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Women to Watch at UA Little Rock: Ginger Daril

Ginger Daril
Ginger Daril.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, UA Little Rock is profiling women in leadership positions who are making a difference at the university and in the community.

The next Woman to Watch at UA Little Rock of 2023 is Ginger Daril, Director of Development for Planned Giving and University Initiatives.

Tell us about yourself and your background.

I grew up in Little Rock, but graduated from high school in Pine Bluff.

I came to UA Little Rock as a freshman to figure out what career I wanted to pursue, then I planned to transfer to a larger university. After joining a sorority and cheering on our Trojans as a member of the Pom Squad/Dance Team, I knew I had found my place. This campus was vibrant with friends you knew at every turn and professors who really invested in you and wanted to provide you with opportunities you wouldn’t have at another university.

My major was Radio, TV & Film, with an emphasis on broadcast journalism. My college classmate/friend and I were the two students chosen by Dr. David Guerra to represent the university on National College Television (NCTV), which was similar to MTV in the mid ‘80s, but with a focus on what’s happening on college campuses around the country. We took turns producing weekly news updates for NCTV from the sixth floor of Stabler Hall. NCTV deployed us to South Padre Island, Texas, to put together numerous TV reports covering Spring Break activities for their programming. It was an experience of a lifetime for two young prospective reporters! That was just one of the many ways this university takes advantage of opportunities for its students to better prepare them for their careers, and that remains true today.

My first career job was at KARK-TV, Channel 4 in Little Rock. I worked the graveyard shift to produce the morning newscast – on a typewriter. I wrote the anchors’ scripts, listened for spot news and did periodic news cut-ins from the newsroom. When severe weather threatened the state, I dabbed a drop of liquid paper inside an outline of Arkansas on black foam board in the vicinity of the county that was threatened. Then, the engineers displayed that warning in the lower corner of the TV screen for viewers to hopefully see.

During the next 14 years there, I was a news reporter, newscast producer, executive producer, and was finally named news director – the person in charge of the entire newsroom operation. At 31 years of age, I was the youngest news director in state history, and the second female news director in the state. Andrew Lack, the president of NBC News at the time, invited me to participate in a strategy session with a handful of other news leaders from across the nation. Those were definitely among the most exciting and educational years of my career, as I had a front row seat to history as it unfolded.

The station was acquired by another news group, so I transitioned into media and public relations. I enjoyed a very exciting career of more than 18 cumulative years in public relations at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the South Central region of Verizon, and the Sells Agency before Covid-19 arrived.

What are your current professional duties at UA Little Rock?

I work with the university’s alumni, friends, faculty, and staff to share information on planned giving options and the process, as well as the benefits planned gifts provide donors, students, and the university. I also work on special projects for the university, such as the launch of the Centennial Campaign, and more.

What brought you to UA Little Rock? 

I’m a proud alumna who has served on the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, assisted with the planning of “Taste Of…” in its infancy, and secured a couple of major gifts for the university as a volunteer.

When Covid-19 began to improve, I felt a need for change in my career, even though I loved my job. UA Little Rock has been on my radar for a long time, and I applied for a position here long ago. Christian O’Neal and I visited and he just happened to have an open position in development! I was excited to be invited to join this incredible team, and I am thankful for every day that I get to walk in that door!

What are some of the exciting projects that you are working on at UA Little Rock?

Ginger Daril holds two female bear cubs while a team from Arkansas Game and Fish Commission check on the mother bear.
Ginger Daril holds two female bear cubs while a team from Arkansas Game and Fish Commission check on the mother bear.

Our biggest focus right now is on the Centennial Campaign, which we launched in October 2022. The alumni and development teams are working to meet the most aggressive fundraising goal in the history of the university – $250 million. UA Little Rock will celebrate its centennial year in 2027. We want to ensure our next 100 years begin with strong foundations in the areas of scholarships, student support, program excellence, and the living and learning environments. It’s an exciting time to be a Trojan!

What woman has inspired you the most and why?

My mom. She was smart, kind, had an incredible work ethic, and always put others before herself. But the two qualities that really stood out to me were the facts that she was always humble and always led with a servant’s heart.

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?

Create your worth by working hard and producing results. Don’t ever think you deserve a job simply because you’re a woman; make sure you’re the best candidate for the job because of what you bring to the table.

Realize your worth. Don’t underestimate your knowledge, skills and abilities. You’ve got this!

Increase your worth. Commit to being a lifelong learner, polishing your skills, and developing new ones. View opportunities, and sometimes pivots, as platforms for growth.

Name something about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.

I was incredibly shy as a child. I would not look people in the eye and often pretended I was deaf so they would not talk to me. I was terrified. Now, I visit with anyone and everyone whether I know them or not, often at length! I guess I’m making up for lost time.

What is your favorite quote and why?

This is not necessarily my favorite quote; however, it is the one I iterate most often. It’s simple, yet powerful.

“Be a leader, not a follower.” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy