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Alex Cornett

Alex is a Milestone Leadership partner with over 35 years experience in the food industry, working in leadership roles at Steak and Ale Corporation, The Pillsbury Company, General Mills and Milestone, as well as voluntarily serving a variety of non-profit organizations. Prior to joining Milestone Leadership, Alex built Pillsbury’s cross-functional business team in Northwest Arkansas, leading the team through and after the General Mills acquisition of Pillsbury. He later led sales and marketing efforts across the Supercenter and Division 1 formats and was also responsible for leading the General Mills partnership with Walmart’s rapidly growing Small Format division.

In addition, Alex worked with the General Mills International Team to build and scale the international partnership between Walmart and General Mills and served as the supplier lead for Walmart’s Sustainable Food and Agricultural network. Alex’s areas of expertise are Strategic Planning, Executive Coaching, Starting and Leading Multifunctional Customer Teams, Sales, Innovation and Marketing. Alex is on the Board of Directors for JOYN LLC, has been active on the Development Council for The Jones Center and the Walton Arts Center, and was a Board member for the Center for Retailing Excellence at the University of Arkansas. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas-Arlington.

My last meal would be

Pork Chops and Spaghetti (family recipe passed down for generations)

Podcast recommendations

Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History

Favorite time of day


If I’ve learned one thing it is

Legacy is not what people will say about you when you are gone, it is what people will do because of you.

Things I value most in life

Community, Loyalty, Healthy Relationships, Generosity and Small Delights

Sandy Tush

Sandy is a Milestone Leadership partner who specializes in the creation and delivery of programs that fulfill Milestone’s mission of Building Leaders Worth Following. This work includes the utilization of a variety of assessment instruments to help leaders identify their strengths and development needs. Sandy oversees the assessment suite, and her certifications include The Birkman Method, MBTI, EQ-i 2.0, Change Style Indicator, and CCL’s Benchmarks 360 degree feedback tools.

Sandy brings over 35 years of experience in adult education and leadership development. She served as the Executive Development Center program manager at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., before joining Milestone. Prior to that, she held the position of Content Developer / Facilitator for Home Office People Development. She also taught Computer Science courses at community colleges. Sandy is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and holds the SHRM-CP certification as well as the Professional in Human Resources (PHR). Sandy is passionate about healthy living and is a Mayo Clinic certified Wellness Coach.

My last meal would be

Lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Then a big, rich slice of chocolate cake. Probably the whole cake!

My first car

1968 Mustang. It was loud, with a jacked up back end and wide back tires. I loved that car!

Favorite time of day

Definitely morning

Best advice I ever received

You can have it all, just not all at the same time.

Things I value most in life

Faith, Family, Excellence, Enthusiasm, Compassion

Erik Dees, PhD

Before becoming a Milestone Leadership Partner, Erik served as an Executive Pastor in Southern California. Prior to his 10 years of work in full time ministry, Erik spent 18 years with Walmart Inc.’s Logistics division. While at Walmart, Erik worked in logistic operations and eventually specialized in leadership development roles. These roles included curriculum design and delivery, custom facilitation programs, senior leadership development, multimedia management, experiential learning and virtual broadcasting. Erik is certified in The Birkman Method and CCL’s Benchmarks 360-degree feedback tools.

Erik holds a BA in Theology, a Master’s in Transformational Leadership and a PhD in Organizational Leadership. Erik’s dissertation research includes a case study in which he explored the extent to which an organization with articulated organizational values had integrated their organizational values into policies, processes, and daily operations. His areas of expertise also include executive coaching, facilitation, curriculum development and program design. Erik is also a contributing author to the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal.

Favorite thing at an amusement park

Roller coasters

If I've learned one thing, it is

Live a life grounded in the right identity

Favorite time of day

Early mornings when all is quiet

My last meal would be

The world’s best yellow curry!

Things I value most in life

Commitment, Play, Wholeness, Present

Stephanie Brown
Operations Manager, Facilitator

Stephanie serves as Operations Manager at Milestone Leadership, leading the Fellowship program and supporting program delivery. She first joined the organization in 2010 as a Graduate Fellow. Following graduation, Stephanie worked in the nonprofit sector before rejoining Milestone Leadership.

