Women in Business: Stephanie Orman

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 2,430 views 

Class of 2022 Women in Business Stephanie Orman Mayor City of Bentonville

Residence: Bentonville

Education: B.A., broadcast journalism, University of Arkansas; M.A., communications, Missouri State University

Professional background: In 2018, Orman was elected mayor of one of the fastest-growing cities after serving as a city council member for four years. Before starting in her role as the city’s top elected official in 2019, she was director of social media and community involvement for McLarty Daniel Automotive in Bentonville.

What was your dream job as a kid and why? During high school, I really only remember having a serious conversation about wanting to be an attorney. However, in college, I gravitated to journalism and communications. I have always had an affinity for telling someone’s story and finding connection and collaboration through that process. I think stories are powerful, relatable and have a unique way of bringing people together. Stories help us connect with each other and the world around us and those connections are where common ground and oftentimes better solutions to problems can truly be found. I would say I have found my dream job as mayor. Every day I get to communicate the story of Bentonville and the amazing community that supports it.

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry? Always be prepared and confident in your actions and decisions. Be willing to humble yourself and make corrections if you make an honest mistake. Stay true to yourself and never let others set your potential. Strive every day to listen, learn and be the very best you can be in whatever career path you have chosen. Be proactive, not reactive, and don’t let fear of failure ever stop you from pursuing your passion. Be a champion for the community you love and bring people together to get things done.

As mayor, I am close to the daily lives of citizens, dealing with everything from whether their garbage gets picked up to managing traffic flow to economic development and sustainable growth in addition to constantly working to maintain a safe community. Being a mayor offers a unique privilege to serve the public. It is not about the role. It is about the goal of making a positive difference in the community you love and call home.

What is a leader’s best asset? It is definitely people. Our city employees and the members of our community continue to impress me each day. They truly want to serve others and have devotion for their work within our community. I feel strongly that when leaders appreciate the time and effort of their staff it is visible within the identity of the organization and a key to success.

You stay busy professionally. How do you take care of yourself and maintain good mental health? For me, good mental health starts at home. I love spending time with my family. Nothing recharges me more than watching my children in sports and activities. I also have an amazing husband who is always there to support me in all I do. He is the rock of our family and helps me stay grounded. I enjoy exercising, running, reading and studying history. I strive to be a life-long learner.

Why do you think companies would benefit from having more women at the top? We live in a very diverse world and representation of that diversity makes an organization stronger. The women whom I have had the privilege to work with in the workforce are smart, creative, innovative, hardworking and challenge me to be better every day. I believe companies are at their best when there is a diversity of thought active within their leadership.

What’s the next big personal or career challenge you plan to take on? I have a lot of projects I would like to see completed in Bentonville and lots of success stories still to be created in the city. Right now I am focused on making the City of Bentonville the very best place to live, work, and play in the United States. Staying true to these goals and putting in the work and dedication, I am hopeful will open doors for future opportunities to have a positive impact in the community.

Most recent book you’ve read? I love to read and am fortunate that the Bentonville Pubic Library has a Mayor’s Book Club. The last book I read for the Mayor’s Book Club was “Change Your World” by John Maxwell. It is an excellent motivational book and definitely one of my recommended reads.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life? I have been fortunate to have great mentors throughout my life. I think mentorships are a key to learning and provide you with wisdom within your field. I would certainly tell others not to be afraid to seek out mentors. Also, learn to recognize when someone is your champion. Finally, remember mentorship should energize both parties involved. Respecting that relationship and appreciating others’ time and investment should never be taken for granted.

If you have a bucket list, what are the top three things on it? Write a book with true stories profiling people who have made a positive impact on their community, own a horse with enough land and time to enjoy it, and learn to fly a plane.

What’s unique about your company’s culture? At the City of Bentonville, our mission is to preserve, promote and sustain an excellent quality of life within our city. In partnership with the community, we pledge to deliver municipal services in a professional, personal and responsive manner. As we serve the public, these core values are vital to the success of our organization.

What is something distinctive that people would be surprised to know about you? As a young adult, while finishing my master’s degree, I served as a mediator in conflict resolution with a focus on community issues.

Favorite Northwest Arkansas-area restaurant? I have many favorite Bentonville restaurants. It just depends on what type of food I am hungry for. Fortunately, Bentonville is known for great food and award-winning chefs, so I am always certain to find a meal that I love without having to go far.