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

Our Team

Don Soderquist Founding Executive

Don Soderquist (January 29, 1934 - July 21, 2016) | Founding Executive | Remembering Don 

Don Soderquist was the business leader for whom our Center is named and our Founding Executive. 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 was 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.

Sherrill Clement | Director of Business Development | Email

Sherrill Clement has over 17 years of experience in both the life science and outsourcing industries. Prior to joining the Soderquist business development team, Sherrill spent two and a half years at Quintiles Integrated Healthcare Services as Director, Business Development, where she was responsible for creating and cultivating strong, long-term relationships within her accounts and developed in-depth knowledge of the customer organization and industry trends. Prior to Quintiles, Sherrill spent 10 years at GlaxoSmithKline in multiple sales leadership, sales training, and account management positions. She began her sales and leadership career at Automatic Data Processing as an Emerging Business Account Manager quickly advancing to Major Accounts where she was asked to lead the team. Sherrill and her husband, Vance lived and worked overseas in Brussels, Belgium where she was E-Commerce Project Manager at Automatic Data Processing, Dealer Services Europe. Sherrill holds a Bachelors of Science degree from the University of Arkansas.  She is currently Sustainer Chair and Fundraiser for Fayetteville Junior Civic League and an active member of Central Methodist Church in Fayetteville.  Sherrill is Past President, University of Arkansas Alumni Association, Mid-South Chapter, a Sustaining member of Junior League of Memphis, where she was Cultural Development Chair, Scholarship, and Public Relations Chair.  Her hobbies include design, travel, yoga, piano, and raising her beautiful daughter.

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.



Blake Binns | Facilitator and Program Manager | Email

Blake serves as Program Manager and Facilitator at Soderquist Leadership. Currently, Blake is a Doctoral Candidate in Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Arkansas, where he also serves as an adjunct professor in ethics and integrity. Previously, Blake, who holds a Masters of Education degree from the University of St. Thomas, was a high school science teacher in Houston, which houses one of the largest school districts in the country. In addition to teaching, Blake served as the Department Chair of Science, as well as Coordinator of the University Interscholastic League, an organization dedicated to creating academic and athletic contests for thousands of students across Texas. Outside of the education world, Blake also served as the Assistant Camp Director of Brookhill Ranch, one of the largest and highest rated camps in Arkansas. Blake has extensively worked with non-profits and volunteer groups, and currently oversees the training and development of team leaders with Young Life, a national non-profit organization in which he also serves.

Brock Erdman, Business Development Manager, Soderquist Center

Brock Erdman | Senior Business Development Manager | Email

Brock serves as Senior Business Development Manager for the Market Development team. Prior to joining Soderquist Leadership, Brock worked in retail at Cabela’s outdoor store in Rogers, AR. Brock served as a Human Resources manager where he was responsible for training and development of all Outfitters within the store, plus helping train new store associates around the country. Before Cabela’s, Brock worked in Business Development and Project Management as a part of the Soderquist Leadership Fellowship where he also earned his Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA). Brock chose to join the Soderquist Fellows after traveling the nation as a Recruiter for John Brown University, where he also received his Bachelor of Arts degree. Brock currently serves as the head rugby coach for John Brown University’s rugby teams, and on Committee for Greater Siloam Springs’ Young Life, a chapter of a national non-profit organization. He and his wife, Sarah, live in Siloam Springs, AR and have two sons, Fritz & Griffin. Outside of work, Brock enjoys spending his time outdoors hunting, fishing and cycling, along with woodworking projects and working out.

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.

 

Sue Axmark

Sue Axmark
Executive Assistant
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Kristy Keith, Administrative Assistant

Kristy Keith
Administrative Assistant
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Jen Payne, Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable

Jen Payne
Operations Coordinator
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Lesa Cross, Greystone Estate Manager

Lesa Cross
Greystone Estate Manager
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Patty Murphy, Greystone Estate Housekeeping Coordinator

Patty Murphy
Greystone Estate Housekeeping Coordinator
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Joshua Nay, Greystone Estate Lead Tech/Maintenance

Joshua Nay
Greystone Estate Lead Tech/Maintenance
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Tammy Miller
Greystone Estate Evening Hospitality Lead
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Jeffrey Essary, Content Developer

Jeffrey Essary
Content Developer
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Christy Hall, Graphic Designer

Christy Hall
Graphic Designer
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Kelli Neuman, Soderquist Fellow

Kelli Neuman
Soderquist Fellow
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Molly Maj, Soderquist Fellow

Molly Maj
Soderquist Fellow
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Rachel Lewis, Soderquist Fellow

Rachel Lewis
Soderquist Fellow
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Shelby Mooty
Soderquist Fellow
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Cecilee Russell
Soderquist Fellow
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Meghan Ranz
Soderquist Fellow
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