UACES Facebook New LeadAR class brings changes to 34-year-old program
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New LeadAR class brings changes to 34-year-old program

By Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Jan. 31, 2018

Fast Facts:

  • Two-year leadership program welcomes new class in February
  • Class 18 represents 16 counties throughout Arkansas
  • Program changes follow Division of Ag internal review 

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LITTLE ROCK – New changes are coming to LeadAR, the state’s premier leadership program.

The program, founded in 1984 and operated by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, was originally modeled after the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s leadership training program. Over more than three decades, LeadAR has trained hundreds of participants to serve as leaders in businesses and communities throughout Arkansas, especially in rural and agricultural areas.

Noah Washburn, LeadAR program director, said a series of changes have been implemented for Class 18, which kicks off in mid-February and will conclude in late 2019.

“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,” Washburn said. “Over the past decades, thinking about leadership in general has expanded to look at individual leaders’ roles within dynamic groups.”

New program objectives include preparing emerging leaders to assumer greater responsibilities within their own organizations, industries and communities; providing participants with diverse perspectives to analyze complex cultural and economic issues, and much more.

The course will be taught through a series of eight three-day seminars, in addition to a week-long study trip within the United States later this year, and a two-week-long international study trip in 2019.

The first seminar is scheduled for Feb. 7-10 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 Division of Agriculture, LeadAR also 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.

LeadAR Class 18 includes 28 participants from 16 counties throughout the state. Those class members are:

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

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

Jacob Box of McGehee, Desha County
Vice President Lending – First Natural State Bank

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

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

Ethan Dunbar of Lewisville, Lafayette County
Retired Military

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Curtis Moore of Lincoln, Washington County
Owner, Moore Farms

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

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

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

Rick Reed of Batesville, Independence County
General Superintendent with Delk Construction Company in Searcy, AR.

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

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

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

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

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

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

To learn about LeadAR, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit


About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system. 

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.  

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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