Category Archives: Business

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.

Yell Retires After 40 Years of Service

In the summer of 1976, Gerald Ford was president, Apple Computer Company was just getting started, a gallon of gas cost 59 cents, and Susan Imes Yell was a rising senior at Fayetteville High School. She was also a new part time staff member at the School of Law’s Admissions Office. She worked half a day and, in the fall, went to school half a day.

Little did Yell know that this part time job would lead to a 40-year journey at the University of Arkansas. She worked for the School of Law for five years, then joined the Department of Economics and the International Business Studies program, eventually becoming the administrative support supervisor for the economics department at the College of Business Administration, as it was known at the time.

From 1976 to 2016, Yell has seen many changes at the university, especially with technology and its influence on student engagement.

“Probably the biggest change was the introduction of computers. Our department had the first one in the college,” said Yell. “It required the use of floppy disks. The program was on one disk, spell check was on another disk, etc. That first computer was stolen, along with the printer and everything that went with it, when several people propped doors open from the second floor and went through the ceiling tiles into the main office. It took a while to get a replacement, since it was not covered by insurance. And, no one ever said you need to back up your work. Everything was lost and to my knowledge, the culprits were never apprehended.”

“Always do the right thing, no matter what.  And, if you see an injustice, do something about it.”

Per Yell, technology has also changed the way staff members interact with students. With more centralized registration and other electronic processes, students spend less time engaging staff and faculty.

“When I first started, we would sit in the halls and hand out printed cards for registration.  When you ran out of cards, the class was full.  The students would then take their packets to the Union, to stand in a huge, long line to register,” said Yell.  “Later, the U of A used the Hog Call system and students would register on the phone.  We had to process overrides using this system.  It would literally take weeks.  We were very busy with students then.  Now, with centralized advising and everything online, we don’t have much student interaction, except with our graduate students.”

Susan Yell
Susan’s office features hundreds of postcards from around the world sent by students and faculty.

Yet Yell does interact with students as evidenced by the hundreds of post cards adorning her office walls. Each day she works surrounded by post cards sent to her from around the world from students and faculty who have studied and/or traveled abroad. She has collected them since the ’80s.

She values the economics faculty and is impressed with their research and how much they care about their students. While she thinks they are one of the best things about the college, she has learned to say no when it comes to dissertations.

“Right after I first started working in business administration, one of my new faculty asked me to type his dissertation. Now, if you have ever seen an economics dissertation, you might know that it is FULL of equations. He showed me the first chapter, which was mostly text, so I agreed to type it for him,” said Yell. “Over the duration of my first pregnancy, I worked on it using a manual typewriter.  It required using three different elements. So, when you would type text that took one element, an equation, one or two other elements. Every time there were any changes from his advisor, the entire chapter would have to be retyped, since there were strict rules about margins, etc.  We joked whether I would finish the dissertation first, or would have my daughter first.  I don’t even remember who ‘won.’ I can laugh about it now, but it wasn’t very funny then!”

“I also cherish my WOW friends…a group of ladies…Women of Walton…with whom I have remained friends for years and years…and we still have lunch at least once a week.”

While the faculty and students are one of the best things about work, Yell has experienced significant obstacles as well.

“My biggest challenge occurred when my department chair suffered a catastrophic accident,” said Yell. “It completely changed the face of the department and my position.  For a short time, I was in charge of the department.  It was a very difficult time.”

Throughout the years, Yell has served on numerous committees for the college and has raised funds for local nonprofits. She is the departmental representative for United Way and has helped raise money for the American Diabetes Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, University of Arkansas Staff Senate Scholarship fund, Northwest Arkansas Food Bank and Full Circle Campus Food Pantry among others. She was a member of the Walton College team on the Habitat for Humanity the House That Jane Built project.

Yell has represented Walton College at the university level as a staff senator, staff senate secretary, staff senate scholarship committee, by-laws committee, elections committee, internal affairs committee, Employee of the Year for the university and Employee of the Quarter for Walton College.

Yell was nominated for the Arkansas State Employees Association Outstanding State Employee Award in 2005 and 2010 and was chosen as a finalist in 2010. In 2006, the Department of Economics faculty established the Susan Imes Yell Staff Senate Scholarship in her honor. This scholarship was created to help promote and encourage staff development through higher education.

After 40 years of service, Yell retired from her job in December 2016. She is married to Garlen and has two daughters, Erin, who teaches French at Springdale High School, and Sara, who is the manager of special programs in the Walton College Career Center. In retirement, she plans to spend more time with her family and her young grandchildren, Nora and Silas.