Top 100 Women of Impact

As the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas prepares to celebrate 25 years of creating economic security for women and girls in Arkansas, we are partnering with Soirée magazine to produce a publication that celebrates the bold, innovative business women in Arkansas.

The completed list will recognize 100 outstanding and ambitious women, across the state. Our goal is to create a list that reflects the spirit of ingenuity and ambition at every stage of their career journey, by honoring the visionary impact they have on the communities and businesses they are leading.

We anticipate this list including a mix of household names — CEOs and board chairs who typically populate “power” lists — as well as rising stars, and those who prefer their influence and accomplishments remain behind the scenes.

We asked for nominations from the state. Who are the female leaders and executives from every region of the state that you value? What women serve on your board of directors and should be honored for their impact on the state?
Who are we not aware of? Who is actively plotting the course of our state?

We are currently working on the 2023 edition of the Top 100 Women of Impact.

Nominations closed on March 17, 2023.

***Please Note: At the WFA we want to ensure we are serving all women in our state, and that each project and program we develop is empowering diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. This will help us know if we are reaching all audiences and serving all Arkansas women. Demographic information about nominees will not be made publicly available, and the choice to not disclose this information will in no way affect the selection of nominees. We appreciate nominators and nominees trusting us with the information that is inherently their own.

The Top 100 Women of Impact project is a joint effort between Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, Arkansas Business Publishing Group and Little Rock Soirée.

The History of the Women's Foundation of Arkansas

The Women’s Foundation of Arkansas (WFA) was launched in 1998 when former Arkansas Business Publishing Group CEO, Olivia Farrell, and Pat Lile, then President of the Arkansas Community Foundation, saw the need for funding dedicated to investing in projects that support women and girls in our community. These women were instrumental in seeking out prominent female leaders from “Top 100 Women in Arkansas,” where the idea for an organization for and by women was initiated. We strive to not only expand educational opportunities for women who do not have access to them, but also empower and equip women with necessary resources for emerging occupations, improve the economic status of Arkansas women, and promote mentorship for women and girls who are in need of tangible and emotional support.

Learn more about the WFA and its mission.


Women's Foundation of Arkansas Inducted int the Arkansas Women Hall of Fame

Founded by women for women.

The Women’s Foundation of Arkansas (WFA) initiated the efforts of a group of prominent women leaders to create a charitable fund dedicated to investing in projects for women and girls in Arkansas. In 2002, the WFA became its own 501(c)(3) organization. Arkansas Business Publishing Group began selecting and honoring the “Top 100 Women in Arkansas” in 1995. Each year ABPG sponsored a luncheon at which these women were honored. In 1998, the women were challenged to come up with a way they could collectively make a difference in Arkansas. The idea of a foundation for and by women emerged. The Arkansas Community Foundation and ABPG were asked to lead the effort. They organized a committee, developed plans for the foundation and raised the initial contributions establishing the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas. Our official Founder’s Day is January 11, 1998.

The WFA proposed to improve the educational status of Arkansas women and girls by encouraging women and girls to improve their skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The purpose of the WFA would be to train women and girls for emerging occupations, promote mentoring of women and girls, improve the economic status of Arkansas women and girls, and promote philanthropy by and for women.

All current and former Top 100 Women, as well as other prominent Arkansans were challenged to become founders of the WFA with $1,000 contributions. More than 150 women responded. Those listed below contributed and became founding members of WFA.


Betty Abbott // Dr. Dana Abraham // Sharon K. Allen// Sandy Alstadt // Virginia Bailey // Shelby Baker // Emma L. Bass // Dr. Carolyn Blakely // Jan Bolton // Sissi Brandon // Ellen Brantley // Patricia Rhine Brown // Dolores F. Bruce // Joan R. Campbell // Mary Cantrell // Charlie Cole Chaffin // Sandra Cherry // Ellon R. Cockrill // Ethel Cook // Judi S. Dawson // Lynn DeVault // Mary Dillard // Dr. Lee Lee Doyle//  Joy Drummond // Helen T. Dyke // Audrey R. Evans // Olivia Farrell // LaVerne W. Feaster // Karen E. Flake // Maribeth Frazer // Sue Frueauff // Marion W. Fulk // Rebecca Garner // Greer Grace // Dr. Karen G. Grant // Barbara M. Graves // Ellen M. Gray // Jane Hardin // Diana T. Hueter // Catherine L. Hughes // Johnelle D. Hunt // Janet Jones // Myra Jones // Sissy Jones // Brownie W. Ledbetter* // Sharron Johnson Leslie // Jo Knight Light // Betty Lile // Pat Lile // Linda Linn // Margo Low // Diane S. Mackey // Cora McHenry // Dr. Shirolyn Moffett // Dorothy Morris // Beverly Morrow // Billie Ann Myers // Susan Newkirk // Wanda L.N. Hartz // Martha Ann Norton // Kay S.  Patton // Stacy B. Sells // Karen E. Potts // Carolyn Pugh // Janet L. Pulliam // Lisenne Rockefeller // Judge Judith Rogers // Jane Ross // Amy Rossi // Jane P. Saunders // Charlotte T. Schexnayder // Helen Selig // Lottie Shackelford // Mary Gay Shipley // Billie Jo Starr // Jean D. Stockburger // Patti Upton // Cynthia VanWinkle // Sherry Walker // Helen R. Walton // Millie Ward // Carolyn B. Witherspoon

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