Chamber recognizes outstanding women in business and nonprofit

Conway Regional’s Lori Ross receives Diamond Achievement Award

Lori Ross - Women in Business Diamond Achievement Award WinnerCONWAY, Ark. (Dec. 6, 2017) – Lori Ross, chief development officer and corporate director of marketing and Foundation at Conway Regional Health System, is the 2017 recipient of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce’s Diamond Achievement Award. Together with seven other honorees, Ross accepted the award at the Chamber's sixth annual Women in Business Awards luncheon, presented by Conway Obstetrics and Gynecology and First Arkansas Bank and Trust.

Snap-on and Fletcher Smith’s Jewelers served as diamond sponsors for the event, the latter designing a custom necklace for Ross.

Women in Business honors individuals in the Conway area who have excelled in leadership and community service and who have inspired others on both a personal and professional level. Community members nominated professionals for the Diamond Achievement Award, Outstanding Woman in Business, and Outstanding Woman in Nonprofit. A selection committee composed of female chamber executives from Wisconsin, Texas, and Georgia chose the recipients.

In addition to honoring Lori Ross with the Diamond Achievement Award, the Chamber presented Outstanding Woman in Business awards to the following:

  • Dr. Christine Hurley, Hurley Chiropractic
  • Susan McCoy, JSI Metal Recycling, U-Pull-It of Conway, and Linn’s Auto
  • Lori Quinn, Coldwell Banker RPM Group and Women’s Inc. Magazine
  • Kim Slaughter, The Blue Focus
  • Margaret Smith, First Security Bank

Jennie Strange of Blackbird Academy of Arts and Maret Cahill-Wicks of United Way of Central Arkansas received Outstanding Woman in Nonprofit awards. The awards were sponsored by Acxiom and Conway Corporation.

. Marcella “Marcy” Doderer, CEO of Arkansas Children’s, delivered the keynote address in an interview format with journalist Melissa Gates.Women in Business also features a CEO-level speaker. Marcella “Marcy” Doderer, CEO of Arkansas Children’s, delivered the keynote address in an interview format with journalist Melissa Gates. Doderer shared her experiences in the health care industry and how she became an advocate for children’s health. She also discussed the challenges she has faced being a female executive, how work-life balance is different for everyone, and the importance of mentorship. Conway Regional Health System and Nabholz were speaker sponsors.

Since its inception, Women in Business has grown beyond the annual luncheon. Earlier this year, the Chamber hosted a panel discussion featuring professional women along with a roundtable discussion for college students led by previous Women in Business award recipients. These outreach initiatives are sponsored by Crafton Tull, Kimberly-Clark, and Stoby’s Restaurant and PattiCakes Bakery. At the luncheon, several female high school students from Conway Christian High School, Conway High School, and St. Joseph High School were in attendance. Each student received a $200 book voucher from legacy sponsor Textbook Brokers.

Student or working professional, no one at the event walked away empty-handed. Each of the nearly 300 attendees received a Gift Bag sponsored by Baptist Health Medical Center that contained a candle from Park Hill Home, a snack from Petit Jean Meats, and other items.

New to the 2017 event, presenting sponsor First Arkansas Bank & Trust gave a monetary donation in the name of each honoree to her charity or nonprofit of choice. Bethlehem House, Blackbird Academy of Arts, Conway Regional Women’s Council, Deliver Hope, Haven House, Renewal Ranch, and United Way of Central Arkansas each received donations of $500.

First Arkansas Bank & Trust donates $3500 to area nonprofits

Mark Wilson, senior vice president and chief operating officer at First Arkansas Bank & Trust, presented a check for $3500 to seven area nonprofits. FAB&T gave a $500 donation in the name of each honoree to her charity or nonprofit of choice. Representatives from the nonprofits are pictured with Wilson and the award winners.

Diamond Achievement Award

Lori Ross

Lori RossWith 30 years’ experience in marketing, public relations, and fundraising, Lori Ross helps tell the story of the staff who make up Conway Regional Health System. During her tenure as chief development officer and corporate director of marketing and Foundation, Conway Regional has received multiple advertising and public relations awards both in the state and nationally.

Ross is active in her church and community, serving as a board member for many organizations. These include Conway Corporation, Arkansas Society for Healthcare Marketing and Public Relations, Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, the MBA Advisory Board at UCA, and the St. Joseph School Board. As the mother of three daughters, Ross is quick to share the importance of a work-life balance with young women.


