Bentonville think-and-do tank Heartland Forward on Tuesday (Jan. 17) announced that chief program officer Angie Cooper had been promoted to executive vice president, effective Jan. 1.
“Angie is a dynamic leader with a unique ability to plan strategically and execute with precision — a campaign mentality,” Ross DeVol, president and CEO of Heartland Forward, said in a news release. “Her leadership role in the organization will expand as the organization grows and evolves. In this new role, Angie will assume greater accountability in our policy initiatives, strategic planning and assist me in leading the organization.”
Heartland Forward hired Cooper, a former Walmart Inc. director, in February 2020 as the executive director of its flagship event, Heartland Summit, an invitation-only event that brings together leading thinkers, innovators and investors to Northwest Arkansas. Adding to those responsibilities, she was promoted to chief program officer later that year.
Cooper also established Heartland Forward’s Connecting the Heartland campaign, a coalition of more than a dozen Arkansas organizations whose goal is to help expand internet access in the state.
Before joining Heartland Forward, Cooper worked for Walmart for nearly 17 years in various public policy roles ranging from local, state and federal to ultimately serving as senior director of global policy. She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University.
“Having grown up in the heartland and having worked on policy solutions around the world, I am extremely excited to take on this new role leading Heartland Forward’s mission: to change the narrative about the middle of the country and kick-start economic growth,” Cooper said in a statement. “We have accomplished a lot in just three years as an organization, and as we kick off a new year, I look forward to working alongside the talented team at Heartland Forward and our partners across the country to expand our impact.”
The news release said Heartland Forward would soon hire a policy director to report to Cooper. Her new role will include public policy work, working on transferring the organization’s applied research into action at the federal, state, regional and local levels. Cooper will continue to organize Heartland Summit and the organization’s overall programmatic work.
Heartland Forward is the first U.S. think tank focused exclusively on the economic situation of the Heartland region. It is spearheaded by members of the Walton family and led by Devol, a former Walton Fellow and Milken Institute Chief Research Officer.