World Trade Center Arkansas
A respected business strategist both in Arkansas and across the globe, Denise Thomas has more than 25 years of experience in international trade. She has built a career connecting people and products through bilateral partnerships that focus on ethical sourcing and sustainability.
A 14-year veteran of the World Trade Center Arkansas, Thomas most recently served as the center’s director of Africa, European and Middle East trade. But her career in economic development began in Florida, where she joined the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce in 1998. There, she created a small business center with the U.S. Small Business Administration to house several chambers and centers under one roof. The location became a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs. A California native, Denise has made her home in Northwest Arkansas since 2003, when she joined Walmart as a recruiter. She worked with the world’s largest retailer to build strategic teams in diverse markets, both domestically and internationally.
Life begins at 50, the saying goes, to which the incomparable Phyllis Diller once replied, “Maybe it’s true that life begins at 50. But everything else starts to wear out, fall out or spread out.” (The women and men included on the following pages, at least, will find that funny … not to mention, they actually know who Phyllis Diller is.)
Fifty is the new 40, or something like that, but in this Ponce de Leon age of youth worship, we at AMP thought it would be nice to recognize those business leaders in Arkansas who aren’t under 40 or in their 20s. Once one hits the milestone age of 50, life doesn’t stop, after all. For many, it speeds up. Nominated by readers, the leaders recognized in AMP’s inaugural Fifty Over 50 list haven’t slowed down — they have realized more success, achieved new goals and even launched entirely new chapters. And we salute them.
The vigor of youth is a beautiful and necessary thing. But so is the wisdom and discernment of age. Besides, like the saying goes, 50 is nothing more than the new 40, right?
The members of AMP’s inaugural Fifty Over 50 list were nominated by readers. They represent a broad spectrum of Arkansas business, industry and politics. They are former state legislators, business owners, CEOs
and more who represent industries ranging from farming and construction
to restaurants and retail.
Some of them started on an upward trajectory early in their careers and haven’t slowed down. Others began new chapters later in their journeys and achieved success — and made profound impacts on their communities — in new ways.
We’re proud to recognize these women and men-… experienced, seasoned Arkansas leaders whose collective journey is just beginning.
Click here to see the full list of 2022 AMP Fifty Over 50!