Chief Operating Officer
Acorn:The Influence Company
With over two decades of sales and leadership experience, Myra knows the importance of developing long-term customer relationships in order to deliver a strong ROI. Myra has been both a business advocate and end-level consumer of marketing technology, and she draws from this well of experience in order to formulate her plan for success. Myra prides herself on understanding the people and the relationships that make achieving this vision possible. Her drive is to continually and joyfully uncomplicate lives in a very noisy and time-starved world by delivering: the Right Message, By the Right Influencers, For the Right Brands, At the Right Time, On the Right Platforms.
Acorn empowers leading brands and agencies to reach consumers through authentic content. They believe that compelling storytelling drives the meaningful relationships brands seek to have with consumers. Efficient, turn-key recruitment is ensured with their network of over 7,000 influencers selected using their proprietary Acorn Score.
Vice President of Sales
Buster is Vice President of Sales at Reckitt Benckiser (RB), a leading Global FMCPG manufacturer. Buster is originally from Tennessee, where he studied Supply Chain at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Buster brings a diverse background spanning across multiple functions, working with a variety of customers as well as brands from the FMCPG field. In 2004, Buster started his career in supply chain where he gained experience in customer service, forecasting, and transportation. After serving in various successful roles in Supply Chain, at both Unilever and RB, Buster moved to the Sales and Marketing side of the business in 2010. Previously, Buster has held the following positions, including Lysol Trade Manager, Sam’s Club Sales Director, and US Healthcare Trade Director. Currently, Buster is enjoying serving as the VP of Sales for the RB Walmart team in Northwest Arkansas.
HR and Training
Pam is a graduate of Kansas State University with a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She has worked over 20 years in training and development for many Oklahoma/Arkansas area companies, in industries such as: education, manufacturing, healthcare, restaurant management, and child care/learning center operation. Her areas of expertise are: Leadership, Management and Team Development; Interpersonal Skills; Safety; and Customer Service.
Her experience in training and development has been with such organizations as: Tulsa Technology Center, OSU Okmulgee, University of Tulsa, Tulsa Community College, NorthWest Arkansas Community College, and currently with the University of Arkansas Global Campus.
Pam is a certified instructor of Achieve Global, Development Dimensions International, and American Management programs, as well as Appreciative Inquiry and Appreciation at Work. Pam is a practitioner of the instruments: MBTI and CPI 260.
Certified PLE Coach and Trainer
Dr. Pat Bailey is a resourceful problem solver, outstanding public speaker, and known for her creativity. A native of Oklahoma, Dr. Bailey holds a doctorate in counselor education from the University of Arkansas, where her dissertation was focused on women’s leadership issues. Dr. Bailey holds a master’s degree in psychology and counseling and bachelor’s degrees in psychology and political science. Dr. Bailey is best known for her work at Arkansas State University in Mountain Home (ASUMH) where she served as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs. In addition to supervising approximately 80 full and part-time faculty members, Dr. Bailey implemented a funeral science program, a radiology tech program, and helped establish and build ASUMH from its inception. In addition to her work in higher education, Dr. Bailey served as the first female president of the Mountain Home Rotary Club, the President of the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges, and President of the Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce.
Brenna Blackwell is a mobile developer at RevUnit, a software development shop focusing on innovative mobile and web solutions. She got her start in mobile development while she was an engineering student at the University of Arkansas, where she wrote native iOS apps for the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. She was able to continue improving those skills upon joining RevUnit's development team after her graduation in 2014. Since starting at RevUnit, she has expanded her role to include back-end web development using Hapi and Node.js as well as cross-platform mobile development using frameworks such as Ionic. She looks forward to continuing to diversify her tech abilities by working on clients' most challenging problems.
Associate Professor, Civil Engineering
University of Arkansas
In addition to Dr. Andrew Braham's six years of academic experience at the University of Arkansas, he worked with Koch Materials Company for two years. Through 2016, he has published 24 peer reviewed publications and graduated 10 graduate students. Dr. Braham is a member of three Transportation Research Board committees (AFK20, AFK50, and AHD18) and an active member of the Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists and the Asphalt Emulsion Manufacturers Association. You can find out more about Dr. Braham by going to his website: www.andrewbraham.com.