Outstanding Woman in Business

Susan McCoy

Susan McCoySusan McCoy has worked in family-owned Linn’s Auto since high school, becoming a partner with her parents Danny and Linda Linn and sister Christy Priester in 1996. In 2012, McCoy became the managing partner of Linn’s Auto, JSI Metal Recycling, and U-Pull-It of Conway. She is also a partner in four other businesses, including Four Season Service Company with her husband. McCoy is a past president of the Arkansas Automotive Dismantlers and Recyclers Association and a member of several regional and national metal and recycling groups. Locally, she is a member of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, Noon Rotary, and serves on the board of directors for United Way.


Outstanding Woman in Business

Lori Quinn

Lori QuinnLori Quinn believes that by working together, everyone is more effective in achieving goals. This is something that she puts into practice both as the editor of Women’s Inc. Magazine and as a realtor with Coldwell Banker RPM Group. She holds several committee chair positions on the Faulkner County Board of Realtors, is a graduate of the Realtors Leadership Academy, and recently was named to the board of directors for the Arkansas Realtors Association. Quinn has been involved with multiple local nonprofits, including Boys and Girls Club, Conway Symphony Orchestra, CASA, Conway Regional Women’s Council, and Haven. Currently she serves on the board of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce and Conway Downtown Partnership, Haven capital campaign committee, and volunteers with Deliver Hope and Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre. 


Outstanding Woman in Business

Kim Slaughter

Kim SlaughterKim Slaughter started The Blue Focus to help those with a small-business budget access large-business resources. The company began exclusively creating, growing, and managing Facebook business pages and has since expanded to include graphic design, animated explainer videos, promotional products, and printing services. Before coming to Conway, Slaughter started Prism Marketing and Management and Blue Mercy, both in Dallas. She is involved with local nonprofits, including Bethlehem House and Deliver Hope.


Outstanding Woman in Business

Margaret Smith

Margaret SmithAs a senior vice president, Margaret Smith has worn many hats at First Security Bank. Some of the accomplishments she is most proud of include the development of the Bank Better University, development and management of the corporate Customer Experience Program, and development of an orientation program for new employees. Smith has served with the Arkansas Bankers Association and on the board for the Arkansas Bank Marketing Association. She is a past board member for the Faulkner County 4-H, Conway Housing Authority, Faulkner County Leadership Institute, and Junior Achievement. She is currently on the editorial board for 501 Life magazine and is active on several committees through Renewal Ranch.


Outstanding Woman in Business

Dr. Christine Hurley

Dr. Christine HurleyChristine Hurley has dedicated her life to the benefit and service of others. During her 25 years in the industry, she has grown Hurley Chiropractic to within the top 1 percent of chiropractors nationally. Through conferences and speaking engagements, she has been able mentor others in the industry and share the success of Hurley Chiropractic. Dr. Hurley also believes in sharing what she has learned with employees and helping them succeed in both their professional and personal lives. However, she is most proud of the opportunity to serve patients and make a positive change in their lives. Dr. Hurley is active in her church and through Hurley Chiropractic, is involved with Bethlehem House and the Conway Women’s Shelter.


Outstanding Woman in Nonprofit

Jennie Strange

Jennie StrangeJennie Strange has a passion for encouraging children and families to pursue and enjoy the creative arts. Eight years ago, she founded the nonprofit Blackbird Academy of Arts. She has not only continually grown Blackbird to be a premiere arts studio but has also established a scholarship fund for arts education that has awarded over $160,000. Strange works to pull the local arts community together by hosting community forums with other arts leaders, partnering with other arts groups for events, and creating a monthly arts calendar in Women’s Inc. magazine to highlight arts events in town.


Outstanding Woman in Nonprofit

Maret Cahill-Wicks

Maret Cahill-WicksMaret Cahill-Wicks became the executive director of United Way of Central Arkansas in 2012. Under her leadership, the organization has increased its funding and exceeded goals for a number of pillars in the community. She has worked on several projects that have made a positive impact on United Way agencies, including updating the grant process, partnering with UCA to provide nonprofit workshop development, and adding the Charity Tracker program. Cahill-Wicks’ job is all about community service. She enjoys being able to advocate for local nonprofits and being able to make a difference in the community.

About the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce

For more than 125 years, the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce has served as the voice of the Conway, Arkansas, business community. It represents the interests of more than 1,400 members by promoting economic development in Conway and Faulkner County, advocating a pro-business climate at all levels of government, supporting the county’s educational institutions, and establishing and executing a vision for the community. To learn more about the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, visit

Congratulations to the 2017 honorees!

2017 Women in Business Honorees