C-Suite: Mary Beth Brooks

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 932 views 

Class of 2019 C Suite Mary Beth Brooks Director University of Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center

Achievements: Brooks has been director of the center for more than a year. She previously worked in banking for 30 years and was president and CEO of The Bank of Fayetteville for 11 years. She also was an executive for Fayetteville-chartered Arvest Bank, Community Bank of North Arkansas in Fayetteville, National Bank of Commerce in Memphis and BancorpSouth in Fort Smith.

If you had $1 million to give, what causes would you support? Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. I lost my otherwise very healthy sister to this cancer in 2017. I would do about anything to prevent another family from this suffering.

What is the best business advice you’ve received? One of my mentors used to always tout his theory of “managing by walking around.” The leader who is always in the office behind closed doors is not the kind of leader people want to follow. Get up and get out to connect with all team members.

What is the best business advice you have given? People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel.

What keeps you up at night or worries you the most? We still have a high school son at home. Not many parents of high school students sleep well!

What’s your favorite restaurant in NWA for a business lunch? I enjoy eating way too much to narrow that down to one. Bordinos, Mermaids, Mockingbird Kitchen [in Fayetteville] and Mirabella’s Table [in Rogers] are my favorite lunch places.

If you weren’t in your current position, what would you be doing? I am early on in this second career of mine, and I am thrilled to be doing what I am doing.

What is the first website/app you launch on your smartphone each morning? My email or The New York Times.

What is your “why?” What gets you up in the morning, and what keeps you motivated? First and foremost, I am extremely fortunate to have an incredibly close-knit family, including one adorable grandson and another baby on the way. At the same time, I get to help people pursue their business dreams. This combination will get about anyone out of bed.

In one sentence, can you express the most important thing about being a leader? Leaders don’t create followers; they create more leaders.

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