Our newest Young Professional Spotlight is being shown on Jessica Sorg, currently a member of Little Rock Soiree’s 2019 Women to Watch! We were excited that Jessica was able to make some time to chat with us about herself and her favorite things in the 501. Jessica is the Director of Underwriting at Legacy Capital and has been with Legacy Capital for 14 years. Jessica is originally from Pocahontas, Arkansas and moved to the 501 to attend undergrad at the University of Central Arkansas where she graduated with her Bachelors in Science in Health & Science.
Not only is Jessica a killing it in her professional life she is a powerhouse in the 501 non-profit world. Jessica is currently the President of the Peacekeepers, the young professional’s arm of Women & Children First a domestic violence shelter that services the entire state. The Peacekeepers work together to spread the mission of Women & Children First safety, strength, and hope for all victims of family violence.
When Jessica is not working or volunteering you can find her outdoors with her family going on off the grid adventures and enjoying the wonders of our natural state.
We all know Little Rock is a food lovers dream city. Whether you are walking in downtown, out in WLR, or anywhere in between, odds are you hear about spectacular chefs preparing one-of-a-kind dishes for customers. Our YP of the month, Executive Chef Jordan Davis, is one of those that you hear about.
Jordan Davis, was born in Texarkana but grew up in Little Rock. You might be wondering how he came to love preparing some of the best meals you'll eat around Little Rock, right? It all started in high school when an ankle surgery kept him off the football field during his senior year. "While I was on crutches and couldn't walk, I taught myself how to cook and grill. After a few failed attempts, it was obvious that this is my passion."
Jordan soon enrolled at UA - Pulaski Technical College where he graduated in 2011 from the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute. During this time he started working at the Chenal Country Club, not as a chef, but as a dishwasher. Throughout the years he worked his way up the latter to become Executive Chef.
He won the Diamond Chef - Arkansas in 2019 and is currently a member of the American Culinary Federation. If you haven't tasted these divine dishes, make sure to put it on your bucket list.
Jimmy D Warren II works for the Pulaski Country Government, specifically the department of Youth Services. Like most outgoing young professionals, Jimmy wears multiple hats within the the workplace including communications and special event coordinator. From master degrees to public service, odds are he's done it all.
Jimmy grew up in Crossett, AR where his mother was an educator and his father was a DJ. You'll often hear him state that he's the "product of what happens when you combine books with a dope playlist." Wanting to continue his education, he chose to move up to central Arkansas to study at Arkansas Tech in Russellville. Starting out with his communication degree, he quickly progressed to getting his Masters of Higher Ed Admin. He is now proudly involved in the Arkansas Tech Young Alumni group where he helps advocate on behalf of his alma mater.
Before getting involved in direct government work, Jimmy worked at the Conway Chamber of Commerce where he got his first taste of economic development. Jimmy was also the first Africa American male to be hired there and it call came forward last October when he was awarded the Conway Chamber Young Minority Professional of the Year.
Like most young professionals, Jimmy is also involved in many nonprofits and charity groups. About 4 years ago he got involved with voter registration drives which lead him to get involved with the NAACP in Faulker county. When asked what he enjoyed most about this group, he simply stated "their commitment for the betterment of people is absolutely outstanding." He is also involved in Junior Auxiliary and Rotary's Young Professionals of Conway.
Our final question for Jimmy was a simple "where do you see yourself in 5 years?" "I hope to further the work I'm currently doing in the community. At that time, I'll have a daughter graduating high school, so hopefully either she'll be receiving a full scholarship somewhere or i'll be in a position to provide her an opportunity to choose her own career path without the worry of debt."
You can find Jimmy somewhere around his home in Conway, where he says it's a thriving area that not only gives you the space to create, but also provides the tools to make it possible.
When you think of someone that loves their community you often think of that person that you see everywhere and involved in everything. This month’s Be501 Young Professional is just that person and after this interview, we have decided we need to bottle up her energy and sell it. Please meet Kandi N. Hughes, Corporate Attorney at Southwest Power Pool.
