Kelly Lightfoot has a straightforward approach to business: Listen to clients, help them understand their needs, put their interests first.

“If I keep that perspective in mind, it’ll get to the right result ...” said Lightfoot, who founded her business, Ampersand, five years ago next month.

On Saturday, she will be honored by the Independence Chamber of Commerce as this year’s Rising Star. Also, Nina Anders, owner of Scandinavia Place, is the Business Person of the Year, and Shirley Baker, who owned the Courthouse Exchange restaurant, wins the Legacy Award.

“It’s very rewarding to know I’m at my five-year anniversary and (getting) this award,” Lightfoot said. “It’s a perfect storm of wonderful things.”

Lightfoot, a graphic artist, works with companies and non-profits.

“They usually need help defining or refining their brand, and we do that through graphic design,” she said.

Sometimes that means starting from scratch, and sometimes it’s tweaking established images.

“It takes a little bit of finesse, I would say,” she said.

That also means helping clients identify their needs and working hard to get the art right, all with the aim of consistent messaging.

“It takes a little bit of restraint – I would say artistic restraint – to come up with the best business solution,” she said.

Lightfoot, who said business has ebbs and flows but is good overall, has a handle on the work of art itself and the business side of the operation.

“I was that artsy kid growing up, but thankfully my dad instilled in me common sense, so I can do business,” she said.

Lightfoot also has been active in the chamber, making connections and finding leads, and she said that’s led to many clients. 

“Networking,” she said, “is so much better than cold calls.”