Since 2013, EngageNWA has supported a vision for a diverse and inclusive region where all residents can thrive and belong.
A number of key roles have recently been created across various sectors—corporate, small business, and nonprofit— that will help build an even stronger economy in a more culturally vibrant region.
This month’s blog highlights a few of the community’s DEI positions at organizations including Burrell Behavior Health, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Momentary, Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce, Signature Bank of Arkansas, Springdale Chamber of Commerce and Tyson Foods.
Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce
Jivette De Jesus, Community Engagement and Inclusion Manager
De Jesus assumed this newly created position in January 2022. As a language specialist, she has offered consultancy services to a myriad of organizations across the state and is a certified interpreter for the Arkansas Judiciary and the US Department of Justice. The new role directly supports DEI initiatives that are sources of both competitive advantage for business and sustainable success for the future of our community.
Signature Bank of Arkansas
Francisco Herrero, President of Multicultural Banking
As the president of multicultural banking, Herrero’s role is to better serve current and potential customers by leading Signature’s newest effort to meet the financial and banking needs of the Latino and Hispanic community. As they work to launch their Latino and Hispanic banking services, Signature Bank of Arkansas has partnered with Serve2Perform, an organization that offers consulting in inclusion, to place eight to twelve Latino members on the bank’s advisory boards. Read more about the initiative here.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Momentary
Ayanna Bledsoe, Director of Inclusion and Belonging
Bledsoe’s position is to advance DEI at Crystal Bridges and the Momentary and help both institutions develop new DEI strategies and implement inclusion policies. She also serves on the museum’s Strategy team, which oversees the vision and initiatives of the museum.
Burrell Behavioral Health
Keke Rover, System Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Keke Rover has a background in family healthcare and is a fierce advocate for children and families. In her role as system director, she is assessing Burrell’s current DEI efforts and overseeing the company’s DEI strategic plan.
Springdale Chamber of Commerce
Veronica Garcia, Director of Community Engagement and Inclusion
Hired to this newly created position in September of 2021, Garcia describes herself as, “a bilingual professional and passionate leader, great at building positive relationships.” Through this position, Garcia assists underrepresented groups and helps them become engaged in growth tactics. She stays involved in the community by being an EForAll Business Mentor and enjoys volunteering with many local nonprofits. Fluent in Spanish, Garcia is skilled at communicating with multigenerational and diverse populations and is enthusiastic about creating an impact.
Walmart Stores, Inc.
Gayatri Agnew, Senior Director and Head of Accessibility Center of Excellence
Agnew has been with Walmart for over seven years and began her role at Walmart’s recently established Accessibilty Center of Excellence in October 2021. The focus of this position is to create products, services, and environments that ensure accessibility to all. She serves on the leadership team of Walmart’s Global Responsibility division where she leads strategy and partnerships for Walmart’s efforts on economic mobility, specifically a shared value approach to human capital, partnerships and philanthropy focused on key issues such as employer practices change, improving work-based learning and strengthening inclusion in communities.
Elena Ibarra, Manager, DE&I, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, Sustainability
Ibarra joined the DE&I department in November of 2021 after a number of roles in human resources at Butterball, Greenville Tube Company, and other notable corporations. She is a veteran of the Army National Guard and faithfully served our country for 8 years, including one year of active duty in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (2003).
Edison Williams, Manager, DE&I, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, Sustainability
In his role, Williams is responsible for helping design, implement, and measure Tyson’s new DE&I strategy. He also manages several of Tyson’s Business Resource Groups, internal business units, and key relationships with national nonprofits including the Executive Leadership Council, Equal Justice Initiative and Smithsonian’s African American Museum, among others. Prior to joining Tyson Foods, Williams served as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Ozarks Community Hospital. He also served as the DE&I Program Manager at the University of Arkansas School of Law.