Kandi’s office wall is likely full of diplomas and certificates because she has been busy. She completed her undergraduate work at Duke University obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy Studies, Certification in Health Policy (we failed to ask her how many basketball games she attended while there). She then came back home to complete her Juris Doctor at the University of Arkansas, William H. Bowen School of Law. Kandi went on to obtain her Masters of Business Administration at UCA and is currently working on her Masters of Law in Energy, and National Resources from the University of Oklahoma.
Kandi has served as Board Member of the Arkansas Foodbank, and currently serves as a Board Member on the Leadership Foundation for Women, The Oscar Washington, Jr. Scholarship Fund, The Pearls Foundation of Central Arkansas, and Tendaji Community Development Corporation. In addition to her non-profit work, she is also currently the Vice Chair of the Central Arkansas Water Board of Commissioners and previously served on the Little Rock School District Community Advisory Board.
Anyone tired yet? Kandi also somehow finds enough hours in her day to work with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., serving her second term as President of the Chi Eta Omega Alumni Chapter, American Heart Association as its Go Red for Women Annual Luncheon Program Committee Chairman, serving on the Duke University Alumni Admissions Advisory Board, a parent volunteer with Girl Scouts of America, Diamond Arkansas, multiple positions with the Junior League of Little Rock, Leadership Greater Little Rock Alumni, City Year’s Red Jacket Ball Committee, Saint Mark Baptist Church Personnel Committee, and at Williams Traditional Magnet School as a parent volunteer.
We are not the first to think Kandi is pretty great! Last year, the Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus recognized her with the Irma Hunter Brown Women’s Leadership Honoree. She is also a graduate of the Arkansas Bar Association’s Leadership Academy, Leadership Greater Little Rock – Class XXXI, and has been recognized in Arkansas Business’ 200 and 250 in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
To say that Kandi has a love for her community is an understatement! The 501 is incredibly lucky to have someone so dedicated to pushing our community to the next level.
A native of Little Rock, AR, Jennifer Missouri is a passionate woman of photography. She founded her business, Jen Missouri Photography, in 2013.
After graduating college, she discovered her passion for photography. Although she was in school and had a passion for photography, she stated that she did not take it seriously, believing she would not be able to make a profession out of it. After a short attendance to a Doctoral program in Chesterfield, Missouri, she decided to pursue her passion.
“I enjoyed taking pictures and I noticed how a good photo could make some feel special and beautiful,” Missouri said.
Missouri applies the principles of loyalty and integrity to her work, providing the desire to give her clients a personal experience.
“Three words I would sum my company in would be: personal, professional and precise,” Missouri said.Missouri is proud to be able to offer more than one service to her clients, as she is talented in photography, videography and branding.
You can check out Jen's website here.
Article by: Tamara Bates
The last time I wrote an article for Be501, I showcased one of my favorite foods – fried chicken, specifically Stickeyz. Today, y’all, I’m here to testify about the deliciousness of one of Little Rock’s hottest, new places – Kontiki African Restaurant. Folks, I’m here to tell you, this place is fantastic.
Admittedly, I was skeptical heading into the experience because I’d never eaten African food before, but I left with a full tummy and new appreciation for African cuisine. Now, before I describe the experience itself, I’ll share some backstory about how Kontiki’s presence came to be known in the Little Rock area.
Originally from Sierra Leone, owner Christian Domingo, started the restaurant in the old Alexander Country Club. The establishment offered a new take on traditional African cuisine and brought new tastes to Central Arkansas. As the popularity of the restaurant took off, Domingo and his wife moved the restaurant to South University Avenue, where they’d have more exposure to the Little Rock market, and it’s seemed to pay off. On the day I visited, there was a steady crowd in and out enjoying a tasty lunch.
I chose Jollof Rice and Stew, which was white rice cooked with tomato paste, bell peppers, onions, and West African spices. The dish is either served with beef or chicken, and I chose beef. Having grown up on a cattle farm, I’m pretty picky about my beef being of quality cut, as well as being cooked just right. It didn’t disappoint. It was tender and packed with flavor. The spices weren’t overpowering, and the heat of the dish was enough to make my nose run but wanting more. My friends and I also ate some of the meatball-like appetizers, and they were every bit as good.
