Eliza Borné is the editor of the Oxford American, a national magazine dedicated to featuring the best in Southern writing and art, while documenting the complexity and vitality of the region. Best known for its annual Southern Music issue, the OA has won four National Magazine Awards and other high honors since it began publication in 1992. The OA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and the magazine’s offices are located in Little Rock’s South Main neighborhood. Eliza was born and raised in Little Rock and received a B.A. in English from Wellesley College. She has also served as associate editor, managing editor, and interim editor of the OA. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the the C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference, is on the Arts & Culture Commission of the City of Little Rock, and is on the talent committee of the Arkansas Literary Festival.
“In February of 2009, while I was still a senior in college, I opened Riffraff with only $100. I began selling my refurbished and hand-painted furniture, but soon expanded to include clothing and small gifts when I realized those were the items that would turn over more quickly. Many critics thought opening a small business amidst a recession was a terrible idea – and don’t get me wrong, it was no walk in the park – but with hard work and unbeatable customer service, I turned my dream into a reality.”
One relocation, four renovations and over eight years later, Kristen Blowers employ over 30 young women all under the age of 28! Together, they work hard while still keeping an upbeat and fun atmosphere in the workplace. (Snapchat – @kirstenblowers).
Kevin De Liban
Kevin De Liban is a lawyer with Legal Aid of Arkansas and manages the Economic Justice practice group, which deals with legal issues involving health, employment, disability rights, and education. He also regularly represents individuals facing domestic violence. With Legal Aid, he has led a successful litigation campaign in federal and state courts to ensure that Arkansas’s Medicaid program does not cut vital home-care benefits for Arkansans with profound physical disabilities like cerebral palsy, paraplegia, and multiple sclerosis. Before becoming an attorney, Kevin worked with homeless individuals with mental illness in Washington state and in San Francisco city government to enforce good government and campaign finance laws. While in San Francisco, the Society of Professional Journalists recognized Kevin with the James Madison Freedom of Information Award after he refused an order to destroy documents damaging to the mayor. Though originally from the greater San Francisco Bay Area, Kevin has been in the Mid-South since 2011 and proudly calls it home. When he’s not practicing law or driving the back roads, he is passionately creating music as a rapper, with his debut album, Plunge Into Sunshine, released in March 2015 (available for free listening or purchase on all major internet outlets and at www.kevindeliban.com).
Erik Dickerson married his high school sweetheart Tessa and they live in Clarksville Arkansas with their two boys. Erik graduated with honors from Arkansas Tech University in 2003 with a business degree and worked in management at Tyson Foods and Beacon Tire Wholesale where he was the wholesale manager for 5 years. In 2011, Erik left the business world to join the The Journey Church as the Campus Pastor of their first satellite campus, where he now serves on the executive staff as the Senior Campus Pastor. Erik has also served on the boards for the Clarksville Chamber of Commerce, The Peach Festival, and multiple others, and also volunteers his time, coaching boys club basketball and baseball. In 2013, The Journey Church was awarded the Community Pride award, recognizing their outstanding service in the community. And, in 2014, Erik was recognized by the Clarksville Arkansas Chamber of Commerce as the Chamber Member of the Year.
A born native of Clarksville, Rachel has lived at the edge of the Ozarks National Forest for most of her life. After graduating Arkansas Tech University in 1996 with a BFA in Creative Writing, Rachel married a blue haired imp and started a family with him. After a year of that chaos, Rachel migrated to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale to earn a MFA in Theatre Costume Design in 2001. She continued her journey north to DeKalb and tested her sewing mettle at Northern Illinois University’s School of Theatre and Dance as the Assistant Costume Shop Manager and Cutter / Draper. After too much snow and not enough mimosa trees, Rachel returned to Clarksville, Arkansas, spent 14 months in her parents’ basement, and literally built a home with her husband in the Harmony community. She first began yoga in 2013 to relax from a crazy life with four children. She then bought Shine Yoga Studio in February 2016 and continues to give yoga to those who need it. Her interests include, writing, sewing, painting, forest bathing and earthing.
