The Women’s Foundation of Arkansas established an award for the Woman of the Year in Innovation, sponsored by MHP/Team SI, to recognize a woman in Arkansas whose body of work aligns with WFA’s innovative approach to programming, organizational culture, leadership, service, and strategic partnerships. The Woman of Innovation award is a representation of our work introducing girls and young women across our state to opportunities in STEAM fields. WFA teaches girls to be curious, innovative problem solvers and encourages them to explore creative solutions using science and technology. This award embodies WFA’s work to empower women and girls to use their minds, skills, and abilities to build bright futures for themselves and the state of Arkansas.
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 innovative women in Arkansas. Nominees are welcomed from across the state.
2022 Woman of the Year in Innovation Award Honoree
Shelley Simpson is Chief Commercial Officer and Executive Vice President of People and Human Resources at J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. Shelley’s 27-year career at J.B. Hunt reflects the company’s continued progression as an innovative leader in the transportation and logistics industry. Since joining J.B. Hunt as an hourly customer service representative, she has held multiple positions for business segments across the company.
In 2007, Shelley was named President of Integrated Capacity Solutions, a business unit she helped create. While continuing to develop ICS, Shelley assumed sales and marketing executive responsibilities in 2011 and was appointed Chief Marketing Officer. She took on additional leadership in 2014 as President of J.B. Hunt’s Truckload business segment, helping improve the efficiency of the company’s fleet, and in 2016 when she began overseeing customer experience. In 2017, to support the company’s ability to provide comprehensive solutions, J.B. Hunt combined the management of Truckload and ICS services by creating Highway Services, of which she was named President until December 2020.
Shelley was named Chief Commercial Officer in 2017 and today leads the strategic direction of marketing, sales, customer experience, and external product development, including J.B. Hunt 360, the company’s technology platform for freight matching and operational efficiency. As the company evolves J.B. Hunt 360 and its technology-driven services, Shelley is also responsible for commercializing them on a global scale as the leader of International Services. In 2020, she was named Executive Vice President of People and Human Resources and leads the company’s efforts to create a more inclusive culture and work environment.
Listed as number 315 on the Fortune 500 list, J.B. Hunt has received numerous recognitions that include being named one of the World’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune, a Top 75 Green Supply Chain Partner by Inbound Logistics, and a Military Friendly Employer by VIQTORY. The company ranked among the top of the following lists: FreightWaves FreightTech25, Transport Topics Top 100 Largest For-Hire Carriers, and Transport Topics Top 50 Logistics Companies, along with many more. Whether leading by example or through active participation, Shelley is devoted to promoting the advancement of women, diversity, equity, and inclusion for all at J.B. Hunt, in the transportation and logistics industry, and within her community. She pioneered three company employee resource groups – Growing and Retaining Outstanding Women (GROW); Latinos Engaging, Advancing, and Developing (LEAD); and PLUS(+) (LGBTQIA+).
Shelley serves on the board for multiple organizations, including the Mercy Health Foundation, the Northwestern University Transportation Center Business Advisory Council, the BNSF Customer Advisory Board, and the Dean’s Executive Advisory Board for the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas; she is also a council member for the Chief Human Resources Office Council and the University of Arkansas’ DEI Council. She is on the selection committee for the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame, and the DSA Selection Committee for the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals.
In 2016, she received the Distinguished Woman of the Year award by Women In Trucking and was named 2017 ATHENA Woman of the Year at the NWA Business Women’s Conference. In 2020, she received the Power50 Award by the National Diversity Council and was named a 2020 Top Influencer by Arkansas Money & Politics. In 2021, she was named one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digital and has recently been named one of the 2022 Top 100 HR Professionals by the National Diversity Council.
Originally from Russellville, Shelley graduated from the University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. She lives in Rogers, AR with her husband David and three children.