Women of Inspiration



Woman of Inspiration 2016 March 28, 2016 - Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas is excited to announce that Mrs. Johnelle Hunt will be honored as the 2016 Arkansas Woman of Inspiration.Johnelle Hunt The honor will be presented at a luncheon at Statehouse Convention Center on the morning of Thursday, October 13, 2016, and all proceeds will be used to support Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas and their pursuit in implementing more centers across the state and providing funding for the expansion of services offered by existing centers. This annual event honors a woman who has made a contribution to society for the benefit of children and serves as a substantial fundraiser for Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas.

At the Woman of Inspiration event, the Blue Ribbon Award will also be presented to an adult who has been affected by the trauma of abuse and is willing to share his or her experiences in order to bring awareness to the problem of child abuse and neglect. This awareness ultimately helps the mission of Children’s Advocacy Centers. The 2016 event will be chaired by Shayla Copas of Shayla Copas Interiors and Sara Massana of Martin-Wilbourn Partners. Honorary Chair is Arkansas First Lady Susan Hutchinson, the 2015 Arkansas Woman of Inspiration.

Children's Advocacy Centers help children and their families deal with the aftermath of child abuse. A Child Advocacy Center (CAC) is a safe, child friendly environment where law enforcement, child protective services, prosecution, victim advocacy, medical and mental health professionals can share information and develop effective, coordinated strategies sensitive to the needs of each unique case and child.

Johnelle DeBusk Hunt was born in Heber Springs, Arkansas. She met Johnnie B. Hunt when she was a junior in high school and four years later they were married. She attended the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. She and J. B. were married 55 years and blessed with two children as well as seven grandchildren.

In 1962, the J. B. Hunt Company, a rice hull packaging company, opened its doors in Stuttgart, Arkansas. Johnelle worked part-time to help her husband get started in the business. As the company grew, she found herself working more and more - helping with correspondence, financial statements and doing the bookkeeping. Before long she was working full time. In 1969 the couple co-founded J.B. Hunt Transport with five trucks and seven trailers. Its success is a tribute to the Hunts’ entrepreneurial spirit and hard work. J.B. Hunt Transport is one of the largest transportation logistics providers encompassing intermodal, dedicated, truckload, LTL, final mile, refrigerated, flatbed and expedited services. Among her jobs were the position of credit manager and Corporate Secretary which she held until 2008. At her retirement from the Board of Directors of the company in 2008, Johnelle was recognized as being an active and important partner contributing to the company’s development and success.

Mrs. Hunt currently holds a seat on The Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute Advisory Board. She is the founding Chairman of the United Way Alexis de Tocqueville Society for Washington County as well as a founding Executive Board Member of the Ozark Affiliate of Susan G. Komen. In May of 2000, she accepted the position of Campaign Treasurer for the University of Arkansas’ Leadership Team entitled Campaign for the 21st Century, a major fundraising drive that raised over one billion dollars. Following the Campaign for the 21st Century, an Advisory Board was formed of which Mrs. Hunt served on the Executive Committee. She was Co-Chair of the University’s Campaign Arkansas Steering Committee in 2013 and continues to serve on the Campaign. She has served on the Board of Directors for The Beau Foundation benefiting prenatal care in Northwest Arkansas since 2003. She previously served on the UAMS Foundation Board. In 1990, she and Mr. Hunt were chosen as the Arkansas Easter Seal Arkansans of the Year, the first couple to receive this award. In 1992 she was one of four women to receive the Worthen Professional Women of Distinction Award and has been included in “The Top 100 Women” list for Arkansas from 1994-1998. In 1996 the March of Dimes honored the Hunts as Citizens of the Year. In 2001 she and Mr. Hunt were inducted into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame. Mrs. Hunt received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by the University of Arkansas in 2009. She was honored by the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce where she also received the 2013 Dick Trammel Good Neighbor Award. In 2015, Mrs. Hunt was recognized as a University of Arkansas Chancellor’s Medal recipient and was inducted into the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame.

Since the passing of her husband in December of 2006, Mrs. Hunt has taken a very active role in projects developed and managed by her company, Hunt Ventures. The group is primarily responsible for the conception and development of the more than 700 acre project in western Rogers known as Pinnacle Hills. The development features over 1.4 million square feet of retail/restaurants and nearly 1.2 million square feet of Class A office space including the recently completed 10 story Hunt Tower. Johnelle is also actively involved with many other ongoing projects and companies started by Mr. Hunt including BioBased Technologies, Northwest Arkansas Quarries, Haskell (Oklahoma) Sand and Gravel, Central Mortar and Grout (Muskogee, Oklahoma) and a rock quarry project in Honduras, Central America. Other developments she is associated with include Village on the Creeks and Pinnacle Hills Promenade. She has also developed and constructed Northwest Arkansas’ newest cemetery, Pinnacle Memorial Gardens, along with the accompanying 3000 square foot Hunt Chapel.


Woman of Inspiration August 3, 2015 - Children's Advocacy Centers of Arkansas is excited to announce that First Lady Susan Hutchinson will be honored as the 2015 "Arkansas Woman of Inspiration." Susan HutchinsonThe honor will be presented at a luncheon at the Little Rock Marriott Hotel Ballroom on the morning of October 23rd, 2015 and all proceeds will be used to support Children's Advocacy Centers of Arkansas and their pursuit in implementing more centers and to provide funding for existing centers across our state. This inaugu...ral event will continue on yearly with a new honoree each year and will serve as a substantial fundraiser for Children's Advocacy Centers of Arkansas.

At the Woman of Inspiration event, an award will also be presented to an adult who has overcome the trauma of abuse to help the mission of Children's Advocacy Centers. The 2015 event will be chaired by Shayla Copas of Shayla Copas Interiors and Sara Massana of Martin-Wilbourn Partners.

Children's advocacy centers help children and their families deal with the aftermath of child abuse. A child advocacy center is a safe, child friendly environment where law enforcement, child protective services, prosecution, victim advocacy, medical and mental health professionals can share information and develop effective, coordinated strategies sensitive to the needs of each unique case and child.

First Lady Susan Hutchinson brings to the Governor's Mansion a lifetime of experience advocating for and working with children.

The former schoolteacher has spent the past several years on the board of the Children's Advocacy Center of Benton County -one of 14 non-profit Children's Advocacy Centers around the state that work with abused children. Among other initiatives, Mrs. Hutchinson hopes to see the establishment of more Children's Advocacy Centers in Arkansas, perhaps one per county.

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Susan grew up "as blue-collar as you can get" as the second of seven children. She was the valedictorian of Fulton High School with designs on being a doctor once she attended college at Bob Jones University in South Carolina. Instead, after graduation she taught biology and algebra in Memphis, where she maintained a relationship with an ambitious Arkansas man she met in college named Asa Hutchinson.

The Governor and First Lady have now been married for 41 years. They have four children, five grandchildren and a 5-year-old rescue cat named Snowflake.