Dr. Claretha Hughes is an associate professor in the Department of Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders at the University of Arkansas and former Director of the College of Education and Health Professions’ Honors Program. She received her PhD from Virginia Tech, and her research focuses on value creation through the use of human resource development and technology development. She is interested in the impact of values (a) on teaching and learning processes and motivation; (b) on organizational culture, change strategies, and leadership; and (c) on technology in the workplace environment and employee behavior. In 2012 Dr. Hughes received the R. Wayne Pace Book of the Year Award from the Academy of Human Resource Development for her book Valuing People and Technology in the Workplace and has been nominated for the American Academy of Management 2013 George R. Terry Book Award. In 2009, Dr. Hughes was acknowledged by the University Council of Workforce and Human Resource Education as an “Outstanding Assistant Professor.”
Christina Muñoz Madsen is the Associate Vice President of Communications, Public Relations, and Marketing for the University of Central Arkansas. She oversees UCA’s Division of University Relations and Creative Services. Christina made the switch from television news to higher education in March 2014. Prior to joining UCA, Christina spent 11 years at KATV Channel 7 where she was the evening anchor alongside Scott Inman for nine years.
Christina came to Little Rock from Duluth, Minnesota, where she was a reporter for KDLH, the CBS affiliate. Prior to that she worked behind the scenes at WCCO in Minneapolis.
Christina received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish from the University of Minnesota. She started out as a musical theater major and performed professionally in Minneapolis theaters for four years while pursuing her degree.
Christina is also a published author. She and former KATV News Director, Randy Dixon, created a book in memory of Anne Pressly, a KATV anchor/reporter who was murdered in her home.
Christina and her husband Dave have two daughters, Sydney Raquel (born in 2008) and Reagan Anne (born in 2011). She’s a member of Conway Kiwanis and is an honorary member of the League of United Latin American Citizens. Her hobbies include playing guitar and violin, dancing, teaching Sunday School, singing in her church praise band and cheering on the UCA Bears. She is also the lead singer in a Conway-based band, Just Cause, which performs for various events in the central Arkansas area.
Rosario Nolasco-Schultheiss was born in 1961 in Mexico City (once Tenochtitlán) where she completed primary and secondary school at a private Catholic institution (Colegio del Valle de México). In this city, she also completed studies in Music, Theatre and Dance at the INBA (National Fine Arts Institute of Mexico) where she also worked as assistant to the Director of the INBA’s Law Department. This school/work combination provided her with a substantial educational experience onstage and off-stage, to include the administration of the arts in the capital of her country. In the United States, Dr. Nolasco-Schultheiss completed a dual degree B.A. in Spanish and Latin American Studies, an M.A. in Spanish, and a PhD. in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies. Her dissertation focused on her two major areas of expertise: Latina Literature and Arab American Women’s Literature. Currently, her main area of research focuses on Mesoamerican Indigenous Women and their work to gain subjectivity as independent, decolonized subjects, for themselves, and for the environment. Her forthcoming article (December 2017) addresses these issues: “Y así nos renace la conciencia y se extiende el ancestral centro: el legado ecológico posconflicto de Rigoberta Menchú” (“And Thus Our Conscience is Reborn and the Ancestral Center Spreads: Rigoberta Menchu’s Postconflict Ecological Legacy.” Dr. Nolasco-Schultheiss is an assistant professor at UAFS (University of Arkansas at Fort Smith) in the World Languages Department.
Fidel Samour joined Arkansas Children’s Hospital’s Child Advocacy and Public Health Division in 2008. His work has included program development, implementation, and operations, business process improvement, database design, and statistical analysis of child health data. As Director of Community Clinical Programs, Fidel develops and implements the hospital’s community-based health initiatives and his focus areas include children’s oral health, health literacy, access to care, and health equity. He has successfully implemented and expanded the hospital’s school-based Dental Sealant Program, serving over 15,000 at-risk children in the last seven years. Likewise, Fidel helped design and implement business plans for three mobile dental clinics that have served at-risk Arkansas children for the past eight years. Recently, his work has involved a school-based health clinic and school-based primary care telemedicine.
Fidel serves as a Board Director for the Northwest Arkansas Ronald McDonald House Charities, Inc. and as Chairperson of the Reach Out and Read Arkansas Board of Directors. In addition, he has an active role in the Arkansas Oral Health Coalition, leading the group’s strategic planning process, and serves as the Chair for the Children’s Oral Health Coalition. In the past, Fidel has served on the Partnership for Health Literacy in Arkansas as Secretary/Treasurer and on the University of Ozarks Alumni Board.
Fidel is native to El Salvador and received his Bachelor of Science dual-degree in Mathematics and Business Administration from University of the Ozarks. He also received his Master of Business Administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.