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Panelists from Women in Charge pose after event

Left to right, Lori Brooks, Sharon Brooks, Tammy Pacheco, and Beth Presley following Women's History Month Panel

Events | Arts and SciencesApril 07, 2023

UAFS Concludes Women’s History Month with Local Women in Charge Panel

Written By: Ian Silvester

On Monday, March 27, 2023, a panel of four local leaders spoke at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith highlighting their successes and path to getting to where they are. What made the panel unique: all four leaders were women.

As Women’s History Month nears its end, the UAFS Democracy Project hosted “Women in Charge,” a panel discussion with four local women leaders, all with their own connection to the university. Those featured included Beth Presley, CEO of the Fort Smith Boys and Girls Club; Sharon Brooks, Sebastian County Clerk; Tammy Pacheco, owner of Alfa and Omega Multi Services; and Lori Brooks, Vice President of Experience and Marketing at ArcBest.

Whether as a student, staff member or involved with the university on the community level, all four women discussed the importance of UAFS and credited the university for helping each of them in their current roles.

“I love being a woman that has confidence and the ability to move things forward in the community,” explained Presley.

Her three other panel members shared a similar sentiment, urging fellow women and everyone else to believe in themselves and their values. All four hold their current leadership position by not staying in one place. Instead, each pushed themselves into uncomfortable territory.

Presley says from her experience, “you can achieve anything; you just have to put your mindset to it. Don’t be afraid to change and follow your passions.”

Although there continues to be a stigma surrounding women leading a business, organization, or government, Women’s History Month strives to change that. It starts with conversations like the one held at UAFS.

Presley is thankful she has not faced that stigma but understands it exists and can hurt the confidence of another woman or young girl who looks up to her at the Fort Smith Boys and Girls Club.

“I’ve always had the mindset that if my brothers can do it, I can do it,” recalled Presley of her own childhood. “Anytime I can give some of that attitude back, I love doing that.”

Women’s History Month concluded on March 31, but through the support of events like “Women in Charge,” successes can be celebrated year-round.

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  • UAFS Democracy Project
  • Women's History Month
  • Community