Linda Linn wins Diamond Award

The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce recently recognized Linda Linn with its first “Diamond Achievement Award.”

The award recognizes an individual who has inspired and empowered many generations of women and who has had a positive impact on those in her profession and in the community.

Linn and four other women – Brandy Strain-Dayer, Toby Hart, Sonja Keith and Holly Marr – were honored at the Women in Business Awards Luncheon at the University of Central Arkansas.

All five received the “Outstanding Woman in Business Award.” The honorees embody high standards of excellence, dedication and accomplishment to their respective organizations, industries and to the business community.

The honorees:

Brandy Strain-Dayer, and her sister, Jackie, are second-generation professional photographers at Strain Photography – an award-winning studio their parents founded 43 years ago. “I aim to treat every person who walks in the door of the studio as a friend, not just a customer,” she said. “I truly love what I do.”

Toby Hart – or Miss Toby – founded Take the Lead Academy Inc. where she has taught dance and horseback riding lessons to students for 35 years. “My work is my hobby, and my hobby is my work,” she said. “I have traveled across the U.S. and Canada and never have met anyone who teaches dance and horseback riding for a living. I have loved doing what I do."

Sonja Keith and Donna Spears established 501 Advertising and Publishing (publishers of 501 LIFE) in February 2008. “I was fortunate to have a good friend, Donna, who shared my dream and desire to create a publication that would be positive and inspirational as well as informative and entertaining,” she said.

Linda Linn co-owns Linn’s Auto & Equipment Sales Inc. with her husband, Danny. The Linns also own Just Scrap It Metal Recycling, Oak Street Auto Sales and U-Pull-It of Conway. “Danny and I always have felt like we needed to give back to the community because it has always been so good to us,” she said. “Our family, our church, our business and our community are our lives and somehow that balance works out.”

Holly Marr worked for Acxiom Corporation for 26 years, working her way up to vice president/industry executive for the global technology and marketing company before her retirement. “It was fortuitous for me to have been a part of Acxiom during its high-growth years, and thus I was afforded leadership opportunities early on in my career,” Marr said. “I am humbled former Acxiom colleagues nominated me for this recognition.”

Brad Lacy, president and CEO of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, said although a large number of Chamber members are women-owned enterprises, there has not been an event focused exclusively on the achievements of local businesswomen.

“The Chamber is happy to fill that void,” he said. “Congratulations to all the honorees.”