455 Media Group LLC
455 Media Group, LLC is a digital marketing firm located in Bentonville, AR serving small and medium-sized businesses. Additionally, Jon founded Bentonville Workplace in 2015 with the idea of providing a comfortable, professional and affordable office environment for businesses of all sizes looking to get out of the coffee shops and home offices.
Jon is a longtime mover, shaker and connector who loves helping business owners achieve more.
Dave has been in the consumer packaged goods industry for over 20 years. After earning his MBA, he held positions working on some of America’s most iconic brands both as a market researcher and as an insights manager. Later, Dave moved to Bentonville, the home of Walmart, where he worked extensively with Walmart’s Retail Link sales data across a number of CPG categories. Later, he created a unique patent-pending method for deriving business and consumer insight directly from such point-of-sale data. The result is a means of quickly producing actionable information abundantly and inexpensively in the form of insightful sales reporting.
Instructional Leadership Consulting, Founder and Managing Principal
Sharon Deloach, Ed.D., is an Instructional Leader and staunch education reformer. Sharon gained years of experience serving as an education administration executive, municipal social service administrator, and a leader in the financial services industry. The culmination of her experiences ignited passion to author the book "An Answer to Disenfranchised Students: High School Credit Recovery and Accelerated Programs Increasing Graduation Rates for Disenfranchised, Disengaged, and At-Risk Students at Nontraditional Alternative High Schools".
A native of central Texas, Sharon has worked with thousands of educators, students, parents, legislators, industry leaders, and inspiration congregations, to inspire lifelong learning. She has conducted specialized training, conference empowerment seminars, staff development workshops, and convocations across the country and abroad. Sharon earned her Doctor of Education and Master of Education degrees from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, TX. She graduated magna cum laude from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi with a Bachelor of Science degree. She completed international studies in Europe, collaborating with the University of Maastricht, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, and Fontys University of Applied Sciences. She holds EC-12 superintendent, principal, and teacher certifications. Additionally, Sharon holds counseling certificates and a nonprofit certification. She has been recognized with a number of honors from business councils, civic organizations, military, and education organizations. Sharon is the founder of Instructional Leadership Consulting.
Professor, Department of Horticulture
Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, University of Arkansas
Dr. Evans began his career in horticulture working at a local nursery near Danville, VA. He also worked on local tobacco farms and was highly active in FFA programs. After completing high school, which included two years of vocational horticulture classes, he earned his B.S. in Horticulture from Virginia Tech in 1985 and his M.S. and Ph.D. in horticulture from the University of Minnesota in 1988 and 1990, respectively. He has served on the faculties at University of Florida and Iowa State University. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Arkansas where he conducts research on the production of fresh greens, herbs and strawberries in greenhouses and controlled environment systems. Dr. Evans teaches classes in Greenhouse Management/Controlled Environment Agriculture and Greenhouse Crops Production. Through various distance education technologies he also teaches Greenhouse Management/Controlled Environment Agriculture at Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University and Oklahoma State University.
Associate Design Director
Saatchi & Saatchi X
Randy is an award-winning Associate Design Director for Saatchi & Saatchi X, the shopper marketing agency for Saatchi & Saatchi. Saatchi X is trusted by global category leading billion-dollar brands as well as small start-up companies to deliver growth and sustainable business results. With more than 20 years of experience in design, and with a broad technical background, Randy is the perfect creative talent to meet the ever evolving and rapidly changing needs of global clients. Randy’s expertise has been instrumental in Saatchi X receiving several of the most prestigious honors in the shopper marketing industry.
With a passion for learning and design, Randy has built design departments with both International Paper and Saatchi X, always continuing to push himself to discover new skills which broaden his abilities to respond to the changing retail environment.
With a deep understanding and appreciation of print, packaging, displays and retail space, as well as technical knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite and Maxon Cinema 4D, Randy is especially agile and adept at delivering projects which require a fast turn-around for some of the world’s largest brands and companies.
A graduate of John Brown University, Randy and his wife are raising very active twin boys in Northwest Arkansas.
Vice President of Public Relations
Nathan Green leads the public relations and strategic communications practice for inVeritas.
Prior to joining inVeritas, Nathan worked in private law practice, specializing in business, tax, and estate planning.
