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Keynote speakers

Helena L. Gadison

Helena L. Gadison is a creative, resilient, passionate and results-driven business leader and speaker with a servant’s heart, driven to lead change, stimulate out-of-the box ideas and engage thought-provoking dialogue for over 25 years with top companies like Walmart and Limited Stores (Lane Bryant Division). She has received countless awards spanning retail store operations, merchandising, global sourcing, product development, strategic communication and branding.  She has traveled to 25 different countries and has immense appreciation and respect for other cultures.

Helena is a pioneer in both retailing and serving her community.  She was the first African American board of director serving in 2009 for the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and since November 2011 for the United Way of Northwest Arkansas. She was recognized in 2018, as the UWNWA Volunteer of the Year and the recipient of the prestigious Squire Jahagen Award in 2019 for exemplary service to humanity with honor, grace compassion and excellence to both the NWA community and state of Arkansas from The Historic St. James Missionary Baptist Church (a 154 year old institution). She will be a featured mom/model for the 3rd annual Mom and So Much More Fashion Show benefitting the Peace at Home Family Shelter on July 19, 2019.

During Helena’s 16-year tenure with Walmart, she was also tapped as a corporate spokesperson and project lead for global strategic initiatives over cross-functional teams for the USA and International divisions. She has had the distinct honors of singing for the late Sam M. Walton’s memorial services in 1992, a speaker for the “I Remember Sam” series in 2017, and a special panelist for the centennial celebration of Sam Walton’s birth at the Walmart Museum in 2018.

Helena was featured in the Fall 2005 Career Issue of Black Professionals, Top 100 Blacks in Corporate America and in the January 2011 issue of Day Spa Magazine,13 Standout Spas in the USA to Watch in 2011 for creating an award-winning, luxury spa and salon in Fayetteville, AR.

Helena attended the University of Arkansas for music and performing arts and earned a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts (with honors), emphasis in communication from John Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas. She is currently working towards a Master of Science in Leadership from the same institution.

Helena’s Personal Branding message has been a highly requested topic for 8 years across learning institutions and corporations to integrate the science of branding to help people become authentic, relevant and in-demand leaders driven by passion, interest and ability.

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Joe Randel is a senior program officer for the Walton Family Foundation, responsible for arts and culture initiatives in the Home Region. Through his work at the foundation, Joe works to expand art beyond its normal confines so anyone in the region can access a wide range of visual, cultural and performance art offerings.

Before joining the foundation, Joe was the assistant director for Texas Performing Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. During his tenure at the University, he also served as the director of the ArtesAméricas Program and a lecturer in The Department of Theatre and Dance.

With nearly 20 years in the live entertainment industry, he is a former member of the Board of Directors of the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) and the Board of Directors of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. Having lived and worked in thriving cultural hubs like Austin, São Paulo and Bogotá, he has experienced first-hand the myriad ways arts and culture can contribute to the vibrancy of a community.

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Joe Randel


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Jaclyn is a Chicago native but has called NWA home for many years.  Before pursuing a career in media, she spent over 10 years in the corporate sector in merchandise support.  


In 2016 she joined the KNWA/FOX24 family as a Digital Producer and created local stories for web and social media.  She then transitioned to appearing on-air Monday-Friday with a “trending” segment.  Jaclyn currently produces and co-hosts Good Day NWA, the area’s only daily lifestyle show that highlights the amazing people and places that make  Northwest Arkansas a great place to live.


Jaclyn is a mom of three and married to her college sweetheart Raymond.  She has had several opportunities to speak at various events in NWA and enjoys meeting and connecting with new people and has a passion for community service.  

Jaclyn House

Breakout Session Speakers 

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Andrew Gibbs-Dabney

Founder & CEO, Livsn Designs

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Trent Sugg

Blk Elk Media 

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Makele Ndessokia

Chief People Officer, Crystal Bridges


J'Aaron Merchant



Jasmine Hudson 

Merchandise Planner, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc

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Blake Binns

Founder, Good Advice Coaching


Kaye Bernard

Certified Enneagram Teacher, Narrative Enneagram


Bill Burrows 

Associate Broker, Lindsey & Associates, Ice. 

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Rachel Spurgers

Crystal Bridges

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Zessna Garcia Rios 

Crystal Bridges 


Sarah King 

Communications Manager, Specialized Real Estate Group

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Marson Nance

Director of Land Protection & Stewardship for NWA Land Trust

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Charu Thomas

Founder, Oculogx 


Michael Gashler

Research Scientist, SupplyPike


Vikas Anand

Executive Director of Strategic Planning and Innovation, University of Arkansas

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Sara Bishop 

Executive in Residence in the Department of Communication,
University of Arkansas

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Jana Della Rosa

Arkansas House of Representatives


Jessica Du Quesne

Shopper Maketing, Hershey Company

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Heather Shell 

VP of Logistics, J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc. 

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Randy Odglen

VP Executive Broker, Lindsey & Associates, Inc.

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Emily Rodriguez 

Crystal Bridges 

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Sara Segerlin

Crystal Bridges 


Daniel Mitchell

Founder BLK ELK

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