AEDCE Member Spotlight
Community Economic Development Specialist
Arkansas Economic Development Institute (AEDI)
April has been a community economic development specialist at the Arkansas Economic Development Institute for almost three years. She is responsible for developing community assessment and development programs, managing the institute’s social media and marketing efforts and working on AEDI’s strategic initiatives.
- Where were you born? Hope, Arkansas Where do you live today? Little Rock
- What do you love most about Arkansas? The diversity of our communities…from the quirky Eureka Springs to metropolitan Bentonville to corporate downtown Little Rock to the close-knit Delta communities.
- Very few people know that I… like to thrift shop and turn great buys into special pieces for my home.
- How would you describe Arkansas to someone that has never been here? Arkansas is full of fascinating history and beautiful natural landscape. You can take an amazing vacation and never leave the state.
- What advice would you give to your 21-year old self? Start saving money now. This is a piece of advice I did get and didn’t heed until much later in life, but it’s an important one.
- The greatest risk I ever took was…? Moving to Memphis for a job after college. For a small-town southwest Arkansas girl, this was a huge deal. I learned a lot though…like I was meant to live west of the Mississippi River.
- What issue facing Arkansas, or your local community keeps you up at night? The lack of quality education for all children. Access to quality teachers, resources, facilities, and curriculum should be available to every. single. student., no matter where they live or what their financial situation is.
- Who would you most like to swap places with for the day and why? My boss. I would probably be easier on him and have a lot more understanding if I walked a mile or two in his shoes.
- How long have you been in the chamber/economic development profession, and what do you like most about your job? I’ve been in this profession on-and-off for 10+ years. While I enjoy working on projects in urban areas, my heart belongs to the community development work we do in the rural areas of the state.
- Best career advice I would give someone in the Economic Development or Chamber profession? Keep learning. Never think you know everything there is to know. Go to conferences and continuing education classes and network. I learn something new almost every day, sometimes in the strangest of places from the people I would never expect. Always keep an open mind and be willing to try new things.
President & CEO
Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce
Graham Cobb is the President and CEO of the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce where he gratefully serves the community that is home to the world’s greatest Adventurepreneur, Sam Walton. Boasting a rich culture of culinary, arts, and outdoor activities; Bentonville is at once metropolitan and Main Street. It is both global and local.
Bentonville’s greatest gift to its citizens is that of Widescreen Livin’ – A 360 degree human experience revealing a past, present and future that connects us to nature, to the world, and to each other by organically weaving arts and culture, the outdoors, culinary excellence, and the power of human relationships into people’s everyday lives.
- Where were you born? Where do you live today? Born in Little Rock and live today in Bentonville.
- What do you love most about Arkansas? The diversity of thought and culture along with the distinct character and flavor of the different parts of the state.
- Very few people know that … love me some Days of Our Lives
- How would you describe Arkansas to someone that has never been here? It’s equal parts south and mid-west but with some Texas thrown in if Texans were understated and gentile. Its people surprisingly gregarious and its places strikingly beautiful.
- What advice would you give to your 21-year old self? Go home earlier, get up earlier. Read more.
- The greatest risk I ever took was…? Taking a job in the chamber industry…. seriously… I had no idea what we were supposed to do, I just knew what we needed to do because I had some great coaching.
- What issues facing Arkansas, or your local community keeps you up at night? Bentonville is very fortunate to have the challenges associated with being a magnet for future leaders. One of those challenges includes accessible transportation, housing, and proximity to jobs as well as the awesome quality of life amenities that help make this place so great!
- Who would you most like to swap places with for the day and why? Probably LeBron James. I have always wanted to be able to have that kind of physical control. I would probably jump everywhere I went.
- How long have you been in the chamber/economic development profession, and what do you like most about your job? Entering year 6. You have the opportunity to learn from a wide range of doers across the world that have found ways to help their communities.
- Best career advice I would give someone in the Economic Development or Chamber profession. Speak your true mind to someone in the industry you really trust. Try something new.