Nathan earned his bachelor's degree with honors in economics from Saint Louis University and his Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He is licensed to practice law in Arkansas.
Instructor, James Madison and Virginia Commonwealth Universities
Alice Hammel is a widely known music educator, author and clinician whose experience in music is extraordinarily diverse. She teaches for James Madison and Virginia Commonwealth Universities in the areas of music education and music theory, respectively, and has many years of experience teaching both instrumental and choral music in public and private schools. She has maintained a large, independent flute studio for over 20 years. Most recently, Dr. Hammel is also the Autism Spectrum Disorder Music Intervention Specialist for ASSET (Autism Spectrum Support, Education and Training), a division of Virginia Youth and Family Services.
More information can be found on Alice Hammel at http://www.hammel.us
In his spare time, Blake likes to read, play board games and spend time with his family.
Founder and CEO
John James is a family practice physician who, on the last day of his residency, gave up medicine for the adventure of innovation. John paid for medical school with proceeds from his first ecommerce company, a quiz bowl question business he founded from the comfort of his dorm room at the University of Arkansas in 1995. A serial entrepreneur by nature, John has built and sold multiple businesses centered around search engine marketing, including ventures in keyword arbitrage, multichannel niche retail, and hyperlocal online media. He's currently working on Hayseed Ventures, a startup studio focused on customer acquisition based in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Prior to founding Hayseed Ventures, he served as the founder and CEO of Country Outfitter / Acumen Brands, raising over $100 million in venture capital.
Instigator and Facilitator of Meaningful Strategic Change
Grace Judson is a team dynamics and communication coach and an instigator of meaningful strategic change. For 16 years, she held executive leadership positions in global organizations, until realizing she could have a more meaningful impact as an external strategic consultant.
Now, she's dedicated to helping business owners, leaders, and teams realign with their purpose so they make more money doing work they love – while staying true to their desire to change the world. She's taught business and communication courses at local colleges and has written the manual on navigating office politics: The Five Deadly Shoulds of Office Politics: how they mangle your career (and what to do about them).
Walmart, Talent Development
For the past 24 years, Katie has worked for Walmart Stores, Inc. and has held several positions in Training and Development and Global Talent Management. She currently works in Global Talent Management as a Program Manager, where she develops and manages top-talent leadership development programs for the HR function.
Katie Morris is a graduate of Ball State University in Muncie, IN with a BS in Marketing. She serves in several leadership positions within the Bentonville Public Schools PTOs and is an active volunteer in various community organizations, including the Sharing and Caring program of NWA.
Certified PLE Coach and Trainer
Paneitz is a seasoned consultant, speaker, and coach – dedicated mentor, motivator, and business leader who collaborates, instructs, and inspires for success.
Paneitz is best known for her 10 years as president of Northwest Arkansas Community College. She was the first woman in Arkansas to receive President Emeritus distinction, which she was awarded for her commitment and dedication to the college after her July 2013 retirement.
Paneitz is a member of the Northwest Arkansas Council, serves on the board of WorkMatters, and is a member of the NWA ALPFA Corporate Advisory Board. She is actively involved in the Northwest Arkansas community and is passionate about women's issues. She is an adjunct faculty member for National American University.
Director, Graduate Certificate in Technical Writing and Public Rhetorics, Department
University of Arkansas
Dr. Pope got his start in technical and professional writing early, serving as the primary technical writer for his family's third-generation tire and auto shop in West Tennessee from his teenage years onward. He earned a dual major from Freed-Hardeman University in Spanish and English in 2006, his M.A. in English from the University of Arkansas in 2008, and his Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition specializing in Technical Writing and Public Rhetorics from Purdue University in 2013. At the University of Arkansas, he created and directs the Graduate Certificate in Technical Writing and Public Rhetorics, an online graduate level program designed to help working professionals from Northwest Arkansas and around the world develop writing skills for the modern workplace. He teaches courses in document design, writing for the web, technical editing, user experience design, and grant writing. His research focuses on technical writing in online spaces and crowdfunding in particular as an emerging genre of professional writing.
Outside of his academic work, Dr. Pope works as a technical editor and organizational writing consultant. He has edited numerous academic articles as well as a book published by Oxford University Press. Additionally, while working as a Ph.D. student at Purdue University he developed and maintained a custom learning management system based on the open-source content management system Drupal. He also served as a content author for TOWN, a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant project run by the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL).
