All posts by mclemore

Walton Diversity Director Receives Honorary Alumna Award

Barbara Lofton, director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Sam M. Walton College of Business, was named an Honorary Alumna during the Black Alumni Society Awards Gala on April 29 in recognition of her contributions to the University of Arkansas.

“To be recognized as a lifetime alumna made me proud as if I graduated from the university,” said Lofton. “I was humbled that persons felt my work and commitment are worthy of such an honor.

Barbara Lofton, director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion
Barbara Lofton, director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Lofton manages Walton’s diversity programs, oversees several scholarships, sponsors registered student organizations and teaches diversity classes. She supports student recruitment, retention and increasing graduation rates. Lofton also serves as a mentor, advisor and business competition coach for students.

“Dr. Lofton works tirelessly to recruit and retain minorities through several outreach programs, business competitions and student organizations,” said Anne O’Leary-Kelly, senior associate dean for Walton. “I am proud of her work to advance the university and our college. Barbara is deserving of this prestigious award.”

“In the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, we work on behalf of many students, faculty, staff and sometime communities,” said Lofton.  “For me, when I see a person realize the impossible is possible with persistence, it is like magic.”

Dean Doyle Z. Williams hired Lofton in 1994 to establish Walton’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, creating the oldest diversity office at a Southeastern Conference business school and one of the oldest in the nation.

Lofton holds a doctorate from Grambling State University, a master’s degree from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree from Jackson State University.

Walton Class Crafts Ad Campaign for Local Baker While Making a Difference in the Community

Gaining real-world experience in a career that you love. Earning credit toward your major. Making a difference in your community.

All from one class project. Pretty cool, huh?

For the spring 2017 semester, Anne Velliquette, clinical assistant professor at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, assigned a service-learning project to her Integrated Marketing Communications class. Teams formed and assignments were made. The project developed full blown advertising campaigns – and the research and pitches that go along with it – to promote Rockin’ Baker, a local mission-focused, benefit corporation bakery located in North Fayetteville.

Entrepreneur Daymara Baker (left) joins Creative Lense Advertising and Anne Velliquette (right), Walton clinical assistant professor.

Walton students Alexa Wood, Bethany McClain, Connor Clark, Demrie Lowry, Emma Meyer and Danielle Deats teamed up to create the Creative Lense Advertising agency for their team project and claim first place in the class competition.

“For this project we formed teams to create an advertising agency, which included coming up with an agency name, logo, and tagline, in order to prepare a campaign for our client, Rockin’ Baker,” said marketing major Demrie Lowry. “We were required to prepare three visual advertisements, a creative brief and we also created a social media plan.”

“I intend to pursue a career in marketing and this project will definitely help me in my career. It allowed us to work firsthand with a real client who actually wants to hear our ideas and feedback,” Lowry said. “I believe it will set us ahead because we have actually prepared a creative brief for a client based on their goals, which is exactly how it will be in a real-world setting.”

Rockin’ Baker

The client – Rockin’ Baker – prepares fresh breads such as traditional baguettes or sourdough, along with sourdough accented with nuts, herbs, olives, bananas, rye flour or chocolate. Tuesday through Saturday, it supplements baked goods with lunch sandwiches and salads.

When opening the doors of Rockin’ Baker, a rush of warm bread fresh from the oven awakes your senses. The shop doesn’t just smell good; it promotes good as well. The bakery is a registered nonprofit. It creates jobs and develops job skills for at-risk people who are interested in the culinary industry.

The team set out to reflect the social mission and fresh bread the bakery is known for.

“I learned how valuable it is to have something that sets your business apart,” said Alexa Wood, a marketing major. “For Rockin’ Baker, it’s their social mission. There are various other bakeries in NWA, but no one has the same mission and values as her, and that’s why people are loyal to her business. If you can provide something of value to customers, that’s when you get their repeat business and loyalty.”

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With themes of “rising up to empower others” and “natural ingredients for the natural state,” Creative Lense team members promoted the bakery’s fresh bread and its mission to train workers in artisan baking skills, safe food handling, quality control and other marketable skills.

