Dean Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, alumnus Hallie Shoffner (’11), and Dean’s Advisory Board member Alison Williams have been named to the list of Top 100 Women of Impact in Arkansas by the Arkansas Women’s Foundation, Little Rock Soirée magazine, and Arkansas Business Publishing Group.
“The 100 women that appear on this list are impacting Arkansas today, and they are making it a better state for future generations,” WFA CEO Anna Beth Gorman said. “By sharing these stories in the Top 100 publication, we know that leaders across Arkansas will have the opportunity to learn the names of our state’s trailblazing women, and how they’re affecting change. Our goal is to inspire more women, businesses and leaders to support and replicate change-making work.”
The list is a revival of a publication helmed by former ABPG owner Olivia Farrell that helped launch the WFA 25 years ago. Honorees will be featured in a special publication in September and celebrated at WFA’s 2023 Power of the Purse event.
“The new list recognizes 100 outstanding and ambitious women who reflect the spirit of ingenuity and ambition at every stage of their career journey,” said Mitch Bettis, owner and president of ABPG, the parent company of Soirée. “There are some names you’ll know who are now prominent CEOs at prominent companies — an idea 25 years ago that was a complete oddity. However, the list will also include women of impact from the four corners of the state you may not know, and that’s the point.”
DeFrancesco Soto officially joined the Clinton School of Public Service as Dean in January 2022 after Assistant Dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. She is the first Latina Dean at a presidential institution and was named one of the top 12 scholars in the country by Diverse magazine. Since arriving in Little Rock, she led the formation of the school’s inaugural Dean’s Advisory Board and has amplified the excellence of the Clinton School regionally and nationally.
Shoffner is the CEO of SFR Seed, a 1,500-acre seed production farm growing rice, corn, wheat, and soybeans, that also specializes in new seed plot trials. A sixth-generation farmer and vocal climate activist, Shoffner advocates for more awareness of climate extremes and their detrimental effects on modern farmers and the food chain.
Williams is the Coalition Director for Excel by Eight, a coalition of more than 30 partner organizations focused on increasing Arkansas children’s health and education outcomes. Additionally, she is the Founder of Tidal Partners and Wilco Consulting. She previously served as Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Chief of Staff, managing a team of more than 40 professionals that spanned all aspects of state government.