Senior Programmer and UX
Aaron is a senior software developer at Walmart with 10 years of experience developing desktop, mobile and web applications. He has a bachelor's degree in computer science from Brigham Young University - Idaho. While working toward his degree, Aaron started an internet-based textbook rental business that he used to finance his education. Post-graduation, he began his career in the national defense industry for Lockheed Martin. There, he performed research and development in military logistics and developed software for a satellite ground system. Aaron started with Walmart in 2014, where he has worked on mobile application development, enterprise master data management and retail analytics. In his current role, Aaron is the UI/UX lead developer for the next version of the Decision Support System, which is responsible for storing and delivering the data that drives Walmart's business decisions, as well as those of its suppliers.
CEO & Chief Thought Officer
Brent designed big casinos and hotels. When the whole Internet thing happened, he worked his way to Silicon Valley and became a technology consultant. One MBA later, he is on the ground floor of a social media marketing startup in “vendorville.” Brent always had a side gig: designing homes, analyzing pre-IPO startup technologies, even owning a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop franchise. He also freelanced as a marketing consultant. With each, he channeled his corporate experiences into those small businesses. That’s when it hit him. He discovered his true passion is small and medium businesses, and he envisioned an agency empowering SMB’s with big agency strategies. He recruited a like-minded team and launched Modthink in 2012. His team focuses on B2B growth companies, working primarily with Technology, Construction, MedTech, and Manufacturing SMB’s.
Senior 3D Multimedia Specialist
Saatchi & Saatchi X
John is the Senior 3D Multimedia Specialist at Saatchi & Saatchi X, a Publicis Groupe subsidiary, and the agency that created the multi-billion dollar Shopper Marketing industry.
He has worked on global brands including Coca-Cola, Tide, Frito-Lay, Hershey, Nestlé, Apple, Samsung, OtterBox, Gillette, Walmart and more. His daily responsibilities include furthering the breadth and depth of Saatchi & Saatchi X's 3D Multimedia Capabilities. His role incorporates a myriad of creative disciplines including Design, Video Editing, Photography, 3D Rendering, CGI Compositing, Retouching, UI/UX Web Design, Print and Motion Graphics. But each of these disciplines is focused on one thing—telling emotionally engaging stories that improve shoppers' lives.
John's Telly Award winning commercials have aired on national broadcasts, online, and on Walmart's In-Store Media Network. His Effie® Award-winning shopper-facing design work can also be found online and in retail stores across the country.
He is a graduate cum laude of the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas with B.A.s in Journalism and French
Optimus Training and Development LLC
Darrell gained valuable experience during his 30 years in Corporate America, including over 20 years on the Procter & Gamble team, where he worked directly with Walmart and Sam's Club, both nationally and internationally. Over the course of his tenure, he achieved executive positions in both Sales and Human Resources.
He earned an M.S. in Leadership and Ethics from John Brown University and has contributed as an adjunct professor there, as well as being invited to speak on business topics at several other universities. Darrell is an expert in organizational development and effectiveness, building high-performance teams and improving the bottom line through improving both business and people processes. He enables and teaches those that work in a process how to work on a process to make the needed improvements.
Darrell has a proven track record as a business coach who enables entrepreneurs and has coached all the way from new hire to C-Suite in Corporate America. Darrell has a diversity of experience - from working for a Fortune 50 company to entrepreneurship - in the areas of franchising, service companies, retail and consumer goods. He also has a passion for coaching small business owners.
In addition to his position at Optimus, Darrell also serves as a Global Campus Program Coordinator and oversees the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) program.
Darrell is married to his wife Kelley, and they have a blended family of 5 children and 2 grandchildren.
Sr. Compensation Manager
J.B. Hunt Transportation Services, Inc.
In his current position, Cliff is responsible for the design and development of competitive compensation and incentive pay systems. He has over twenty years of experience in Human Resource Management.
Cliff completed graduate courses at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD and earned his MBA from the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. He has taught undergraduate classes at the Walton College and is currently an Adjunct Professor at Bell Graduate School of Engineering for the Masters of Science in Operations Management. Cliff is also a Senior Instructor for the SHRM Learning System Certification preparation program at the Global Campus.
