Foundation capital

UA Little Rock Announces New Foundation Fund Board Members, Chair

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock announced four new members who will serve three-year terms on the UA Little Rock Foundation Fund Board of Trustees.

New members include JR Bizzell, vice president of risk management for Stephens Insurance; The Honorable Mark Leverett, State District Judge for District 31; Scott Ruffner, unit general manager for PepsiCo Beverages; and Kenya Sharp, Vice President and Head of Enterprise Risk Management for Simmons Bank.

Woody Harrelson, president of The Hatcher Agency and 1996 graduate of UA Little Rock, has been chosen as the new chairman of the UA Little Rock Foundation Fund.

The board meets four times a year to oversee the activities of the UA Little Rock Foundation Fund.

More information about the new members:

JR Bizzell is Vice President of the Risk Management Group at Stephens Insurance. Prior to joining Stephens Insurance, Bizzell spent three years as a research analyst covering the specialist finance industry. He began his equity capital markets career at Stephens in 2011 as a research associate, where he helped develop the restoration practice. During that time, he was part of the team that completed seven equity issues. Bizzell adds additional depth and industry experience with balance sheet risk and alternative risk transfer mechanisms.

Prior to becoming a judge, Mark Leverett worked as a partner and general counsel at the law firm Leverett & Watts, an attorney for the Arkansas Department of Transportation, and an assistant district attorney for Pulaski County. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Henderson State University and a Juris Doctor from the William H. Bowen School of Law at UA Little Rock. He is also a Saint Mark Baptist alumnus, vice chair of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, and a board member of Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids and the Oscar Washington Jr. Educational Fund.

Scott Ruffner is the general manager of the PepsiCo Beverages unit responsible for coverage of 27 counties in central Arkansas. Prior to PepsiCo, Ruffner was chief executive of GE, leading the Specialty Lighting division in the United States and Canada. He is a first-generation college graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Mid-America Nazarene University. He has volunteered with Allen School, Maumelle Fire Department, Autism Speaks Foundation and Food for Good.

Kenya Sharp has spent most of her career in public service. A native of Helena-West Helena, Sharp worked at the Arkansas Development Finance Authority and the Arkansas Department of Education, focusing on issuing and maintaining housing bonds and of school. For 12 years, she served as National Bank Examiner and Federal Savings Regulator in the Office of the Comptroller of the U.S. Treasury, where she made significant contributions, being responsible for evaluating the security and the strength of federally chartered financial institutions. In 2018, she assumed the role of Vice President and Head of Enterprise Risk Management for Simmons Bank. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Finance) from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and a Masters of Business Administration from UA Little Rock.