The executives recognized in AMP’s list of 2020 Powerful Women in Banking, nominated by AMP readers, haven’t done much looking back in their careers. In a male-dominated industry, their perseverance, hard work and expertise have propelled them to influential positions in Arkansas banking and finance.
They are listed below in alphabetical order with comments from nominators included.
Senior Vice President/Wealth Management Division Manager
Acosta has more than 30 years of experience in the industry and joined the Pine Bluff bank in 1997. Active in the community, Acosta has served on numerous boards and currently serves on those of the United Way of Southeast Arkansas, Southeast Arkansas College Foundation and the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce. She earned degrees in business administration and marketing from the University of Central Arkansas and is a Certified Retirement Services Professional.
Janice is a true professional who has the gift of developing a bond with her clients. She truly cares about them and they know that. Many of her clients have had a relationship with her for over a decade. She has experience and the expertise to administer everything from retirement accounts to estate planning and asset management. Janice has built our Wealth Management Division to a point in which, we now manage over $300 million in assets. — Chuck Morgan, Chairman and CEO, Relyance Bank
Dollar was Abaca’s first full-time hire in July 2019. Abaca provides financial services including banking, payments and lending to the underserved cannabis industry in Arkansas. Dollar joined with seven years of experience in mortgage compliance and now helps the North Little Rock firm navigate the growing business of medical marijuana. She holds a degree in anthropology from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
While not a traditional financial institution, Abaca is the banking provider of choice among the state’s rapidly growing medical cannabis industry, which just surpassed $100 million in sales. And if you’re an operator in the Arkansas medical cannabis industry, chances are you know Charlotte and work with her regularly. As Abaca’s compliance manager, Charlotte manages the company’s compliance and accounts teams, and she works tirelessly to ensure that the state’s newest industry can operate in a seamless, digital, and compliant fashion. — Dan Roda, CEO, Abaca
Vice President in Commercial Lending
Hairston has been with Bank OZK for five years and worked in the financial industry for 19. In 2007, she graduated from UA Little Rock with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She volunteers for Our House and has served on the board of the Junior League of Little Rock as treasurer and development vice president. She also works on its “Boardwalk” board development program.
She is fantastic! She is on the board at Our House and a peacekeeper for Women and Children’s First. She is also a former treasurer and development vice president for the Junior League of Little Rock and is now an active sustainer. — Casey Rockwell, Assistant Professor of Marketing and Advertising, UALR
Sharon K. Ingram
Assistant Vice President/RCA Manager/Project Manager
Ingram joined U.S. Bank as a chargeback clerk in Little Rock 38 years ago. She earned her bachelor’s degree in organizational management from John Brown University in Siloam Springs. She serves as chairman of the Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, a state agency committed to advancing the civil rights of all citizens.
Sharon Ingram has worked at U.S. Bank for 38 years. She is an experienced vice president of operations with a demonstrated history of working in the banking industry. We are nominating her for her willingness to serve, her leadership as chairwoman of the Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission lending her expertise, and always ready to assist with various community outreach efforts. — DuShun Scarbrough, Executive Director, Arkansas MLK Commission
Tanya Carter James
Senior Vice President, Branch Administrator
James has nearly two decades of experience in management, retail sales and private banking. She is responsible for the business and community development of the Morrilton, Conway and West Little Rock branches. Tanya is an avid volunteer and a member of Junior League of Little Rock, Rotary Club of Little Rock and Arkansas Women’s Leadership Forum. She serves on the board of Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Arkansas and is a graduate of Leadership Greater Little Rock Class XXXIII. Tanya earned her MBA from Harding University.
