Arkansas' Top Influencers 2020 Business January 2020 Magazine

Arkansas’ Top Influencers: 2020


An influencer on the Influencers


This first edition of “Arkansas Influencers” is a good reminder during this season of New Year’s resolutions that we all have a measure of influence — it’s just how we decide to use that influence that matters.


 Notice this list — yes, it has the Doug McMillons of the world, but it also has the Heather Larkins of the world. Whether running a $514.4 billion retail company or empowering Arkansans to make smart giving decisions that better the world, these influencers have much in common: They are changing the face of our state in the decisions they make, the roles they take on and the inspiration they provide.


 Take for instance Steve Straessle. As the principal of one of the state’s only all-boys high schools, Straessle is directly influencing Arkansas’ future husbands, fathers and community advocates. I can’t think of many more influential positions as being the role model for so many future leaders. And then you have women such as Gretchen Hall, CEO of the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Stacy Hurst, secretary of Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, who are affecting one of the state’s largest economic drivers with their vision and tenacity. Their influence will be felt for many years to come as they look to ensure Arkansas is a top destination.


 In their 2013 book, “Real Influence,” authors and executive coaches Mark Coulston and John Ullmen outline four steps they believe it takes to achieve real influence. Those steps include 1) Go for great outcomes; 2) Listen past your blind spots; 3) Engage others at their there. 4) When you’ve done enough, do more.


 This inaugural class of “Arkansas Influencers” definitely understands the crucial steps of achieving great results, listening to those around them, engaging others at their speed and always doing more. Real influence is about building trust, and that isn’t always easy in today’s skeptical environment. Take time reading through the list, and then Google the names. 


 You’ll find plenty of examples of these influencers gaining trust in their circles and making things happen. It’s all great inspiration for those of us who aspire to make a difference and improve our state.


Natalie Ghidotti


The 2020 Arkansas Influencers:

Jeff Amerine

C. Tad Bohannon

Yang Luo-Branch

Joyce Elliott

George Gleason

Gretchen Hall

James Hendren

Stacy Hurst

Dr. Todd C. Jenkins

Ali Krisht

Heather Larkin

Dr. Marta Loyd

Doug McMillon

Wayne Miller

Jimmy Moses

Elizabeth Pulley

Gina Radke

Joe Saumweber

Frank Scott Jr.

Shelley Simpson

Warren Stephens

Steve Straessle

Kathy Webb

Deke Whitbeck

Randy Zook

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