NWA: Come for Business, Stay for Community

by Talk Business & Politics ([email protected]) 209 views 

“Where? Why?” That’s a common response if you’ve ever announced to your family and friends that you’re moving to Northwest Arkansas for business.

Those not familiar with our area don’t know industry leaders like Wal-Mart Stores Inc., J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. and Tyson Foods Inc. are headquartered here, much less the dominance of the supplier community.

Even knowing the vast business terrain, some relocate not knowing what to expect outside of work opportunity. For Mary Zettle, the move to Northwest Arkansas gave her something more than career opportunity: It gave her a place to call home.

Zettle has worked for General Mills for almost 30 years and currently serves as senior director of sales. She and her husband moved to Northwest Arkansas from Chicago almost 10 years ago.

“Initially, it was hard to make the decision to move here from Chicago,” she explained. “But between the beautiful nature of the Ozarks and the generosity of this community, it was very easy to call this area home.”

Zettle has a great appreciation for the little surprises that come with living in Northwest Arkansas.

“People who have never been here shouldn’t be fooled by the geography or size,” she said. “The amenities are very different from same-size cities in other parts of the country. Here, I can actually go to the [Walmart] AMP or Crystal Bridges [Museum of American Art], and I know people. In Chicago, there would be a million other people wanting to do the same thing at the same time.”

Zettle says love for community ties in perfectly with the mission her company, General Mills, has for giving back. There is excitement in her voice when she talks about the company and Northwest Arkansas working together.

“General Mills is focused on treating the world with care, and that translates into building strong communities. We’re very active in the community and focus on charity partners that meet our mission to fight hunger.”

She said another way Northwest Arkansas shines is through volunteerism.

“Northwest Arkansas is incredible in the way people get involved,” she said. “General Mills enables our employees to volunteer together. We all get so energized each time we go out as a team to help and give back to the community, and it feels great to work for a company that encourages and gives us time to do.”

Giving back is also an important part of Zettle’s personal mission. Aside from sitting on five local charity boards, she also is in a Network of Executive Women mentor circle and enjoys coaching colleagues on various topics, including career pathing and personal branding.