2022 NEA Women in Business: Lexanne Horton

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 691 views 

Lexanne Horton
Vice president/controller
Ritter Communications
Residence Jonesboro
Education Bachelor’s degree in business administration-accounting, University of Memphis; master’s degree in business administration, Union University

What was your dream job and why?

Being a novelist because I love to read a great story.

What has been the most fulfilling moment of your career so far?

Leading the design and construction of the Fowler Family Center for Cancer Care at NEA Baptist was an amazing project. Bringing together the highly technical aspects of medical care, radiation oncology, pharmacy and chemotherapy infusion and combining them with patient-centered care changed the patient experience completely. From the technology and efficient layout of the building to the artwork, so many details went into making that project special. We even created a circle-shaped area for Hope Circle!

What’s the next big personal or career challenge you plan to take on?

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting is on the near horizon for accounting and financial reporting, so I have been learning the ways that could affect my career and role at Ritter Communications. While public companies are needing to address this now, as a private company we have already started gathering some data points around ESG. There could be some far-reaching impacts over the next decade for all companies and financial professionals.

Can you share how COVID impacted your business or organization?

Obviously, Ritter Communications has seen tremendous growth as a result of the pandemic and demand for internet at home. We have been excited to see the federal and state governments truly take action to provide underserved and rural areas with internet speeds that allow them to work and attend school from home. I love talking with customers in our rural markets or neighbors in Jonesboro who finally have a reliable internet option where they did not before. It has been a lot of work in a short time and there are lots of challenges with the supply chain and labor, but we are grateful to cities and counties who have chosen us to invest in their communities.

What character traits do you feel have benefited you in your success?

Persistence, also called stubbornness at times, has been a trait that helps me tackle difficult projects or outlast tough situations. Respect, diplomacy and finding common ground have helped me to bring various groups to agreement, whether in contract negotiations or in designing facilities. My parents instilled in me a strong work ethic, but I also truly enjoy what I do each day.

How do you spend your time away from work? What are your hobbies?

My grandchildren have become a big part of my life — we have four grandchildren now living in Jonesboro and they are a huge blessing!

My husband and I are active members of Central Baptist Church and I work with the Mending the Soul ministry there to help victims of abuse find healing and rebuild their lives. We are also members of the Iron Riders of Christ Motorcycle Ministry and I ride behind my husband on his Harley.

I serve on the boards of the Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce and the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas and volunteer with Hope Found of Northeast Arkansas. Any time left after that I read, listen to music, and walk my Labrador retriever, Remy.

If you have a bucket list, what are the top three things on it?

Attending the candlelight vigil for Elvis at Graceland. It has always been on my bucket list, and my best friend from high school and I decided to do it! I am a huge music fan, and he truly changed the industry in many ways. This fall, I will finally go to London and France with my mother, and I am most excited to go to the Musee d’Orsay that houses the world’s largest collection of Impressionist art. My father studied art in Paris, so I am excited to experience that city. Someday I will take my husband to the home place of Sgt. Alvin C. York in Pall Mall, Tenn. “Sergeant York” is a special movie for him, as he watched it as a boy with his grandfather.

What advice would you give young women who are at the beginning of their careers?

Pursue your dreams, take chances and have the courage to step up to new opportunities and projects that give you visibility. Always look for an opportunity to learn in every situation, be it a success or failure. Each day is a fresh canvas for you to paint. Find a tribe of other women who encourage, challenge and strengthen you on a regular basis and likewise be that same woman for another.

What’s the last good book you read?

I just finished reading “Project LARVA: Practical Steps to Permanent Transformation,” by Brittney Duke. She is a young woman in Northeast Arkansas who is committed to helping develop the next generation of women leaders in our region by working with our youth. Her simple workbook helps lead individuals to examine their current situation and make positive change for their future.

What’s your favorite app at the moment?

Photos — for all those grandchildren!

Who have been mentors who’ve influenced your professional career?

There have been so many! My mother was critical by instilling in me the knowledge that I could do whatever I set about to as a career and I am grateful to her generation for preparing daughters to demand more equality in the workplace.

Dr. Russell Chesney at the University of Tennessee Medical School was a brilliant scientist and physician and invested so much in developing me as a leader in healthcare.

Dr. Ray Hall, Dr. Robert Taylor, and Dr. Stephen Woodruff all helped me to tackle constructing the NEA Baptist Clinic and Fowler Family Center for Cancer Care and to lead quality initiatives in health care. The greatest group of women were in the Leadership Jonesboro Class of 2012 — we all challenge and encourage each other on a regular basis, even after 10 years. Heather Walker-Clark from that class has especially been an amazing inspiration to me as someone who pursued a dream and made it happen in opening Intersect 311, Porch Thirty and the Glass Factory.

Bill Harrison gave me a chance at E. Ritter & Company in 2015 that brought me where I am today. My career has been filled with leaders who invested to help me learn and grow as a professional and I am truly grateful to each and every one.