By L. Lamor Williams | Photography by Lori Sparkman Photography | Shot on location at Little Rock Central High School | Hair by Alisha Davis with Real Natural Salon | Wardrobe from Dillard’s | Makeup by Amari Brigges with Amari B. Studios
The spirit of service to our community starts awakening early in some. Tanya James’ awakening happened in first grade when she joined her local Girl Scouts of America Troop. Selling cookies and calendars gave her confidence and sharpened her communication skills. Still, more than that, it instilled in her core the importance of helping others.
“Service is lifelong,” says Tanya, senior VP, community and business relationship director for Arvest Bank – Central Arkansas. “When I think about service, the first thing that comes to mind is giving of yourself. I remind myself that if I were on the receiving end of the service, how would I want to feel and what would I want to gain? At any moment in time, our situations can change, and I am grateful to God that He has blessed me to be able to share with my community.”
And share with her community she does. She serves on the Cystic Fibrosis Arkansas Chapter Foundation Board; on the Little Rock Central High School Career Technical and Education Advisory Board; is a Rotary Club 99 board member; is a Junior League of Little Rock Sustainer and a member of Beta Pi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
“Service does have a selfish component. It makes you feel great when you’re helping others,” she says. “On top of that, when you gather to share talents, resources, and influence to reach a common goal, you’re bound to develop friendships, and some may last the rest of your lifetime.”
She recently joined the Little Rock Chapter of The Links Inc. where she quickly signed up to co-chair its local Annual Walk for Healthy Living Walk-A-Thon and while attending the group’s Central Area Summit, she was compelled to sign up to work with their initiative promoting kidney health and fighting kidney disease.
Tanya notes that a slogan often repeated by The Links members is “linked in friendship, connected in service.” The group of professional women support each other, drawing on wisdom gleaned from a wide range of career fields.
Providing inspiration and mentoring are also ways of giving back, she says.
“I firmly believe that as we climb ladders, we should be reaching back to help someone else climb up behind us,” she continues. “I have started encouraging the emerging leaders at Arvest to lead community initiatives, serve on committees, and learn about nonprofits in our community.”
Tanya says that in her role at Arvest, she is responsible for creating and developing community partnerships. She feels responsible professionally and personally for ensuring philanthropy is sustainable in Central Arkansas.
“That starts with investing in the leaders of tomorrow.”