Education: B.A., business administration, LeMoyne-Owen College; M.S., management, Indiana Wesleyan University
Professional background: Chandler has nearly 30 years of experience in DEI work. In 2019, she was named Arvest’s first DEI officer, overseeing the initiative across the company’s four-state footprint. Before that, she worked in Walmart’s global DEI office, responsible for creating strategy and implementing the inclusive leadership initiative. Chandler is a member of the national nonprofit The Conference Board’s DEI Council and is a board member with Rogers nonprofit Teen Action Support Center.
What was your dream job as a kid and why? My dream job was to be an NFL commentator. I just knew I could add some colorful dialogue to the plays, especially from the sidelines. Back then, of course, there were not many women in the industry, so it was like breaking through glass ceilings. I liked that part about it, too.
What’s the next big personal or career challenge you plan to take on? I would love to write a book. Nothing around my career or DEI, but more of a fiction book. Something light and lovely.
What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry? Being a leader in diversity, equity and inclusion is a hard, yet rewarding career. You must be able to balance passion and experiences with unmet expectations. Even when you know it’s the right thing to do, there will be some people who don’t or won’t think about supporting you or your efforts and go against everything you try to do.
You must be willing to agree to disagree and keep it moving. Being an authentic leader with self-awareness is also a key component of this work.
What is a leader’s best asset? Empathy, effective listening, open communication, and servant leadership.
You stay busy professionally. How do you take care of yourself and maintain good mental health? I pray. Read/listen to a daily devotion. Get tight hugs from my daughter. I also have a “sister circle” that’s available at the drop of a dime for any topic — work, motherhood, relationships, fashion tips, music, etc. We laugh hard and out loud, and we cry ugly. We try to spend as much time as possible on the beach, too. And of course, shoe retail therapy and cupcakes always help.
Why do you think companies would benefit from having more women at the top? Most women are fearless of challenges. We know we have the odds against us, but we’re good at multitasking, and we have an innate ability to balance priorities. We are resilient when it comes to applying our cross-functional skills between personal and professional lives. Women leaders are also exceptional with resources, and we are very strategic. All these are great attributes of a great leader. We are results-driven. The top needs us.
What is something distinctive that people would be surprised to know about you? I love old cars and car shows.
Favorite Northwest Arkansas-area restaurant? Depends on the day: Monte Ne Chicken, Mirabella’s Table or Damgoode Pies.
Most recent book you’ve read? “Finding Me” by Viola Davis.
If you have a bucket list, what are the top three things on it? Spend two weeks in Santorini, Greece; go down the Rainbow slide in El Salvador; and make a TikTok with my daughter that goes viral.