She is passionate about developing future leaders and fulfilling Milestone’s mission to build leaders worth following. Stephanie holds certifications in The Birkman Method and CCL’s Benchmarks 360 Degree Feedback tools. Stephanie is married to Andrew Brown, and is mother to Ellis Jane.

Susan Holt
Project Coordinator

Susan serves as a Project Coordinator at Milestone Leadership. She graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2005 with a BA in Communication. She has been a birth educator and parent mentor in Northwest Arkansas since 2008, supporting and empowering hundreds of families. As a busy parent of four, she has developed a knack for seeing what needs attention and finding a way to get it done.

As an adult educator and a project coordinator, Susan is motivated to help people learn to work with their strengths to be their best selves. She considers herself a life-long learner and regularly seeks out new opportunities to increase her base of knowledge and experience through seminars, certifications, and peer group discussions. Susan is married to Aaron Holt and is mom to Riley, Silas, Jonah, and Darcy.

My first job

Rick’s Bakery – I did everything but bake cakes and fry donuts.

My first car

I drove a 9-passenger station wagon in high school – I was very popular for my ability to transport a lot of people for senior lunch and youth functions.

Favorite time of day

Evening routine before bed. A little self-care and repeated rhythm is soothing and relaxing.

One of my favorite things to do is

Enjoy something yummy on a patio – indirect sunlight and a warm breeze with music, some conversation, or a good book – perfect.

Things I value most in life

Family, Warmth & Openness, Learning, Empathy, Adaptability.

Lynette Voss
Project Coordinator

Lynette serves as a Project Coordinator at Milestone Leadership.  She graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a BS in Psychology and Aurora University with a MS in Recreation Administration.  Lynette’s professional experience is in nonprofit program management, project management, grant writing and reporting, and SaaS sales. She previously worked at Milestone Leadership helping design and deliver experiential learning on the low and high ropes courses. Lynette is certified in The Birkman Method Assessment. 

Outside of work you can find Lynette on the mountain bike trails or in the lakes and creeks of NWA with her two boys, Lucas and Nathan. She also coaches mountain bike lessons for kids and volunteers with the Arkansas NICA League Race Crew.

My first job

Cashier at Pizza Hut!

My last meal would be

Chicken Salad with Fruit & Strawberry Shortcake from Ivanhoe’s in Upland, Indiana.  

Favorite time of day

Sunrise and Sunset.

One of my favorite things to do

Reading any book that is HARD to put down.

Things I value most in life

 Community, Connection, Adventure 

Brooke Woessner
Project Coordinator

Brooke is a Project Coordinator for Milestone Leadership, assisting in the communication process of programs while organizing day-to-day tasks for the company. Graduating with a B.A in Strategic Communication and a B.A in Christian Studies from Ouachita Baptist University in May of 2020, she is now continuing her education with a M.S in Leadership at John Brown University.

As an extroverted introvert, Brooke is eager to see others and herself grow both personally and professionally. Serving alongside people in the realm of leadership development excites her, and diving deeper into self-discovery motivates her to continue to do hard things.

Brooke says, “I love being able to equally practice my desire for organizational administration and help people with their leadership development growth. Being able to work alongside people who emphasize the importance of both emotional well-being and building skill sets in the workplace is refreshing. I know I can depend on my co-workers to challenge me and encourage me in my personal leadership development.”

Brooke can be found spending time with her friends or exploring the beauty of the Ozarks during the weekends, and finding new ways to be creative in the kitchen or with her knitting needles after a work day.

My last meal would be

A big dish of Pad See Ew with pan-seared tofu (level 2 spiciness) with a side of fried vegetable spring rolls and an unsweet tea. Then a beautiful slice of yellow cake with fudge frosting for dessert.

Podcast recommendation

We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle

Favorite time of day

Slow mornings with some hot tea, and slow evenings in my sweatpants and house shoes.

Best advice I ever received

One day at a time, One minute at a time, One second at a time – all we have is time.

