Meet Chris Hancock!
Chris Hancock is part of the TBLR Steering Committee and the Education Task Force. He is also Vice Chair of Create Little Rock, the young professionals of the Little Rock Regional Chamber. Chris serves on the Little Rock City Beautiful Commission and is Communications Officer of Winrock International.
When asked why he is involved with Think Big Little Rock, he said:
"Think Big Little Rock is a unique opportunity to influence the future of our community for young professionals in a way that benefits our greater community.
Over the past year, I’ve been developing a policy proposal to increase access to affordable quality PreK. This issue directly affects many young professionals but the benefits of increasing access cascade across our community – from the ability of employers to attract and retain talent, to preventing crime and avoiding future costs of literacy intervention and remediation services.
Access to PreK is a key indicator for future literacy rates. At first, a child learns to read, then they read to learn. Literacy is the gateway to all other disciplines and lifelong learning.
We’re fortunate that LRSD has an exceptional PreK program. We need to build capacity so that more families and the broader community can reap the benefits. My proposal is a market-based solution that will gradually build capacity to meet demand and make the program more sustainable.
Without TBLR, I would not have had the opportunity to think big about PreK or to work with local experts while collaborating with this passionate group of committed community developers."
Meet Kalena Jones, an active member of the Diversity Task Force for Think Big Little Rock!
Kalena serves as an Organizational Development Specialist II at Baptist Health where her focus is on the talent development of people, innovation, and leadership. Her role involves developing the strategy, design, implementation, and evaluation of programs that enhance organizational performance across the Baptist Health System.
Kalena is a native of Little Rock and its private and public school systems. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a Master’s Degree in Health Administration from Webster University, St. Louis.
She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Health Administration with an emphasis in Leadership and Organizational Behavior from A.T. Still University Graduate School of Health Sciences.
Sarah has written before about the scene here in Little Rock. She has been working on it and in it for many years. Anyone within earshot has heard her praise its richness of talent and bemoan its dearth of support. She says, "We are a lucky city - to have such remarkable musicians and artists and creators working and living here. And overall, we completely take this for granted."
When asked how she got to be involved with Think Big Little Rock, she said:
"When I learned that the Chamber had made Arts and Culture the focus of one of the task forces, I was immediately hopeful that, perhaps finally, some progress could be made to increase the support, the recognition, and the bolstering of our creative community. The thoughtful and interesting people in our task force have worked for months to accurately identify ways in which Little Rock could improve access to our artistic resources, better support our artistic residents, and do more to make the city a place both artists and patrons enjoy. I am deeply proud of the ideas that have been proposed and look forward to sharing them with you all. In the meantime, hear some music, see some art, enjoy a festival, eat out for dinner, take in a play, and hug your local creatives. They need you."
Meet Kody Robinson! He's one of the most active members of the economic development task force and brings passion, intellect and drive to our project.
When asked why Kody participates in Think Big Little Rock, he said:
"Little Rock can be a hub for young professionals across the country. We have amazing companies, startups, and investors just waiting to help the next group of young professionals coming to the Natural State. Us here in the Economic Development group are helping with anything from ideas to implementation. Little Rock has potential to be the best. We see that and we will make it happen.”
Meet Isis Pettway, member of the Education Task Force!
"Think Big Little Rock is a great initiative for my generation because we are full of ideas to help the city progress and needed a way for them to be heard, worked on, and eventually executed into action. In order to get things going you have to be in the room where things are happening and decisions are being made because change happens from the inside out. I’m glad to be a part of this initiative as we do our part to move the city of Little Rock onward and upward!”