Ann Madea
Chief Information Officer at Simmons Bank


Ann Madea is an accomplished senior executive with a 20+ year record of promotion and progressively greater roles of responsibility for community and metro banking as well as several Fortune Global 500 financial organizations.

Ann is serving as the Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Simmons Bank, a principal subsidiary of Simmons First National Corporation (SFNC) which is a Mid-South based financial holding company. Simmons Bank operates more than 200 branches in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. Founded in 1903, Simmons Bank offers comprehensive financial solutions delivered with a client-centric approach. Simmons Bank was named to Forbes list of “America’s Best Banks” in 2022 and was recently named to Forbes list of “World’s Best Banks” for the third consecutive year.  

Ann served previously as the Executive Vice President and US Chief Information officer for HSBC, one of the largest banking and financial services organizations in the world, with operations in 64 countries and territories, serving more than 40M global customers and over 235k employees. Ann supported all lines of US business including Retail, Commercial, Private and Investment Banking building teams across the US and the globe to deliver outstanding results for the organization. 

A skilled executive, Ann has extensive experience managing all aspects of technology including software engineering, infrastructure, operations, payments, corporate systems, and risk across the US. She has led numerous organizational transformations, including being appointed to successfully deliver a $400M, 5-year organizational turn around that that impacted nearly every business and technology function in the US. Ann also has significant experience with mergers and acquisitions and advances in business growth through exceptional delivery, managing risk, expense control and building and investing in high-performance teams. Throughout her career, Ann has held US, Global and America’s leadership positions focusing on delivery, strategy, digital transformation, cloud, data, and cyber strategies. 

Prior to HSBC, Ann lead numerous technology initiatives for Household International, a consumer finance company and provider of real estate secured loans, auto finance loans, private label cards and was the sixth-largest issuer of Mastercard and Visa credit cards in the US. 

Ann is passionate about women and girls in technology and was recently the Executive Sponsor for the Summer Immersion Program for ‘Girls Who Code’, a nonprofit organization which aims to increase the number of women in computer science. Ann is also a frequent speaker, mentor, and coach dedicated to the advancement of women in business and technology. 

Ann holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and serves on the Advisory Board for UIC’s College of Engineering. 


Shannon Newton
President at Arkansas Trucking Association

Shannon Newton was named president of the Arkansas Trucking Association in June 2014.  She has been with the ATA since 2003, having previously served as vice president 2008-2014.  

Since joining ATA, Newton has filled a range of leadership roles with expanded responsibilities in the development and implementation of strategic initiatives including planning, finance, member services, governance, regulatory and legislative affairs, and advocacy. In 2018, she was recognized by the American Trucking Associations with the President’s Trucking Association Executives Council Leadership Award for her regional and national advocacy efforts.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has tapped Newton for various statewide transportation campaigns, including his Working Group on Highway Funding in 2019 and the Council on Future Mobility in 2022. Newton served as chair of the Vote for Roads committee that successfully campaigned for voters to pass a half-cent sales tax in November 2020 to fund infrastructure. In April 2020, she was appointed to Arkansas’s Economic Recovery Task Force to develop an industry-specific strategy and make recommendations to the Governor for the state’s COVID-19 economic recovery.

Newton has held a number of association and national industry leadership positions, including vice chair of the Trucking Associations Executive Council. She serves on the boards of directors for the following groups: Project Zero, a statewide non-profit organization raising awareness on adoption from foster care; Arkansas Good Roads Foundation; Be Pro Be Proud; Arkansas Self-Insurers Association; Arkansas State University – Three Rivers; Central Moloney, Inc.  She is a member of the Trucking Association’s Insurance Council, Arkansas Society of Association Executives and Arkansas Society of Professional Lobbyists. A graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, Shannon lives in Bryant with her husband Josh and their two children Nash and Nyla.


Shannon Hendrix, MS, RD, LD, FACHE 
Senior Vice President and Chief Administrator at Arkansas Children’s Northwest

Shannon Hendrix serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Administrator at Arkansas Children’s Northwest, where she implements strategies to achieve the vision of the organization. Prior to her role as Chief Administrator, Shannon held the position of Vice President of Clinical and Diagnostic Services at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

Outside of Arkansas Children’s, Shannon is a member of the Arkansas Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and the Alpha Alpha Rho Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. She also sits on the steering committee for Million Women Mentors (Arkansas Chapter). Her board positions include the Arkansas Zoological Foundation, Arvest/Springdale, The Brooklyn Project Foundation, National Healthcare Diversity Council, and the University of Central Arkansas Foundation.

Shannon received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Central Arkansas and completed her dietetic internship at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Shannon and her husband reside in Springdale, along with their 11-year old son. Her interests include traveling, cycling, playing tennis, and spending time outdoors.


Catherine Bays
Director of Development, Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, Little Rock, AR

Catherine Bays has an extensive 20-year background in philanthropy and an impressive donor portfolio. Recently earning her Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP) designation, she also holds a Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE) designation and was invited to serve on the distinguished CFRE International Board. Catherine’s love of the arts began as a classically trained ballet dancer, dancing professionally with several ballet companies. Afterwards, she continued supporting the arts and found her passion meshed easily with her skills in non-profit management and fundraising. Through her career she has gained both regional and national experience in capital campaign leadership, relationship building and strategic planning.

Catherine’s prior professional experiences include Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Arkansas Children’s Hospital Foundation, and the Museum of Discovery.  Catherine’s serves as an advisor for arts and dance organizations with missions that align with creative, equitable learning opportunities for youth. 

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