The Venture Center Launches 2024 VCWoman Achieve Program with 48 Female Entrepreneurs and Industry Leaders

Posted on January 17, 2024
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In its third year, the state’s largest professional female mentorship program connects women from across Arkansas to drive business growth, networking and access to capital.


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Jan. 17, 2024) – Forty-eight female entrepreneurs and industry leaders from across Arkansas are participating in the 2024 VCWoman Achieve program, an innovative statewide mentorship opportunity organized by The Venture Center in Little Rock. 

The Venture Center facilitates a statewide program that connects emerging women entrepreneurs (mentees) with experienced professionals (mentors). After the program’s successful first two years, during which several statewide businesses scaled their operations, over 180 applications were received from across the state for consideration as mentees in the 2024 program. The finalists were chosen based on their diverse locations and backgrounds. Among this year’s participants are:

    Mentees (Central Arkansas):
     Ginny Blankenship – The Blankenship Group
     Kendalynn Bolton – KB’s Love By the Pound and More
     Gina Flake – B&B Safety Training
     Erika Gee – Ease Supper Club
     Eve Geiggar – Made to Manifest
     Brianna Golden – Golden Standard Construction
     Maya Gray – Day Dream Design Firm
     Meosha Howard – Infidimensional Skin
     Christie Ison – Food Jobs Work
     Candice James – Auto Industry
     Carleena Jones – The Business Concierge
     Jacinda Jones – Aretha’s Beverages
     Mandy Lloyd – Mr. Blinds
     Michelle Mothershed – Compassionately Connected for Veterans Inc.
     Quinyatta Mumford – Village Public Health
     Ada Noh – Noh Eyes
     Yolanda West-Calvin – D’Zirable Events
     Abby Willroth – Willroth Consulting 

    Mentees (Northwest Arkansas):
     Olivia Barraza – Latinas en Bici
     Elysia Contreras Springer – ReggioBaby
     Diana Dominguez – Más Libritos Bookstore
     Amy Keever – Amy Keever Gallery
     Sandi Macklom – Sandi Sue’s Gluten Free Bakery
     Julie Pinkerton – Evozen

“Mentorship plays a crucial role in people’s lives,” said Mimi San Pedro, chief strategy officer for The Venture Center. “In its third year, VCWoman Achieve has propelled over 40 women entrepreneurs to the next level of their entrepreneurial journey thanks to the guidance of some of the most successful women in our state. They, too, credit their mentors for their success and are now ready to pay it forward. Not only is the work important, but it is also rewarding. Many of our mentors cite helping these women as their most meaningful contribution in their careers.”

VCWoman Achieve mentors volunteer their time to assist in building the mentees’ businesses and offer them inspiring examples of success to follow. These volunteers include: 

    Mentors (Central Arkansas):
     Rhonda Aaron – BL Brand PR Agency
     Dr. Arnessa Bennett – NLR Diversity Equity Inclusion Alliance
     Karen Bergh – Arkansas Small Business & Development Center
     Dana Dussing Berry – PR Director, Stone Ward
     Leslie Davis – Harbor Environmental and Safety
     Sarah Heer – Arkie Travels
     Kimberly Jenkins – Kimber Décor Events
     Alese Johnston – Storage Trader
     Cassandra Kidd – Business Access Advisor, U.S. Bank
     Crystal Kohanke – SVP & Chief People Officer, Arkansas Children’s
     Kim McPherson – Perspective Healthcare Solutions
     Itzel Meador – SBA Director, First Security Bank Statewide
     Lesley Nalley – Empire Financial Architects
     Beverly Roberson – Controller & Principal Accounting Officer, Garver
     Liz Russell – Liz Russell Solutions
     Elizabeth Small – Director of Business Networking, UA Little Rock
     Samantha Stewart – Certified Pies
     Tricia Wilson – SVP & Chief of Staff, Simmons Bank

    Mentors (Northwest Arkansas):
     Samantha Arroyos – SERVE2PERFORM
     Mandy French – StillPoint Accounting
     Kristen Schmitt-Dykes – Account Manager, Avient Corporation
     Lesley Stewart – Vice President of Commercial Lending, Arvest Bank
     Srividya Venkatasubramanya – Ra-Ve Cultural Foundation
     Tamara Williams – Executive Career Coach, iPropel You

Rickie Smith, director of public relations for Wright Lindsey Jennings, a founding partner of Woman Achieve, shared, “Like Wright Lindsey Jennings’s Woman-Run initiative, our goal with Woman Achieve is to strengthen relationships and build a deeper network among Arkansas’ women entrepreneurs and business leaders. The networking opportunities, increased access to capital and skill development are all invaluable results of the mentorship journey and can be particularly challenging for women entrepreneurs to access. With VCWoman Achieve and Woman-Run, we’re bucking historical obstacles and opening doors that strengthen women-owned businesses and our entire state.”

Kendalynn Bolton, a 2024 mentee and the owner of KB’s Love by the Pound and More, added, “I am looking forward to getting the push I need to take my business to the next level by surrounding myself with successful and like-minded women who have been where I am and are where I want to be.”

Female Arkansas residents from all industries are encouraged to visit for more information on how to apply for the 2025 class as a mentor or mentee. 


About The Venture Center
The Venture Center is a globally recognized Arkansas-based Entrepreneurial Support Organization (ESO) that helps entrepreneurs turn their start-ups into viable, high-growth businesses. By leveraging the expertise of a world-class team of mentors, intensive programming, and introductions to the investor community, The Venture Center serves as an engine for economic growth in Arkansas and beyond.