Forty Under 40: Kathryn Heller

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Class of 2022 Forty Under 40 Kathryn Heller Senior Communications Officer; Home Region Program Walton Family Foundation, Bentonville

Kathryn Heller believes words matter.

“They can inspire, convict or move people to action,” she said. At the foundation, Heller drives communication strategy and messaging to share the organization’s work with the community.

In fulfilling the foundation’s current five-year strategy, Heller leads communications and community engagement to position Northwest Arkansas as one of the nation’s best places to live and “one of the most welcoming and inclusive places in the nation.”

She helped launch a new strategy for the Delta Region to create economic opportunities. Providing community support to program grantees allows Heller to “connect to people professionally, learn from them and share what I know.” Continually thinking about creating access for new people and new ways of thinking, Heller encourages community leaders to do the same.

Born in Jonesboro, Heller graduated from Arkansas State University with a journalism degree in 2006, received her master’s in journalism from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2010, and her accreditation from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) in 2016.

Heller became the programming and outreach coordinator for the Central Arkansas Library System in Little Rock in 2008. After four years there, she joined The Sells Agency as a public relations account executive. In 2015, she moved to Ghidotti Communications as account supervisor and then director of client services. In 2019, she relocated to Bentonville to join the Walton Family Foundation as a communications officer, quickly moving to her current position.

Heller is proud of maintaining a good work/life balance. She volunteers with the Rogers Arts and Culture Commission and is board treasurer for the Northwest Arkansas chapter of PRSA.