And her focus on improving credit quality helped the $127 billion-asset Regions clear several important hurdles — among them, the repayment of $3.5 billion to exit the Troubled Asset Relief Program, a passing grade on the government's stress tests and key upgrades to credit ratings from Moody's and Standard & Poor's, the latter of which restored its investment-grade opinion on Regions last year.
Godin also takes pride in developing a strong rapport with her staff, sending personal "just checking in" emails to employees every week, and as part of their performance reviews she has them write down their dream job-and spends a portion of the review discussing possible paths to achieving it.”
Amy W. Johnson - Simmons First National Bank Senior Vice President / Marketing Director
Amy W. Johnson has more than 26 years of financial services experience with Simmons First. She has held the positions of Senior Credit Analyst, Loan/Review Compliance Officer, Mortgage Loan Officer, Retail and Business Development Manager, Corporate Sales Director and currently serves as the Marketing Director for Simmons First National Corporation. In this position, she provides product management, brand marketing and communications expertise to all markets of Simmons First throughout Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri.
Johnson is very active in her community and currently serves on the board of directors of Economics Arkansas; Go Red for Women; Women’s Foundation of Arkansas and is a member of the Downtown Pine Bluff Rotary Club. She has previously served on the board of directors of Pine Bluff Chamber of Commerce and as past chair of Business Expo; Downtown Pine Bluff Rotary Club; Southeast Arkansas Arts and Science Center and a Public Relations and Marketing Committee member. She is a past member of Jr. League of Pine Bluff; Credit Women’s International; Pine Bluff Circle of Friends; Chamber Community Marketing Committee; and Arkansas Scholars.
Johnson is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a degree in Finance and Banking and a graduate of the Arkansas Banking School and the National Commercial Lending School. Johnson resides in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and is a member of First United Methodist Church of Pine Bluff, currently serving on their Board of Trustees. She has one son, Jacob in Springdale, Arkansas. Jacob and his wife, Megan have blessed Amy with a precious granddaughter, Ellery Grace Johnson.
Amy W. Johnson
Patricia Johnson - US Bank / Vice President & Senior Relationship Manager
Patricia Johnson is a Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager with U.S. Bank’s Private Banking Division in Little Rock Arkansas. She has served in this capacity with U.S. Bank for the past 14 years. However, her banking career spans with over 30 years of experience. Her career began in the early 80s with National Bank of Commerce in Pine Bluff, now Bank of America. During that time she handled various financial responsibilities from Retail to Marketing. In the early 90s she joined U.S. Bank in Portland Oregon as a Personal Banking Officer, but soon returned to Arkansas in 1994, rejoining the Bank of America family where her responsibilities ranged from Branch Manager/Vice President, to Southwest Regional Market President. As Market President, some of her duties were to oversee and monitor loans and deposit growth, as well as administrative activities for approximately 40 employees. She later joined Bank of America’s Premier Banking Division. While in this position, she acquired her Series 6 and 63 Licenses. In the year 2000, she joined U.S. Bank’s Private Banking Division.
Patricia attended Texas Southern University in Houston Texas. She has also given back to her community serving in various capacities throughout her career. Patricia is a past member and board member of the National Association of Urban Bankers in both Oregon and Arkansas; first woman member of the Pine Bluff Northside Kiwanis, and past member of the North Little Rock Rotary Club. In 2009 she was appointed by the Mayor of Little Rock to serve on the Little Rock Hotel/Restaurant Tax Review Committee. She is the past Chairman of the Arkansas Leadership Council for Save the Children where she served with many wonderful board volunteers, including First Lady of Arkansas, Ginger Beebe. She currently serves on the board of directors for the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Foundation Fund Board. In 2012 she was the feature cover story in Soiree magazine for the Cancer Institute’s annual major fund raiser. (Their goal of $1 million dollars was exceeded)
Patricia and her husband, Dr. Carl Johnson, reside in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Debbie R. Knight – One Bank & Trust Senior Vice President / Retail Administration
Debbie Knight’s career in banking began in 1992 when she worked with Bank of America’s predecessor bank, Worthen. During her 9 year tenure she moved from management trainee, to Senior Banking Executive in Conway, to Regional Sales Manager for Bank of America.
In July 2001, Debbie joined Metropolitan National Bank as Sales Manager assuming the responsibility of leading the sales efforts of Metropolitan’s 26 Central Arkansas banking centers. In just a few short months, Debbie was chosen to lead the entire Retail Administration Division. Her responsibilities included implementing strategies designed to retain and grow banking deposits – which were $1.2 million at the time. Additionally, she was accountable for managing, and most importantly motivating over 200 employees throughout the 38 banking centers in Central Arkansas.
Over her 12 year career with Metropolitan, Debbie has assumed responsibility for other bank departments, such as, the bank’s customer call center, training and development, Merchant Services Division, bank security, and the Investment Professional group. Debbie has been instrumental in developing new products for the bank, launching revenue enhancement initiatives and implementing programs to expand the product and service offerings throughout the banking network.
Debbie was promoted in February 2013 to Executive Vice President with added responsibilities of managing all of the branches in the state including those located in Northwest Arkansas, 45 branches total. In addition, she was given oversight over the business development group for the bank.
For the past fifteen years, Debbie Knight has served on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pulaski County. Debbie has served as President of the Board as well as chairing the organization’s largest fundraising event “Toast & Roast” twice and co-chaired twice. In addition to her work with BBBS, Knight has also co-chaired the bank’s United Way contribution campaign.
Debbie received her undergraduate degree in Marketing and her Master’s degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communications from UALR. She also was named one of Arkansas Business’ 40 under 40 in 2002 at the age of 33.
