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Emily SmithCPEDPhone: 501-671-2138Email: email@example.com
by Emily Smith - May 29, 2020
In this month’s LeadAR Alumni Spotlight, we talk with Stephanie Malone of LeadAR Class
18. Malone is a native of Rogers. She attended the University of Arkansas and received
a degree in journalism. Recently, she was named CEO of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association.
From January 2009 to January 2015, while living in Fort Smith, Malone served three
terms as a Republican member of the Arkansas House of Representatives. While in office,
she was appointed as Chairman of the Youth, Aging, Legislative and Military Affairs
Committee and appointed Assistant Speaker Pro Temp under Speaker Robert Moore.
Malone is the second youngest female ever elected to the House of Representatives
at the age of 29. She was also named as a member of Arkansas Business’s 40 under 40
while serving in her first term as a representative. After leaving office in 2015,
she held a variety of advocacy positions and was most recently the director of government
affairs for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.
Malone’s parents, Mike and Debbie Malone, still live in Rogers. Her nieces, Ireland
and Ivy Malone, are the light of her life and affectionately call her Duchess. We’ve
asked Malone to share how her LeadAR experience informs her work and life today. We’ve
shared her answers below.
I am originally from Rogers, Arkansas where I graduated high school and then went
on to the University of Arkansas. After graduation I moved to Fort Smith, AR. I am
a reformed politician and the current CEO of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association.
Well as I mentioned I am reformed politician. I served in the Arkansas House of Representatives
from 2009-2013. While in office I was appointed as Chairman of Youth, Aging, Legislative
and Military Affairs Committee, Assistant Pro Temp of the House and Chairman of House
Rules Select Committee. I am currently a member of the Just Communities Arkansas Board
and have served on a variety other community-oriented boards. A long time ago, I was
the Chairman of the Junior Livestock Auction – people are really shocked to learn
that tid bit about me.
An alumnus of the program approached me and asked if I would be interested in participating.
After reading about the program, I thought it would be a great experience for me.
A perfect opportunity to learn more about our state and more about myself. As far
as what motivated me – I am a big experience person. Anytime I have the chance to
experience something new I want to try it. I was intrigued because it looked like
a way grow as a person and a leader.
Believe it or not I am an introvert – my experience with LeadAR taught me to step
out of my comfort zone, which has really benefited me in my professional life. Moreover,
the program taught me to stop and listen to all aspects of situations; it is extremely
important to not just hear all sides of an issue but really listen to all points of
view. I also learned that it is ok to not have all the answers as a leader and to
lean from your team.
Learning to multitask better. Having to keep up with my full-time job and set aside
time for my LeadAR assignments. I really do miss my every other month meetings and
catching up with my classmates.
Well – several of my classmates took me on numerous alligator hunts to locate one
in the wild. We never happened to see one. Now, my classmates Jacob Box and Jason
Hayes send me pictures when they find gators in the wild. That‘s a memory I think
about a lot because I still get updates.
In all seriousness though, I have several. I enjoyed our trip to Washington DC. I
loved our overseas trip and experiencing so many new things. I think most of all I
enjoyed our Stuttgart weekend. We were all together for the whole weekend and our
classmate, Jacob Box, cooked dinner for all of us after he nearly sliced his thumb
off. It was just a really nice time. We all stayed at the same location all weekend
and just really enjoyed each other’s company and laughed so much. I really think it’s
important to point out that the most significant part of LeadAR are the new friends
I have in my life. Over the course of two years well all grew as people and experienced
new and uncomfortable situations together and because of that I have a whole new group
of people I can turn to in my life whether I need help or just a laugh. That is something
I am so grateful and thankful for.
That it’s ok to not be an expert overnight. And that is it ok to stumble – look no
one is perfect and no one has all the answers. Stumbling is part of life – but you
also must learn and grow from it.
The ability to let things roll off their back. I am an over analyzer. I examine every
angle of a problem and with every word said my mind is always turning. I admire people
who don’t sweat the small stuff and stay focused on the big picture. I am getting
better at letting things go as I have gotten older.
That I am an introvert. People seem to think that since I was in politics I am not
really a shy gal, but in reality, I am. People are also surprised to learn that I
enjoy running long distances.
Currently I am reading The Last Resort. I just finished Camino Winds by John Grisham.
It was recently recommended to me to watch The West Wing so I am currently watching it on Netflix. I love Netflix.
Well I am not sure what works for everyone else but one crucial ingredient for me
is a feeling of safety. In order for me to feel happy, I need to feel like I am in
a safe place and surrounded by people who allow me to let my guard down. Oh yeah, I
also enjoy a healthy dose of sarcasm.
I think now more than ever with the Covid-19 issue, you are seeing how important leadership
is in a crisis. Governor Hutchinson and Health Secretary Smith have shown deft leadership
in protecting our state and its citizens. Tough times really highlight what leadership
is all about.
Naw, I am good.