Welcome to Arkansas State University!

News Article

A-State To Host Women’s Fourth Business Leadership Conference


JONESBORO – As the success of the College of Business Women’s Business Leadership Center at Arkansas State University continues to accelerate, the annual conference is also growing each year. The fourth Women’s Business Leadership Conference will take place Thursday, March 29, in Centennial Hall at the Carl R. Reng Student Union, third floor.

The conference opens at 9:30 a.m. and runs through 2 p.m., with check-in beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Centennial Hall entrance. Admission is free and lunch is provided. For a full schedule and to register, go to AState.edu/COBWBLC or email WBLC@AState.edu.

Federal Express is the presenting sponsor with other sponsors including Centennial Bank, Strategic Technologies, A-State College of Business online MBA program, NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital, Walmart #6943 (Creek Drive), Mitchell Williams Law Firm, First Security Bank and the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center.

“The Women’s Business Leadership Conference was established in 2015 by the A-State College of Business dean and a committee of devoted faculty and staff,” said Dr. Patricia Robertson, chair, economics and finance and professor of business law. “Attendance at this conference has grown every year.  This conference is very important for our region because Arkansas ranks near the bottom in our country for the percentage of women who earn a bachelor’s degree or higher and the percentage of businesses owned by women.”

The conference is a forum for leadership and professional development created to inspire and motivate women in the business community. Keynote addresses by female leaders, workshops designed to hone skills in key areas, and interactive discussions are presented to engage students and professionals on important issues.

Featured speakers include Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee, D.O., vice president for health sciences and medical affairs at the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYIT), which has a site on the Arkansas State campus; Rose Stuckey Kirk, chief corporate social responsibility officer at Verizon; Rebecca Huling, vice president of marketing for FedEx Services; and Rupa Dash, co-founder and chief executive officer for World Woman Foundation and Dash Global Media in Los Angeles.

Ross-Lee is the first African-American female to serve as dean of a U.S. medical school. She is also the first osteopathic physician to serve a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship. She has an extensive background in health policy issues and serves as an adviser on primary care, medical education, minority health, women’s health and rural health care issues on the federal and state levels.

Kirk, an A-State graduate with a degree in journalism, also serves as president of the Verizon Foundation and leads a team focused on the programmatic delivery of mobile and cloud technology to underserved populations around the globe. She has held senior level positions at Verizon in marketing, product line management and employee communications. Recognized as one of 21 leaders for the 21st century by Women’s eNews, Kirk has also been acknowledged as one of the most influential women in corporate America by both Savoy Magazine and The Network Journal, a “woman of power” by the National Urban League, and one of the top-working women in America by Working Mothers magazine.

A 19-year veteran of FedEx, Huling brings more than 26 years of experience in product development, along with multiple aspects of digital marketing and customer engagement. She leads groups responsible for business and partner development, digital customer engagement, and promotion and experience design. Known for her ability to change and turn around, her team is currently leading an effort to digitally transfer how FedEx engages with customers and to create unique value and increase loyalty and engagement.

Dash is the co-founder and CEO of Dash Global Media, a leading entertainment company in Los Angeles and World Woman Foundation, a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization focused on accelerating women’s leadership in film by facilitating all aspects of seeking, securing and managing funding for films. She has extensive film marketing experience in development and implementation of global brand strategies for Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers. Dash is also the first Indian-American managing director of the world’s largest women’s entrepreneurship network recognized by the White House and the first woman to receive the International Telecom Union Award from the United Nations.

The Women’s Business Leadership Center is the only one of its type in the state of Arkansas and the Delta region. It is dedicated to promoting leadership and achievement among the young women of Arkansas. The Founder’s Circle, a group of 30 successful professional women, committed financial resources and time to serve as mentors and advisers to young women.

“The mission of the Women’s Business Leadership Center, established by Dr. Kathy White Loyd and a group of women in our Founder's Circle soon after Dr. Loyd's keynote speech at our 2016 conference, is to cultivate confident and capable young girls and women setting and achieving high goals on their paths to college and careers,” added Dr. Robertson. “We are passionate about encouraging more girls and women to attend and finish college, and we are excited to celebrate women in business, careers and leadership at our conference.”

WBLC Poster