The Under 40 Forum brings young leaders from across Arkansas together with the purpose of advancing ideas, solving problems, and dreaming big dreams for a brighter future. The Forum represents a partnership between the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute (the Institute), the Clinton School of Public Service, Arkansas Business, and the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. The 80 honorees from the “Forty Under 40” lists published by Arkansas Business and the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal are invited to participate in the Forum.

The participants spend 24 hours at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute atop Petit Jean Mountain. They connect with other young leaders from around the state, build relationships and shape the future of the state by having an honest look at some of the toughest issues impacting Arkansas.

The 2020 Forum highlighted two issues that affect everyone in Arkansas either directly or indirectly: hunger and poverty. The participants engaged in four interactive and educational sessions that helped them better understand structural and policy issues related to poverty and hunger in their workforce and communities. Ronnie Dedman, President of AT&T Arkansas, gave the keynote address about AT&T’s Believe Arkansas initiative to fight hunger in Arkansas, which is part of their national effort to inspire positive change in local communities.

The 2019 Forum focused on racial equity and equipped the honorees with tools to build a more inclusive Arkansas.

The 2018 Forum focused on “building a better brand for Arkansas.” Participants considered a future where Arkansas is known throughout the country and beyond for its economic vitality and quality of life. The Under 40 Leaders were challenged to develop a road map to take us from where we are today toward that brighter future for our state.

The 2017 Forum theme was “Fractured Arkansas.” We asked the Under 40 Leaders to consider the various barriers that keep Arkansas divided – be they geographic, social or political. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe kicked off the Forum with his keynote address. He reminded those in attendance that success in one part of the state breeds success in other parts of the state.

The 2016 Under 40 Forum was the first of its kind to be held in Arkansas. The  40 Under 40 honorees were challenged to consider what needs to be done to support retention and recruitment of young talent. This was accomplished through facilitated discussions, an engaging keynote address and Q&A from Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Participants were also provided with opportunities to network with one another.

Contact Person

We are planning for the next iteration of a young leadership program in Arkansas and if that sounds interesting to you, contact James.

James Hopper

Director of Programsjhopper@uawri.org(501) 727-6220