Woman of the Year in Business Award

The Women’s Foundation of Arkansas established the Woman of the Year in Business award to recognize a woman in Arkansas who has shaped the success of her organization/business and demonstrated leadership, professional achievement and contributed not only to her workplace, but also her community. The award is presented at the Power of the Purse Luncheon. This award is designed to honor and preserve the names and exemplary accomplishments of women business leaders in Arkansas. Nominees are welcomed from across the state.

2022 Woman of the Year in Business Award Honoree

Esperanza Massana Crane

Esperanza is the director of the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWOBE) Division for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. In her role, Esperanza facilitates the growth, development and expansion of minority and women-owned businesses by helping them gain access to valuable information, new market opportunities and financial resources. 

She began her career at AEDC in 2013 in the Business Development division where she worked as project manager on both foreign and domestic business development initiatives. She then transitioned to serve as marketing director in 2016 where she implemented marketing strategies to recruit national and international business. 

Prior to her time at AEDC, Esperanza spent seven years as an account executive and research manager at CJRW, leading multi-channel marketing efforts for several agency clients, as well managing qualitative and quantitative marketing research efforts to support such. She also served as Assistant to the General Manager of Nine West Group in El Salvador, where she was responsible for product merchandising and oversight of marketing activities for six Nine West stores across five different countries in Central America.

Community involvement and supporting education initiatives are lifelong passions of Esperanza’s. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Central Arkansas Library System, the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts – Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, and is a member of the Little Rock Sister Cities Commission. She is a graduate of the Greater Little Rock Class XXX and a graduate of Leadership Arkansas Class XII. In 2018, Esperanza was recognized in Arkansas Business’ “40 Under 40” list and was honored in 2021 as one of Arkansas’ 250 most influential leaders. 

Esperanza graduated with honors from Harding University with a double major in Marketing and International Business and has an MBA from Harding University, where she also served as Adjunct Professor for International Business. She speaks fluent Spanish and German, as well as intermediate French. She lives in the Hillcrest community of Little Rock with her husband Christopher, son Sebastián, and their two furry rescue pets.

Previous Woman of the Year in Business Award Honorees

Tamika Edwards – 2021 Woman of the Year in Business

Tamika S. Edwards, a native of Little Rock, AR, is the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at Southwest Power Pool. She previously served as the Special Advisor to the CEO on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Engagement Central Arkansas Water. She worked across all departments and in partnership with community organizations to eliminate systemic organizational marginalization and promote inclusive practices for the betterment of the utility, the communities CAW serves, and the water profession overall. This is a unique, groundbreaking position for the public sector in Arkansas and the water industry as a whole.

She has 20 years of experience in public policy and community development. Prior to CAW, Edwards served as the executive director of the Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College, director of governmental affairs at Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, director of public policy at Southern Bancorp Community Partners, and community affairs specialist for former U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln.

Edwards was recognized by Arkansas Business in its “40 Under 40” class of 2010. In 2017, she was recognized in Arkansas Business Publishing Group’s inaugural edition of The Arkansas 200 as a leader “who influences the way we live, learn and do business in the state.” She was listed in AY Magazine in 2020 as one of their Intriguing Women. In addition to serving in numerous community leadership roles, she is a contributor to Talk Business and Politics.

Edwards earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a Master of Arts in professional and technical writing from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and a J.D. from Bowen Law School.

Marnie Oldner – 2020 Woman of the Year in Business 

Ms. Oldner is the CEO and a Director of Stone Bank, Mountain View, Arkansas and EVP and a Director of its parent company, Stone Bancshares, Inc.  She has been on staff with the Bank since July 1, 2011 serving as its CEO, CFO, and President during that time. During that time she has grown the bank from $65 million in assets to $476 million in assets.  Ms. Oldner has worked with many banks inside and outside of Arkansas while a Managing Principal at DD&F Consulting Group, Little Rock, Arkansas, for 7 years. Ms. Oldner also has over 20 years of executive officer experience in banking.  Before her direct involvement in the banking industry, Ms. Oldner was a certified public accountant for Coopers & Lybrand (now PriceWaterhouseCoopers), in Newport Beach, California. She is a graduate of California State University in Fullerton, California, where she majored in business and accounting. In 2015, Ms. Oldner was recognized as “Bank CFO of the Year” by Arkansas Business magazine and in 2019 was selected as one of Arkansas’ Most Influential Leaders.  Ms. Oldner 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 (CDIAC) and serves as its chair.  She also serves on the Federal Reserve’s National CDIAC.