Her service through the community is unmatched. She has chaired Taste of the Finest, served on the board of the Junior League of Little Rock, is a leader at St. Mark’s Baptist Church and so much more. She is always happy to bridge the gap between access and service and has an incredibly high level of service. — Casey Rockwell, Assistant Professor of Marketing and Advertising, UALR
Bentonville Market President
Signature Bank of Arkansas
Martens took over as Bentonville market president for Signature Bank in 2013 after serving as senior vice president for Community First Bank in Harrison. She began her career as a loan assistant for Superior Federal Bank in Harrison in 1994. Martens also serves as chair of Signature’s Bentonville board of directors and was named to Arkansas Money & Politics’2019 Power Women list.
What sets our bank apart is the level of dedication to customer service our bankers provide. Melody embodies the spirit of Signature through her unwavering dedication, not only to her customers, but also to the Bentonville community. She serves as president of our Bentonville market and devotes much of her free time to supporting the nonprofits and community engagement efforts that build a stronger Bentonville. — Tori Bogner, Vice President of Marketing, Signature Bank
Senior Vice President of Information Technology & Strategic Initiatives
Arkansas Federal Credit Union
Matsoukas has played a key role in the implementation of several major projects over the years that have assisted in driving the credit union forward. Most recently, she led the two-year conversion of the core banking system and played an integral role in various credit union mergers. She previously served as vice president of member service center operations where she was responsible for the operations of the contact center and several branch locations. Matsoukas holds a bachelor’s degree in busines management from Park University and serves on the board of JDRF Arkansas.
Nicole started at Arkansas Federal when she was 17 years old and in her 30-plus year career, she has helped almost every managerial position or worked in every department. Today, Nicole is the senior vice president of information technology and strategic initiatives. — Rodney Showmar, CEO, Arkansas Federal Credit Union
President of Mortgage Lending
Signature Bank of Arkansas
Morrison began her banking career in 1990 and was a founding member of Signature’s startup in 2004. A University of Arkansas alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in communications, she is a graduate of Leadership Springdale, a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Northwest Arkansas and the NWA Board of Realtors. She also is past president of Altrusa International of Springdale and Executive Women’s International.
Chris Morrison built Signature Bank’s mortgage division from the ground up. With patience, perseverance and a serving of grace, she has built a strong team that continues to break records despite working from home through COVID. Chris has made her nearly 30 years in banking truly count by touching countless lives as individuals become homeowners. — Tori Bogner, Vice President of Marketing, Signature Bank
Oldner has been named Arkansas Business’ Bank CFO of the Year and in 2019 was selected as one of the state’s Most Influential Leaders. She worked with banks nationwide as a managing principal at DD&F Consulting Group. A business and accounting graduate of Cal State-Fullerton, Oldner was a CPA with Price Waterhouse Coopers in Newport Beach, Calif., before moving to Arkansas. She currently serves on the Board of the Arkansas Bankers Association and is a member of the Federal Reserve’s 8th District Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council as well as the Federal Reserve’s National Advisory Council.
Marnie is a remarkable self-made woman who has served as a valued advisor to many of the region’s leading financial institutions and now serves as CEO of a $500 million-plus bank. She is a CPA, was honored as Bank CFO of the Year and is this year being recognized as the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas Business Woman of the Year. — Kirby Williams, EVP/Marketing & Retail Banking, Stone Bank
Cathy Hastings Owen
Owen has 46 years of banking experience and is incoming chairman of the American Bankers Association Professional Development Committee. She also serves on the organization’s prestigious Government Relations Committee and is the only female to have served as chairman of the 130-year-old ABA. Owen serves on numerous local boards (too many to list) in leadership roles. Last year, she was named the Sandra Wilson Cherry Woman of the Year and also was knighted in Rome, Italy, into the Knights of Saint Martin, a knighthood sanctioned by the Pope in recognition of promoting equality and service to those less fortunate. She is also a graduate of National Security Forum Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Ala.
