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Elizabeth Machen

Elizabeth Machen, 38

EVP, Marketing & Communications

Simmons Bank

Little Rock

Professional achievements
• Recently celebrated 10 years with Simmons, participating in 500% asset growth and assisting with 14 acquisitions.
• Helped grow the Simmons Bank brand with several naming rights partnerships, including Simmons Bank Arena in North Little Rock; Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in Memphis; Simmons Bank Open in Nashville, Tennessee; and Simmons Bank Championship in Little Rock.
• Launched the bank’s customer experience program.

Community involvement
Member, Baptist Health Foundation board and the Bolo Bash Luncheon Committee; past president, Baptist Health Associate board; secretary, Arkansas Champions Trust charity; member, Cammack Village Urban Service District Committee.

How you define success
“I keep a sticky note at my desk that says, ‘Achievement is characterized by an enduring and consistent focus on setting and meeting high standards.’ I’m striving for that every day. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m getting better at it.”

First job and lesson learned
“I grew up showing horses, so my true first job was helping take care of our barn, which included cleaning stalls, organizing gear and hauling hay. I learned a lot about hard work and the importance of never being above the task.”

Best thing about Arkansas
“The people. They make it feel like home.”

One word to describe you
“Multitasker.”

Your professional inspiration
“Honestly? Taylor Swift. A living white paper on perseverance and hard work. She embraces change and stays relevant, weathers bad times and scrutiny, delivers top-performing work time and time again. She is a master class in marketing and branding.”

Top challenge facing Arkansas
“I think Arkansas is a great place to live and work and raise a family. The top challenge for Arkansas, as well as most other places, is making sure we are setting our future up for success. We must provide our kids with safe places to learn and develop and opportunities for them to succeed as adults.”

Advice for future 40 Under 40 honorees
“Make sure you are surrounding yourself with the right people. Your team and the people you spend the most time with will be the ones who lead you to success.”

Learning from a mentor
“I’ve been lucky to have many mentors throughout my career. Right now, I’m learning the most from Simmons executive Freddie Black. He continues to teach me the value of relationships in your work life and how partnerships are what ultimately make you successful. He is the epitome of the do right rule.”

Most valuable lesson
“Listening is the greatest skill to develop. Listening to retain information and learn will serve you better than talking any day of the week.”

Professional “aha” moment
“This might be the easy route answer, but my biggest ‘aha’ moment was deciding in 2008 that I didn’t want to be in investment banking and making the switch to a marketing career. I guess a global economic crisis will do that to you.”

Career dream as a child
“I probably thought I was going to be a professional horseback rider at one point and compete at the Olympics. I’m a classic indecisive so I also thought I would be a vet, a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer, an investment banker and more.”

Most fulfilling career moment
“I’ve enjoyed a lot of big moments, but the most fulfilling part of my career is the day-to-day stuff — working with my team and being really proud of the work we do. Another favorite thing is my kids getting excited when they see the Simmons Bank logo.”

Making Arkansas more attractive to young professionals
“We just need to continue to tell our story. We have a beautiful state with incredible outdoor recreation, amazing cultural attractions and a great food scene. More people need to know what Arkansas has to offer.”

Where you see yourself in 10 years
“I hope more of the same: enjoying the work I do and attending 500 kid activities a week.”

Advice for your 18-year-old self
“I would say, ‘You aren’t going to listen to this so I’m wasting my air, but you don’t have to overthink and overanalyze everything.’

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40 Under 40

June 10, 2025

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