Laura Landreaux – 2019 Woman of the Year in Business

Laura R. Landreaux serves as president and chief executive officer of Entergy Arkansas, which serves more than 700,000 customers in the state. She is responsible for Entergy Arkansas’ business results, including financial, operational, customer service, safety, resource planning, economic development, employee development and regulatory and governmental affairs.

Landreaux was named to the leadership role on July 1, 2018. Previously she served Entergy Arkansas as finance director from November 2017 to June 2018. She was named vice president of regulatory affairs in May 2014, where she was responsible for interactions between Entergy Arkansas and the Arkansas Public Service Commission.

Joining Entergy in 2007 as senior counsel, Landreaux practiced regulatory law for five years and then became manager of Regulatory Affairs for Entergy Arkansas in 2012.

Prior to joining Entergy, she was an attorney for Salt River Project, a water and electricity utility in Phoenix, Arizona for four years. She joined Salt River Project after spending four years in private practice at Quarles & Brady, LLP in Phoenix, Arizona.

An active member of the Arkansas non-profit community, Landreaux currently serves as vice chairman of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce board of directors. She serves as a board member for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock College of Business and the Arkansas Research Alliance. She is the chairperson of Junior Achievement of Arkansas’ 2019 Legacy Luncheon. She is a founding member of Arkansas Women in Power and a graduate of Arkansas Leadership Class XIII and Leadership Greater Little Rock Class XXX. A native of Little Rock and a 1991 graduate of Mount St. Mary Academy for Girls, Landreaux earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas School of Law at Fayetteville, where she was on the Arkansas Law Review, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She is married with three children and lives in Little Rock.

Marcy Doderer – 2018 Woman of the Year in Business

Marcy Doderer took the helm as President and Chief Executive Officer of Arkansas Children’s on July 15, 2013. Over the last five years she has led the transformation of ACH into a health system, which includes multiple clinics, research institute and two pediatric hospitals serving over 700,000 children in Arkansas. Prior to her role at Arkansas Children’s, she served as a member of senior leadership for CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System in various capacities since 2002. Marcy held progressive leadership roles in Texas, serving in both large and small hospital facilities.

Marcy is a Fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives (ACHE) and is active in many professional organizations. She has served on various boards and committees at the state and national level aimed at improving child health. She is currently a board member of the Children’s Hospital Solutions for Patient Safety, the Children’s Hospital Association, and Healthy Active Arkansas. Marcy is also active with the Little Rock Regional Chamber and Fifty for the Future.

As a professional and a mother, Marcy is passionate about improving healthcare for children in Arkansas. She obtained her BS in Finance from Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas, and her MA in Hospital and Health Administration from The University of Iowa.

Sharon Tallach Vogelpohl – 2017 Woman of the Year in Business

Launching her agency career as an intern at Mangan Holcomb Partners in 1994, Sharon Tallach Vogelpohl became a principal in the firm in 2005 and was named president in 2010. Along the way, she has nurtured many advertising and public relations campaigns from strategic development to award-winning recognition. Her twenty-year career spans the spectrum from copywriting to crisis communications for clients in every imaginable category. Sharon’s experience includes award-winning work for nameplates such as Verizon Wireless, J.B. Hunt, Walmart, Simmons Foods, Stephens Inc., Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Delta Dental of Arkansas and RiceTec, Inc.

