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Chemia Woods

Chemia Woods, 37

Scout & Employer Brand Ambassador


Little Rock

Professional achievements
• Host, public speaker, voiceover talent and corporate culture changemaker.
• Hosted the award-winning “Experience Little Rock in Color” series, presented by the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.
• For MISO, advocates for STEM careers and fosters inclusive workplace cultures.

Community involvement
Member, Leadership Little Rock’s Class XXXVIII; Donaghey College STEM Council at the UALR; Little Rock Parks & Recreation Commission; employee lead for MISO’s community service resource group.

First job and lesson learned
“My first job was a waitress at Waffle House the summer before I started undergrad. I worked the third shift and learned the value of engaging authentically with customers and providing stellar customer service to diverse people. Working third shift at the infamous Waffle House is a unique experience that requires patience, poise and professionalism. I mastered all three that summer!”

Career dream as a child
“To be a talk show host like Jenny Jones and TV host like Donnie Simpson.”

One word to describe you

Professional inspiration
“My professional inspiration is to curate an invigorating career that leverages and develops my current talents and skills to impact and influence profit, purpose and people. My professional inspiration personified is Rihanna.”

Top challenge facing Arkansas
“The imbalance in storytelling and regional competition. But we address this challenge when we embrace our unique narratives and share authentic experiences. Arkansas’ diverse offerings demand a ‘yes/and’ approach, acknowledging pride in regions while fostering a unified identity. Despite challenges, generations must unite to revitalize our cities and communities. Celebrate what makes us great: Arkansas is a haven for foodies and nature lovers, and a natural state with untapped potential and promise. As an HR professional, I advocate for collaboration over competition and believe in our collective story’s power to foster understanding and productivity. Let’s unveil Arkansas’ brilliance together.”

Learning from a mentor
“I have a few mentors who have served me well in different seasons of life. VP of System Planning at MISO Aubrey Johnson regularly reminds me of the importance of getting things done without caring who gets the credit. He says you can get a lot more done that way. Sericia Nelson, executive editor of Noire Magazine, inspires and encourages me to continue to show up authentically and grow forward. Life is all about striving and evolving to be the very best version of you no matter the job title or career path. Lastly, my mentor from afar is Judge Lauren Lake, who helped me align my skill sets to streamline my HR career and taught me that I can have it all, just not all at the same time.”

Advice for future 40 Under 40 honorees
“Identify your why, then multiply. The accolades and acknowledgement will eventually find you if you’re operating with good intent and serving others. When your passion and purpose intersect, that’s your secret sauce. Lean in and enjoy.”

Most fulfilling career moment
“Leading our Accessing Careers in Energy Summit (ACES) with our energy partners in Little Rock was a highlight. Welcoming our third cohort of HBCU students, we opened pathways to energy careers, with many now working and thriving locally.”

Most valuable lesson
“Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today? And doing the right thing is always the right thing to do.”

Professional “aha” moment
“On day one, fueled by my millennial spirit, I documented my first week and shared it as a vlog on LinkedIn. Little did I know, that single post would ‘introduce me’ to MISO employees at all three offices in Minnesota, Indiana and Arkansas. With more frequent posts, I sparked conversations and paved the way for a community of career shifters on LinkedIn. Through consistent storytelling, coupled with my role as a recruiter and the unwavering support of company leadership, I cultivated an environment ripe for growth, both for myself and for our employer brand at MISO.”

Making Arkansas more attractive to young professionals
“Increasing social options for unmarried individuals without kids, fostering inclusivity and community, creating a vibrant downtown that pulses with life beyond the workday, adding an annual signature music festival, and ‘closing the loop’ on the Arkansas River Trail.”

Best thing about Arkansas
“Arkansas offers abundant opportunities, from networking with peers to engaging with officials, all in a day’s span. Its diverse topography adds to its appeal. Here, we can seize opportunities, achieve goals and make an impact.”

Where you see yourself in 10 years
“I aim to climb the corporate ladder, deepen my expertise to position Little Rock as a top spot for power utility careers, and leverage my skills to influence profit, purpose and people, culminating in a C-suite position driving strategic initiatives.”

Advice for your 18-year-old self
“Do the thing! It will not be perfect, nor will it be the last thing you do, so do it anyway, without worrying what others think because they’re not even thinking about you!”

How you define success
“Aligning my ambition with God’s intuition, I will surely succeed.”


40 Under 40

June 10, 2025

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