UA Little Rock announces 2017 Distinguished Alumna, Presidents Award recipients

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock 2017 Distinguished Alumna is Candice Corby (left), and the Presidents Award recipient is Rebecca Ward (right).

One of the top female CEOs in the country has been named the 2017 University of Arkansas at Little Rock Distinguished Alumna Award winner. 

Candice Hunter Corby, a 1994 UA Little Rock graduate, is the CEO and president of Cobra Legal Solutions in Austin.

Corby will be honored during the UA Little Rock Distinguished Alumni Awards Celebration, presented by Baptist Health, at 11:30 a.m. Friday, May 12, in the Great Hall of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library.

Joining Corby is the 2017 UA Little Rock Presidents Award recipient, Rebecca Ward, a private social work practitioner in Little Rock and a former two-term president of the UA Little Rock Alumni Association board of directors.

“While the backgrounds and contributions of Candice and Rebecca vary greatly, they are both united by an astounding level of service and accomplishment,” said Christian O’Neal, vice chancellor for university advancement. “Their contributions and dedication bring credit to UA Little Rock and embody the ‘Heart of a Trojan.’”

Baptist HealthThe Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor presented by the UA Little Rock Alumni Association, while the Presidents Award is bestowed on individuals with career success and a profound dedication to the university.

The event is sponsored by Baptist Health and hosted by the UA Little Rock Foundation Fund Board and the UA Little Rock Alumni Association.


About the award recipients:

Candice Hunter Corby

Candice Hunter Corby is the CEO, president, and one of two female board members of Cobra Legal Solutions, LLC. Based in Austin, Texas, she leads an incredible staff of legal experts and technologists to consistently and cost-effectively help corporate legal departments and law firms with their information management needs.

Corby was named one of the Top 10 Female CEOs of 2016 by dotCEO. Additionally, the Austin Business Journal recognized her as a 2015 Profiles in Power – Women of Influence in Central Texas finalist.

She is a frequent speaker and mentor, having been interviewed by the Harvard Business School Executive MBA program on “How Key Women Succeed.” She also moderated panel discussions at The University of Texas McCombs Executive MBA Program on “Championing Women in the Workplace,” and she served on a panel for the Four Seasons Hotel – Austin’s program on “Women in Leadership.”

Corby earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UA Little Rock in 1994 and is a certified public accountant. After completing an internship at BKD CPAs and Advisors during her junior year, Corby began her career as a senior auditor at BKD.

At 26, she became the youngest chief financial officer of the Times Record News, an E.W. Scripps Company. During her career, she has served as general accounting manager of the Neiman Marcus Group, founder and CEO of Gourmet Concepts, chief financial officer of Godwin Gruber, LLP, chief operating officer of Baker & McKenzie, LLP, and chief operating officer of Mayer Brown, LLP.

Corby is an advocate for many causes near to her heart, including the arts, health, women’s initiatives, diversity, and eradicating homelessness. She serves on the boards of Zach Theatre, Austin Opera, University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music Directors’ Council, and Elevate Network. She was also co-chair of the 2016 “I Am Waters Supermodel Luncheon,” a national movement that provides water bottles and inspirational messages to the homeless.

Corby is in an avid runner who has recently started competing in marathons. She also enjoys travel, skiing, wine and cheese, and spending time with her husband, Ken, and “furry child,” Tiberius.

Rebecca Ward

Ward graduated with a Master of Social Work from UA Little Rock in 1979. She also holds bachelor’s degrees in English and French from Ouachita Baptist University and a master’s degree in social agency counseling from Henderson State University.

After completing her education, Ward began a highly successful career in social work that has included roles at Arkansas Children’s Colony, Greater Little Rock Community Mental Health Center, Ouachita Regional Mental Health Center, and several private practices. She has been in private practice with her partner, Howard Turney, for the past 10 years.

After discovering a lack of scholarships for social work students at her alma mater, Ward served as chair of the UA Little Rock School of Social Work Advisory Committee. Six years later, the group raised more than $100,000 for an endowed scholarship fund for social work students.

Ward joined the UA Little Rock Alumni Association board of directors and served as president from 2010 to 2014. She helped oversee hundreds of scholarships for potential and current UA Little Rock students.

She is a past chair of the Arkansas Social Work Licensing Board, Arkansas Hospice, and Thea Foundation. She has also served on the Arkansas Association for Marital and Family Therapists.

Ward is a therapist on Good Morning Arkansas, a contributor to AY Magazine, and the author of the 2000 book “How to Stay Married Without Going Crazy.”

Ward resides in Little Rock with her husband, Don. She has one son, Dr. Dan Smith, a dermatologist in Little Rock, a step-daughter, Jessica Sigmon, in Oklahoma City, four granddaughters, and one grandson.

In the upper right photos, the UA Little Rock 2017 Distinguished Alumna is Candice Corby (left), and the Presidents Award recipient is Rebecca Ward (right). 

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