Gabrielle Korn is a journalist and author. She’s currently the Director of Fashion and Culture at Refinery29. From 2017-2019, she was the Editor in Chief of NYLON Media. Under her editorial leadership, NYLON became a fully digital brand; she also led an editorial rebrand to prioritize racial diversity, queer inclusivity, and body positivity. She spent three years working on NYLON’s digital presence before being promoted to EIC. Prior to that, she was the beauty editor at Refinery29, working to expand the brand’s concept of what beauty meant to the millennial reader. She graduated from NYU’s Gallatin School Of Individualized Study with a concentration in feminist/queer theory and writing in 2011. Her debut book EVERYBODY (ELSE) IS PERFECT, about internet feminism and social media beauty standards, comes out in June 2020 from Simon and Schuster’s Atria imprint. She was named one of Brooklyn Magazine’s 30 Under 30 in 2018 and in 2019 was a finalist for AdAge’s Diversity & Inclusion Champion of The Year award.
Stella is currently serving as the Director for Supply Chain Security Governance with Walmart Inc. Since joining Walmart in 2007, Stella has held in a variety of leadership roles in apparel, visual merchandising, responsible sourcing and customs security compliance.
Stella brings both breadth and depth of experience in manufacturing, factory production, product development and creative services, having worked in a range of roles from creative design, technical design and patternmaking to production management and merchandizing. Beginning her career working in sewing factories, Stella worked her way through a variety of positions from sewing machine operator, owning an apparel design company to her current role at Walmart. In 1989 she opened her first company called Chief Cutting Service, which grew into Robella’s, an apparel house specializing in high-end Missy separates. In 2003 she entered into the retail side of the business, working in product development, sourcing, visual merchandising and compliance.
She grew up on a farm in North Texas, just outside of Dallas. The house was filled with family antiques lovingly passed down, and lots of handmade textiles by her Mum and Aunties. The rural life gave her a rooted love for nature. The talent of her Mum and the arts that surrounded the family gave her the love for the traditional. Living in Dallas metropolitan area gave the appreciation for urban, contemporary and the energy the metro produced.
Stella is known for her continuous quest to “connect the dots” that each of us represent in this wonderful journey where life and art intersect. She encourages the meaningfulness that comes from creating and the empowerment creativity gives each of us to make a positive difference.
Sunshine Broder has been involved in NWA Fashion Week since 2012 in many capacities. Her stylistic vision and talent have been put to use in many events and editorial shoots since the very beginning of the organization. Sunshine is one of NWA’s few female voices on the radio. She proudly owns the 6 to 9a segment, Sunshine in the Morning, on Northwest Arkansas’ native station 104.9 the X.
Andrew Zurborg was born and raised in Springdale, AR, and has lived in Fayetteville since he attended the University of Arkansas. He graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree from the Fulbright College.
After graduating, Andrew began working for Legacy National Bank, which is headquartered in Springdale, as a credit analyst in the loan department. Currently, Andrew works as the VP Portfolio Manager for the loan portfolio at the bank’s branch in Fayetteville. Andrew works with managing and growing Legacy’s commercial loan portfolio in Fayetteville ranging from small business start-ups to large established business in Northwest Arkansas.
Andrew has always been passionate supporting and giving back to the community
whether through working with local businesses in a professional capacity or
volunteering with local organizations.
Stephanie Funk is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Howse’s newest division, Howse Innovations. Prior to her current position, she was the Vice President of Strategy and Engagement for Metova, Inc., and the Founder and CEO of Acorn: The Influence Co. Her expertise includes marketing, business development, customer experience optimization, advertising, public speaking, product management, and digital strategy and operations.
Meredith is a patent attorney, assisting a variety of individual entrepreneurs and companies in their efforts to obtain patent, trademark, and copyright protection. Her practice is focused on the variety of consumer goods and fashion items developed and commercialized here regionally and internationally. In 2015, she drafted the legislation to protect the likeness of individual Arkansas residents from commercialization, which is commonly known as the Broyles Act and is the most recent legislative change to intellectual property law in Arkansas. Meredith has been named a Rising Star by Mid-South Super Lawyers from 2012-2015 in the field of Intellectual Property and is included in the 2018 and 2019 editions of The Best Lawyers in America® in Patent Law.
