The Northwest Arkansas Council has hired Jeannette Balleza Collins as entrepreneurial development director and Nathan Green as communications director. The nonprofit group made the announcement Thursday (Oct. 3).
“We are excited to welcome Jeannette and Nathan to the Northwest Arkansas Council team,” President and CEO Nelson Peacock said in a statement. “Each brings unique talents and experiences and will provide a welcome perspective as we work to advance the council’s mission of creating job opportunities, encouraging infrastructure investment and enhancing quality of life in the state and region.”
According to a news release, Collins will collaborate with entrepreneurs, companies, investors, educators, support organizations and other innovation ecosystem stakeholders to advance region-wide entrepreneurial vibrancy. That will include programs that bolster connectivity, capital access, talent growth, university-industry engagement, resource navigation and story sharing.
During her career, Collins led collaborations among federal and state funders, private investors, nonprofits, small businesses and community stakeholders. At the council, she will continue to be instrumental in building Northwest Arkansas’ reputation as a burgeoning entrepreneurial hub.
Collins co-founded Grit Studios in Bentonville, an innovation community that facilitates access and connections for high-impact, later-stage startup companies. She co-founded DeadFred Genealogy Photo Archive and has worked with various nonprofits to grow philanthropy at Terrapin Consulting.
She served as managing director of The ARK Challenge technology accelerator program with Innovate Arkansas at Winrock International, was a founding team member at Startup Junkie, and co-founded Tonic Regional Funds. She is a member of The CEO Forums and advises the Fayetteville Innovation Council.
Collins received a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in art from Hendrix College.
Green, according to the release, will lead communications for the council, including developing strategy to highlight the group’s efforts in innovation, entrepreneurship, business and talent recruitment, government affairs, healthcare and regional arts. He will also develop content and messaging for the council’s family of websites and social media channels while also serving as the primary media contact.
Green previously served as vice president of public relations at the Northwest Arkansas office of inVeritas, a Little Rock-based public affairs firm. In this role, Nathan managed communications strategy, digital media, market research, media relations, and strategic planning for organizations such as Scott Family Amazeum, city of Fayetteville, Cox Communications, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, First Tee of Northwest Arkansas, First Western Bank and Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA). Prior to joining inVeritas, Green worked in private law practice.
Green received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Saint Louis University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He serves on the board of the Northwest Arkansas chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.
Green said Rob Smith, previously the council’s communications and policy director, remains at the organization working on public policy matters.
The Northwest Arkansas Council creates overall regional strategic plans to drive economic and quality-of-life initiatives critical to the area’s growth. Those include an emphasis on diversity and inclusion, entrepreneurship, healthcare investments, regional arts and workforce development.