Pictured: Jollof Rice & Stew
Before I left, I asked a guy, Jake, about his take on Kontiki, and he said, “this is my first time here, and I’ll be back. My coworkers and I decided to give it a try, and we’re all glad we did. I’m impressed with the food, and I think it gives something a little different for people here in Little Rock.”
If you’d like to check our Kontiki for yourself, their hours are 11:00am – 9:00pm daily, and they’re located at 3901 South University Avenue in Little Rock. You can check them out at Facebook.com/KontikiKitchen or call 501-615-8504.
Article by: Jackson Alexander
At just 25 years old, Ross Owyoung has accomplished more than most people his age. Ross was recently named the new Director of the UA Little Rock Downtown campus. Ross started in the development office at UA Little Rock in August 2018, and his drive and determination quickly led him to being promoted to Director of the new downtown campus just two short months after starting.
Before achieving rockstar status at UA Little Rock, Ross graduated from both the University of Arkansas and the U of A Clinton School of Public Service. He graduated from his undergraduate studies with a double major in sociology and criminal justice in three years. During this time, he helped start the UA Student Alumni Board (SAB), where he served as the Networking Director, as well as a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. Wanting to even further his education, he started at the Clinton School in Little Rock and recently graduated back in May 2018. While at CSPS, he was elected as the First-Year Student Body Representative on the Student Government Board.
During his time at the Clinton School, Owyoung was involved in various projects and worked with organizations, such as Jericho Way Research Center and The Venture Center. Both projects included studies of economic and social analysis. For Owyoung’s third project, he traveled to Panama and implemented an after-school program for a Panamanian community center. After his travels, Owyoung was grateful to have had that experience and said, “I came back a completely different person. It’s something that was much needed for my life I would say. It definitely changed the way I viewed the world.”
Ross is also involved in non-profit work. Two of his favorites are Jericho way and The Venture Center. You can also visit his website here.
Awards, humanitarian, and scholar are just a few words that people associate with Tamara Bates. Growing up in Memphis, Tamara moved to Arkansas’ Capital to attend Philander Smith in 2011 where she pursued a Bachelors of Science in Biology. During this time she obtained many awards including the White House Competitiveness Scholar during President Barack Obama’s Administration. Building off of that, she also was named Student Humanitarian of the Year. Did we mention she did all of this and still obtained the President’s 4.0 scholar honor?
Falling in love with Little Rock, she chose to stay here and help progress Little Rock as a city. She is currently an Enrollment Services Specialist at Philander Smith. "After working for Hillary Clinton in 2016 I decided to go back and share my expertise and talents. Philander Smith College shaped me into the woman that I am today and with open arms I was welcomed in to bring my innovative and forward thinking to help us advance the mission of Philander Smith College."
Tamara was named Humanitarian of the Year in 2016 and named HBCU Top 30 Under 30 Young Professionals to Know.
"I believe every single day I add energy and value to the people and spaces that I encounter. My goal is to leave each encounter with someone better than I found them ."
In today’s times, you can’t be a thriving young professional without being involved in some nonprofits and Tamara isn’t new to this. She works with RESULTS Educational Fund to bring political action to help end poverty, Big Brothers Big Sisters, American Red Cross, and the Ronald McDonald House.
She is also involved in many other organizations around the area, including Urban League, Saint Mark Baptist Church, and even takes the time to sit with residents at assistant living campuses.
By: Ross Grant
Those who know what the Ketogenic Diet (keto for short) is and what it consists of, know that if you stick to the rules, you can get serious results. Along with those serious results, come some pretty strict guidelines for what you can and cannot eat. During the week, it’s no problem to prepare meals to get the macronutrient results that you want. The weekend on the other hand can be a total nightmare. Your group message starts blowing up about an hour before work is over with suggestions for dinner and drinks that night. At this point, there are two options: run home as soon as you get off work and eat the same chicken you’ve been eating all week (probably not), or go meet your friends for dinner and drinks. So, we put together this quick guide for a few of our favorite spots around town with keto friendly options for those nights when you just can’t resist the temptation.
