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UA Business Hall of Fame 2015: Millie Ward

4 min read

Millie Ward
President and Co-founder, Stone Ward

Millie Ward is at the center of things. As president and co-founder of Stone Ward, a full-service advertising agency with offices in Little Rock and Chicago, she is at the center of the group’s ethos of intelligent thinking, committed service and creative drive.

She speaks on panels about startup businesses founded by women. She is at the center of efforts to revitalize downtown Little Rock. If you search for her on the internet, you will find a blog called Waiting for the Elevator that centers on topics ranging from entrepreneurship to creativity to infographics.

Ward infuses every encounter with a distinctive energy and insight while she supervises the brand management, account planning, media, public relations and business development areas of the agency.

She was born on Aug. 11, 1954, in Ironton (Iron County), Missouri.

Ward earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in communications at Arkansas State University in December 1975. In 1976, Ward entered the advertising agency business as a copywriter at Gunter & Associates in Jonesboro.

In 1984, Ward, who worked as a copywriter at Resneck Stone, was promoted to partner. In 1991, she was named president and together, with co-founder Larry Stone, the agency became Stone Ward. Thirty years ago, Stone Ward employed fewer than 10 people.

Today, Stone Ward has a team of 54 employees and the agency brought in more than $47 million in capitalized billings last year.

Because of Ward’s leadership, Stone Ward is widely recognized in the South and Midwest for its creativity and a multitude of local and national clients including Terminix, Snap-on Tools, Sport Clips, U.S. Soccer Federation, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Baptist Health, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, Simmons First National Bank, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and many more.

Stone Ward has partnerships with Turner Sponsorship Consultants, Boyette Strategic Advisors and 360 Filmworks, all of which benefit from Ward’s experience.

In addition to building a successful advertising agency, Ward has always been passionate about giving back to the community. Some of her professional affiliations include: past president, treasurer and executive committee member, Advertising & Marketing International Network (AMIN); accredited member and former member of the board of directors, Public Relations Society of America Arkansas Chapter; commissioner and past chairman, Metrocentre Commission; current and founding board member, Arkansas Women’s Foundation; 2015 co-chair, Tabriz for the Arkansas Arts Center; board of directors and marketing committee chairman, Baptist Health Foundation; board of directors, Fifty For The Future, Bridge2Rwanda, Downtown Little Rock Partnership, Friends of the Old State House Museum, Arkansas Venture Center and American Heart Association Heart Ball; advisory board member, Women & Children First; member and past chairman, Arkansas State University’s Chancellor’s Cabinet; member, Little Rock Regional Leadership Class; Arkansas Women’s Forum; University of Arkansas’ Walton College of Business Arkansas Executive Forum; relocation committee member and Sunday school teacher at Immanuel Baptist Church; charter member, Arkansas Women’s Leadership Forum; past president, Downtown Little Rock Partnership; former president, Arkansas Chapter Community & Civic Involvement, International Association of Business Communicators; former co-chair and promotions committee chair, American Heart Association Heart Ball; 2012 chair, Baptist Health Bolo Bash; former board member, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra; former co-chair, Opus Ball and former board member, Pulaski County United Way.

Ward’s passion for the well-being and economic development in Arkansas is clearly noted in her efforts within the revitalization of downtown Little Rock. During her two terms as president of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership, Ward helped bring the Technology Park to the downtown area and even offered Stone Ward’s services pro bono to countless downtown efforts including Little Rock Film Festival, Movies in the Park, building and opening of the RiverMarket and sponsorship of a variety of events such as the Food Truck Festival and Downtown Living Tour.

The agency, under her leadership, spearheaded the Big On Little Rock effort with the Little Rock Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Ward has received many accolades over the years for all her tireless contributions to so many organizations, in addition to her success as a business leader.

Some of those include being selected by Arkansas Business Publishing Group for the “Arkansas Power List”; named as one of the “100 Women in Arkansas” by Arkansas Business Publishing Group; nominated by Little Rock Air Force Base to join the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC) with 60 other leaders from around the United States to visit military operations from all branches in the Pacific Theatre; named as one of the “Women to Watch in the Southwest” by Adweek magazine in 1985.

Ward was named Arkansas Women Business Owner of the Year by the National Association of Women Business Owners in 1993; distinguished Alumni Award recipient from Arkansas State University in 1994; named by AY as “one of the 25 Central Arkansans to watch” in 2003; named “Woman of the Year “by Women and Children First in 2009 and was named the Sales and Marketing Executive International (SMEI) Arkansas Top Manager of the Year in 2012.

Ward lives in Little Rock with her husband and business partner, Larry Stone. She has one daughter, Katy, and two stepsons, Steve and Adam. She also has four grandchildren – Aly, Caroline, Nicholas and Maggie.

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