No one likes adversity, says Tammy Trent. But how we fight it and work to overcome it is what makes us stronger.

Trent, the senior vice president and chief accounting officer at Leggett & Platt, will make that her central message as the keynote speaker for the Spring 2018 commencement ceremonies.

A Carthage native and 1990 graduate of Missouri Southern, she followed her parents into the accounting field. Today, she oversees the accounting for Leggett & Platt, including 120 manufacturing sites in 18 countries.

“Pesos, Euros, dollars, you name it,” she says with a laugh.

Trent still lives in Carthage with her husband, Scott, and they have two children – Carson, 20, and Grant, 16.

Trent says she hadn’t truly faced adversity until the morning of Aug. 13, 2017, when she learned that Grant  had been in a single-car accident. He sustained a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from below his mid-chest area and spent several months at a rehab facility in Colorado.

“I posted daily updates to keep everyone informed with what was going on,” she says. “We had so much love and support along the way, and I learned that while this personal crisis started as ours, it opened our eyes to the needs of everyone else. It’s not just about you.

“Through this experience, we were able to help others as well.”

Today, she’s happy to say Grant is healthy and enjoying his junior year of high school and was recently inducted into the National Honor Society.

The importance of keeping a positive outlook on life cannot be understated. While it doesn’t automatically make everything easier, Trent says it can open your eyes to many incredible things.

“It can awaken you to realize that you have been placed in your unique situation for a reason.”