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.
Pork Chops and Spaghetti (family recipe passed down for generations)
Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History
Legacy is not what people will say about you when you are gone, it is what people will do because of you.
Community, Loyalty, Healthy Relationships, Generosity and Small Delights
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.
Lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Then a big, rich slice of chocolate cake. Probably the whole cake!
1968 Mustang. It was loud, with a jacked up back end and wide back tires. I loved that car!
You can have it all, just not all at the same time.
Faith, Family, Excellence, Enthusiasm, Compassion
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 and serves as an adjunct professor.
Live a life grounded in the right identity
Early mornings when all is quiet
The world’s best yellow curry!
Commitment, Play, Wholeness, Present
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.
You don’t have to have it all figured out; just do the next right thing.
Connection, Dignity, Growth and Joy
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.
Rick’s Bakery – I did everything but bake cakes and fry donuts.
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.
Evening routine before bed. A little self-care and repeated rhythm is soothing and relaxing.
Enjoy something yummy on a patio – indirect sunlight and a warm breeze with music, some conversation, or a good book – perfect.
Family, Warmth & Openness, Learning, Empathy, Adaptability.
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.
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.
We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle
Slow mornings with some hot tea, and slow evenings in my sweatpants and house shoes.
One day at a time, One minute at a time, One second at a time – all we have is time.
Connection, Vulnerability and Creativity.
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.
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.
Never miss an opportunity to encourage someone with a smile.
“Learn all the parts if you fully want to understand your role.” – My Father, Joe L. Gibbs (retired Army)
Working as a research assistant at USDA. As a teenager, I spent two summers researching termites. Who would have thought??
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.
The shore of the Buffalo River in Gilbert, Arkansas
Cook for those I love, especially my husband Keith and our grown children and family when they visit
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.
Stephen M. R. Covey’s The Speed of Trust – because trust is foundational for leadership and successful relationships
Sandy is an adventurer, traveling the globe interviewing men and women in transition, leadership and intrigued with growing their awareness and mindset for positive growth. She founded Yuuma to facilitate important conversations as an International Coaching Federation Professional Coach with CEOs, high potential employees, executive directors, boards, teams and individuals. Understanding that change is not only inevitable, but healthy, Sandy values partnering with clients for those important aha moments and decision-making to not only reach goals, but also discover personal satisfaction and success.
She is accredited in Cognitive-Based Coaching, Mindfulness techniques to lower stress, heighten creativity and problem-solving and has a Master Degree in Sociology and Human Behavior. A native of Chicago, Sandy has been living in Arkansas for the past 25 years, working as a consultant and coach in multiple states.
Sedona, Arizona and the Grand Canyon
Spend time with my family, Paddle board, write and play poker
Be here now, and don’t take yourself too seriously
Stories That Stick by Kendra Hall
Laura is a developer of leaders and an expert in innovative training methods with more than two decades of experience in organizational consulting, leadership coaching, and curriculum development.
She served as an analyst with the Department of Defense where she facilitated briefings and workshops for government and military officials at all levels of leadership. She later oversaw a team of paid staff and over 500 volunteer leaders in her role as a small groups pastor in Washington, DC. As a certified LEGO Serious Play facilitator, Laura employs a blend of analytical and creative approaches to problem-solving and leadership development.
Laura holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Semiotics, Church, and Culture from Portland Seminary and a Master’s in Teaching from the University of Arkansas. Her academic background informs her professional approach, utilizing metaphor and storytelling as pivotal tools for organizational development. As a semiologist, her curiosity drives her passion for finding meaningful connections in seemingly disparate things.
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.
Spending quality time with my family and discussing the best parts of our day with everyone around the dinner table.
Making milkshakes at our small-town Dairy Bar
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.
From my dad….if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well
Faith, Family, Health, Team Spirit, Excellence and Encouragement
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.
Multipliers by Liz Wiseman
Faith, Family, Contribution, Authenticity, Growth, Focus
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.
Character trumps Competence, and true Success is measured by the impact you make on others, not by personal fame & fortune.
Character, Integrity, Servant Leadership, Humility, and Positive Attitude