Women in Business honorees named

The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce’s third annual Women in Business Awards will take place Tuesday, Dec. 9, at the Conway Expo Center and Fairgrounds.

The awards luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m. and will feature Sonja Hubbard, CEO of E-Z Mart Stores Inc., as the guest speaker.

This year’s Outstanding Women in Business winners are Melissa Britton of Conway Management Inc., Chasity Campbell of Abundant Wellness/Bodyworks Spa, Tess Fletcher of Children’s Advocacy Alliance and Lori Ross Scroggin of Conway Regional Health System. The honorees embody high standards of excellence, dedication and accomplishment to their respective organizations, industries and to the business community.

Lori Case Melton of Arvest Bank is the 2014 Diamond Achievement Award winner. This award is presented to an individual with at least 25 years of professional experience 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.

Lori Case Melton
Arvest Bank

As vice president of business development at Arvest Bank and the first employee of First State Bank (now Centennial Bank), Lori Case Melton has found her niche in an industry that is dominated by males.

“Typical bank management is a man’s world. I like to think I have shown other women – both customers and fellow employees – that you can be a strong force within your organization and still do it without having a hard edge.”

Melton spent 13 years with Centennial Bank, which has the distinction of being the fastest-growing financial institution in Arkansas history. The banking operation began in Conway and now has more than 1,000 employees in multiple states.

“When the bank was founded, I completed everything from payroll to branding, hiring to compliance,” she said. “Helping build a successful company from the ground up was an extremely rewarding experience.”

The Arkansas Bank Marketing Association named Melton “Bank Marketer of the Year” in 1999 and again in 2007. She is the only banker ever to have received the award twice.

Melton is currently active in a number of community organizations and has previous board experience with several others. “I love being involved in the community and come from a family of community servants. It has molded me into the person I am today,” she said. “While community involvement is a personal passion that I truly enjoy, it has also been great for my 29-year career. Networking is very important, and getting involved is a great way to do it.”

How does she balance it all? Melton said that she finds it best to blend her professional life with her personal life, as banking is a people business that makes the bonding experience inevitable. “My co-workers and customers have become a part of my family-and-friend network,” she said. “I feel it is impossible to split the two. I am wife, mother and businesswoman – all three are very important to me.”

Melissa Britton,CHA, Conway Management Inc.

When Melissa Britton began working in the hotel industry in May 1993, she was an 18-year-old mother who took a job as a housekeeper to make ends meet. “My 2-week-old newborn was too young to go to day care, so for the first month, I pushed a maid’s cart in one hand and a stroller in the other,” she said. “I was determined to do something with my life for my son’s sake. He was all I had.”

A front desk position came open at the hotel, so Britton took the job so she could finish her senior year of high school while working full time. A year later, she was promoted to assistant manager of the hotel and, as the hotel’s youngest employee, became general manager in February 1996.

Britton has managed multiple properties owned by Ken and Umang Patel during her 21-year career in the hotel industry. “Ken gave a lost 18-year-old girl a chance, and I turned that job into a career. Without him giving me that chance, I do not know where I would be today.”

As the general manager of Comfort Suites and Comfort Inn & Suites in Conway, Britton desires to give those who work for her an equal opportunity. “I take notice of what my employees are capable of and help them reach or exceed their potential. My secret thrill is knowing that people can overcome hardship and prove to themselves and to others they can do anything.”

Chasity Campbell
Abundant Wellness/Bodyworks Spa

Chasity Campbell is co-owner of Bodyworks Spa in Conway. The full-service spa offers a variety of massages, myofascial release therapy, facials, body treatments and more. Abundant Wellness is the health side of Bodyworks Spa. Its focus is helping clients manage their weight and various health conditions, adopt healthy and sustainable lifestyle changes and prevent future health problems. Bodyworks Spa has been runner-up in local “Best of the Best” competitions.

Campbell’s foray into this line of work resulted from her own health scare. “I guide women to become the healthy, happy people they are meant to be by counseling them on nutrition, lifestyle choices, parenting, stress reduction, spirituality and self-love,” she said.

Bodyworks Spa offers free massages to patients undergoing cancer treatment at CARTI. Campbell also offers pro bono counseling to those with cancer to help them make healthy lifestyle choices that will contribute to their healing.

“I help ladies with cancer make the changes they need to have a good quality of life while getting treatment,” she said. “I want them to find peace and have guidance on nutrition while they focus on healing.”

Tess Fletcher
Children’s Advocacy Alliance

Tess Fletcher is executive director of Children’s Advocacy Alliance, an independent nonprofit that provides guidance, treatment and support for children who ar
e the victims of abuse and neglect. The Children’s Advocacy Alliance oversees both the Central Arkansas Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) and the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) 20th Judicial District program.

Fletcher created the CAC program so that children alleged to have been abused physically or sexually could have access to a single, child-friendly place to tell their story. In the last year, Fletcher has led the effort to expand CAC services to include on-site mental health and sexual abuse exams for children. Fletcher has also developed the staff capacity to recruit and train community volunteers for the CASA program.

“I strive to lead by example,” she said. “I’m passionate about the mission of our organization and don’t ask others to do something I’m unwilling to do myself.”

Fletcher’s hope is that she has empowered the women she works with to become leaders themselves. “I challenge myself daily to leave the world better than I found it,” she said. “My hope is that I equip others with the tools necessary to go out and make a difference themselves.”

Lori Ross Scroggin
Conway Regional Health System

Lori Ross Scroggin serves as chief development officer for Conway Regional Health System. Under her leadership, the medical center has received more advertising and public relations awards on both the state and national levels than virtually any other hospital in Arkansas.

“I’ve had the privilege of telling the story of how our amazing staff members are capable of providing outstanding care – so much so that Conway Regional is the Most Preferred Hospital for Having a Baby,” Scroggin said. “Patients start their families at our hospital, and they trust our staff and physicians with what is most precious to them – their loved ones.”

As a hospital administrator, mother of three daughters and board member for a number of community organizations, Scroggin desires that her biggest impact on other women will begin with her daughters. “I hope my most valuable contribution will result in three well-adjusted, grown women who will put God first, love their families, contribute to their communities and never quit learning,” she said.

“I try to teach others what I have learned. And I try to share what I have gained. I hope other women might be inspired to step up to serve and welcome the opportunity to stretch their boundaries and give back of their talents.”

To reserve a table at the Women in Business Awards luncheon on Dec. 9, please visit ConwayChamber.org and click on the Women in Business icon. For more information, contact Mary Margaret Satterfield at [email protected] or 501.932.5412.