Meredith is an active volunteer in Northwest Arkansas, also lending her time beyond AAFF to the following committees and organizations:
- Alzheimer’s Association’s Blondes vs. Brunettes Flag Football team as co-captain for NWA Team Brunette
- American Diabetes Association planning committee for the annual Kiss a Pig Gala
- Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families Northwest Arkansas Soup Sunday committee
- Arkansas Small Business Technology Development Center, Fayetteville speaker
- Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Artinfusion council
- Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce Leadership Fayetteville planning committee
- Northwest Arkansas Technology Summit planning committee and as co-chair in 2017
- Northwest Arkansas Technology Summit Women in Technology planning committee chair
- Scott Family Amazeum annual Ungala planning committee
- Single Parent Scholarship Fund of NWA Development Committee and Community Leadership Council
Tony Waller is Senior Director, Constituent Relations for Walmart in Bentonville, AR. In his position he actively works in helping to set strategy for the company’s outreach opportunities and social investments in diverse and multicultural communities. His portfolio includes the African American, Hispanic, Asian American & Pacific Islander and Native American communities as well as Women, People with Disabilities and Millennials. Tony joined Walmart December 2006.
Tony is a strong supporter of the arts and serves on the Corporate Advisory Council of the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, AR. A graduate of the University of Virginia, he is a diehard WAHOO. He remains very active with The University and served on the board of the Walter N. Ridley Scholarship Fund, named after its first African-American graduate. In addition, he is a passionate collector of African-American art & sculpture, antique watches, vintage cuff links, eyewear, children’s story books and quotes. Shoes however are his kryptonite.
Tony strives to live each and every day by the words of his mother, Barbara jean Motley Waller, “Keep flowing with The River for The River knows exactly where It is going.”
DR. LAURIE APPLE
Dr. Apple is in her eighteenth year at the University of Arkansas. She teaches in Apparel Merchandising and Product Development, which includes apparel product development, textiles and computer aided textile design. Dr. Apple currently teaches Textiles and Computer Aided Textile Design, her senior level textile design course has successfully designed graphic t-shirts for the Dillard’s men’s division, Camp Siloam Springs, in Siloam Springs, AR, Beautiful Lives Boutique and Shiloh Christian School. Dr. Apple serves the University of Arkansas, the School of Human Environmental Sciences and the AMPD program on a variety of committees. She also serves her professional organization, the International Textile and Apparel Association, as an annual conference registration chair, study abroad special session chair as well as two additional committees within the organization. She serves the apparel industry as a member of the Walmart Technical Collaboration Board. Dr. Apple’s research agenda includes body image and fit of clothing using the 3D body scanner, developing new blocks for size specifications and using textiles to interest junior high females in STEM related careers. Dr. Apple has a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and a Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater.
Born and raised in a suburb of St. Louis, MO, Jack has lived in Fayetteville, AR since 2007. He found his way to Fayetteville after having received a bachelors as DePauw University in Greencastle, IN and completing a two year commitment to the Teach for American Corps in Charlotte, NC. Jack moved to Arkansas to transition out of education and into the for profit sector as he worked in manufacturing sales for Ash Grove Packaging. He continued to work there while attending graduate school at the University of Arkansas until graduation in 2011 when he transitioned to Rich Products, where he works today. Through his entire life, Jack has always been drawn to charity, a way to support and give back to the community he has received so much from. As an undergrad, Jack served as the logistics coordinator for Relay for Life of the American Cancer Society in the second largest event in the nation. As a young professional, Jack served as an Assistant Scoutmaster for a Boy Scout troop in Charlotte, NC and has helped several organizations in Arkansas ranging from Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Redbone Fishing Tournament to the American Diabetes Association Kiss A Pig Gala and American Heart Association’s Paint the Town Red. Jack got involved with Fashion Week in 2017 when Jordan Sherrod, Chairman Emeritus, asked to help organize volunteers for the event. He has continued to support the organization since as a means to help local designers, artists and small business in Northwest Arkansas.
