Founded by Don Soderquist, Meet The Northwest Arkansas Team | Soderquist Leadership
Soderquist Leadership

Our Team

Don Soderquist Founding Executive

Don Soderquist | Founding Executive | Watch Videos Featuring Don

Don Soderquist is the business leader for whom our Center is named and officially serves as our Founding Executive, providing direction and inspiration to our team. Don spent over 20 years with Walmart, and after Sam Walton died, Don became known as “The Keeper of the Culture.” Don led the company as Chief Operating Officer during a period marked by exponential growth. Under his watch, Walmart grew from being the largest retailer in the world with sales of $43.9 billion the year of Sam’s death, to becoming the largest company in the world with sales over $200 billion. Walmart’s success is grounded in the highly ethical, performance-focused, servant leadership philosophies that Sam and Don instilled in the hearts of every associate. Don's passion now is to teach those same principles to companies and organizations around the world.

Chuck Hyde, CEO, Soderquist Center

Chuck Hyde | Chief Executive Officer | Email | Reading List

Chuck Hyde provides direct leadership in all areas of Soderquist Leadership, including execution of vision and strategy, performance to budget, all human and capital resources, and long-term sustainability of the organization. He has provided leadership in a variety of capacities since he joined Soderquist Leadership in 2005. Prior to his work at Soderquist, Chuck spent 12 years leading teams and strategic projects for Kimberly-Clark Corporation. His professional experience includes roles both in manufacturing facilities and central staff assignments in operations, operations support functions, and project leadership. Chuck currently sits on the School Board for the Siloam Springs School District. Chuck earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Arkansas in 1992 and his MBA from John Brown University in 2008. Chuck and his wife, Brian, have two sons, Charley and Jonathan.

Tom Verdery, Executive in Residence, Soderquist Center

Tom Verdery | Executive in Residence | Email | Reading List | Watch Videos Featuring Tom

Tom Verdery serves as Executive in Residence for Soderquist Leadership and also teaches in the Graduate Business division at JBU. Tom has over 34 years of experience working with Procter & Gamble, of which the last 14 years spent at the senior leadership level working exclusively outside the US with Wal-Mart, Inc. Tom came to Northwest Arkansas in 1989 when P&G asked him to be part of the first supplier team with Wal-Mart. Tom’s areas of expertise include: Strategic Planning & Execution, Executive Coaching, Leadership & Ethics, and Starting and Leading Multifunctional Customer Teams. Tom holds an MBA in Management from The University of Dallas and a BBA in Marketing from Texas Tech University.

Steve Trainor, Executive in Residence, Soderquist Center

CAPT Steve Trainor, USN, Ret., Ph.D. | Executive in Residence | Email

Steve Trainor serves as Executive in Residence for Soderquist Leadership. He has over 30 years of Active Duty Navy experience as an operational helicopter pilot, executive human resources manager, and most recently as the U.S. Navy’s first Permanent Military Professor of Leadership. As Chair of the Leadership, Ethics and Law Department and Director of Leadership Education and Development at the U.S. Naval Academy, Steve envisioned, designed and led the expansion and transformation of leader development efforts across the institution. A recognized teacher, scholar and researcher in ethics, culture, professional identity development, Steve’s work has been featured in The New York Times in Leadership, The San Diego Daily Transcript, and on C-SPAN. Steve serves on the editorial board of the U.S. Air Force Academy Center for Character and Leadership journal, POLARIS and he holds masters degrees from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA. Steve received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Maryland, College Park and he and his wife, Robin, have three adult sons who are each in training to become U.S. Navy Officers.

Alex Cornett, Executive in Residence, Soderquist Center

Alex Cornett | Executive in Residence/SVP of Market Development | Email

Alex serves as Executive in Residence and Senior Vice President of Market Development at Soderquist Leadership. He has over 30 years of leadership experience in the food industry, working in leadership roles at Steak and Ale Corporation, The Pillsbury Company, and General Mills, as well as working voluntarily for a variety of non-profit organizations. Prior to joining Soderquist Leadership, Alex built Pillsbury’s cross-functional business team in Northwest Arkansas, leading the team through and after the General Mills acquisition of Pillsbury. He later led sales and marketing efforts across the Supercenter and Division 1 formats and was also responsible for leading the General Mills partnership with Walmart’s rapidly growing Small Format division. In addition, Alex worked with the General Mills International Team to build and scale the international partnership between Walmart and General Mills and served as the supplier lead for Walmart’s Sustainable Food and Agricultural network. Alex’s areas of expertise are Strategic Planning, Executive Coaching, Starting and Leading Multifunctional Customer Teams, Sales, Innovation and Marketing. Alex is on the Board of Directors for JOYN LLC, has been active on the Development Council for The Jones Center and the Walton Arts Center, and was a Board member for the Center for Retailing Excellence at the University of Arkansas. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas-Arlington.

