About Town

UA Little Rock Leader – Leigh Ann Biernat

Leigh Ann Biernat – Stephens Inc. Executive Vice President Head of Public Finance

As early as a junior in high school, I wanted to work for one of the ‘Big Eight’ public accounting firms. When it came time to pick a college major, my choice was easy – accounting. I learned that UA Little Rock helped with internships in public accounting, so I accepted a scholarship to attend UA Little Rock. While on campus, I joined the accounting club, was part of the Chancellor’s Leadership Corp. and participated in student government. Those organizations provided networking opportunities that helped me secure an internship with one of the then “Big Six” public accounting firms my junior year, a second internship my senior year and finally a job offer at graduation. 

One of the best parts of my first job was that I remained in Little Rock. As the capital city of Arkansas, Little Rock offers a plethora of business opportunities. Because of that, I have spent my entire career here both in private business and with government agencies. Hence, the transition from UA Little Rock to a business career was rather seamless. 

Another thing I learned early on is that UA Little Rock provides a superior education such that graduates are ready to contribute on day one of their careers. I was a client of Stephens Inc. for 16 years and later an Investment Banker at Stephens, Arkansas’s only full-service investment banking firm, for eight years. In January 2024, I was named Executive Vice President and Head of Public Finance, the first woman to hold this role at Stephens. It is the capstone of my career and I consider my education at UA Little Rock central to my success. 

Finally, the ties between UA Little Rock and myself extend beyond my business career. I am very proud that the Stephens family supports UA Little Rock.  The Jack Stephens Center is a first-class venue for the school’s athletics as well as a popular venue for holding events in the Central Arkansas community. And on a personal note, I met my husband at UA Little Rock. 

In sum, I can honestly say that choosing UA Little Rock has been a large part of my professional and personal success. 

Stephens Inc. (member NYSE/SIPC)


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