A magna cum laude graduate and four-year NCAA Division I letter-winner at Centenary College of Louisiana with a degree in business communications, Sharon is a member of the Arkansas Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and serves on the Emerald Forum of the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

She was selected by Arkansas Business as a 40 Under 40 honoree in 2005, featured in the Where are they Now? 20th Anniversary issue as a finalist for Arkansas Business Executive of the Year in 2013 and as a member of the “Arkansas Power List” in 2016. She serves on the boards of numerous nonprofit and community organizations and was recently appointed by Governor Hutchinson to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Advisory Committee. A past President of the Rotary Club of Little Rock (Club 99) in its Centennial, Sharon currently chairs the Rotary International Branding Initiative, leading a committee of Rotarians from around the world in developing a branding campaign strategy for the international service organization that will debut in 2017.

Elise S. Mitchell – 2016 Woman of the Year in Business

Elise is an accomplished strategic communications professional whose entrepreneurial spirit helped build Mitchell into one of the top 10 fastest-growing firms globally and a two-time Agency of the Year winner – honored by both PRWeek and The Holmes Report.

Today Mitchell is the leading PR brand in Dentsu Aegis Network, where Elise is also building a global PR capability for the network.

Among many other recognitions, Elise has been named PRWeek Public Relations Professional of the Year and a Top 50 Power Player in PR.

Elise holds a master’s degree from the University of Memphis. She is a wife, mom, runner, motorcyclist and passionate advocate for women entrepreneurs.

Joan Johnson – 2015 Woman of the Year in Business

Joan Johnson is the Co-Founder and President of White River Hardwoods.

Martha Moore – 2013 Woman of the Year in Business

Martha Moore is owner and President of McCormick Works located in Ozark, AR. Growing up in the small town of Altus, Arkansas, Martha experienced first-hand the dire need for change in our economy and country. As a member of the first Mexican-American family in her town, she grew up with a passionate ambition to overcome poverty, to rise to challenges and achieve her lifelong dreams. Martha slowly worked her way up in the company her father, Edward McCormick, started in the 1980’s; from steamroller operator to secretary to office manager and ultimately buying the company piece by piece until she was 100% owner. Martha is now approaching her 22nd year of business, which alone is cause for celebration in these tough economic times. She has built strong relationships with many men and women in the industry, and has established a well-supported and solid reputation for her company.

Judy McReynolds – 2012 Woman of the Year in Business

Judy R. McReynolds is President and Chief Executive Officer of ArcBest CorporationSM, responsible for managing the multi-billion dollar freight transportation and logistics services company, including oversight of the operating companies ABF FreightSM, ABF LogisticsSM, Panther Premium LogisticsSMand FleetNet America®. Since 2010, Ms. McReynolds has also held the post of Director of ArcBest Corporation, and is the only member of the company’s senior management who serves on the board. Her 25 years of transportation industry experience, including 18 years at ArcBest, provides significant value to the board.

During her tenure, Ms. McReynolds has evolved the ArcBest strategic focus to expand beyond its core less-than-truckload services in order to better serve customers across the supply chain spectrum. Building upon ABF Freight’s 90-year-old roots as an LTL leader, she is diversifying ArcBest into an all-inclusive transportation and logistics provider through the addition of non-asset-based and asset-light businesses. These include the 2012 purchase of Panther, which provides time-sensitive, mission-critical delivery and premium logistics, and the 2013 formation of ABF Logistics as a complementary sister company to ABF Freight.

Previously, Ms. McReynolds was Senior Vice President – Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, Vice President – Controller, and Director of Corporate Accounting when she joined the company in 1997. Prior to joining ArcBest, she served as Director of Financial Reporting and Taxation with P.A.M. Transportation Services, Inc. and as a Senior Manager of Ernst & Young LLP.

Ms. McReynolds serves on numerous outside boards including OGE Energy Corp., First National Bank of Fort Smith, the Transportation Industry Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the Westark Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. She also serves on the Dean’s Executive Advisory Board of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, the UAFS Foundation Board and is a member of the American Trucking Associations Board of Directors and Executive Committee. A Certified Public Accountant, Ms. McReynolds holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Oklahoma.

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