Lori Chalmers, Director of Operations, Soderquist Center

Lori Chalmers | VP of Operations | Email

Lori serves as the Vice President of Operations for Soderquist Leadership and provides overall leadership to the operational aspects of our customer programs. In addition, she serves as a facilitator, responsible for delivering values-based leadership, team development content, and meaningful experiential learning. This work includes the utilization of a variety of assessments to help leaders identify their strengths and development needs. Lori comes to us after serving as an executive at Ozark Guidance, the local community mental health center. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Nationally Certified Counselor. She received her Bachelor’s in Biblical Literature and Psychology from Ozark Christian College and her Master’s in Community Counseling from Pittsburg State University. She is passionate about adoption and foster care issues.

Gary Swyers, Senior Program Manager

Gary Swyers | Senior Program Manager | Email

Gary Swyers serves as our Senior Program Manager. An experienced outdoor leadership and experiential learning instructor, Gary oversees operations and facilitation for the delivery of our customers’ experience through content and experiential learning. Prior to joining us, Gary served as Director of the Center for Experiential Learning at Indiana Wesleyan University. He has extensive outdoor and education experience, having contributed to the development of adventure leadership programs, college level courses, ropes courses, and an international service program for university students. His experience also includes: facilitating with Prison Fellowship, curriculum development, and teaching at the undergraduate level. Gary earned a Bachelor’s degree in Theology, a Master’s in Ministerial Education, as well as completing 13 hours of post-graduate work in leadership. He also holds certifications in rock climbing and rappelling; high and low ropes course technical skill and facilitation; Emotional Intelligence and 360 assessments.

Sandy Tush, Manager/Facilitator

Sandy Tush | Senior Facilitator and Program Manager | Email | Reading List

Sandy Tush serves as a Senior Facilitator and Program Manager on our delivery team. She is involved with the creation and facilitation of both customized and open enrollment programs. This work includes the utilization of a variety of assessment instruments to help leaders identify their strengths and development needs. Sandy brings over 30 years experience in adult education and leadership development. She served as the Executive Development Center program manager at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., before joining our team. Prior to that, she held the position of Content Developer / Facilitator for Home Office People Development. She also taught Computer Science courses at community colleges. Sandy is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and also has multiple certifications, including Professional in Human Resources (PHR), EQ-i, The Birkman Method, and many more. She can be found on the local running trails and also enjoys time at home with her husband, Mike.

Brock Erdman, Business Development Manager, Soderquist Center

Brock Erdman | Business Development Manager | Email

Brock serves as Business Development Manager. Prior to joining Soderquist Leadership, Brock worked in retail as the Human Resources Training manager at Cabela’s outdoor store in Rogers, AR. Brock graduated from John Brown University with a Bachelor’s degree in Bible and Theology. After graduation, Brock worked at John Brown University as an Admissions Counselor before joining Soderquist as a Fellow. During his time as a Fellow, Brock worked in Business Development and Project Management while earning his Master’s degree in Business Administration. He and his wife, Sarah, met at JBU, and have a son named Fritz. Outside of work, Brock is the head rugby coach for JBU and enjoys woodworking, hunting, fishing and anything else outdoors.

Stephanie Brown, Business Development Manager, Soderquist Center

Stephanie Brown | Business Development Manager | Email

Stephanie serves as Business Development Manager and is passionate about helping people find the best solution to meet their leadership and team development needs. Prior to joining Soderquist Leadership Stephanie worked in event planning for various nonprofits. She graduated from John Brown University with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and a Master’s degree in Leadership and Ethics. While in grad school Stephanie was part of the Soderquist Fellowship Program where she served on the delivery team. After graduation Stephanie worked as an event manager for Boys and Girls Club of Benton County and later for WorkMatters. She and her husband, Andrew, met at JBU and she is passionate about adoption, orphan care, and prison ministry.

Clayton Anderson, Strategic Innovation Manager, Soderquist Center

Clayton Anderson | Strategic Innovation Manager | Email

Clayton supports a strategic effort at Soderquist Leadership to commercialize new opportunities in leader and organizational development. He and the small team are exploring innovative products and services, new partnerships, and additional formats for delivering content and experience. He also serves as faculty advisor for the Enactus team (formerly SIFE) in the Donald G. Soderquist College of Business at John Brown University. Prior to his current role, Clayton supported marketing and communications at Soderquist. He holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from John Brown University.


Sue Axmark

Sue Axmark
Executive Assistant


Kristy Keith, Administrative Assistant

Kristy Keith
Administrative Assistant


Jen Payne, Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable

Jen Payne
Operations Coordinator


Lesa Cross, Greystone Estate Manager

Lesa Cross
Greystone Estate Manager


Patty Murphy, Greystone Estate Housekeeping Coordinator

Patty Murphy
Greystone Estate Housekeeping Coordinator


Joshua Nay, Greystone Estate Lead Tech/Maintenance

Joshua Nay
Greystone Estate Lead Tech/Maintenance


Tammy Miller
Greystone Estate Evening Hospitality Lead


Jeffrey Essary, Content Developer

Jeffrey Essary
Content Developer


Christy Hall, Graphic Designer

Christy Hall
Graphic Designer


Kelli Neuman, Soderquist Fellow

Kelli Neuman
Soderquist Fellow


Molly Maj, Soderquist Fellow

Molly Maj
Soderquist Fellow


Rachel Lewis, Soderquist Fellow

Rachel Lewis
Soderquist Fellow