Marla Johnson

Chief executive officer

Aristotle Internet Access

Little Rock

Marla Johnson

About two-and-a-half years ago, Maria Johnson was doing commercial production and marketing for technology firms when she and a group of computer-oriented friends became fed up with the quality of their Internet access service. Together, members of the group realized, they had all the expertise needed to run a bang-up Internet access company.

Johnson, 38, now is CEO of Aristotle Internet Access, one of the most successful and award-winning Internet firms in the state. The company began in 1995 with six employees and now has 16.

Over the years, Johnson has had two parallel career paths: one in government and education, and the other in video production. She has a masters degree in education, and once worked for the city of Memphis and the Arkansas Department of Health. On the other hand, Johnson also worked in the engineering department at Little Rock's KTHV-TV, Channel 11, and spent two years doing commercial production at her own company, Montserrata Productions.

"There are three things I try to keep in the uppermost of my mind," Johnson says. "I want to provide quality service that is valuable to people. I like the company to be a pleasure to do business with. I really care that everyone who works here has maximum creative input in the process. With that, you can create a magic." Also, she says, "I think every company has a responsibility to the community it's a part of."

Johnson serves on the steering committee for the Arkansas Executive Council and is an active member in the National Association of Women Business Owners.