Cheers in the Heights - Southwest Chicken Salad
Calories: ~510 Carbs: ~9
Our first stop on the list is a local staple and neighborhood favorite: Cheers in the Heights. Right off Kavanaugh Boulevard in the heart of the Heights, this locally owned gem has one of the best salads in town. While most restaurants offer a salad option on their menu, not many can compete with the southwest chicken salad. This romaine salad has bacon, tomatoes, mozzarella and is topped with a hearty serving of seasoned grilled chicken, a large dollop of sour cream and a scoop of their yummy guac. Pair it with the creamy bell pepper dressing and you have a keto salad that is sure to leave you satisfied.
Cregeen's Irish Pub - Duck Wings
Calories: ~427 Carbs: ~2
When first starting keto, you try to keep some of your favorite foods in your diet however you can, but thankfully wings don’t have to go out the window! Creegans Irish Pub in North Little Rock puts an Arkansas twist on the classic chicken wing and goes for duck. On a recent “Wing Wednesday” tour around Little Rock we came to the conclusion that Creegans falls in the top three for wings in the 501. Its only $10 for a 12 count of bone-in duck wings, and they come in all of the flavors that the chicken wings do, with our favorite being the sweet Thai chili. That price will leave you smiling, happy and still in ketosis on your way out the door.
Brewski's Pub & Grub - Hamburger Steak w/ Salad & Broccoli
Calories: ~520 Carbs: ~7
While somewhat new to Little Rock, Brewski's has quickly become a staple for weekend game days. With tons of TV’s, games to play and a fun atmosphere, it’s nice to know that even a local bar has good options for those sticking to their new year’s resolutions. Their menu offers a few good options, but our favorite by far is the hamburger steak. Smothered in grilled onions and seasoned to perfection, we like to pair it with the Caesar salad and broccoli on the side.
American Pie Pizza - Chicken Bacon Ranch 10" Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Calories: ~400 Carbs: ~7
"I can’t do keto because I can’t give up pizza." - Literally everyone who thought about doing keto. Well friends we are here to tell you that you don’t have to give up pizza, but only change the crust that’s on the bottom of your pizza. Cauliflower crust pizza usually has around 14 carbs in the entire pie, so we recommend sticking to only half (maybe ¾ if you’re really hungry) of the pizza in one sitting. The 10” cauliflower crust pizza at American Pie can be made with any of their signature pies, or even made custom with your favorite toppings, but we recommend the Chicken, Bacon Ranch (what’s not to love?).
Soul Fish Cafe - Blackened Tilapia w/ Zucchini
Calories: ~375 Carbs: ~4
While Soul Fish may be known for their southern style fried catfish, this downtown café also offers several keto friendly dishes. One of our favorites is the blackened tilapia. Fish is a great source for proteins and healthy fats, and Soul Fish clearly knows what they are doing in this realm. You can choose what level of blackened you want and it comes with a side. We always get the sautéed zucchini which is seasoned to perfection. Steer clear of the hush puppies and fries (even though they are delicious) and you’re sure to be satisfied with your keto choice.
Our young professional of the month has a career path that not many can say they have done, but one that all can respect. Thirteen years ago our young professional of the month was working as an administrative assistant while earning her degree. After many years of hard work, you can now find Nicole Winters in the office of Legal Counsel II in the Corporate Legal Department of Windstream.
Growing up in Flint, Michigan, she always knew she liked law. Actually, since 3rd grade she knew she wanted to be a lawyer. Eventually her path led her to the University of South Carolina Upstate where she pursued a degree in political science and graduated Cum Laude. On top of that, she received the Top Political Science Student Award. After that, her education led her to a school that we are all familiar with - the Bowen School of Law. Here she also graduated Cum Laude and logged over 300 hours of community service.
Like any good young professional, Nicole is also involved in numerous nonprofits. Susan G. Komen - Arkansas has Nicole as an active member on the Race for The Cure Committee and current Board Member. Make-A-Wish Mid-South has her as a Wish Granter, the outgoing President of the YP Board, and a former Regional Board Member. She is also well involved in Women & Children First and the Arkansas Food Bank.
"My philosophy on volunteering is providing service to others is the least I can do to pay back all the good things in my life. Why have time and gifts if you can't share it with others? So basically, sign me up to help with just about any non-profit at least once." - Nicole Winters