A leader in the public relations and communications industry in Central Arkansas will head the UA Little Rock Alumni Board of Directors.
Heide Harrell, APR, vice president and communications director of the Private Wealth Management division at Stephens, will serve as the 2023 chair of the Alumni Board of Directors, whose members use their time and talent to represent the university by building membership and engaging with alumni. Members also help raise money for student scholarships and plan key university events like Taste of Little Rock and the Distinguished Alumni Awards Luncheon.
“I am very honored to have been asked to lead this board,” Harrell said. “Ever since I stepped foot on campus to begin my master’s program, I have developed such a passion for the university and its faculty. It’s critical for alumni to support and rally around UA Little Rock so we can continue to provide scholarships to those who need them. We are so blessed to have a metropolitan university in our capital city.”
The daughter of two veterans, Harrell was born at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California, to an Air Force mom and a Marine dad. A first-generation college graduate, she earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communications from the University of Central Arkansas and a master’s degree in applied communication studies from UA Little Rock.
With a strong desire to help students achieve their dream of a college education, Harrell joined the UA Little Rock Alumni Board of Directors in 2019. Leading the scholarship committee has provided her with a unique perspective on the importance of making college more affordable for students.
“It is extremely important for us to continue to give back to a university that has given this community so much,” Harrell said. “It’s so inspiring to see what these students are trying to overcome to get their college degree. Sometimes they have to choose between paying a bill and buying a book. It shouldn’t be that way. They are so determined to get that degree and so passionate about what they’ve decided to do. I’m inspired by them. It puts everything into focus on why this Alumni Association is so important. It’s a privilege to be able to sit there, get to learn a little about them and know that the money we raise as an association is going to help these students fulfill their dreams.”
Harrell is also committed to the advancement of the public relations field. Harrell is beginning her fourth year on the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Board of Directors, and she is the first Arkansan ever to be elected to the PRSA national executive committee. She is a past president of the PRSA Arkansas Chapter, past chair of the Southwest District, and was a member of the 2018 PRSA Nominating Committee.
With nearly 20 years of public relations, communications, and marketing experience, Harrell is a graduate of the Little Rock Regional Chamber Leadership Greater Little Rock program, the 2021 Arkansas Business Executive Leadership Academy, and a 2020 honoree of Arkansas Business 40 Under 40.
Prior to joining Stephens, Harrell served as director of marketing and business development at Rose Law Firm, the oldest law firm west of the Mississippi. She spent nearly six years at Stone Ward as a senior public relations account manager and senior brand manager. Harrell also worked at Mangan Holcomb Partners as a public relations account executive, as well as five years for now Congressman J. French Hill at the former Delta Trust & Bank as communications and marketing officer.