Harris named next CEO of Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,318 views 

After a nationwide search, the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute Board of Directors decided to keep it local and have named Janet Harris as Institute executive director/CEO. Harris, now the Institute’s chief strategy officer, will begin in the new role on April 1.

Harris has worked at the Institute since 2016, first as director of programs, followed by a promotion to chief programs and marketing officer in 2018, before being promoted again to chief strategy officer. She succeeds Dr. Marta Loyd who retires March 31.

Before joining the Institute, Harris spent 20 years as a public administration professional in Arkansas holding several executive leadership roles in state government.

“In her previous roles, Janet proved a capable and forward-thinking leader who expanded the depth and reach of the Institute in alignment with Gov. Rockefeller’s collaborative vision — making her the right choice to be the Institute’s next executive director,” Dr. Stephanie Gardner, provost and chief strategy officer at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and chair of the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute’s board of directors, noted in a statement. “I look forward to working with her to advance the Institute’s mission of nurturing transformational change.”

According to the Institute, Harris’ accomplishments in her jobs include working on marketing and technology strategies to tell the story of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller and the Institute’s impact, building staff capacity, and creating educational programs, including the Institute’s Walks with the Governor workshop.

Janet Harris, incoming executive director/CEO of the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

“Carrying forward Winthrop Rockefeller’s legacy of convening on Petit Jean Mountain is a tremendous honor, and I look forward to leading our organization into the future as we offer the place, people, and process to help groups come together and effectively collaborate on important issues,” Harris said. “I am grateful for the confidence of our board and President Bobbitt and the support of our excellent partners and employees. I am also especially thankful for the support and mentorship of Dr. Loyd over these past six years.”

Harris earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and a bachelor’s degree in public administration from the University of Central Arkansas, where she also played varsity basketball for the UCA Sugar Bears. She was named the Distinguished Alumnus for the UCA Department of Political Science in 2016 and is an alumna of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Arkansas, Class XI. She is pursuing an executive certificate in nonprofit leadership from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.