Reprinted from the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal
Oct. 17, 2002
Elise Mitchell, president of Mitchell Communications Group Inc. of Fayetteville, was named Business Executive of the Year Oct. 10 at the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal's annual Business of the Year banquet.
"I never would have achieved this kind of recognition if it were not for the great clients I have, who allow me to partner with them, and the group of professionals who are on my team," Mitchell said after the event. "I'm amazed and of course delighted."
Mitchell's public relations and marketing company, which she launched in 1995, now has a client base that includes Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. of Lowell and Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale.
About 400 people attended the banquet, which was held at the Springdale Holiday Inn.
"I came away from that night so energized about where our region is going because the caliber of the people in that room was unbelievable," Mitchell said. "They had all raised the bar in their niche, whatever it was. I was struck by how thrilled I was to be in the company of those leaders."
Mitchell said she woke up in the middle of the night after the event and turned on the light in her bedroom.
"I looked at that award to make sure my name was really on it," she said. "What a tremendous honor for me to receive it. I know that any of the honorees for the Business Executive of the Year award could have won that honor. When you recognize businesses of different sizes and nonprofits, you give a chance to people who are small, like me."
Judges for the awards were: Susan Barrett, president and CEO of Mercy Health System of Northwest Arkansas Inc., Rogers; Mary Ann Greenwood, president and investment adviser, M.A. Greenwood & Associates Inc., Fayetteville; Steve Hankins, chief financial officer, Tyson Foods Inc., Springdale; H. Collins Haynes, CEO and design principal, Haynes and Associates Ltd., Rogers; and Coleman Peterson, executive vice president, People Division, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bentonville.
Darin Gray, publisher of the Business Journal, said the 29 nominees showed that Northwest Arkansas' economy is somewhat insulated from the national recession.
"I was quickly reminded of just how blessed we are to live in Northwest Arkansas," Gray said. "What we primarily saw [in the awards ceremony] was companies with 100 employees or fewer who are helping drive the local economy."