Jami Fisher is admittedly not a big hunter or angler, but she is a trailblazer.
Fisher is the first female CFO in the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission’s 100-plus years. Hands down, Fisher said, it’s one of the things she’s proudest of, not as an individual achievement but as part of an ongoing wave of change.
“I think that mold is slowly but surely changing,” she said. “About two years ago we appointed our first full-term female commissioner as well.”
Fisher moved from Texarkana, Texas, to Hot Springs while in high school, graduating a year early. She earned her associate degree at National Park Community College and then her BBA in accounting at Henderson State University.
A professor at National Park, Leila Newkirk, inspired Fisher to enter her profession.
“I think it was just that she was passionate about the subject,” Fisher said. “She had her own CPA firm. It was her day job and she taught at night as her schedule permitted.”
Fisher worked first for the city of Hot Springs and then the state of Arkansas before transitioning to the AGFC about six years ago.
During Fisher’s tenure, the AGFC has streamlined its internal budget system, which she said took some “heavy lifting.” She noted the spike in outdoor recreation during the pandemic, which gave the commission a boost in license sales and sales tax revenue.
“[We] receive a one-eighth cent of a half-cent sales tax, so anyone who shops in Arkansas is essentially supporting our mission,” Fisher said. “Our base … is not just those hunters and anglers. It’s anyone who spends money in Arkansas.”
And that includes Fisher. “I’m a non-consulting participant, if you will,” she said. “I don’t hunt or fish actively, but I definitely buy my license and support the agency and the conservation work that we do.”