The Leadership Fort Smith New Class Reception was held last month at the Blue Lion at UAFS Downtown in Fort Smith. At this event, the 25 citizens selected for the Leadership Fort Smith Class of 2018 were announced for the first time.

The 25 participants were selected based on leadership or potential leadership ability and commitment to the community, along with several other factors and considerations. An effort is made each year to build a diverse, well-rounded class representative of the Fort Smith region.

Leadership Fort Smith is a 10-month program that offers participants a backstage pass to the Fort Smith region. The class will focus on the strengths, challenges, needs and overall community issues that participants can directly address. Sessions will cover diverse topics such as education, health care, history, crime, local government and community outreach. In addition, participants will learn about economic development and will have the opportunity to see, hear and meet the catalysts for growth in the region. Leadership Fort Smith is a professional development opportunity that benefits the participant, his or her employer and the community.

The goal of the program is reflected by the tag line on its logo — Learn, Connect, and Lead. The program gives participants the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of our community, connect with community leaders and organizations and then use that knowledge to lead.

Leadership Fort Smith has been a community leadership program of the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce since 1987, graduating the inaugural class in 1988.

The Leadership Fort Smith Class of 2018 participants include:

• Alan Dickinson, Preferred Office Products;

• Allison Davis, Donald W. Reynolds Crisis Intervention Center;

• Anna Gunther, ArcBest Technologies;

• Catherine Nesbit, Harry Robinson Buick GMC;

• Christina Williams, Simmons Foods;

• Crystal Costa, Times Record;

• Dalton Person, J.D., U.S. District Court, Western District of Arkansas;

• David Shapiro, retired;

• Gina Null, MSN, APRN, ANp-BC, AOCNP, Mercy Fort Smith;

• Harvey Potts, M.D., MHP, Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine;

• Heather Sanders, John Q Hammons Hotels (Courtyard Marriott);

• Jasmine Hattabaugh, University of Arkansas at Fort Smith;

• John Craig, BancorpSouth;

• Jordan Hale, University of Arkansas at Fort Smith;

• Keith Lux, Ameriprise Financial, Siebenmorgen and Associates;

• Kevin Stiles, Arvest Bank;

• Malea Hendrickson, First National Bank of Fort Smith;

• Meagan Bowling, University of Arkansas at Fort Smith;

• Pamela Hindes, Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority;

• Penni Burns, United Way of Fort Smith Area;

• Russell Hayes, Mars Petcare;

• Stephanie Freeman, Fort Smith Public Schools;

• Susan Pruitt, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkoma;

• Timothy Toolen, Midwest Bus Sales;

• Wendy Mathis, City of Fort Smith.

Visit or the Leadership Fort Smith Facebook page at for information.