Arkansas Business' 25 Women Leaders (25th Anniversary)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Mar. 23, 2009 12:00 am  

Betta Carney of Carney Investment Co.

8. Mary Good
The Cybercollege was UALR's bid to boost its output of high-tech graduates, and Mary Good, 78, was its choice to lead that effort. As founding dean of the Donaghey College of Engineering & Information Technology, opened in 1998, she has spent the last decade building it into a destination for technologically inclined students and a resource for high-tech companies looking to fill jobs. She's also a member of Acxiom Corp.'s board of directors.

9. Barbara Graves
Yes, she's a Little Rock city director. Sure, she has supported The Rep and other worthy causes. But when most people hear the name Barbara Graves, they think of one thing: women in lacy underthings. Indeed, lingerie made Graves' name synonymous with chic – which her TV and radio spots, with their beguiling narratives, revealed you already have! Having outlasted downturns, national chains and Internet retailers, Barbara Graves Intimate Fashions is the state's sexiest institution.

10. Mary Anne Greenwood
In the Marriott Hotel at the World Trade Center on 9/11, Mary Anne Greenwood could feel the reverberation of the first plane's impact on the adjacent tower. Her instinct, though, was not to panic but to "take care of the situation," and she emerged from the event unscathed.

This steady demeanor has served her well as a financial adviser since 1982, when she founded Greenwood & Associates in Fayetteville, subsequently helping clients weather the giddy highs and canyon-like lows of the marketplace. She is 68.

11. Ann Die Hasselmo
From her office on K Street in Washington, D.C. – home of some of the Capitol's biggest power brokers – Ann Die Hasselmo, 64, president of the nonprofit American Academic Leadership Institute, applies what she learned as president of Hendrix College, as well as a career in academia, to help find leaders for educational institutions around the country. Her work has been global, including development of a strategic plan for United Arab Emirates University. But she's also maintained her ties to Arkansas, serving on the Acxiom Corp. board since 1993.

12. Annabelle Clinton Imber
As a trial judge in the original Lake View case, Annabelle Clinton Imber issued one of the most gestalt-altering rulings in Arkansas history: In 1994, she declared the state's school funding formula unconstitutional. Sweeping changes to the law followed.

Imber, 60, started as a paralegal at Wright, Lindsey & Jennings in 1975 and worked her way through associate and up to partner before seeking the judge's bench. She has been a state Supreme Court justice since 1997, where Lake View found its way back to her once again.

13. Mary Sue Jacobs
The former president and CEO of First Commercial Capital Management, Mary Sue Jacobs had plenty of opportunity to leave her mark. She was a big supporter of Lyon College and of Bill Clinton – in fact, she was an overnight guest at the White House during his administration. But it may be quiet, picturesque Mount Holly Cemetery where her legacy truly lies. As a member of the cemetery's association, Jacobs has helped orchestrate events to raise awareness about – and money for – this historic landmark.
Former schoolteacher Janet Jones' eponymous residential real estate company was four years old when she first appeared in Arkansas Business 25 years ago. Now 68, she is still running the company, perennially one of the strongest agencies in the state.

She didn't succeed only in real estate, either. In 1998, she became the first woman to head the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce in its 131-year history. Over the years, she's held various other leadership positions, including chairman of the Little Rock branch of the Federal Reserve Bank.

15. Sister Judith Marie Keith
For this nun, a religious life was not at odds with running a major regional hospital. Sister Keith, 73, retired in 2007 after 26 years as president and CEO of St. Edward Mercy Medical Network in Fort Smith. The hospital was on its last legs in 1970 when she was given charge and told to save it or close it. Five years later, it had moved to a new facility and initiated broader community involvement.

St. Edwards won praise for innovations in rural medicine, and by Keith's retirement, it was one of the state's top hospitals in terms of revenue.

16. Pat Lile
When former Pine Bluff Chamber of Commerce executive Pat Lile, 70, retired from the Arkansas Community Foundation in 2008, the scale of her accomplishments during 11 years there was staggering: Average it out, and the value of the foundation's assets climbed almost $10 million per year, from $15 million to $120 million. With her guidance, the foundation leveraged that into the ability to help philanthropic endeavors throughout the state, making its familiar tagline, "For good, for Arkansas, forever," more than just a clever phrase. 



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