Continued success in the Arkansas banking industry; chairman of the Arkansas Bankers Association; growth of current bank including purchase and merger of another financial institution; continued leadership and extremely well respected in the banking community. — Jason Warren, Chief Lending Officer, Eagle Bank & Trust
Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer
Simpson oversees risk management operations for the Little Rock-based private boutique bank with roughly $650 million in assets. She helps evaluate the risks associated with potential new vendors, products and services and ensures continual compliance when operational and technological changes occur and to plan for changes within business lines and solutions in the future. She is a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas where she received her bachelor’s in business administration in accounting and an MBA.
Erin is responsible for oversight of the bank’s compliance, BSA, AML, development and maintenance of compliance-related policies and procedures, the implementation of new and changing regulations, training, examination management and risk management. She works closely with other managers throughout the bank to ensure continual compliance within all products and services offered when operational and technological changes occur and to plan for changes that will be made within business lines and solutions in the future. — Barry Jackson, SVP/Chief Marketing Officer, Encore Bank
Senior Vice President, Commercial Banker
Smith spearheads business development for Central Arkansas for Simmons and previously managed a $100 million commercial loan portfolio. She served as chairman for UA Little Rock’s College of Business Advisory Council and as president and chairman for Leadership Greater Little Rock’s Board of Trustees. A University of Arkansas alumnus, Carole holds master’s degrees in business and banking from the UA and Southern Methodist University.
Carole Smith has been such a prominent name in Little Rock banking for many years. Not only is she a force in the industry she is a committed mentor to other women in banking. I cannot think of a more accomplished Powerful Woman in Arkansas! — Shayla Copas, Shayla Coppas Interiors
Senior Vice President, Retail Banking
Prior to joining Stone Bank in 2016, Straessle had 15 years of banking experience at Regions Bank where she served as senior vice president for retail administration and group branch manager over seven Little Rock locations. A Little Rock native with a degree in Interdisciplinary studies from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, she is a graduate of Leadership Arkansas, a member of the Arkansas Women Executives organization and a board member for Junior Achievement of Arkansas.
Sandy is a seasoned banker who has been instrumental in building Stone Bank from $90 million to almost $600 million in total assets in just five years. Her innovation, inspiration and leadership during the pandemic has been exemplary. Sandy is a single mom with two college-aged children who also manages to be a volunteer, an active athlete and a member of the 2020 class of the Leadership Arkansas class with the State Chamber of Commerce. — Kirby Williams, EVP/Marketing & Retail Banking, Stone Bank
Arkansas Bankers Association
Prior to serving as president and CEO of the Arkansas Bankers Association, Trogden worked for 10 years as the associate executive director for the Arkansas Bar Association and for eight years in human resources for Acxiom and Alltel. Trogden serves as the president of the Arkansas Society of Association Professionals and on several boards including: Economics Arkansas, Arkansas Capital Corporation and the graduate schools of banking at Louisiana State University and the University of Wisconsin. A certified Association Executive, she earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and her master’s in operations management from the University of Central Arkansas.
Since her hire as the first female president/CEO of the Arkansas Bankers Association, Lorrie Trogden has demonstrated that diversity is a positive force, not a challenge. She spends a large majority of her time traveling the state to visit bankers and advocating at the state and federal level on behalf of the banking industry. When talking with a member bank, her first question is, ‘What are your pain points and what can the association do to help alleviate those?’ She believes the more you raise up an industry, it in turn enhances what the industry can do for its communities and customers. — Jerry Pavlas, former CEO of Onebanc
Wendy Von Kanel
Central Region President
Based in Helena-West Helena, Von Kanel oversees the community development bank’s operations across 12 markets and 17 branches in Arkansas and Mississippi. A Phillips County native, Von Kanel joined Southern Bancorp in 1998 as a mortgage loan processor, rising to market president in 2018 and regional president in 2019.
Wendy certainly has a strong record as a successful industry leader, but she also has a strong record of empowering those around her to succeed. She naturally creates environments that encourage and promote those around her to excel, with a clear expectation that everyone is working toward the shared goal of fulfilling Southern Bancorp’s mission to be wealth builders for everyone in the community. — John Olaimey, CEO, Southern Bancorp