In 2016, WFA presented the inaugural First Lady’s Woman in Public Service award. WFA established the award in partnership with Arkansas First Lady Susan Hutchinson to celebrate and acknowledge a woman who is committed to empowering and inspiring women and girls through a career in public service.
First Lady’s Woman in Public Service Honorees
Dr. Jerrilyn Jones
2021 AR First Lady’s Woman in Public Service
Dr. Jerrilyn Jones is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical sciences and the Medical Director for the Preparedness and Response Branch at the Arkansas Department of Health where she has been named to both the Governor’s Task Force on Post-Peak COVID-19 Response and the recently formed Winter Task Force. In addition to her experience in emergency medicine, Dr. Jones has extensive experience in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) having worked as medical director for both a paramedic training program and a private ambulance service where she was charged with ensuring the competency and readiness of Nationally Registered EMS personnel. Her practical expertise includes working at the finish line as a first responder during the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013 and also as a first receiver during the civil unrest in Baltimore in 2015. It also includes serving as a Flight Surgeon in the US Air Force, where she honed her skills in caring for patients in austere conditions while developing an interest in disaster preparedness and community resilience. While deployed to Afghanistan, she served as the sole physician responsible for 1300 Air Force and civilian personnel and published a weekly medical newsletter distributed to all of Bagram Air Base in order to prevent illness through education. Her passion lies in responding to real disasters and emergencies as well as educating medical students, residents, paramedics, and the community at large. Dr. Jones has given numerous lectures to various audiences regarding medical care in the prehospital environment. Dr. Jones is Board Certified in Emergency Medicine. She graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Biology from Howard University and earned she earned her Medical Doctorate from Harvard Medical School. She also obtained her Masters of Public Health while a fellow at Boston EMS. Dr. Jones and her husband, Dr. Christopher Jones, have three daughters and live in Little Rock, Arkansas.
2020 AR First Lady’s Woman in Public Service
Amy Fecher was appointed by Governor Asa Hutchinson as the first Secretary of the Department of Transformation and Shared Services in July 2019. The Department is a result of the historic legislation, the Transformation and Efficiencies Act, to restructure Arkansas’s 42 cabinet-level agencies and over 200 boards and commissions into 15 Departments.
Before being appointed Cabinet Secretary, Fecher wore multiple hats in her state government career. In December of 2016, Governor Hutchinson selected Fecher to serve as his Chief Transformation Officer for the Office of Transformation. She led the Governor’s transformation efforts to streamline state government and prioritize efficiencies and effectiveness. Fecher was the driving force behind the state’s efforts to centralize state services through a shared services model, find revenue savings, and simplify services to the citizens of the state. She did all of this while keeping up her full-time duties as the Executive Vice President of Operations at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
Ms. Fecher has over twenty years’ experience working in public, private, and not‐for‐profit sectors; this includes her role at the Economic Development Commission, the former Director of the Arkansas Department of Rural Services, and working in former Governor Mike Huckabee’s administration.
Currently, Ms. Fecher volunteers with the Miracle League of Arkansas and serves on the Information Network of Arkansas Board, and the Sherwood Parks and Recreation Committee. Her past service includes positions on the Arkansas Capitol Arts and Ground Commission and the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council.
Ms. Fecher is a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas. She and her husband, Shawn, have three boys, and live in Sherwood, Arkansas.
2019 First Lady’s Woman in Public Service
Patricia Nunn Brown, a polished career state government professional with the ability to build, manage and sustain long-term valued customer (internal and external) relationships at all levels.
She is Director of the Minority and Women Business Division of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
Brown has spent much of her professional career with AEDC, including positions in administration, research, business development and marketing and managing the AEDC’s Trade Show Program. She presently serves as the Director of the Minority Business Division.
Brown was born and raised in Camden, Arkansas. She is a graduate of Philander Smith College, as well as both the Basic Economic Development Institute at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and the Economic Development Institute University of Oklahoma at Norman, Okla. She also attended Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and Southern Arkansas Tech in East Camden.
