Leadership Arkansas Announces Class XV

LITTLE ROCK – Thirty-one individuals from throughout Arkansas have been selected for Leadership Arkansas Class XV, a program operated by the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce / Associated Industries of Arkansas.  This year’s class is approximately half the size of previous classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic and requisite social distancing requirements. This reduction in class size will better enhance the experience of class members and also provide Leadership Arkansas a greater opportunity to hold class sessions in person.

The Underwriting Sponsor for the 2020-2021 Leadership Arkansas program is The Citizens Bank of Batesville.  The Presenting Sponsor is ARcare. Statewide Program Sponsors are Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, Farm Credit Services of Arkansas, Nucor Steel Arkansas, Southwest Power Pool, and Walmart.

The members of Class XV (by name, title, company and hometown) are:

Allison Bermudez, Strategic Communications & Media Relations Advisor, MISO, Little Rock

Jill Bobo. Development Director, The CALL, Hot Springs

Kent Bridger, Regional Community President, Simmons Bank, Jonesboro

Holiday Inn Express Best Western Hampton by Hilton

Danna Caldwell, Sr. HR Consultant, JTS Financial LLC, Russellville

Nate Caldwell, Operations Manager, Weiser Brown Oil Company, Magnolia

John Cantabery, Senior Project Manager, Garver, Conway

Jennifer Christman Cia, Associate Editor, Arkansas Living, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, Little Rock

Sammie Cribbs, Chief Operating Officer/Chief Nursing Officer, North Arkansas Regional Medical Center, Harrison

Jake Fair, Attorney, Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP, Little Rock

Jill Floyd, Project Manager & Director of Community Outreach, CDI Contractors, Little Rock

Jay Geaney, 154th Training Squadron Commander, Arkansas Air National Guard, Cabot

Jeremiah Gentry, Vice Wing Commander, Arkansas Air National Guard, Fort Smith

Maggie Jo Hansen, Senior Manager, Tyson Foods, Fayetteville

Nathan Harris, SVP – Commercial Lending, Citizens Bank, Fayetteville

Jeff Hatley, Public Information Officer, Ozark Regional Transit, Rogers

Allison Hestand, Chamber CEO/Economic Development Director, Paragould Regional Chamber of Commerce, Paragould

Aaron Huntley, SVP – Strategy, First Western Bank, Springdale

Chad Kinsley, Director of Operations, Black Hills Energy Arkansas, Springdale

Courtney Little, President, ACE Glass, Little Rock

Rusty Meeks, Assistant General Manager, Arkansas Travelers, Little Rock

Jennifer Morales, Director of Delta Dental Smiles, Delta Dental of Arkansas, Benton

Joey Msall, District Director, CenterPoint Energy, Jonesboro

David Orr, Director of Development, ARcare, Russellville

Ryan Pettigrew, Sr. Manager, US Realty Operations, Walmart, Prairie Grove

Grace Rains, Director of Operations, Conductor)/ Executive Director , Ark Angel Alliance, Conway

Brandon Resecker, Sr. V.P – Energy, Crafton Tull, Conway

Karen Shaw, EVP & CFO, Citizens Bank, Batesville

Hunter Stuckey, VP of Lending, Signature Bank of Arkansas, Bentonville

Ventrell Thompson, Regional Customer Service Manager, Entergy Arkansas, Little Rock

Amy Williams, President/CEO, Cabot Chamber of Commerce, Cabot

Drew Williams, Vice President of Business Development, Baldwin & Shell Construction Company, Redfield

To see photos of the class members, click

Leadership Arkansas Class XV launches its activities with an Orientation Session Sunday, Sept. 20 – Tuesday, Sept. 22 at the Fairfield Bay Conference Center.  Other scheduled sessions include:

Session II:       Education & Workforce

Oct. 15-16, Batesville

Session III:      Agriculture & Outdoor Life

Nov. 16-17, Jonesboro

Session IV:      Government & Military

Dec. 8-9, Little Rock, North Little Rock & Jacksonville

Session V:       Natural Resources, Defense & Industrial Development

Jan. 11-12, 2021, El Dorado, Magnolia & Camden

Session VI:      Economic Development and Infrastructure

Feb. 18-19, 2021, West Memphis & Blytheville

Session VII:    Tourism, History & Revitalization

March 11-12, 2021, Hot Springs

Session VIII:   Regional Development

April 21-25, 2021, Northwest Arkansas

Session IX:      Leadership, Planning & Graduation

May 20-21, 2021, Little Rock

The mission of Leadership Arkansas is to challenge, inform, inspire and engage current and future business and civic leaders to enhance the economies of – and the communities within – the state of Arkansas.  Leadership Arkansas’s vision is to work to build a strong and vibrant state by training skilled community leaders to recognize and capitalize on opportunities, motivate others to act to strengthen regions and communities, serve as ambassador for the potential and growth of the state, and promote the election and appointment of officials who understand the diverse aspects leading to growth of Arkansas.

Leadership Arkansas comprises a nine-month class program consisting of nine multi-day sessions held in different locations throughout the state. The sessions feature Arkansas leaders who represent a wide geographic base and who have diverse backgrounds and vocations.  The members are given broad exposure to the many social, political, geographic and environmental complexities of the state; on-site demonstrations and tours; unique cultural experiences; insight into the people, places and history that influence public policies; and fun and casual settings which foster new relationships and camaraderie.

Since its inception in 2005, Leadership Arkansas has educated and engaged nearly 700 alumni, who represent nearly every Arkansas county.

About the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce / Associated Industries of Arkansas

The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Arkansas is the leading voice for business at the State Capitol and serves as the primary business advocate on all issues affecting Arkansas employers. Its mission is to promote a pro-business, free-enterprise environment and contest anti-business legislation, regulations and rules.

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