias?

JS: Homecoming Week festivities; performing in the Spring Musicals.

HFWhat impact did Helias and/or your teachers/coaches/etc. make on you? Any specific examples?

JS: In high school I focused my extracurricular time training to be a professional dancer and musical theater performer. The Spring Musicals at Helias were a way for me to be involved in something at school and definitely helped nurture my confidence for public speaking and addressing large groups. 30 years later it doesn’t bother me at all to speak to a large crowd!

HFHow do you feel Helias personally prepared you academically and/or socially for your future (school, career, etc.)?

JS: Leadership, communication, teamwork…those are all skills. Skills are things you learn and practice and perfect. What I hadn’t been considering were the character traits that were developed and nurtured while I was attending Helias. All of those skills are great, but anyone can learn a skill and practice it enough to use it. What I truly gained from Helias are the characteristics that make up who I really am as a person… traits like compassion, empathy, commitment to service, and forgiveness. Human beings are inclined to seek out others who are like-minded with similar values and interests. As graduates of Helias, you will always relate to other Helias graduates because we share so many of the same character traits.

HF: Proudest Helias moment for you personally?

JSBeing asked to speak at the 2023 Senior Breakfast about my experience at Helias and how it has shaped my adulthood.

HFWhat does “Helias Community” mean to you?

JS: I wrote a whole speech on this that I delivered to the Senior Class of 2023 at their Senior Breakfast! Here are some excerpts: I can’t say that I was ever homesick or particularly missed the classmates who used to be part of my daily routine. But I can say with absolute certainty, that each time I came home for Christmas, Spring, and Summer Breaks, there was an immediate re-connection with my high school classmates. Where college life was exciting and stressful, time in Jefferson City was comforting and soothing. In a college world where I was constantly building new relationships, coming home was a reprieve into a community that had been established years ago.  

Now that I reflect on the relationships and bonds from my Helias community that I maintain today, what I find interesting is that the people I interact with the most are not necessarily the same people I spent my free time with while in high school. Many of those people actually did move away to somewhere “more exciting.” But many of us found our way back here. It didn’t happen all at once and our paths often intersected several times before those friendships were forged and rekindled. Had we not all been part of the Helias community, we wouldn’t have had that commonality or those conversations that led to a rekindling.  

Whether you realize it or not, Helias is instilling fundamental values that you will carry with you in your personal and professional adult lives. For me, leadership, communication, and teamwork are part of my daily responsibilities, but when I was in high school, I wasn’t on Student Council, active in public speaking or debate, or on any organized team (athletic or otherwise.)  

…if you find yourself returning to the Jefferson City community you will likely want the same for your children. The legacy of Helias Catholic will always be here for future generations, even if not in the same physical sense that we see today. The campus will continue to grow and develop, faculty with come and go, and the curriculum will evolve, but the Community that is here for you now will still be here in years to come. So that’s the true gift of being a graduate of Helias Catholic High School. No matter where you go, no matter what you plan to become, no matter what, you will ALWAYS be part of this Helias Community. So please, stay connected to your community.

HFWhy do you think “giving back,” either financially or otherwise, is so important when it comes to being a part of the Helias community? 

JS:  The healthiest relationships, whether personal or professional, are founded on fair and mutual exchange. One can’t always be the giver or always be the taker Being part of the Helias community, or any other community or relationship, should involving giving at least as much as you receive.

HFWhat motivates you in your role as vice-chair of the Annual Fund Drive?

JS: Ensuring that Helias continues to thrive as a community and academic institution, not just for my own children, but for future generations.

HFTell me a Crusader – family, friend, former teacher/classmate, someone in the Helias community, etc.; can be anyone – who inspires you and why.

JSI have a great deal of respect and admiration for Mr. Ron Vossen. He has literally spent his entire career serving Helias.  What I find most inspiring is that he continues to do this with enthusiasm, joy, and humility. He continues to work harder, take on bigger challenges, and accept greater responsibility, not for personal gain, but for the betterment of our Helias Community.

HFWhat makes you proud to say you’re a Crusader?

JS:  I’m so proud to see the progress Helias Catholic has made since 1993. The classrooms have expanded, we have our own football, soccer, and tennis facilities, and in a few short years our campus will have its own baseball/softball and performing arts facilities.

HFWords to live by (your own or a favorite quote)

JS: Work Hard and Be Kind.