NEA Women in Business: Cari Griffith White

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Class of 2019 Women in Business Cari Griffith White Vice President & COO Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce, Jonesboro

Residence: Jonesboro
Education: Bachelor’s degree in Journalism with emphasis in Public Relations, Arkansas State University; University of Oklahoma Institute for Chamber Managers
Professional background: White worked as the executive director of the Mountain Home Area Chamber from October 1989 to November 2000. This year marks her 30th year as a chamber executive. Before that, she worked for Arkansas Secretary of State Paul Revere and on U.S. Sen. David Pryor’s campaign staff.

What was your dream job as kid, and why? A soap opera actress because they were so glamorous and could say anything they wanted to the mean people.

What inspired you to pursue the career you are in? It was an accident. I had the right degree and was asked by some leaders in Mountain Home to apply for their opening.

What has been the most fulfilling moment of your career so far? Leadership Jonesboro. Leadership Jonesboro is designed to identify, educate, and motivate potential leaders to become involved in the future of our community. Participants are challenged by speakers from many sectors to make a personal commitment to become part of the rich leadership pool, which has made Jonesboro’s quality of life what it is today.

What’s the next big personal or career challenge you plan to take on? Retirement.

What are three words you would use to describe yourself? Creative, generous and competitive.

Do you feel like we’re getting closer to gender equality in the workplace? Closer maybe, but not nearly close enough.

Of all the mentors in your professional career, who has been the most influential and why? God, because he keeps me grounded and optimistic.

What is something unique people would be surprised to know about you? I was very shy as a child … promise!

What’s your favorite app at the moment? Uncrossed.

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry? In my industry you have to be flexible and ready for lots of curveballs.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? From Henry P. Jones III, it’s better to be lucky than good.

What qualities do you feel are most important in a company leader? The most important is to help your team succeed.

How do you spend your time away from work — if there is such a thing? What are your hobbies? Watching Hallmark movies and golfing a little, reading and trying to grow tomatoes.

What’s the first thing you do at the office each morning? We meet in the breakroom to talk about the news of the day.

If you have a bucket list, what are the top three things on it? I have already gone to more places and seen more than I ever dreamed possible.