The Winthrop Rockefeller Institute board of directors has named Janet Harris as its executive director/CEO. Harris was chosen following a nationwide search, and will assume the role April 1, 2022.
She will succeed current Executive Director/CEO Dr. Marta Loyd, who retires March 31. Harris has served at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute since 2016, and currently serves as chief strategy officer, a role she has held for two years.
“In her previous roles, Janet proved a capable and forward-thinking leader who expanded the depth and reach of the Institute in alignment with Gov. Rockefeller’s collaborative vision — making her the right choice to be the Institute’s next executive director,” said Dr. Stephanie Gardner, provost and chief strategy officer at UAMS and chair of the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute’s board of directors. “I look forward to working with her to advance the Institute’s mission of nurturing transformational change.”
Harris’ specific programmatic achievements at the nonprofit Institute thus far include building staff capacity in professional meeting design, facilitating dialogue and deliberation, and creating educational programs that draw on Winthrop Rockefeller’s legacy, including the Institute’s Walks with the Governor workshop.
“Carrying forward Winthrop Rockefeller’s legacy of convening on Petit Jean Mountain is a tremendous honor, and I look forward to leading our organization into the future as we offer the place, people, and process to help groups come together and effectively collaborate on important issues,” Harris said. “I am grateful for the confidence of our board and President Bobbitt and the support of our excellent partners and employees. I am also especially thankful for the support and mentorship of Dr. Loyd over these past six years.”
Harris spent 20 years as a public administration professional in Arkansas, prior to joining the Institute, holding several executive leadership roles within state government. She holds a Master of public administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and a Bachelor of Science in public administration from the University of Central Arkansas, where she also played varsity basketball for the UCA Sugar Bears. She was named the Distinguished Alumnus for the UCA Department of Political Science in 2016 and is an alumna of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Arkansas, Class XI. Harris is currently pursuing an Executive Certificate in nonprofit leadership from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.