Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, Little Rock Soirée Announce the Top 100 Women of Impact in Arkansas

Posted on May 31, 2023
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By: Little Rock Soirée staff

Read the original article here


Thank you to Arkansas Business, Soiree, and Woman Achieve! Learn more about the Woman Achieve program here!

Following months of nominations and vetting more than 600 submissions, the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, Little Rock Soirée magazine and Arkansas Business Publishing Group are excited to announce the Top 100 Women of Impact in Arkansas honorees.

“The 100 women that appear on this list are impacting Arkansas today, and they are making it a better state for future generations,” WFA CEO Anna Beth Gorman says. “By sharing these stories in the Top 100 publication, we know that leaders across Arkansas will have the opportunity to learn the names of our state’s trailblazing women, and how they’re affecting change. Our goal is to inspire more women, businesses and leaders to support and replicate change-making work.”

The list is a revival of a publication helmed by former ABPG owner Olivia Farrell that helped launch the WFA 25 years ago. Honorees will be featured in a special publication in September and celebrated at WFA’s 2023 Power of the Purse event.

“The new list recognizes 100 outstanding and ambitious women who reflect the spirit of ingenuity and ambition at every stage of their career journey,” says Mitch Bettis, owner and president of ABPG, the parent company of Soirée. “There are some names you’ll know who are now prominent CEOs at prominent companies — an idea 25 years ago that was a complete oddity. However, the list will also include women of impact from the four corners of the state you may not know, and that’s the point.”

Read on: Recognizing 100 Women of Impact (Mitch Bettis Publisher’s Note)

Without further ado, here are the Top 100 Women of Impact in Arkansas:

Heather Albright

President, Bank of America Arkansas

Robyn P. Allmendinger

Member, Rose Law Firm

Elizabeth Burns Anderson

Senior Vice President, Farmers Bank & Trust

Executive Director, Farmers Bank Foundation

Katherine Andrews

Director of the Office of Outdoor Recreation, Department of Parks, Heritage & Tourism


Daymara Baker

CEO, Rockin’ Baker

Katherine Berry

Associate Professor & Founding Program Director, Southern Arkansas University


Graycen Colbert Bigger

Executive Director, Northeast Arkansas Regional Intermodal Authority


Tracy Black

Partner, NewRoad Capital Partners

Jean Block

Chief Legal Officer, Little Rock Water Reclamation Authority

Mellie Boagni Bridewell

President & CEO, Arkansas Rural Health Partnership

Regional Director, UAMS Office of Strategy

Michele Brown

Retired Educator

President, Lamar School Board

Erika Buenrrostro

Director of Student Success & Enrichment, UA Cossatot

Leah Collins

Premarital Financial Coach, Leah Marie Collins LLC

Angie Cooper

Executive Vice President, Heartland Forward

Esperanza Massana Crane

Director of the Minority & Women-Owned Business Enterprise, Arkansas Economic Development Commission 

Sammie Cribbs

CEO, North Arkansas Regional Medical Center

Shunqetta N. Cunningham

CEO & Lead Strategist, KHARIS Group Consulting

Founder & Board President, OVER A CUP Initiative Inc.

Krista Cupp

Vice President of Corporate & Community Affairs, Runway Group

Breanne Davis

Arkansas State Senator, District 25

Cathy Dickinson

Chief Human Resources Officer, Baptist Health

Marcy Doderer

President & CEO, Arkansas Children’s

Annette Howard Dove

Founder & Director, TOPPS Inc.

Angela Duran

Executive Director, Excel by Eight

Tamika S. Edwards

Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Southwest Power Pool

Kelly Eichler

Deputy Chief of Staff, Governor’s Office

UA Board of Trustees

Faith Elliott

Vice President of Operations, Amfuel

Laura Ferner

Partner, Crouch, Harwell, Fryar & Ferner PLLC

Rebekah Fincher

Chief Administration Officer, Conway Regional Health System

Quantia “Key” M. Fletcher

Director, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

Tonya Fletcher

Executive Director, Paris Area Chamber of Commerce

City Council Member, City of Paris

Eliza Hussman Gaines

Publisher, WEHCO Media Inc.

Sarah Goforth

Executive Director, UA Office of Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Gina Gomez

Executive Director, El Centro Hispano (Jonesboro)

Suzanne Grobmyer

Chief of Staff, Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage & Tourism / Office of the Secretary

Sarah Catherine Gutierrez

CEO, Aptus Financial

Janet Harris

Executive Director & CEO, Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

Shannon Hendrix

Senior Vice President & Chief Administrator, Arkansas Children’s Northwest 

Marie Holder

Highway Commissioner, Arkansas Department of Transportation

Abby Hughes Holsclaw

Founder & CEO, Proper Southern Strategies

Lexanne Horton

Chief Financial Officer, Ritter Communications

Leslie Huitt

CEO & CFO, Bradley County Medical Center

Mandy Hunt

Co-founder, Athlete Advocate Consortium

Beckie Irvin

Nonprofit Consultant, Beckie Irvin Consulting

Jennifer James

Owner, H&J Land Co.