Things I value most in life

Connection, Vulnerability and Creativity.


Milestone Leadership’s facilitators and executive coaches use multiple interactions with the group and individuals to create an environment to deepen understanding of partnership, trust, vision that inspires confidence and a deepening connection among followers.

Jolana Bostwick

Jolana received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Sciences, with an emphasis in Sociology and a minor in English in 2005. In 2007, she received her master’s degree in Community Development, both from Delta State University in Cleveland, MS.  She was later inducted into the University’s Hall of Fame for her academics and student involvement.

Her professional career started in 2007 as Assistant Director of Delta State’s Bologna Performing Arts Center where she was listed among the 30 under 30 in the MS Delta by the Delta Business Journal. She moved to Northwest Arkansas in 2008 where she worked as a PR professional for the Walton Arts Center. She later worked at several nonprofit organizations as a Fundraising professional raising millions through grant writing, event planning, and individual giving campaigns.

Jolana has also volunteered for various organizations to help combat child abuse and domestic violence, two of her great passions. Additionally, she has served as a foster and adoptive parent of her two adult sons, Anthony & Andrew.

In June 2019, Jolana started Peak Potential LLC which focuses on transforming lives from burnout to breakthrough. She encourages her clients to gain better life balance by offering inspirational messages, enhanced organizational skills, opportunities for fellowship, and a place for restoration. She is also a life and executive coach and publishes an uplifting and encouraging magazine, FAVOR! Jolana and her husband, Adam, enjoy the outdoors together with their four rescue dogs.

My favorite movie is

Imitation of Life (1959). I watched this movie as a young teenager. It taught me early on about the importance of loving and accepting who you are before it’s too late.

If I've learned one thing it is

Never miss an opportunity to encourage someone with a smile.

Best advice I ever received

“Learn all the parts if you fully want to understand your role.” – My Father, Joe L. Gibbs (retired Army)

My first job was

Working as a research assistant at USDA. As a teenager, I spent two summers researching termites. Who would have thought??

Jessica Salmon

Jessica Salmon is an intrapreneur, with over 12 years of industry experience creating customer-centered strategies. She is the founder of Greenhouse Launch Lab, a startup designed to help industry leaders harness the power of design thinking, empathy, and innovative leadership mindsets. Prior to this, she has been the Director of both the McMillon Innovation Studio and the Center for Retail Excellence at the University of Arkansas, where she equipped interdisciplinary students with skills, mindsets, and tools for the future of work, partnering with industry executives.

Jessica also spent over 7 years at Walmart and Sam’s Club in various roles across Innovation, Strategy, Marketing and Finance, working on several innovation projects with key partners, like IDEO. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Taylor University and a Master of Business Administration from Penn State University. Jessica’s approach lies at the intersection of strategy development, execution, and customer-centric thinking. She is passionate about creating disruptive strategies, that focus on a deep understanding of customers.

Jessica and her husband, Brian, enjoy the outdoors, sports and most importantly, time with their three daughters – Riley, Madelyn, and Mackenzie. Jessica also enjoys running and reading.

Paula Ihms

Paula Ihms founded Inspiring Leadership in 2016 to provide thoughtful leadership, design and execution of key pipeline initiatives to ensure individuals and organizations are well-prepared to accomplish current and future strategic objectives. She has partnered with Fortune 500 executives, new managers, pastors and college students helping to build effective teams and rewarding careers. Paula is a certified consultant of Covey, Birkman International, Myers-Briggs, and Achieve Global. She earned a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Masters in Communication and teaches at the University of Arkansas.

Paula enjoys coaching students to deliver more effective public presentations as an adjunct instructor at the University of Arkansas.

After eight moves in 22 years, Paula returned to her hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas to enjoy the pleasure of family, life-long friends and the beauty of the Ozark Mountains.

My favorite place is

The shore of the Buffalo River in Gilbert, Arkansas

One of my favorite things to do is

Cook for those I love, especially my husband Keith and our grown children and family when they visit

Best advice I ever received

When I became a mother 28 years ago, a co-worker and friend told me, “Try to remember the days are long but the years are short.” No other parenting advice proved as true.