Blake is a nonprofit advocate and insurance professional in Northwest Arkansas where they have lived for the past 15 years. They are a two-time graduate of the University of Arkansas and the Owner/Consultative Director of Edward Joseph Consulting, LLC. and EJC Events.
They have spent the last several years working in special events from small nonprofit fundraisers to multi-million dollar music festivals across the US. They developed a particular passion for working with volunteers to create meaningful experiences and learning opportunities across the events spectrum. The opportunity to work with NWAFW was a no-brainer, uniquely blending their experiences with nonprofit consulting, volunteer coordination and high-value event production.
Sindhu Varagani is the Bentonville-based designer for the brand ETHWES. Designing clothes has struck a cord with her ever since she can remember. Blame her Mom who was a dress maker by hobby! This led her to pursue diploma in fashion designing in India and work with a designer in New York before she decided to set off on my own.
Through ETHWES she offers ethnic and western wear and a fusion of both these styles. Her special interests include versatile clothing (two way and multi look dresses), designer casuals and theme based dressings for any occasion adults or kids
Carli Rosencranz has eleven years of experience and held multiple roles at Walmart, starting in Marketing supporting Hardlines and Seasonal, and currently is the Senior Director of Private Brands, Dry Grocery & Commercial Bread. She leads a team of talented culinary, food science, and sourcing professionals, responsible for the sourcing and development of over 1,800 Private Brand items across 50+ categories with over $6B in annual sales. She is passionate about developing and challenging others as well as herself and has a broad network of mentees and mentors in various areas of the business.
Carli completed graduate school in Market Research at UT Arlington. She spent five years with Dallas- area Decision Analyist, and had the opportunity to work with many clients across various industries, while progressing from Intern to Project Director to Account Executive and then Sr. Research Manager. Knowing she wanted to eventually move beyond research to take on a business management role, she chose to leave Dallas for Tyson Foods, where she joined the Insights team and later progressed into Product Management and then Innovation.
She is blessed to have been married to my best friend, Jeremy, for the past 20 years. They have two crazy, funny, adorable kids – Nadia (10) and Gunnar (7). Her time as the coffee buyer for Walmart has instilled in her a deep passion for smallholder coffee farmers, and she has made a couple trips to Rwanda over the past few years where she is now working with local business owners and entrepreneurs to create sustainable income opportunities for coffee communities through complementary business models (ask her about banana fiber!). She is actively involved in her church, where she sings on the praise team, serves in the pre-teen ministry, and supports various other initiatives.
ROBIN WALLIS ATKINSON
CEO & CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Robin Wallis Atkinson is the CEO and Creative Director of NWA Fashion Week. Her professional career as a curator and arts organizer got its start here in Northwest Arkansas in the early 2000s. One of the founding members of Art Amiss Inc., Atkinson has been an active participant in the Northwest Arkansas art community for more than a decade. Atkinson has lived and worked in New Orleans, New York, and The Netherlands. She has contributed to international arts exhibitions such a Prospect New Orleans, the ground-breaking contemporary art biennial that opened in 2008, collaborated with museums and galleries across Europe and in Asia, and has taught curatorial curriculum at the early college level in Manhattan. Her work is focused on the role of arts in the community and arts relationship to place. In addition to curatorial work, Atkinson also serves selectively as an art consultant for private collections, providing guidance on new acquisitions to prospective art collectors. She holds BA in Art History from the University of Arkansas and a Masters of Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College in New York.
Jordan Sherrod from Joplin, MO, graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2005 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture. He earned his MBA in Entrepreneurship from the Acton School of Business in Austin, TX. Jordan returned to Fayetteville, AR in 2010 to be a part of Northwest Arkansas’ growing entrepreneurial community. In 2012 he started Strut, a company that services retail businesses, created the software RunShip that enables sales on social media and founded an apparel company called Coed Coop. Jordan became the co-chairman of NWAFW in 2013 and founded Arkansas Fashion Week as an Arkansas Nonprofit Corporation in 2014. Between 2014 and 2017, Jordan and a small group of board members rebuilt NWAFW as a viable organization, and re-launched NWAFW fashion shows in the Spring of 2017. Jordan is now the Chairman Emeritus as he left Northwest Arkansas in the summer of 2017 to pursue a other business opportunities.