UACES Facebook LeadAR Class 20 Member Spotlight: Anthony Whittington
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LeadAR Class 20 Member Spotlight: Anthony Whittington

by Lisa Davis - August 2, 2023

Decorative header with LeadAR Class 20 SpotlightLet’s introduce another member of LeadAR Class 20. Anthony Whittington is the Director of Parks and Trails for the City of Hot Springs.

Headshot of Anthony WhittingtonWe asked him to respond to the following questions.

Why did you apply to the LeadAR program? What motivated you?
I applied for LeadAR to improve and enhance my leadership skills. Being relatively new to my role with the City of Hot Springs and supervising 21 full-time employees and having the ability to effectively lead these employees is critical to the success of my department. What also motivated me is I want to become more involved in my community at a local and national level.

What leadership quality do you admire most in others? Why?
Being able to inspire others is the leadership quality I admire the most. Inspired leaders are full of energy that others feed from. Inspired leaders make people push harder, dream bigger, and lead more fulfilling lives.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? Why is this surprising?
People would be surprised that when not working I am a reserved, like to get away type of person. In my off time, my wife and I are out hiking and looking for waterfalls with our two dogs. This may be surprising to some because with my job I'm always out and about greeting people telling them about our wonderful parks and trails! I am involved with various civic and non-profit groups as well.

What are your top three ingredients necessary for success?
My top three ingredients for success are hard work, confidence, and setting goals. Hard work is definitely a key ingredient for success. People aren't born successful, they have to work hard to achieve that status. Those who practice improve; those who work hard achieve progress. Having
confidence is so important to success. Feeling sure of yourself and your abilities is a necessary trait for success in life. Setting goals is key part of success. Daily and long-term goals are great to have. Develop a plan, act, and then see the results.

What are your top three ingredients necessary for happiness?

  1. 1. You need to grow to be happy. To be challenged, to struggle, and to overcome. For me, if I'm not growing personally and /or professionally, I'll get in a rut.
  2. To be valued is another ingredient for happiness. People want to help others and be appreciated. Being valued by someone else makes you feel good, and you have a sense of purpose.
  3. Lastly, to be loved. Feeling loved is what fills you with energy and enthusiasm. In my opinion, feeling loved is the fastest way to change your state of happiness. I'm happiest when I feel the people that I love, love me in equal ways.

Describe your personal leadership style.
My personal leadership style is more of a transformational leadership style, leading by inspiring others. I try to inspire my employees by instilling valuable and positive change. I encourage and motivate my employees, and support and work alongside in their projects.

What is something you hope to gain from your LeadAR experience?
My hope is to gain more confidence in leadership, the ability to supervise multiple generations in the workplace more effectively, and to have a better grasp on time management. I am eager to learn more about what issues Arkansas is facing at the state and national level and how I can take what I learn and bring it back to my local community.

How can effective leadership help move the state of Arkansas forward?
Effective leadership can help move Arkansas forward by looking at the issues at hand. Researchers have found that people make more rational and ethical decisions when they compare two or more options rather than just evaluating one. Effective leadership involves weighing several choices simultaneously and encouraging others to do the same.

You are stranded on a desert island. What are your three MUST HAVE items?
Water is a must. You can't live more than three days without water. Secondly, I would have a fire starter. Like water, fire is essential for warmth and cooking food that you could potentially find on the island. Lastly, I'd have a satellite phone so alert people that I'm stranded on the island. (The last one may be a stretch, but I'd consider it must have.)

What is something that was difficult for you six months ago but easy for you now?
Six months ago for the first time in my life I sold a house. It was difficult for me because I had no idea what the process was. Finding a realtor, listing the house, making necessary repairs, reviewing offers, navigating all the paperwork. It was a fun process to say the least. Now that I look back on it, I am confident if I had to go through the process again, I'd have a much easier time.

What else do you want others to know about you?
I have a wife, Heaven, of eight years, and a son, Zak, who will turned 13 in June. We love the outdoors and go camping, hiking, kayaking, and waterfall hunting when we get the chance. I am a native of Hot Springs, moved around the state a little in my younger days, but am happy that I returned and continued my career in my hometown. I love college football and going to Razorback games.

LeadAR is a program designed to help Arkansans broaden their understanding of issues and opportunities facing our state and strengthen their ability to make a difference. For more information about LeadAR, visit the website or contact Robinson,, or Lisa Davis,