The Chamber offers a variety of opportunities for its members to stay connected with each other and with the community. From informative programs, casual networking events and formal gatherings, a Chamber of Commerce membership provides instant access to community connections.
2019 Build Bentonville Lunch - Education
During this lunchtime discussion at 21c Museum Hotel, you will hear from business representatives about the growth of Bentonville's education scene and how it impacts your business. We are honored to have reps from University of Arkansas & Arkansas State Treasury and more confirmed as part of several great panelists to discuss what's new in NWA's education scene, particularly as it relates to economic & talent development. There will be an open floor Q&A session following the panel discussion.
Arkansas Treasurer of State: Emma Willis
Emma Willis was named Executive Director of the state's 529 College Investment Plans in November of 2016. Willis has over 10 years of experience in the Arkansas Treasurer's Office. She also serves as Director of the AR ABLE program, having spearheaded the launch in October of 2018. Emma has taken the Arkansas 529 College Investment Plan in a dramatic direction of innovation and community engagement, having launched the nation's first 529 mobile app and partnering with organizations across not only the state, but the nation. Her relentless hard work has affected families all over Arkansas from the Marshallese to the children in foster care.
Emma serves a chairman for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Rogers Development council, Board of Directors for Junior Achievement of Arkansas, Chamber board of Directors Rogers, and Pay it Forward. Willis graduated from Philander Smith College with a degree in Business Administration and Computer Science. Emma is also the proud parent of her 13-year-old son Kyle who attends Arkansas Arts Academy. Emma works tirelessly to pursue the dream that one day, every child will realize that higher education is within their grasp, and theirs for the taking.
University of Arkansas - Fayetteville: Dr. Brent Williams
Dr. Brent D. Williams is the Associate Dean for Executive Education and Outreach and Garrison Endowed Chair in Supply Chain Management in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. In his role as Associate Dean, he leads Walton College units that connect to the business community. These units include executive education, several outreach centers and the McMillon Innovation Studio. He previously served as the Chair of the Department of Supply Chain Management. Dr. Williams received his Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas, where he concentrated in Supply Chain Management. He has held previous faculty positions at Texas Christian University and Auburn University.
His research program focuses on how retail supply chains can develop and redesign planning and execution processes to meet the demands of today's changing marketplace. He has published 25 articles in leading business journals, such as Journal of Operations Management, Production and Operations Management and Journal of Business Logistics.
Thaden School - José Leonor
Director of Middle School
As Director of Middle School, José Leonor leads the ongoing development of Thaden's middle school curriculum, academic advising programs, and oversees the work of the faculty. He also teaches English, Spanish, and French.
Raised in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, Mr. Leonor comes to Thaden from The Bishop's School in Southern California. Prior to that, Mr. Leonor was a member of the faculty during the founding years of Pacific Ridge School, also located in Southern California. He started his career as an educator at his high school alma mater, The Horace Mann School in New York City. With more than 10 years of experience in independent school education, he understands what students need to grow academically and socially and how best to prepare them for the opportunities and challenges of high school and college. His experience in building and supporting diverse learning communities is also well aligned with Thaden's mission.
Mr. Leonor holds a bachelor's degree in comparative literature from Princeton University and a masters degree in independent school leadership from The Klingenstein Center at Columbia University's Teachers College.
Bentonville Public School - Tamara Gibson
Executive Director of Elementary Education
Tamara Gibson is the Executive Director of Elementary Education for Bentonville Schools. In this role, she directs the day-to-day operations of elementary education programs and services, with an emphasis on curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development. Tamara works closely with building principals, curriculum specialists, and other directors to ensure high levels of academic and social/emotional growth for all elementary students.
Tamara has served the district for over thirty years as a teacher, principal, and central office administrator. She completed both her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Master of Education in Administration at the University of Arkansas.
Tamara served for a number of years on the Bentonville Chamber Education Committee and the Bentonville Public Schools Foundation. She is currently a member of the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. In 2018 she was nominated by her peers for the Arkansas Association of Curriculum and Instruction Administrator of the Year award.