“Students overall embraced the social mission of Rockin’ Baker and did their best in fully understanding the challenges and limitations,” said Daymara Baker, founder and chief executive officer of the bakery. “Some of them went beyond their assignment to provide additional support to grow the business.”

Avenue Advertising
(left to right) Representing Avenue Advertising, Walton students Rachel Simpson, Alyssa Corral, Lacey Case, Sydney Barre, Raygan Sylvestor and Landri McGregor present the “Baking a Difference” ad campaign for Rockin’ Baker.

The second place team, Avenue Advertising, pitched ideas for their ad campaign and used “baking a difference” to project the good work Rockin’ Baker does in empowering others through job training.

“Ultimately, we were trying to create a campaign that would be extremely low-cost, sustainable, and effective in order that Rockin’ Baker can grow and increase capital stability,” said Rachel Simpson, Avenue Advertising team member and a junior with a double major in marketing and accounting.

The integrated marketing project is a junior/senior level class and provides a hands-on experience to get students ready for the job market.

“It is a challenging yet very rewarding experience for the students. Ultimately, they are able to gain experience in two distinct advertising agency roles – that of the creative designer as well as the account executive,” Velliquette said. “Many of them have the goal of working in some capacity for an ad agency. And even those that may have other plans, the real world experience provides great resume and job interview material for the students. Many past students have told me how proud they were of their work and that during interviews, it helped them to land an internship or job.”

To learn more about Rockin’ Baker, visit rockinbakeracademy.org on the web or on Facebook under RockinBaker. The bakery is located at 3761 Mall Avenue in Fayetteville.

Supply Chain Management Honor Society Inducts New Members

Sigma Chi Mu Tau, the Supply Chain Management Honor Society founded by the Department of Supply Chain Management at the Sam M. Walton College of Business in 2016, has inducted 14 members into its second class.

The University of Arkansas initiates are:

Seniors: Chu Chen, Katherine Gavin, Alissa Gardner, Macy Roe and Sarah McGuire.

Juniors: Kate Barger, Shane Canady, Garrison Coker, Ryan Edwards, Emma Fields, Taylor Hunt, Cristina Perez-Espinoza, Sadie Wallner and Ryan Walter.

The two co-presidents, chosen from the junior class, are Hunt and McGregor.

Membership is extended to supply chain management juniors and seniors as well as educators and professionals who have shown dedication and contributions to the supply chain management profession. Sigma Chi Mu Tau recognizes academic merit and encourages leadership, ethical behavior and commitment to high standards in the pursuit of supply chain management excellence.

Membership is open to students majoring in supply chain management who have taken at least one upper level supply chain course. Invitations are sent to students based on rank in class. Juniors must rank in the top 10 percent of their class and seniors must ranking in the top 20 percent of their class.

Invitations are extended once during a student’s academic career.

The organization is accepting university memberships as well for future chapters. Contact faculty adviser Carole Shook at shook@uark.edu for more information.

Google, IBM and SamsClub.com Executives to Speak at Trends in Technology Conference

Leaders from Google, IBM, SamsClub.com, QVC, Starship Technologies and useAIble will be featured at the 2017 Trends in Technology Conference on Wednesday, April 26, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center in Rogers.

The conference, hosted by the Center for Retailing Excellence and the Supply Chain Management Research Center at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, will present technology trends affecting retailers and supply chains.

A highlight of the conference will be a conversation between Nathalie Walton, strategic partnerships lead, Google Shopping/Emerging Business Development at Google, and Jamie Iannone, president and chief executive officer of SamsClub.com.

“I am excited to discuss trends in e-commerce, online growth and other technology challenges with Jamie Iannone of SamsClub.com,” Walton said. “Brands like SamsClub.com continue to lead the charge with data analytics, business strategy and business execution.”

Iannone brings a wealth of insight to building an online presence and enhancing the retail experience. Also featured at the conference is Ben Emmrich, strategic partner developer at Google, who manages strategic partnerships with top-tier retailers utilizing the online marketplace Google Express.

