Corey Bender is the VP DMM for Household Goods and Paper at Walmart Stores, Inc.
Melanie is a creative soul and beauty industry expert living in Northwest Arkansas. she runs the Cosmetics business for Walmart USA, where she has worked for 10 years.
Melanie loves this community and is involved with several non-profit organizations, including the Arkansas Public Theater and Saving Grace NWA. She has a passion for art and creative expression, and believes that is comes in many forms. Melanie’s artistry specializes in painting and prose, but she’s always trying new things as she believes that Art is Everywhere. Joining Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum is a natural fit, as she admires the organization’s mission to provide opportunities for young men and women in NWA to pursue artistic expression through the world of fashion.
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.
Jodie Franklin is L’Oréal Professional makeup artist and a Licensed Aesthetician. He has worked for companies such as Lancome, Neutrogena, and Mac cosmetics. He has done makeup for celebrities such as actress Andie Macdowell, Jeanie Mai from the talk show The Real, Soledad O’Brien from CNN and Geena Davis, actress and founder of the Bentonville Film Festival. Jodie was one of the founding members of the beauty team for NWA Fashion Week and did makeup for the runways in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Jodie is a truly talented makeup artist and a down to earth guy who uses his spare time to enjoy kayaking, camping with his partner, gardening and raising his two dogs and cat, along his chickens on his mini-suburban farm.
DR. CASH ACREY
Dr. Cash Acrey is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Finance at the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. His research is focused on fraud, corporate social responsibility, and moral hazard among lending institutions. He is an avid guitar player and musical instrument collector, his collection of guitar pedals is nothing short of expansive. He brings financial responsibility to the forefront of the mission of Arkansas Fashion Week. His ultimate goal is to open the organization to public access entirely, creating programming for everyone at all economic levels.
Anna graduated from the University of Arkansas, Sam M. Walton College of Business, with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in Economics and Marketing. Anna was awarded the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2015 Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Arkansas and the Region IV, as well as being recognized as one of Arkansas Business’ 20 in Their 20s. Campus Concierge was recently named a finalist for the 2017 Arkansas Business Awards. Anna is a member of the Emerging Leaders and Elevate Forums, through Elevate Performance. She is also a recent graduate of the SBA’s “ScaleUp Ozarks” accelerator program, provided by StartUp Junkie. When it comes to supporting her community, Anna says she is a huge believer in supporting the community that is supporting her. Anna is on the advisory board for Art Feeds, a non-profit organization that provides therapeutic art programs in school. She also volunteers her time to the production of the NWA Fashion Week event, a semi-annual event that raises money to fund local designers in the community. Anna is a huge supporter of the Humane Society of the Ozarks and is extremely passionate about the rescue work they provide for our community.
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
ESTHER SILVER PARKER
Esther Silver-Parker has made advocacy for social change a lifetime cause and professional calling. Before opening her firm in 2010, Silver-Parker served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., where she was charged with the strategic planning and execution of the company’s corporate responsibility, reputation and relationship management among key national and international stakeholders. She also focused on issues that affect emerging markets and small businesses. Prior to this position, she served as Senior Vice President of Diversity Relations for Wal-Mart and was responsible for the company’s diversity strategy and she was a leader in establishing Wal-Mart’s office of diversity. She developed the company’s first diversity and inclusion strategy, grew supplier diversity procurement by $3 billion dollars, established a corporate external advisory council and developed Wal-Mart’s first stakeholder summit.
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.
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.”
Sunshine Broder has been involved in NWAFW 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.
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.