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LeadAR – Re-energized and Ready for Class 18

by Noah Washburn - February 5, 2018

Arkansas’ leadership program responsible for training hundreds of community leaders and spawning many local programs has announced the members of its 2018 class.

LeadAR welcomes 28 participants from 16 Arkansas counties as members of Class 18. These men and women will spend the next two years developing their leadership skills and gaining a better understanding of key economic and social issues facing Arkansas.

Since 1984, the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture has sought to develop rural leaders through the LeadAR program as well as help urban residents grasp the importance of agriculture in the state. Agriculture is Arkansas’ largest industry, adding more than $21 billion to the state’s economy annually.

“The purpose of LeadAR is to enhance these emerging community leaders using the latest research tools to expand their self-awareness, increase motivation, and enrich their communication skills as a leader,” said Noah Washburn, the program’s new director who helped revamp the 34-year-old program to better fit the busy schedules of today’s professionals.

Class members will meet some of the state’s top industry leaders, practice their policy-making skills and tour community assets in the state and overseas. The 22-month program features seminars, a visit with congressional leaders in Washington D.C., and an international study tour that exposes class members to different methods of addressing policy and economic issues.

The first of eight LeadAR seminars takes place Feb. 7-10, 2018 in Little Rock. This seminar will focus on leader development and will be held at the Holiday Inn Airport Conference Center. In addition to the UA System Division of Agriculture, LeadAR is supported by the Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation, Farm Credit Midsouth, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, AgHeritage Farm Credit Services, the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, many LeadAR alumni, individuals and organizations.

Class 18 members will join an engaged alumni group of more than 480 Arkansans who have participated in the program since its inception. LeadAR alumni live in 71 of Arkansas’ 75 counties.

LeadAR Logo

Class 18 members are:

  • Anthony Armstrong of Little Rock, Pulaski County
    Project Consultant/Loan Mobilization Manager - Arkansas Economic Development Commission

  • Ana Phakhin of Springdale, Washington County
    Community Impact Director – United Way of Northwest Arkansas

  • Arlisa Harris of Forrest City, St Francis County
    Library Director - Forrest City Public Library

  • Brad McGinley of Sheridan, Grant County
    Staff Chair/ County Extension Agent – UA Cooperative Extension Service

  • Curtis Moore of Lincoln, Washington County
    Owner, Moore Farms

  • Christian Olson of Little Rock, Pulaski County
    Marketing Director – AR Agriculture Department

  • Chris Wasson of El Dorado, Union County
    Customer Service Representative - Entergy Arkansas

  • Donette Spann of Cabot, Lonoke County
    Promotions Director –AR Beef Council

  • Ethan Dunbar of Lewisville, Lafayette County
    Retired Military

  • Elizabeth Solano of Little Rock, Saline County
    Electricity Transmission External Affairs/Regional Director - MISO

  • Gayla Bradley of Clinton, Van Buren County
    Dental Assistant - Hensley Dental

  • Gina Radke of North Little Rock, Pulaski County
    Business Owner/CEO – Galley Support Innovations

  • Jacob Box of McGehee, Desha County
    Vice President Lending – First NaturalState Bank

  • Jason Hayes of Brinkley, Monroe County
    Vice President/Branch Manager – AgHeritage Farm Credit Services

  • Jonathan Duran of Benton, Saline County
    Deputy Director – Arkansas GIS Office

  • Jennifer Johnson of Blytheville, Mississippi County
    District Treasurer/Director of Finance - Blytheville School District

  • Dr. Kyle T. Miller of Helena, Phillips County
    Museum Director – Delta Cultural Center

  • Lori Burrows of Little Rock, Pulaski County
    Attorney, Vice President and General Counsel - Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation

  • Marc Harrison of Little Rock, Pulaski County
    Business Development/CEO - Kenwood Strategic

  • Maddison Stewart of Little Rock, Pulaski County
    Social Media/Public Relations Specialist – Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation

  • Mary Wood of Russellville, Pope County
    Executive Assistant – USDA Forest Service

  • Rickey McCauley of Proctor, Crittenden County
    Manager-CIO – East Arkansas Family Health Center

  • Rick Reed of Batesville, Independence County
    General Superintendent – Delk Construction Company

  • Ryan McGeeney of Little Rock, Pulaski County
    Ag Writer/Content Specialist – University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture

  • Sudha Bande of Little Rock, Pulaski County
    Program Operation Manager – Arkansas Department of Workforce Services

  • Stephanie Malone of Little Rock, Pulaski County
    Policy & Advocacy Director – Community Health Centers of Arkansas

  • Tyler McDonald of Lewisville, Lafayette County
    Co-owner - T and R Farms

  • Yolanda Wallace of West Helena, Phillips County
    Administrator/Therapist/ CEO/COO/ Counseling & Education Center – The Family Center

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