Brigid McDermott, vice president, Blockchain Business Development at IBM, will deliver the conference’s keynote address on driving the growth of emerging technologies to improve banking, supply chains and innovation, all while reducing costs and risks. Other speakers include Linda Dillman, chief information officer, retired, at QVC; Nick Handrick, head of operations at Starship Technologies, and Rix Ryskamp, chief executive officer and founder of useAIble.

Registration for the event is $750 for the general public, with group rates available, or $250 for Walton College MBA students or alumni.

For more information and to register, visit cre.uark.edu/2017-conference.php.

Walton College Hosts SEC Diversity Conference

Diversity officers from Southeastern Conference business schools converged on the Fayetteville campus to discuss best practices, new initiatives and professional development, March 8-10, for the 2nd Annual Southeastern Conference Business School Diversity Officers Conference.

“Walton College is proud to host our fellow SEC diversity officers and support recruitment and retainage efforts with academic institutions, faculty, staff and students,” said Barbara Lofton, director of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion for the Sam M. Walton College of Business. “Through this conference, we explored many avenues to promote diversity in business.”

Diversity officers from Southeastern Conference business schools met to discuss best practices, new initiatives and professional development, March 8-10. [Photo by Ryan C. Versey]
The conference included speakers addressing diversity assessment and evaluation, demographics, funding and investment, and traditional and non-traditional recruitment strategies for faculty, staff and students. Keynote speakers included Dereck Rovaris, vice provost for diversity and chief diversity officer, Louisiana State University; Florence Holland, lead manager of pipeline initiatives for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; Sonel Shropshire, president of The Academic Network; Bernard Milano, president of KPMG Foundation/The Ph.D. Project; and Rodney Parks, senior director, major and planned gifts, University of Arkansas Fort Smith Foundation. Foundation directors from Tyson Foods, Walmart, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., and the Rockefeller Foundation also spoke to attendees about strengthening relationships with funders.

Several of the attendees serve as both administrative staff and associate professors at their respective schools. These conference participants joined forces to create a research team, which will focus on research regarding retaining minority faculty, staff and students.

Walton College boasts the oldest diversity office at an SEC business school and one of the oldest in the nation. Walton’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion was established in 1994 by Dean Doyle Z. Williams.

ITRI Hosts IT Day for Northeast Arkansas High School Students

The Information Technology Research Institute at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas, hosted its first IT Day for Students in Arkansas’s Delta region at Newport High School. More than 115 9th through 12th grade students from Newport, Bradford, Tuckerman and Cedar Ridge attended the event held March 3.

The day focused on opportunities in the field of information technology. Students participated in activities that highlighted job types, job descriptions, and salaries, as well as activities to build leadership skills. They also heard from currently information technology professionals about what it is like to work in the field. Included in the event was a Q&A session with a panel of information technology executives.

“It was inspirational to expose high school students in Northeast Arkansas about lucrative career options in the field of information technology,” said Eric Bradford, managing director of the Information Technology Research Institute. “I loved seeing their bright minds latch on to new ideas and begin to think about future opportunities for themselves.”

Entrepreneur Rick Boosey, founder of Kyya Chocolate, served as the keynote speaker and encouraged students to follow their passion by doing something they love. Boosey also shared the value of giving and how thinking differently or finding a niche can help you be successful.

Other professionals were on hand to explain the college admissions process, degree options, personal attitude and branding. Guest speakers included Rob Burgess, assistant to the dean and master instructor of computer networking technology at Arkansas State University Newport; Autumn Parker, associate director of undergraduate programs at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas; Adrain Smith, director of the strengths based initiative of the Multicultural Center at the University of Arkansas; Synetra Hughes, director of student programs, Center for Retailing Excellence, Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas.

The event was sponsored by The Joe and Helen Harris Educational Foundation and the Newport Economic Development Commission in partnership with ITRI board member companies.

For more information, visit itri.uark.edu/it-day-for-students.php.