New Chief Executive Officer Chrissy Chatham continues her commitment to the welfare of children at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas.
Photography by Meredith Melody | Hair by Maddy Spring with Lavish Hair Professionals | Makeup by Aaron Perkins with Face Your Day Studios | Clothing & Accessories from Barbara/Jean
She jokes that her career is more about “what feels right” than finite planning and preparation, but as Chrissy Chatham steps into her newest role as chief executive officer at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas – it’s with ease, confidence and determination. “I’m lucky enough to have a big sister that remains a rock in my life,” Chrissy admits. “I know what it’s like, firsthand, to have a difficult childhood and I want to help kids realize their full potential.”
Chrissy received her undergraduate degree from Hendrix College while working three jobs to pay tuition and finding time to serve as a Big Buddy at Ida Burns Elementary School in Conway. “Spending time with kids, it became clear that even a little bit of attention makes a difference in the trajectory of their lives,” Chrissy explains. Her dedication to the welfare of children is unwavering. Her tenure at Youth Home, from special events coordinator to chief marketing and development officer, solidified her commitment to the youth of Central Arkansas.
With more than 313 national affiliates, Big Brothers Big Sisters touts a century of service with a simple mission to improve the lives of children and ensure their success through meaningful one-on-one relationships. For more than 45 years, BBBSCA continues to match Capital City community leaders, known as “bigs,” with children between the ages of 6 and 14, known as “littles,” to develop integrity, respect and excellence for a lifetime. It’s these core values of the organization that impress Chrissy. “These kinds of skills transcend gender and race; they are tools that empower anyone and everyone to be their best self. Our programs build stronger communities one child at a time.”
As CEO, Chrissy recognizes the importance of teamwork. “Everyone plays a critical component in the success of the organization.” She maintains a similar philosophy in her approach to the mission fulfillment work of BBBSCA and her role as an aunt extraordinaire. Her adoration for the children in her life resonates as she shares tales of adventure at work and at home. Her Goldendoodle Otis spends time at the office and makes a lasting impression on kids that participate in the program. “It takes a village – grandparents, extended family, teachers, school counselors and mentors – to build the bridge to the future for most kids.” She notes there is always room for improvements and additional avenues of support.
Big Role Models, in its second year, is a local initiative for high school juniors that exemplify the organization’s standards of excellence. These students complete more than 20 hours of BBBSCA education and service to become eligible for college scholarships. “Big Role Models mirrors our mission that values youth in our community,” explains BBBSCA Development Coordinator Colleen Carr. “It fills a void in our unmatched pairings and creates the next generation of civic leadership – just a few volunteer hours a week makes a BIG impact!”
Big Role Models Chairperson Aaron Perkins applauds the new leadership. “A role model is someone who not only tells you things – they show you things,” he notes. “Chrissy’s enthusiasm and can-do attitude bring new opportunities to the organization. And she’s right there – ready to work with us to make it happen.”
Philosophy to Live By – “Take pleasure in the little things.”
Living + Giving in Central Arkansas – “We are a community that cares.”
New Year’s Tradition – “Watch the ball drop in Times Square & kiss my husband.”