Cliff received NOARK’s HR Pillar Award for outstanding service to the HR community in 2012, was the Chapter President for NOARK in 2014, and is serving as Co-Chair for the 2016 ARSHRM Conference & Exhibition.
CK Harp & Associates, LLC
Cammie is president of CK Harp & Associates, LLC, a business consulting group located in Springdale, AR that focuses on helping businesses improve upon activities involving people, processes, and administration. Their three primary areas of practice include group benefits, Human Resource consulting and leadership training and development.
She holds credentials as a Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow, Registered Health Underwriter, Registered Employee Benefit Consultant, Senior Professional in Human Resources, and Certification in Long Term Care. She also has a master's degree in Industrial Engineering.
Assistant Professor, Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences
University of Arkansas
Dr. Kate Shoulders is an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Education, Communications, and Technology at the University of Arkansas. Her work is devoted to agriculture teacher education, and impacting teaching and learning. She was a high school agriculture teacher in Kentucky before getting her Ph.D. at the University of Florida.
NorthWest Arkansas Community College
Cristy is an Instructor that specializes in teaching Microsoft Office programs. Cristy holds a Bachelor’s degree (Business Education) and Master’s degree (MAT) from The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She has been an Instructor in the Computer Information Department at the Northwest Arkansas Community College for the last 16 years while serving on various boards and committees including Assessment, First Year Task Force, Professional Development & Advisory. She is a member of the National Business Education Association. Cristy has a passion for teaching, education and lifelong learning.
Vice President of Sales
Infinity Product Group
After receiving his bachelor's degree from the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas in 2002, Ryan spent five years working for Sears and a major Budweiser distributor in sales and management before returning for his MBA in 2008. During the full-time MBA program, Ryan interned for Procter & Gamble before accepting a position with Alltel Wireless in Little Rock upon graduation. Late in 2009, he moved back to Northwest Arkansas to join the Walmart Vendor Community, and he and his family have been here since. Over the past five years, Ryan has held a variety of marketing and sales leadership positions with Alberto Culver, The Coleman Co., Rawlings Sporting Goods, and Allegro (a division of the Conair Corporation). He is currently the Vice President of Sales for Infinity Product Group in Rogers, AR. He met and married his beautiful wife, Keisha, while they were both attending the University of Arkansas in 2002, and they have three amazing boys.
Vice President of Research
Kelly Sullivan manages the research division for inVeritas, helping clients navigate legal, regulatory, and corporate issues in a variety of sectors, including energy, healthcare, and technology.
Kelly provides due diligence research on potential investors, board members, employees and business acquisitions for corporate clients. Her political research clients include gubernatorial races, congressional campaigns, mayoral races, state legislative races, and campaigns for Attorney General.
Kelly earned her bachelor's degree with honors from University of Central Arkansas and her Juris Doctor from University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She is admitted to the Arkansas State Bar.
Mike Sypult is a computer training professional that conducts seminars and speaks
at conferences on matters related to the use of computer applications and technology.
Mike's background in information technology spans 24 years as an instructor for Northwest
Arkansas Community College and the University of Arkansas, where he served as Director
of Computer Training Services. Mike holds the Microsoft Office Specialist Master certification
and provides training across the State of Arkansas in the latest version of Microsoft
TransAmericas Human Resources, LLC
Rick is a Human Resources Generalist with a Bachelor’s Degree (BBA) and Masters Degree (MA) in Business Administration. He has 35 years HRM experience working with three of Fortune 100s Most Admired Companies: McKesson, Nestle and Raytheon. Rick is also an Adjunct Professor for the University of Arkansas, College of Engineering. He is the certification chair for the northwest Arkansas chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (NOARK), and a life member of SHRM. In April 2013, he launched a new human resources consulting firm for small to medium-size businesses known as TransAmericas Human Resources, LLC.
Daniel Worthy started his career with Rockfish in 2007 as an entry level Asp.net developer. He would go on to contribute to a wide variety of projects including: mobile web, e-commerce, retail operations, blogs, interactive video rooms, and sweepstakes. As a Technology Architect, Daniel is responsible for understanding which new technologies to utilize and then bringing the rest of the technology organization up to speed to implement. Daniel is passionate about development and the unique problem solving challenges that come with it.