Annemarie Dillard Jazic

Vice President, Dillard’s Inc.

Lisa John-Adams

Quality Director, Nucor Steel Arkansas

Colbie Jones

Director, Keep Arkansas Beautiful

Debbie Jones

Superintendent, Bentonville Schools

Jerrilyn Jones

Associate Director for Science, Office or Preparedness & Emergency Response Systems, Arkansas Department of Health

Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine , UAMS

Cherisse Jones-Branch

Dean, Arkansas State University Graduate School 

Fellow, Agricultural History Society

Julie Joyce

Senior Manager of Community Partnerships, UAMS Community Health & Research

Kim Koch

Founding Principal, Insight Engineering

Laura Landreaux

President & CEO, Entergy Arkansas

Marcina Langrine

Programs Manager, Marshallese Educational Initiative

Heather Larkin

President & CEO, Arkansas Community Foundation

Toni Lindsey

Director of Governmental Affairs & Leadership Arkansas Program Director, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associate Industries of Arkansas

Heather Loftis

Co-owner, Mountain Lakes Broadcasting Corporation

Meredith Lowry

Partner, Wright Lindsey Jennings

Brookshield Luarent

Chair & Associate Professor, NYIT

Executive Director, Delta Population Health Initiative

Nirvana Manning

Chairman & Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, UAMS

Susannah Marshall

Bank Commissioner, State Bank Department

Julie McCallister

President, ECCI

Judy McReynolds

Chairman, President & CEO, ArcBest

Cherilyn Grant Minnis

AP English Teacher, Academies of West Memphis

Debrah Mitchell

President, Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus

Brooke Montgomery

Assistant Professor, Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, UAMS

Danyelle Musselman

Community advocate, wife of Razorback Men’s Basketball Head Coach Eric Musselman

Creshelle Nash

Medical Director of Health Equity & Public Programs, Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield

Karama Neal

Employee, U.S. Federal Government

Kim LaScola Needy

Dean of the College of Engineering, University of Arkansas

Shannon Newton

President, Arkansas Trucking Association

Keegan Nichols

Vice President for Student Affairs, Arkansas Tech University

Marnie Oldner

CEO, Stone Bank

Jamie Pafford-Gresham

President, Pafford Medical Services Inc.

Katherine Pickus

Vice President of Sustainability & Global Impact, Tyson Foods Inc.

Rebecca Pittillo

Executive Director, Blue & You Foundation

LaTasha Randle

Assistant Vice President of Retail Marketing, Relyance Bank

Sandra Register

Principal, Jefferson Elementary School, Little Rock Public Schools

Karen Reynolds

Immediate Past President, Arkansas Nurse Practitioner Association

Talicia Richardson

Executive Director, 64.6 Downtown

Sondra Rodocker

Director of Supportive Services, Arkansas Family Doulas

Mimi San Pedro

Chief Strategy Officer, The Venture Center

Sarah Sanders

Governor, State of Arkansas

Hallie Shoffner


Shelley Simpson 

President, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc.

Rickie Smith

Director of Public Relations, Wright Lindsey Jennings

Margarita Solorzano

Executive Director, Hispanic Women’s Organization of Arkansas

Victoria DeFrancesco Soto

Dean, Clinton School of Public Service

Barbara Sugg

President & CEO, Southwest Power Pool

Melissa P. Taverner

President, Lyon College

Denise Thomas

CEO, World Trade Center Arkansas

Lenore Trammell

Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Compliance Officer & General Counsel, Big River Steel

Erendira Vazquez

Founding Executive Director, Pioneros Unidos (Pioneers United)

Shirley Moorehead Washington

Mayor, City of Pine Bluff

Jeanne Y. Wei

Executive Director of Reynolds Institute on Aging, Professor & Chairperson of Reynolds Department of Geriatrics, UAMS

Mindy West

Executive Vice President of Fuels, Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer, Murphy USA

Anika T. Whitfield

Former tri-chair, Arkansas Poor People’s Campaign

Co-chair, Grassroots Arkansas

Kara Wilkins

Owner & Co-founder, KWilkins Consulting Group/Tidal Partners

Alison R. Williams

Founder, Tidal Partners

Founder, Wilco Consulting

Keli Wylie

Assistant Chief Engineer of Program Delivery, Arkansas Department of Transportation

Learn more about the Top 100 Women of Impact and the milestone year on the WFA’s website.