In June 2013, Debbie was selected as one of the top 25 Women to Watch in Central Arkansas by Soiree magazine.
Debbie has one son, Coleman Knight that she likes to refer to as “her little man.” At 45 years of age, Knight has already accumulated an impressive career and has made significant contributions to our community.
Knight recently joined One Bank & Trust in Little Rock.
Heather Landy – American Banker Magazine / Editor-in-Chief
Heather Landy has been editor in chief of American Banker Magazine since the monthly publication's launch in July 2011, and is editorial director of American Banker's annual program recognizing the Most Powerful Women in Banking and Finance. Heather previously spent two years on the staff of the American Banker daily newspaper, covering large institutions and an array of governance, risk, accounting and regulatory issues affecting the sector.
Prior to joining American Banker, she was a special correspondent to The Washington Post, covering Wall Street at the height of the financial crisis.
In 2007 she won a Gerald Loeb Award, one of the highest honors in business journalism, while reporting on the retail industry for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She began her career at Bloomberg News, covering various beats including corporate finance, retailing and heavy industry. Heather is a graduate of Northwestern University, with a BSJ and MSJ from the Medill School of Journalism. She lives in New York.
Judy Lawton – Heartland Bank / Chief Financial Officer & Chief Operating Officer
Judy R. Lawton graduated from Arkansas Tech University in 1980 with a degree in Accounting. She earned her license to practice public accounting (CPA) and has been a member of Arkansas Society of CPAs since 1983. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma, ABA National Compliance School in 1981. She received the Arkansas Bankers Management School certificate in 1985. She is an ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking (1991) Newark, Delaware Honors Graduate. Judy was named one of Arkansas Business’s (1993) Top 15 Women in Leadership and a finalist in the Arkansas Business 2013 for CFO of the Year for Small Banks. She has served on the Arkansas Tech University Foundation Board and currently serves as Chairman of the Finance Committee and is Secretary/Treasurer of the Heartland Foundation. Other Boards served on in the past include River Valley United Way, River Valley Heart Association, River Valley Soccer Association, St. John’s Catholic Church Finance Committee, and Women in Networking. In addition, she has participated in Habitat for Humanity building projects.
Judy began her Accounting/Banking career in 1980 with Russell Brown & Company, where she served as a Staff Accountant responsible for performing accounting and auditing functions (1980-1981). In 1981, she began working for Boatmen’s National Bank in Russellville and Fayetteville (1981-1996). She served as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Operations. Judy was responsible for budget preparation, served as Chair of the conversion team, and was actively involved in three computer conversions and three bank mergers. She coordinated accounting, audit, human resources, and operational issues within the holding company. She ensured smooth and efficient operation of deposit services, loan services, human resources, compliance, and facilities management. She was a member of the Senior Management Team and was active in the development of policies, programs, goals, and objectives. Judy served as Controller as well as Audit and Compliance Officer for over six years. In 1996, she served as Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President, and Director for River Valley Bank and RVB Bancshares, Inc. in Russellville, Arkansas (1996-2003). She was involved in the organization and chartering of this de novo bank. Judy prepared budgets and bank-wide plans. She coordinated accounting, audit, compliance, human resources, and other operational functions including computer conversions. Judy served on the Bank’s Loan Committee and was involved in the development of policies, objectives, and goals for the Bank. In 2003, Judy began work for DD&F Consulting Group and J Lawton Consulting, Inc. in Little Rock, Arkansas (2003-2004). She assisted in the development of business and/or strategic plans, budgeting, project management, and acquisition transition efforts including systems conversions. She conducted procedural evaluations to identify operational efficiencies to enhance profitability and/or customer service. Judy performed due diligence reviews and provided management services including asset/liability management. She established Board of Director monitoring programs and other management services.
Currently, Judy is the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer for Heartland Bank in Little Rock, Arkansas (2004-Present). Judy played a key role in the acquisition of the Bank in 2004. She assisted in changing the charter from a Savings and Thrift to a state chartered bank in 2008. She has been instrumental in the Bank’s growth from an asset size of $80,000,000 to $200,000,000. As Chief Operations Officer she oversees Information Technology, Loan Operations, Deposit Operations and Treasury Management.
Karla Payne – Arvest Bank / Chief Financial Officer
Karla Payne has been the Chief Financial Officer for Arvest Bank, Fayetteville, AR ($14 billion in assets) since May 2010. Prior to that date, she served as the Arvest Group Controller since 1995 and in a dual role of Group Controller and Mortgage CFO from late 2004 through May 2010. Karla has over 30 years of banking experience in finance/accounting, trust and other bank operations and mortgage, all at Arvest.
Karla is a member of the Arvest Executive Committee, Asset/Liability Committee, Compensation Committee, Incentive Oversight Committee and IT Steering Committee as well as a number of Arvest subsidiary boards.
Karla is a graduate of the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and a Master’s in Business Administration.
Roby Brock - Talk Business Arkansas / Executive Editor and Host
Roby Brock is the executive editor and host of Talk Business Arkansas, a multi-media news organization focusing on business and politics in Arkansas. On air for 15 years, over 1,500 business and political leaders have been interviewed by Brock.
He is the host of Talk Business & Politics, which airs each Sunday at 9am on TV's KATV Channel 7. Brock also moderates a statewide radio program that airs on NPR affiliates statewide.
In addition to his television and radio programs and active web site, TalkBusinessArkansas.com, Brock provides reports for Stephens Media newspapers, The City Wire.com and KATV Ch. 7 TV in Little Rock.
Brock is Editor-in-chief of Talk Business Arkansas, a statewide magazine publication that is distributed to 12,000 business and political leaders throughout the state.