One of my favorite books is

Stephen M. R. Covey’s The Speed of Trust – because trust is foundational for leadership and successful relationships

Lori Brown
Executive in Residence

Lori is a seasoned executive with a history of successfully leading consumer goods organizations to achieve significant growth and market presence. She has been effective in developing long-term strategies with customer partners that achieved breakthrough results. Lori is known for building high-performance teams and has a heart for community service and leadership development. Lori enjoyed a 26-year career with large CPG companies and spent over 20 years leading business development initiatives with large customers, including Walmart and Sam’s Club.

Her career has featured progressive growth in responsibility and challenge at both Sara Lee and Kimberly-Clark. Lori is currently an Executive in Residence with Milestone Leadership where she facilitates a cohort-based Leadership Circle for Suppliers. In this program, she leads key industry talent in developing the skills necessary to deliver business results and helps build leaders worth following. Additionally, Lori serves as an executive coach to rising business leaders. Lori is married to Mike Brown and is the mother of their two sons, Mason and Marcus.

My favorite thing at home is

Spending quality time with my family and discussing the best parts of our day with everyone around the dinner table.

My first job was

Making milkshakes at our small-town Dairy Bar

Favorite time of day

I love the early mornings. My favorite would be to watch the sun rise over the ocean while sitting on the beach. Every day is a new opportunity to refresh and reboot, to be better than you were yesterday.

Best advice I ever received

From my dad….if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well

Things I value most in life

Faith, Family, Health, Team Spirit, Excellence and Encouragement

Chuck Hyde

Chuck Hyde is a trusted advisor to CEOs, key executives and emerging leaders. He has a track record of building teams, acquiring and maximizing talent, and delivering results.  He is the Founder and Principal of C3 Advisors, LLC., a private consulting practice focused on executive leadership and talent optimization.

Chuck’s professional career started in the Fortune 100 with Kimberly-Clark.  An operator at heart, he spent eight years in manufacturing plants and four years in staff roles supporting them.  His roles included engineering, regulatory compliance, quality systems, operations, and project management.  Chuck spent the next 12 years in the consulting industry with Soderquist Leadership, his last eight as CEO.  Chuck then served for four years as a Chair for private peer advisory boards through Vistage Worldwide.

Since 2017, Chuck has continued to serve as an Associate with Milestone Leadership in addition to his private practice.  Chuck is a Certified Talent Optimization Consultant through Predictive Index and is the Managing Partner for Northwest Arkansas for Ingage Human Capital Strategies.

Chuck earned his MBA from John Brown University in 2008 and his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Arkansas in 1992. Chuck serves on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County.  He and his wife, Brian, have two sons, Charley and Jonathan.

Favorite thing at an amusement park

The exit

Favorite leadership book

Multipliers by Liz Wiseman

The historical figure I most admire is

Abraham Lincoln

The App I cannot live without


Things I value most in life

Faith, Family, Contribution, Authenticity, Growth, Focus

Tom Verdery

Tom Verdery serves as Associate Facilitator and Executive Coach for Milestone Leadership and is currently Professor Emeritus in the College of Business at John Brown University. Tom has over 34 years of experience working with Procter & Gamble, of which the last 14 years spent at the senior leadership level working exclusively outside the US. Tom came to Northwest Arkansas in 1989 when P&G asked him to be part of their first multi-functional supplier team with Wal-Mart.

After retirement from P&G, he was Executive in Residence at Soderquist Leadership and Professor in Business, specializing in Leadership & Ethics until his retirement in July 2018. Tom’s key areas of expertise include Strategic Planning and Executive Coaching, where he holds several coaching certifications from CCL and leadership training certifications from DLI & Ken Blanchard Companies. Tom holds an MBA from The University of Dallas and a BBA from Texas Tech University. Tom enjoys spending his free time traveling with his wife and children, along with fishing both locally and across the US.

Best advice I ever received

Character trumps Competence, and true Success is measured by the impact you make on others, not by personal fame & fortune.

Things I value most in life

Character, Integrity, Servant Leadership, Humility, and Positive Attitude

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