She is a graduate of the LeadAR Program Class 16, a member and past president of the Economic Developers of Arkansas, a graduate of the Greater Little Rock Leadership Class XXII, Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, Past, State and Alternate Director for the Southern Economic Development Council, Arkansas Foodbank Network Board Member, Goodwill Industries of Arkansas Board Member and Beta Pi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. In 2011 she received Small Business Administration (SBA) Minority Small Business Champion Award, Arkansas Baptist College Community Beacon Light Award and was named by the Jefferson County Banner as one of Arkansas Top 25 Influential African American Women, Honorary Life member of the Southern Economic Development Council, Maria Haley Lifetime Leadership Award and the Power of the Purse 1st Lady’s Woman of Public Service. She has served as a volunteer with the American Red Cross and Baptist Hospital. She is an active member of the Longley Baptist Church and her community.
Brown and her husband, Richard Brown Jr., have three children and six grandchildren. Her hobbies include traveling, reading, shopping and checking out estate sales.
2018 First Lady’s Woman in Public Service
Annie Mable McDaniel Abrams is a retired educator and a political, social, civic, and community activist in Little Rock. She was instrumental in campaigns to rename various Little Rock streets in honor of Daisy Bates and Mayor Charles Bussey. Most notably, she was a leader in the campaign resulting in the renaming of High Street in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and in the institution of Little Rock’s first Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade. Additionally, Annie was involved in the desegregation of Central High School, involved in Democratic party politics, at one point joining a group of women who campaigned for Republican Winthrop Rockefeller for governor, as well as an active member of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) during the 1970s. Created in partnership with Arkansas First Lady Susan Hutchinson, the Woman in Public Service award celebrates a woman’s commitment to empowering and inspiring women and girls through a career in public service.
2017 First Lady’s Woman in Public Service
Betty was born at Black Rock on February 23, 1940 in Walnut Ridge. In 1962 she graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She spent the next several years raising five children, an adopted son, three biological siblings, and a foster daughter while teaching second grade.
In 1985 she graduated from UALR School of Law in Little Rock and began working at City Attorney for Pine Bluff and Redfield. From 1991 to 1993 she was the Commission Attorney for Arkansas Soil & Water Conservation Commission. In 1994 she was elected Prosecuting Attorney of the Eleventh Judicial District, West, and was reelected in 1996. She ran unsuccessfully in 1998 for Attorney General. She served from 1999 to 2003 as Commissioner of the Arkansas Public Service Commission. In 2003 she became Chief Legal Counsel to the Governor. In 2004, Governor Mike Huckabee appointed her Chief Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, then appointed her Associate Justice of the Court in 2005.
When she completed her service on the Court she taught as an adjunct professor at UALR, then joined NPACE, to serve her country as a Professor at Sea, serving on the USS-DG McFaul, a navy destroyer serving in the Middle East.
She is the first woman in Arkansas to be elected Prosecuting Attorney, the first woman to serve as a Governor’s Chief Legal Counsel, and the first woman to serve as Chief Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court .
She is the widow of Charles M. Davis, MD, and she has six children and thirteen grandchildren. Her hobbies include tennis, white water rafting, and painting.
Commissioner Colette D. Honorable
Inaugural First Lady’s Woman in Public Service
Commissioner Colette D. Honorable was nominated to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by President Barack Obama in August 2014, and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in December 2014 for a term that expires in June 2017. An attorney, Commissioner Honorable came to FERC from the Arkansas Public Service Commission, where she served since October 2007, and led as Chairman from January 2011-January 2015.
Prior to joining the Arkansas PSC, Honorable served as chief of staff to then Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe and as a member of the governor’s cabinet as Executive Director of the Arkansas Workforce Investment Board. Her previous employment includes service as a consumer protection and civil litigation attorney, and as a senior assistant attorney general in Medicaid fraud before serving as an adjunct professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law.
A native of Arkansas, Honorable is a graduate of the University of Memphis and received a Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law.