Guest blog by Sarah Thomas Pilcher. This is Part Two of two blogs dedicated to highlighting influential African American women in Arkansas as part of Black History Month.
Inspirational black women across the globe have spent years climbing the corporate ladder, pursuing careers in specialized fields and leading major companies.
Right here in Arkansas, accomplished and powerful women have achieved success in their professions, raised families and mastered the art of balance within their lives. I hope that you enjoy learning about the influential black women that we have in our beautiful state.
Black History Month shouldn’t just be a celebration of our past and the things that we have accomplished, but also what we continue to strive toward for the future.
Linda Rowe Thomas
Bio: Linda Rowe Thomas wears many hats: she is a CEO, fashion designer, motivational speaker, author and philanthropist. Linda is also a burn survivor – a heater exploded in her home when she was only two years old. In 2010, she founded couture fashion brand Romás by Linda Rowe Thomas and was named “One to Watch” the following year by the New York Examiner. Through her business, she has participated in numerous fashion weeks across the globe – including New York Fashion Week – and has dressed her celebrity clientele for a variety of red-carpet events, from the Golden Globes to the ESPY awards. She also founded Designing Hope, a nonprofit benefitting burn survivors. Linda uses her business, nonprofit and story to encourage + inspire others.
Life-changing moment? “The pivotal moment in my life was deciding to step out in faith and leave corporate America to pursue my dream of launching my own fashion brand. This decision changed my life. Launching Romás by Linda Rowe Thomas not only gave me the freedom to pursue those creative dreams, but it birthed a platform that allows me to empower other burn survivors.”
Philosophy to live by? “‘Can’t’ is not an option!”
How do you stay happy + healthy? “As a former athlete, I stay healthy by being active, whether it’s running, gym time, or my newest love, cycling. Happiness definitely comes from family, being able to do what I love every day and having the ability to give hope to others through my life and successes.”
Bridgette M. Frazier
Bio: Bridgette has always been one to make things happen. She graduated high school at just 16, and went on to earn an International Studies degree at Hendrix and later a law degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville School of Law. Upon returning to Little Rock, Bridgette created the ‘House Counsel’ position for the Arkansas House of Representatives, where she provided counsel, research and support for all the members of the House. She has also been the inaugural attorney for both the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery and Arkansas Rehabilitation Services. Currently, she owns her own law firm.
Biggest inspiration? “My parents. They have always been an unshakeable source of unconditional love for me and my four sisters. Plus, I have been humbled by their unwavering faith. Because of them I know that no matter what happens, everything is going to be ok. God is good. All the time.”
Goal for 2018? “The Guardian published a list of 100 best novels written in English, and [one of my goals] for 2018 is to read the ones that I haven’t already read.”
How do you stay happy + healthy? “Through prayer and running. Also, spending time with my family in New Orleans – it recharges my batteries and makes me feel loved and carefree.”
Bio: Doris Wright has dedicated her career to improving the lives of Arkansans – and has made history in the process, as the first female African American Vice-Mayor of the City of Little Rock. Through her work as Vice-Mayor and her current, longstanding position as City Director for Ward 6, Doris has overseen a number of projects and programs focused on revitalizing her Ward, which she rebranded as West Central Little Rock. Thanks in large part to her efforts, WCLR has a youth sports complex, a senior activity center, a community center and much more. Doris is also a member of the Eta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Little Rock Gamma Nu Chapter and an active member of Second Baptist Church – West location.
Life-changing moment? “October 3, 2017, 1:26 p.m. was a pivotal moment in my life, when in an attempted carjacking, my car flipped over three times. …I had been praying and asking the Lord for guidance; I asked Him to show me a sign that I was on the right path in the work that I’m doing for my community. Since my life was spared, this pivotal moment served as confirmation that the Lord had heard my prayers and that I am doing what He wants me to do, the way He wants me to do it.”
Philosophy to live by? “I truly live my life by Philippians 4:12-13: ‘I know how to live humbly, and I know how to abound. I am accustomed to any and every situation—to being filled and being hungry, to having plenty and having need. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.’”
How do you stay happy + healthy? “I have developed a lifestyle of fasting and prayer. I have found that fasting helps me to discipline myself with regards to food, and prayer helps me stay focused on what is important: faith and trust in God.”